The State of the #WritingCommunity: A Few Thoughts on Improving our Corner of Twitter :)
Welcome to another edition of the Book Builder’s Blog! This week, we’re going to talk about the use of social media as authors . . . specifically, Twitter.
On Twitter, we have the #WritingCommunity, a place that has poured its heart and soul into thousands of authors. Everyone finds their way to engage, and its different for each author. However, I recently ran a totally valid and scientifically objective poll of the #WritingCommunity, and it provided some interesting data. (Yes, it’s not a complete survey of the entire community nor were the questions vetted by a research board, but I think the data is worth noting, regardless).
The first poll asked why people find the #WritingCommunity important. Overwhelmingly, people responded with “authentic relationships.” More on that later.
Next, I asked what people disliked. Interestingly enough, people do not enjoy “Twitter Tagging Games” and “Followback Culture.” Which I find interesting, because there are a lot of those games in the #WritingCommunity and followback culture is very prevalent.
Finally, I asked what people want to see more of . . . and the results were unanimous! Members of the #WritingCommunity want more Followback Chains! (JK)
We want more discussion about our craft. About writing itself. We crave to talk about the mechanics, the skills, the books we’re creating! I love it.
So, in addition to the top-line items obvious from the polls themselves, I want to note a few other interesting trends evident from these polls.
Members of the #WritingCommunity don’t mind book promotion. Just don’t make it your priority.
Notice when I asked what people enjoyed the most, very few people said “Buying/Selling Books.” Now, I could have worded that option better (Twitter only allows so many characters in polls). However, I hope most people interpreted that as people sharing links to their books or asking for people to share their links. Most indie authors remember #IndieApril, after all.
So when we reach the second poll, asking what people like the least . . . very few people also said book promotion was what they liked least. I take this to mean it’s okay if you promote your book, but . . . keep your profile balanced. Many comments beneath the poll echoed this sentiment.
Be cognizant of why you’re tagging someone.
I know I’m guilty of trying to create random tagging games that are annoying and end up wasting people’s time and clogging up their notifications. Given people’s desire for more discussion about our writing craft, perhaps we should engage in meaningful writing discussions where we tag our friends to join in, rather than massive GIF tag games. Just a thought.
Don’t stress if someone doesn’t follow back.
It’s easy, especially when you have a low follower count, to get annoyed that other authors aren’t following you back . . . and take that frustration out in unhealthy ways. But remember that Twitter is different for different people. Some authors want to follow back every single author in the #WritingCommunity. Many say so in their profiles.
On the other hand, other authors are focused on following specific genres, or have decided they want to keep their following under a certain number to stay organized. Still others don’t like seeing politics in their feed. There’s a whole swath of reasons why someone may not follow you. No one has an obligation to follow anyone; you have no obligation to follow anyone. Make Twitter what you want it to be; don’t get mad if someone has a different vision for Twitter.
The community enjoys authentic relationships.
If there’s a top line result from these polls, it’s that people love the real relationships they’ve formed with other authors, editors, and cover designers through the #WritingCommunity. I know I’ve found friends, peers, clients, and a mix of all of those combined into one! Be yourself. Don’t put up a facade; as authors, we’re all going through the same stresses. You’ll find your little niche group with whom you can connect.
The #WritingCommunity craves deeper discussion.
The last poll reveals this; overwhelmingly, we want to talk more about writing! Even still, a decent chunk of authors also want to learn more skills regarding book promotion (shameless plug: my last blog was on one particular book promotion method) or find beta readers / critique partners. I think we need to explore those desires further as a community; though there are members with beta reading programs in place (Meg Trast comes to mind, and Tory Hunter’s Writing Community Readers.)
But above all else, I’m pretty sure the #WritingCommunity needs more followback chains.
But seriously, remember to make Twitter what you need it to be. But if you join the #WritingCommunity expecting to become a bestselling author by selling your books to you fellow writers, you’re gonna have a bad time.