As some of you know, in 2018 I started my publication journey. A tool I found useful in this endeavor was Twitter. On Twitter, there is a hashtag: #WritingCommunity. I started following folks who posted in this community, and most of the time it was very fruitful. I made new friends, and it connected me to literally thousands of writers in every stage of development. There were these things called “Writer’s Lifts” where everyone got to know each other and promoted their work a little. Thing is, back then, those lifts were about making friends. Now…it’s all about selling books.
Don’t get me wrong, I participate, particularly on Saturday as that is #ShamelssSelfPromoSaturday on Twitter. I drop my link into some lifts and hope for a retweet or two. I can confidently say I have sold a few books this way, but it’s not like it’s breaking the sales records. It’s just a nice way to get your work to someone who otherwise might not find it. So yes, I’m cool with promotional lifts. However…
I’ve lost the connection.
I don’t KNOW my followers like I used to. Yes, there are a great many more now than I had a couple of years ago, but I don’t feel the camaraderie like I used to. We don’t chat. We just hype each other’s stuff. Again, don’t get me wrong, that’s cool…but I have no real writer friends. I searched for such on Twitter, and I found some. Two live in the area; a guy from the city who writes what he refers to as “dude lit,” and a blogger in the southern tier who has a garden I am envious of. I often contemplate what it would be like to meet these folks, and have some sort of Algonquin roundtable writing discussion, but I’m an anxious human who has trouble stepping outside her comfort zone. So online friendship it is.
Anyway, I was thinking about how Twitter used to be cool and decided I would see if it still could be. I posted a Writers Lift, but I made rules. Number one, you could not drop me a book link. If you did, I deleted it. Number two, you had to introduce yourself and tell us what you write or what you’re working on. Third, you had to make a friend.
I got 188 replies.
188 people introduced themselves and their writing, and conversations broke out all over the place. I tried to keep up but eventually had to mute the tweet when I got 35 notifications at once. Many folks thanked me for this “new spin” on a lift, which made me chuckle because really, I’m just bringing back the old-school jams. One person gave me an idea for another kind of lift, where we praise OTHER author’s work, not our own, which I think I may try out sometime this week. A woman in Greece emailed me and told me she liked one of my poems, and asked if she could translate it to Greek and publish it in her lit mag. I agreed, and you can find it HERE. Someone else emailed me and told me that they read my excerpts on Amazon and immediately bought the book. Others talked to me about their writing endeavors. Overall, it was a very productive little tweet for me, and I really hope it was for others too.
A lot of the crap I see on Twitter now is people trying to up their engagement with ads and random questions and the like. Me, I have always kept my tweets either about writing or observations from life, and I try to keep the selling of myself to a minimum. Not that I don’t, because I’m an indie author and that’s part of the job description, but I’d rather read “real” stuff, if you know what I mean. I’d rather you tweet about the sandwich you had for lunch than see another post that starts with “now available on Amazon…”
I mean…yeah, I’m guilty. But I’m trying to do other things, too. Got to keep it fresh, y’know?
So my finding in this little experiment is that people actually do want to connect on Twitter still, it just seems to be a little harder somehow than it was 2 years ago. Perhaps it’s the algorithm, which has totally screwed me more than once, but overall, I think it’s just that we have lost touch with each other. I don’t like that, and I won’t do that. I won’t succumb. My
DMs are always open to fellow creators. I am always down to chat about the business of words, and all I really want is a few folks who feel the same.