Twitter Advice from Writers



Last week on The Freelance Life I covered the basics of Twitter for writers. To follow up on that column, I asked a few writers with seemingly successful Twitter accounts for their advice.


Jeff Newelt (@jahfury) is a social media fixer as well as the comics editor for Heeb, SMITH, & Royal Flush and the editor of Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland. Here’s his advice:

Give context: Tweet so your followers’ followers will instantly comprehend if you are RT’d to those who never heard of you or your work.

If using an autotweet system that pulls photos from flickr or tumblr, etc., make sure you give context and not just “Photo: XXXXXX.” Make it “Elephant porking a moose at the zoo. Photo: XXXXXX.”

Always abbreviate: & instead of and; 2 instead of two; + instead of plus; maximize use of characters.

Do not include a single superfluous word or character.

Do not tie your Twitter to your Foursquare UNLESS you give meaningful context. Those who give a s#%t simply where you are and with whom, will get that info directly as your Foursquare friends; otherwise you are contributing to clutter.

Don’t be boring.


David Gutowski (@largeheartedboy) is the founder of Largehearted Boy, a literary/music blog that’s set the precedent for many of the culture blogs in the sphere today. His tips:

Be genuine with your audience. Emma Straub (@emmastraub) and Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) try to respond to everything sent their way on Twitter, they always share a little bit of their lives without over sharing. Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) has a million followers but she uses Twitter to tell people about free shows or how much she loves Neil Gaiman. Don’t just treat it as a PR blast. Tweet about what other artists and musicians are doing.

If you want more followers, don’t be very political. I’ll tweet about liberal politics and feminism, and I always loose followers when I do. Don’t assume just because people read literary fiction or listen to indie music that they are liberal.

Gabrielle Gantz (@contextual_life) is a book publicist for Viking and Penguin as well as the brains behind the culture/literary blog The Contextual Life. Here are her best Twitter tips:
If you’re looking to build a following, and you’re not a celebrity or public figure, become a resource. Share interesting articles, useful thoughts, and fun asides (i.e. photos). Always give credit to your source by @mentioning the publication or person and make sure you know the difference between an @mention and an @reply, it makes a big difference when trying to gain an audience.
Take time to create an interesting bio and upload a proper profile picture, preferably one of your face–studies show people are more likely to follow those who include a picture of themselves. If at all possible, include a link to a website or a landing page. If you include the name of the company you work for in your bio, be very careful what you tweet, you run the risk of being taken as a spokesperson. Many people ruin careers on social media–it’s both sad and unnecessary.

One Response

  1. DERRYCK -

    Tweeting for me is just another way to share my views or opinions on matters of interest to me. Be it social, political, or religious!


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