A Fantasy Author's Adventures in Fiction & Life

Tag: writer twitter

Most of my blogs about authoring are practical advice, save my my decision to self publish. I’m now at a stage of outlining thoughts on other big (in this case ethical dilemma) author decisions; which social media and advertising platforms to use as an author. This is not an advice blog and definitely not a ‘how to make money as an indie author blog’. It’s why I chose to leave Twitter, opt out of Kindle Unlimited and delete my Facebook Author Page. It may help you reflect on your choices and what’s right for you as an author/ reader/ person. (And maybe we can lament the demise, death and zombie status of Twitter together).

Amazon, Libraries & No Thanks Kindle Unlimited

When you’re an emerging Indie Author and readers don’t know you from Adam, entering your book in Amazon’s Kindle Select program (into Kindle Unlimited -KU) is very tempting. It has lots of readers, your book is discoverable and you will get some page reads (even if you don’t market much or aren’t very good at it). Conventional author wisdom seems to be that its a wise financial and discoverability move for a first time author. But my books are not in Kindle Select (despite that at the time of writing I’ve only published 2/3 of my debut trilogy).

Growing up, I was the child of a single parent. Money was tight. We got most of our books from the library. I like libraries. I like that they’ve always made access to books, digital resources, the internet, printing and apparently now recording studios, an equitable experience. So when I published my first book I wanted libraries to have access to print AND digital copies. But no library could have digital copies in their catalogue if my ebook was in Kindle Select (KU).

No matter what research I did, or advice I considered, for me it was the ethical point that got stuck in my head. I’m a full time teacher and can pay off a home loan on my own salary (which is great because I don’t have a partner and am not inclined to want one). I’m privileged enough not to depend on writing to earn a living. Which is awesome, because as a debut author breaking even financially is a challenge. So I’m in a financial position to stick to my ethical guns and make my ebooks available to libraries.

Non-Amazon Stores

Then there’s stores. I don’t like Amazon. When I got long covid, I got banned from having books available on pre-order on there for a year. That’s because Amazon’s highest priority is customer experience (read ‘profits’). Authors don’t matter to them. I’ve heard of authors having their accounts deleted, their books taken down (before I left Twitter, more on that below). It doesn’t have authors’ backs.

So I researched bookstores and looked at alternatives. I discovered (I’m Australian so neither of these is really a thing here) that Barnes & Noble have a reader subscription service (Nook) and Kobo has Kobo Plus, and unlike Kindle Select (KU), neither of those subscription services is exclusive. So you can have your ebook on Nook, and Kobo Plus AND in libraries.

And there are so many other (non-exclusive) ebook subscription services online (Scribed & Hoopla for example). Sure, these services don’t make your book as visible as Kindle Unlimited, but they have less books for yours to get lost competing among, so I figured why not?

Cover of fantasy book Manipulator's War, purchase icons for ebook: Kindle, Apple, Nook, Kobo, Booktopia, Scribd, Vivlio, Smashwords, Indigo, S24, Thalia, Bucher De, Angus & Robertson.Paperback purchase icons: Barnes & noble, Waterstones, Booktopia, Angus & Robertson, Bucher De.

The above isn’t all the digital stores my first book is on, its just the main ones. If I was in Kindle Unlimited, you’d only see the first two ebook icons. That’s quite a few stores of difference.

Eggs in One Basket

I also don’t like a ‘put all your eggs in one basket approach’. Not just in terms of one basket, but also an American and far from global basket. Of the icons above, the blue icon is a French store. 24S is a Spanish owned subscription service. Thalia and Bucher De are German, and the green Rakuten Kobo is Booktopia, Australia’s biggest online bookstore. Not everyone will choose to buy from an American company when they can support stores in their own country and not everyone is fond of Amazon.

But the biggest problem of putting all your eggs in one baskets is it leaves me vulnerable, should the basket break. Which leads me to Twitter.

Goodbye Twitter, Hello Mastodon & Blue Sky

Perhaps a pressing author ethical dilemma for many authors of late has been the demise of Twitter. Twitter’s #WritingCommunity was my first social media home as a writer. Privately I was on Facebook (which I’ve never liked). On Twitter I found a space to network with, befriend, learn from and help my fellow writers. It grew beyond that. When I identified as both queer and neurodiverse, I saw great overlap between the writing community and those communities.

