Hi folks! Today I’m once again participating in the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop, a blog hop for writers who want to learn from each other and build a community. This month I’m going to write about one of my favourite ways to connect with other authors: Twitter chats! Of all the things I’ve tried, I’ve found Twitter chats the most effective way of building my professional network and social media prowess. With any luck today’s advice will inspire you to harness this wonderful opportunity to propel your own career forward.
What are Twitter chats?
Exactly what they sound like! A scheduled time when like-minded people gather to chat about a specific topic. There are many Twitter chats specifically for writers, which are the ones I’ll talk about today. You’ll also find a list of my favourites below.
How Twitter chats work
Most Twitter chats have a brief introduction period followed by several questions for the group. To participate, simply introduce yourself/answer the questions and include the hashtag associated with the chat. This ensures that everyone in the chat sees your responses. You can also choose to Tweet from your profile or to respond to the moderator’s Tweets directly. If you respond to the moderator’s Tweets directly only other people in the chat will see it (this varies somewhat based on other people’s Twitter settings) so you can avoid looking like a spammer.
Pro Tip: Search for the hashtag associated with the chat using the Twitter search function and click “Latest”. This will automatically update so you can easily keep track of the chat. I’ve even done this in two separate tabs so I could participate in two chats at the same time.
How to get the most out of a Twitter chat
As with anything in life, there are a few tricks you can use to get the most out of your Twitter chats:
- Participate regularly – This doesn’t have to be every single time the chat runs, but the more often you attend, the deeper your connections will become. Twitter chats are a tool for making friends, and those friendships are reinforced every time you show up.
- Actively respond to other people – You can often have a decent conversation by simply responding to the moderator, but you’ll make way more friends if you respond to other people–and, of course, ReTweet your favourite sentiments.
- Don’t actively self promote unless there’s space for it – Some chats have a section at the end for shameless self promotion. Others give you space to talk about your available books during the intro. Others have strict rules against self promotion. Obey them. These chats are mostly for other writers anyway, who can never keep up with their reading lists to begin with.
- Follow anyone you have an interesting conversation with – People won’t always have the initiative to follow you just because you’re having a conversation, but if you follow them during the conversation, they’re more likely to remember. Or maybe feel compelled to because you DID follow them. Either way, this works.
- Seek guest spots or offer to host – You know what’s even better than participating in a Twitter chat? Being featured in one. I’ve stepped in to host #writerslifechat, one of my favourites, a couple of times, and it’s hectic but a lot of fun. Being featured in a Twitter chat provides the same heightened level of interaction and positions you as an expert.
Twitter chats for writers
Now that you know what you’re doing, go out and conquer these chats! Most are just general chats for writers with weekly themes, but a couple are specifically focused on the fantasy/scifi genres. You can find Twitter chats specific to just about any genre, but I only write fantasy so those are the chats I attend.
- #MagicMon – 7-10PM EST Monday nights – Focused on fantasy, also features writing sprints
- #DarkLitChat – 8PM EST every third Tuesday of the month – Focuses on dark fiction, all genres
- #Writestuff – 9PM EST Tuesday nights
- #Writerslifechat – 8PM EST Wednesday nights
- #Storysocial – 9PM EST Wednesday nights
- #StoryDam – 8PM EST Thursday nights
- #10MinNovelists – 9PM EST Thursday nights – Has a featured guest almost every week
- #CreatureChat – 9PM EST Thursday nights – Focuses on creatures in speculative fiction
- #FemalesInFantasy – 8PM EST Saturday nights – Fantasy focused
- #WritersPatch – 10AM CST Sundays
- #Storycrafter – 3PM EST Sundays – Actually a UK-based chat
There are even more writing chats on Twitter, but these are all the ones I’ve actually attended and enjoyed.
Have you used Twitter chats in your networking? Would you like to try? Have one not on the list? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!