Find Your People: Social Media For Writers, Part 4
Picture this: fall, 2019. I'd just subbed my (terrible, doomed) manuscript to Pitch Wars. It was time for me to make myself known on Twitter, in anticipation of great things soon to come! I'd heard Pitch Wars was all about community, and I planned to jump in the deep end, head first. My first tweet was all, I AM DOING PITCH WARS WHO WANTS TO BE MY FRIEEENNNNND!!!
I'm laughing at this memory the way you laugh at a cute, innocent little bunny about to discover the big bad truth of both writing and Twitter.
The biggest mistake I made as a newbie was haunting people in long-established CP groups, hoping to be invited in. They looked so fun! They had hilarious names! This was their second or third Pitch Wars and they said smart stuff about contests and writing! The members were always tagging each other and saying nice things about the group and how much they'd grown by learning from their writer besties! I'd always been taught to learn from people better than me, so it made sense to look to these collectives as a good place to start.
To no one's surprise (except for me), I was not welcomed into long-established groups whose members were far, far ahead of me in terms of craft, publishing savvy, experience...everything.
Instead of wasting your time doing this (and probably scaring those poor authors), I should have been smarter from the start.
Social Media Tip #5: Find people at your own stage of writing development to level up with.
Some strategies that worked for me:
When you're starting out, aim for a mix of tweeting and retweeting. Let people see who you are and what you like, and they'll be more likely to follow and interact with you.
Keep an eye out for mutuals whose content you like, and who seem interested in engaging with/supporting other writers. Interact! Drop a reply on their posts, and reply to their comments on your posts. (Caveat: you don't have to reply to all comments, especially not randos or reply guys - but if you're mutuals with someone, I hope they're someone who posts good stuff and interacts in a positive way, so you can feel good replying.)
Find people to retweet for Twitter pitching parties like #PitMad.
If you’re entering a mentoring contest like Pitch Wars, Author Mentor Match, or RevPit, engage with the pre-contest activities to find friends who will last after the contest is over. Like and interact with their content, same as you would with other mutuals.
Join Facebook writing groups in your genre (and/or others! Branching out is good), so you can contribute to the discussion and find critique partners and beta readers there. For romance, I love All the Kissing. They have a spreadsheet for finding CPs and betas, among other ways to meet your future crime syndicate members.
Participate in weekly Twitter and Instagram games where people post snippets from their manuscripts in response to writing prompts. The communities that arise around prompts like #FridayKiss and #1linewed are very welcoming and interactive - they're a nice soft place to find like-minded writers. I find posting just one tweet per prompt is easier to manage, for me, and gives me a chance to build on people's interaction with my post, all in one place. If you love someone's writing, ask if they need beta readers or critique partners - you never know!
There's nothing better than having supportive writing friends around you as you level up in this game - giving and getting critique, entering contests, querying, and pursuing traditional or self-publishing. Drop a comment and tell us how you found your posse!