Twitter was a space where I could listen to voices I’d never heard before. Among them were, black people in America, BIPOC the world over, people with chronic illness, mental illness, neurodiverse and gender diverse people. It was a fabulous space for both professional growth as an author and personal growth as a person. Then Musk bought it.

True, algorithms always made your visibility and how easy it was to find friends on your feed variable. But Musk’s take over mostly made me feel more invisible than ever and made a concerted attempt to banish familiar faces from my feed. Familiar faces and good friends started leaving or stopped tweeting. The TERFs, transphobes, Trump supporters, and raging anti-science tribes started sounding louder. Twitter seemed to be competing with Truth Social to become the leading social media hate space.

Time To Go

I thought it would be transphobia and homophobia that drove me off Twitter. I’m the kind of person whose inclined to tell people where they can stick their shitty opinions. And I didn’t want to go on Twitter to be outraged or get angry or to argue. But that wasn’t the final straw.

A tweet about who was profiting from every fifth tweet (now a paid ad tweet) on our feeds stopped me tweeting. Fund the alt right? Fuck that! Sure, you can get an ad filter (which I did -and it helps a lot as someone with ADHD and visual sensory issues). But as Twitter became more like what I imagine Parlour or Truth Social stands for? I didn’t want to be associated with that place or its owner.

Hate Site

Since then and before publishing this blog @GasTheJews was revealed to be an entirely acceptable Twitter handle, when it was reported for hate speech multiple times, and Twitter claimed it wasn’t breaking any of their rules. Because did you know it isn’t hate speech if its in your Twitter handle instead of a tweet?

Text from tweet by Elliot Malin: Account @gasthejews6969 has not broken @X's safety procedures because 'gas the Jews' notably is not 'threatening violence against someone or a group of people' and definitely isn't 'celebrating or praising violence' whatsoeverAnd @ElonMusk wonders why advertisers left.Screenshot of Twitter's reply to a reported account: Hello, After reviewing the availible information, we want to let you know gasthejews6969 hasn't broken our safety policies.

The Kid’s Aren’t Safe

Then came the move (nearly two months after I ceased using my account), which persuaded me to delete it, cutting off multiple friends I don’t see on any other platform. My country’s Esafety Commissioner concluded that Twitter doesn’t have even the most basic child safety measures in place, to prevent not only child abuse but also child sexual abuse from occurring on it, and our Esafety Commissioner fined them accordingly.

Australian's ESafety commission fines Elon Musk's X $610,500 for failing to meet anti-child-abuse standards

Worried its only a matter of time before child abuse material is circulated on Twitter (if it isn’t happening already), and disgusted that every type of marginalised adult AND children don’t matter enough to Twitter (or its reputation) for them to even pretend to be doing anything to ensure user safety on the site, I deleted my account.

The Dilmena

How is Twitter being a hate site a dilemma? People seem to be staying because they personally aren’t attacked or aren’t witnessing marginalised people being attacked. People seem to be making decisions based on their personal user experience. And or indies are reluctant to give up sales from the site, when many of us indies struggle to even pay the costs of our business with our earnings, let alone MAKE any money (my cover art and editing costs are several thousand dollars more than I’ve earned so far as an indie author).

As for me, I had ten thousand followers on Twitter. I’d welcomed newbies, done threads to connect writers. I made lists, and gave extensive feedback on pitch party pitches over two years (and wrote this blog on writing a good one, still my most popular post.) That was my community. I had good friends on that platform who weren’t anywhere else, and dm groups -writer, author, queer and ND support groups that as a group didn’t want to move. Leaving meant losing my community and my platform as a budding indie author.

What’s an Author’s Place?

There was an interesting prompt for October on Mastodon: should writers post about politics or avoid it to avoid controversy? Should we publicly interact as if we are part of the world, or act like Ents, tending our books? Predictably, people who thought politics wasn’t an author’s place were white, cishet, neurotypical, able-bodied authors oblivious to their own privilege. They didn’t seem to notice that for others, eg. First Nations, Black, Asian, Queer, Neurodiverse, Chronically Ill, or Disabled people -existing IS political. (I’ll be blogging about writing diverse casts in Jan 2024 ????).

