If you're reading this right now, you are:
- a new writer to Twitter,
- a newly contracted author,
- or a debut author.
Congratulations on any or all of the above.
You have probably been advised by writing buddies, agents and publicists, to dip your toe into the fast lane of Twitter. I can imagine that you took one step in and felt so overwhelmed, you jumped right back out. All those hashtags and Twitter chats flying into your face - very intimidating.
There are a lot of different types of Twitter chats. You have #ukyachat, #ukmgchat, #ukteenchat, #yashot, #askagent, #feminismYA and #chatclassics not to mention various others. Each one is necessary with its own specific audience. All these chats can feel overwhelming. It's impossible to take part in them all, especially when they are occurring at the same time and you may wonder how will they actually benefit your writing. As a new writer starting out, I would try one of the following four. Once you get the hang of it, you can move on to others or juggle a couple at the same time.
- #PBNatter covers picture books. A chance to talk to illustrators as well as authors.
- #UKMGChat covers books aimed at the 8 to 12 year old market.
- #UKTeenChat, the new kid on Twitter, erases the lines drawn between UKMG and UKYA. It covers the ages of 10 to 14, depending on each child's development.
- #UKYAChat is aimed at your more mature reader 13 - 19 - and plenty in their 20s and beyond!
These are purely guidelines and some younger children will enjoy and understand older books and vice versa depending on their reading capability and maturity. If you want to know more about age range guidelines, Skylark Literary Agency have written a fabulous post about it here.
The Twitter chats are always highly publicised, so by typing into the Twitter search bar you will be able to find out when the next one is scheduled.
I've already written a post for Words & Pictures about how to take part in a Twitter Chat using Hootsuite, which you can find here so I won't repeat myself in this post.
So why should you take part in the Twitter chats?
Twitter chats allow you to make new contacts with like minded people. You may end up chatting with someone at a similar writing stage as yourself, that could become a future critique partner. You might discover an agent you weren't familiar with and after submission, become their client. Such a huge range of people take part in these chats, you never know who you might end up talking to.
2) Market Research
Want to know where to get writing advice from? What genres are trending? Which books are popular right now? These are the kind of questions that will be answered during the chats, which can only improve your writing. I've often seen lists of books appearing in these chats, which have helped me research a particular genre. In order to be successful, you need to know the market, what books are winning awards and which books the kids can't get enough of.
3) Future Audience
By taking part in the chats, you will rubbing shoulders with members of your future audience. Book bloggers, librarians and readers love Twitter chats just as much as they love authors and books. They are always happy to chat and discuss the books they love. I'll let you into a secret - book bloggers love debut authors!
4) Profile Raising
These chats are bursting with contacts within the children's market. If they like chatting to you, they will often follow you on Twitter. This will help you to get your name out there in the Twittersphere, therefore helping to raise your profile.
5) Industry Advice
They often have special guests, ranging from authors to agents to publishers. These lovely people provide lots of advice on how to submit your work, how to improve your writing as well as what they are currently looking for. And they provide this information for FREE! They are looking for the next big writer and that could be YOU!
My blogging buddy, KM Lockwood, probably takes part in more chats than I do . Here she is to give you her thoughts.
"Let me at those #chats! I get to enthuse about books I love, learn from other writers, editors and reviewers - and if I'm really lucky, meet my future readers!
What's not to like?"
What's not to like?"
So what are you waiting for?