To me, a nonbinary, a-romantic, asexual, neurodiverse, chronically ill white person living in a cishet, ableist world, ‘should writers speak publicly about politics’ translates as, ‘should writers shut up and put up?’ My answer is ‘no and did I mention fuck no?’ I agree with writers who said they are part of this world, impacted by it and am writing my identities into a world that barely knows we exist and or doesn’t understand and or accept us.

My Place

As part of this world, how could I tacitly support for example, the idea that @GasTheJews as a Twitter handle is acceptable, by retaining my Twitter account or using the platform? If you think I’m going too far in saying that not deleting your account is publicly signalling support of Musk and all he and his bootlickers stand for, I’d refer you to Mene Wyatt, who said, “Silence is violence. Complacency is complicit.” (Source, a powerful monalog on the Australian Aboriginal experience, worth watching).

I’d also point to the blog one of a nazis who greeted Posie Parker (a UK TERF) on the step’s of my state’s parliament house with a nazi salute. In his blog, he referred to most people as ‘normies’ and presumed he and his neo-nazis were acting on behalf of ‘normies’. People like him can’t claim shit like that if you publicly signal that you DON’T support them and they DON’T speak for you.

So I see removing all association with Twitter as a way of making my disapproval of Musk and everyone and their hatreds he shelters and promotes undeniably clear. Do I value that over money and even friendships? Yes.

Mastodon

So where does a writer, author, and a queer, neurodiverse person seeking all of those communities go? Mastodon had the greatest appeal. It’s similar in terms of functionality. The main difference is the whole platform isn’t the plaything of a single dick who can screw it up any which way every time he throws a temper tantrum. Or persecute minority groups wholesale because he’s angry at one individual in his personal life, who happens to be marginalised in a particular way.

Each Mastodon instance has a different admin. Hashtags can display toots on hashtag feeds that bridge instances (#WordWeavers and #WritersCoffeeClub being my favourites). And the Fediverse has toots from every instance your instance hasn’t blocked. This means Mastodon can’t be destroyed by a single white man who scores zero points on the diversity scale and doesn’t give a shit about marginalised people. I also like that there’s no advertising or algorithms, just humans interacting, as opposed to glaring ethical concerns.

Blue Sky

The issue with your single greatest social platform turning to shite is that the communities and contacts you’ve made there aren’t all migrating to the same place. They’re scattering to the winds. Spoutible and Post as well as Mastodon and Blue Sky and I don’t know where else. But writers in the DM groups I was in (DMs being about the only reliable space on Twitter to talk to people I knew at this stage) seemed keen on Blue Sky. Created by the man who created Twitter, also without algorithms or paid ads (yet) and most importantly, not controlled by Musk or Zukerburg or other bastards, as ethics would define them. (For more about Blue Sky, see my Blue Sky Newby Guide.)

The above is how I traded my largest social media account of 10,600 followers to 100 (and slowly counting) on Mastodon and 500 (also climbing) on Blue Sky. Not a decision you make to get publicity for yourself or your books. Not a smart financial decision, at this time. But why stay on a poisoned, sinking ship where decent people are leaving (or hiding in dms), when I could build a small community on platforms far better aligned with my values? Not to mention where people like me can interact publicly and safely, without constantly blocking those who hate us for not being cishet/ neurotypical/ able bodied or in other people’s cases: white?

Goodbye Facebook Page!

Before Musk blew up Twitter, Zukerberg was the bad name in social media. I cracked it at Facebook, (at the height of the Pandemic in 2020) when without warning they blocked Australian community groups (including emergency service warnings that literally save lives), without warning. (We passed some law, I think around journalism, that pissed Facebook off). So I closed the writer Facebook groups I’d made (I’d liked having publicly discoverable groups for writers) and moved them to Discord (all four are described here.)

Facebook rebranded as Meta, but I’d never liked the platform (I find it primitive now, especially the limited functionality and clunkiness of Facebook Groups compared to Discord) and I hated it for its lack of ethics. Yet all the indie author advice seems to recommend that if you want to minimise time wasted on social media and make more time to actually write books; at least have a Facebook Page. In fact, you can’t run ads on Facebook (or Instagram) without one. So de-activating yours is directly a financial and business decision.

But I deactivated mine. I hate the platform. It doesn’t have a great demographic for my books anyway (that demographic being educated, lefty/ liberal minded, teen to forty-ish or young at heart allies or queer folk -Mastodon/ Blue Sky seem most likely for them). I could still advertise on Amazon (yeah, that doesn’t appeal either -again, ethics, eggs, one basket- no thank you.) But having just a Facebook Profile (for over 50’s in my family and the few Gen Y people who actually post there) and inviting anyone wanting to follow me as an author also keeps my writing Facebook private from students. And technically I’m still on ‘the world’s biggest social media’. It’ll do.

Can You Be Ethical & Still Make Money Writing?

Now I’ve abandoned my biggest social media platform, deactivated my Facebook Page and not put my books in the easiest place for the biggest number of readers to find, read and review them, how do I make money as an author?

You may sell the occasional book directly via social media, but I’ve been watching this for over a year. It seems you either push hard with ‘buy my book posts’ that I feel must annoy people, or you sell to friends via conversations, small scale. Its seemed to me for quite some time (and yes, the authority on making money as an Indie Author, the Facebook Group 20BooksTo50K agrees), that you make money selling books by spending money, mostly on advertising, though in-person events like conferences can be great too.

There is one big advertising option I’ll consider ethically: Bookbub. Their features cost hundreds, but are well worth it. You have to apply and they’re hard to get. But like Facebook and Amazon, they also have ordinary paid ads, which I plan to start experimenting with. And their adds reach readers who purchase from many stores, in many countries, which I also like.

What About Community?

Having left the platform my online communities were on, I’m rebuilding, a little on prompt hashtags on Mastodon, a lot on Blue Sky and on my Discord servers. I’ve just created a Discord for Queer, and or Neurodiverse, and or Chronically Ill and otherwise Disabled Writers, which is getting as much interest on Blue Sky as my writing, and indie authoring Discords once got on Twitter. (More about my discords for writers here). I’m making new friends, staying in touch with the few old ones still on platforms I use, and rebuilding my writerly, queer and disability communities.

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Related Reading

Getting started on Blue Sky Guide

Why I Chose to Self Publish

Writing Diverse Characters (coming Jan 2024)

Becoming an Indie Author (practical advice from ground zero)

Becoming an Indie Author part 2 (Book Launch)

Text: Manipulator's War (book cover)
Image: red glyphs outline a stone archway, through which fire arrows rain down on torch-lit battlements atop a castle, at night time. Spears in the foreground indicate an advancing invading army.Text: Secrets of the Sorcery War (book cover)
Blue glyphs in a stone arch frame a pair of tall cliffs, a ship sailing on bright blue water through the gap, into the sunshine of a natural harbour.Rebellion is Due Cover: portrait of young Urmilian, his hair braided back, eyes outlined with kohl, wearing fitted bronze armour, a bronze disc kilt, holding a helmet in their left hand and leaning on a spear with his right, a quiver of arrows at their hip.

Social Media For Writers

Social media is an ideal space to think about how you present and to begin interacting publicly as a writer. Twitter and Instagram have thriving Writing Communities, where you can find your tribe. A Facebook page (or Instagram) are great spaces to share your writing life and books with personal contacts. Any of these plus Pinterest, Youtube and others are potential spaces to reach readers and promote your published works. And Tik Tok? If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll know writers are selling books over there. So which social media is most appropriate to you as a writer, which account is best to start with and how do you get started on your writer social media?

Social Media Introductions

Twitter

Twitter used to be a great starting point, because of its #WritingCommunity. The pandemic hit it hard and Musk virtually destroyed what was left. The final tweets I saw before deleting my account were people asking if the community still existed, because algorithms and Musk’s garbage were hiding most people they knew. I don’t recommend it now, as much for moral and ethical reasons as site dysfunction and the disintegration of the writing community. On the odd chance it gets sold, gutted and refurbished, I won’t delete the Getting Started on Twitter section at the bottom of this blog.

Twitter Alternative: Mastodon

This is a different category of social media, because it isn’t algorithm based. You can go offline as long as you like, and it won’t change your visibility or content on your feed, unlike Twitter and Instagram. Unlike them and Facebook pages, you can’t even see how many impressions your toots get. Best of all, its crowdfunded, so it isn’t littered with promoted posts. Its decentralised, so you join a server and can view toots on its feed, or on the fediverse, which is every server linked to the one you joined.

It’s tricker to be seen there, as algorithms don’t boost you hours after you toot. But boosts (re-toots) share your toots on both the feeds of anyone following people who boost you, and on the fediverse. As a nonbinary, neurodiverse person, I can also report that its a friendly space to diverse people generally, especially in terms of accessibility. If you’d like to find out more about interacting on Mastodon, this post has some good advice.

I also recommend checking out the daily #WritersCoffeeClub, #WorldWeavers and #PennedPossibilities prompts, posting and interacting on them. These prompts are a great bridge, connecting writers across Mastodon instances (servers). You’ll also find many prompt hashtags, such as #Vss365, #VssPoem #Mpotd, #MicroFiction etc, with daily prompts to stimulate your short or poetry toots.

Twitter Alternative: Blue Sky (my new home)

This seems to be where the #WritingCommunity from Twitter is regrouping. Its basically Twitter, looks the same same, is gradually getting the same functions (though its still in beta so has far less functions currently). But it doesn’t have sponsored ads, or an algorithm, or transphobes or rage tweeting or… its got alt text and feeds filtered by topic (and keywords on posts.) Its a friendly, inclusive space and I’ve a written a separate blog about getting started on it.

Instagram

If you have a personal Instagram account and feel at home there, its #WritingCommunity are also welcoming. A good way to introduce yourself there is on hashtags like #MeetTheWriter and #FindMyWritingCommunity. (Include a photo of yourself for increased engagement). Instagram also has #Bookstagram and is a great place to promote your books to readers. With Twitter under new management, its writing community is also taking on Twitter refugees. For more see below, Getting Started on Social Media, Instagram.

Who can you reach there? Hootsuite’s 2022 research found Insta still more popular than Tik Tok for Gen Z, and most popular with Gen Z and millenials (18-34). If your books are likely to appeal to these age groups, but Instagram is outside your comfort zone, I’d leave it for now, but plan to set up a writer/ author account there eventually.

Facebook Page

I say ‘Facebook page’ as opposed to ‘account’ or ‘profile’, because if you want to use the word ‘author’ or ‘writer’ in your name, Facebook considers you a public figure and requires you to have a page. If you create a profile as (whoever) Author, you will have your account suspended, and probably deleted for ‘posing as someone else.’

Research on Facebook’s demographics by Hootsuite says its most popular with men and women aged 35-44 (younger than I anticipated from personal experience). If you’re active on and comfortable with Facebook, a Facebook Page (or group created by your page) is a good place to start book promotion. Alternately, you can use your personal Facebook account , if you just call yourself first name, last name. For advice on choosing between using your profile or creating a page, see Facebook for Authors by Jane Friedman.

Pinterest

Pinterest differs from the above three media in a few key ways. Pinterest’s algorithms work differently, with the pins which appear on people’s feeds being determined by the topics each Pinterest user selects, as opposed to pins created or pinned by people they follow. On Pinterest, users are also more likely to use the search function to find particular types of pins, so who sees your pins isn’t limited by how small your following is. It doesn’t even require you to be active on Pinterest, or to make algorithms happy for your pins to be seen.

Pinterest Boards You can pin (create your own copy of, collect and organise) other people’s pins by pinning them to your own boards, using them to attract followers with similar interests. You can click and drag your boards, to position them in the order you want visitors to your profile to see them. You can also select the edit icon (on the bottom right corner of any board) to select (and position) which pin it displays as its cover. I have the boards I’ve saved my blog pins to across the top, where they’re most prominent, and inspirational image boards (for my writing and drawing) underneath.

If you’d like to create pins for your blog or site pages to embed on your WordPress (so visitors can pin them from there), here’s a Pinterest tool which makes that easy. To learn about who you can reach on Pinterest and how often, here’s Hootsuite’s Pinterest statistics.

Tik Tok

I’ve seen a few posts in an author Facebook group (20Booksto50k -great for learning about marketing), noting an increase in their book sales which appears to correlate with an increase of their book promotion and impressions on Tik Tok. An advantage of Tik Tok is that hashtags are a big factor in how your posts are seen, so if you choose the right hashtags and use popular sounds, you can potentially be seen by far more people than your followers.

Another advantage is that when you start typing hashtags on TikTok, it will tell you how many people post on that hashtag, assisting your visibility by hashtag within the app.

Lastly, Tik Tok’s like of people being themselves, not the polished, scripted versions of themselves you may see on more formal youtube channels, makes it friendlier to the budding writer who isn’t a budding actor. And if you don’t like showing your face on social media, #BookTok is fond of book trailers, and related videos, so videos of you aren’t necessary. If you’re scared of Tik Tok altogether, according to Hootsuite, 70-80% of its audience also uses Facebook, Instagram or Youtube.

Hootsuite reports that 40% of Tik Tok users prefer it as a search engine over Google and Instagram, and that while still very popular with teens, in 2022, 31% of its users were aged 24-35 and its still growing in popularity with all ages and many walks of life.

Youtube

This may not be technically social media, but Youtube is competing with Facebook’s levels of active monthly users in the US and Hootsuite has lots of encouraging statistics about audiences reachable on it. A few writer friends with established channels have recommended youtube. If you have an interest in film, acting or audio narration, or if your day job involves public speaking, this may be a natural platform to establish yourself as an author.


An advantage of Youtube is that it basically functions as the Google of videos, with users regularly searching it for content, so again this is a space that doesn’t depend on a large following or interactions on the platform nudging algorithms to display your posts to more users. If it isn’t in your comfort zone, again I’d get started where you feel more comfortable.

Getting Started On Social Media

Man's hands holding tablet displaying social media icons.
Photo by NordWood Themes

Whichever social media you start with, find and follow some writers, and if you like, people who share similar interests to you. Spend some time looking at what content they post, how they interact and getting a feel for that space and which content could resonate with potential followers and readers there.

When you start your second social media account, post asking other writers if they are on it and begin your platform by connecting with and learning from writers you already know on the new platform. I see periodic tweets about this for anything you could follow authors on, and this was my entry point into Pinterest. I also met writers to share Instagram and Tik Tok content ideas with on Twitter.

Social Media Names and Profile Photos

I’ve read that your name is your brand —not your book title— so my name on all my social media profiles is @ElisesWritings. My first and last name are also the dot com name and header of my site. My social media profile photo and the most prominent head shot on my site are the same.

Consistency across all these spaces lets you build your brand —you— so when choosing a user name, think of something appropriate across every social media you plan to use (including Discord). I’ve seen some writers develop logos as profile photos, but I find logos easy to forget, while faces are memorable, so I prefer self portrait profile photos.

What Should I Post? Getting Started on Instagram, Pinterest & Facebook

(for Twitter see below)

Marketing 101 —don’t only post book adds! Your account will look like spam and you’ll put people off following you. Vary your content. A ratio a few authors like to use is 80% give, 20% ask. That could be 80% entertaining posts —quotes, photos, jokes, discussion questions related thematically or by genre to your writing. It could be personal interest or update posts and some work-in-progress posts. Then 20% ‘sign up to my newsletter’, ‘here’s my latest review,’ ‘please vote for my cover,’ or ‘my book is currently on pre-order/ discounted’ posts.

On Instagram

Yes, if you’re time-pressed and mostly write tweets, you can just share them on Insta. But Insta is a visually focused space. My favourite posts to view and read are ones with thoughtfully selected quality photos or images, which compliment a thoughtful personal update, or someone’s reflection on life or writing.

Insta is a great place to share mood boards for your works in progress, character art or sketches. Posting a good photo of yourself can signal a personal update or a reflection on your writing post. You might also like to post photos of and write about some of your other interests —especially if they tie in to your books— and make those connections clear to your followers.

Whatever content you choose, Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags to boost your post’s visibility. It has multiple equivalents of #WritingCommunity hashtags and many hashtags for posting about books. Here’s a list of around 70 writer and bookish tags to get you started.

#Bookstagram is full of book covers artfully arranged with props, coloured fabric backing, glitter ect. So if you’re posting book reviews or adds on Insta —be creative. Make your cover the focus of a visually pleasing scene, or explore short animated video add options.

If you want to share quotes or questions, I suggest getting on canva and designing an Insta post image with a coloured (or photo) background and a nice font. Using the same font on all Insta posts helps them become recognisable by it, as well as looking good.

Marion Blackwood's 3 Storm book covers, candles and a sword on a wooden chopping board.
An Insta book promo post by Marion Blackwood of her Storm Series.

No, you don’t have to do the above

Yes, people will follow you if you just take photos of your cat or not-very-visually-pleasing photos of your device with your work in progress on its screen and write comments about those. But if you want to gain (and retain) followers, and to attract potential readers to your account, I suggest making full use of the space by creating visually pleasing and interesting content and taking book add inspiration from #Bookstagram.

How Often Should I Post?

Until I hit around 500 followers, I routinely got unfollowed by multiple people if I didn’t post for a week or 2. You’ll gain the most followers posting daily —and may keep them if you post popular content like motivational quotes, but you’ll attract a lot of people follow for follow-backs unfollowing you too. For me, posting every second or third day was the best balance to gain the kind of followers who stick around and not be unfollowed for not posting.

Following & Bots on Insta

There are quite a few bot accounts on Insta —particularly those of single men following women— and some bots which write generic comments on your posts. The bots’ aim seems to be the same as that of people who follow you, wait till you follow back, then unfollow you —to gain followers (or ‘dm me to promote your books -for a fee). Its annoying. The best safeguard against it is setting your account to private, so bots can’t bother you. (Yes I’ve done this, and yes I get requests from people wanting to follow me, even though they can’t see my posts —my bio alone seems to be enough).

You can get apps to track follows and unfollows, but there’s a LOT of Insta following apps, so I’d choose one carefully. (I don’t use an app, ignore bots and follow back carefully, screening my followers by taking the steps in When Following Back on Twitter and Instagram below.)

Promoting a Blog On Instagram

The provider of my social media share button (Social Warfare) doesn’t include an Instagram share button. Their research shows over 80% of Instagram users stay on Instagram and don’t want to visit other sites advertised there. However, having found great quality photos on unsplash to illustrate and promote my blog posts with, I post those on Instagram. I write a blurb relating to my personal experience of the blog topic and I include a discussion question for people to reply to. Then I paste the text of the link (which people have to copy and paste into their browser, as Instagram posts don’t do hyperlinks).

Generally my Insta posts about my blog get more likes than elsewhere. So if you have a blog to promote and you join the Writing Community on Insta, I encourage you to experiment with posting about it.

For more advice on creating an appealing look and on what to post, see:

Instagram for Authors: Building a Platform and Selling your books by Catarina Pinto.

Writer’s Guide to Instagram: Tips from Top Bookstagrammers & Authors by Francis Bogan.

For tips and Free Webinars, see Instagram Best Practices for Beginners by Mary DeMuth.

On Facebook

Because Facebook allows link sharing, your Facebook page is a good place to share interesting articles of topical or thematic relevance to your books. Most commonly, I’ve seen writers posting updates about their latest work in progress, favourite quotes (of other writers and of their own works), character art, cover reveals, reviews of their books and some book advertising, interspersed between personal posts about holidays etc.

There’s plenty of room for Facebook Page and Insta content to overlap, and I tend to post the same poetry (sometimes with different travel photos to illustrate) on My Facebook Page as on my Insta. I post occasional work in progress updates on both, but tend to go into more detail on Insta, where I have more writer followers interested in detail about writing than the personal contacts following my Facebook Page.

For a thorough introduction on setting up each part of your FB Page, what to post and interacting as your page, see Epic Facebook Author Pages: Everything You Need to Know.

On Pinterest

I recommend using canva.com to create full pin size images for Pinterest (as I did in my pins), and to add text to pins (if applicable). Hashtags are also used on Pinterest. I tend to choose 5 on my pins, and to search terms I think would be popular tags in the Pinterest search bar to help me choose them. Some popular Twitter or Instagram tags aren’t used at all on Pinterest, so its worth checking your choice of tag has a chance of boosting your pin impressions and isn’t just taking up space in your pin description.

As Pinterest is also very visual, you may like to use the same images to create pins as mentioned for posts above on Instagram. If you’re looking for photos on Pinterest to inspire your character or setting descriptions (something I plan to do), you may like to save these as public boards, as they may also draw interest to your account.

When creating pins for blog pages (if you have one), you may like to use photos from unsplash.com (as I did with the pin on the right). I’ve also made pins of my sketches of Lord of The Rings characters, because I write fantasy and some people interested in those drawings may also be interested in my books. As with Insta, thinking of photos or images from other interests which relate to your books may give you content ideas.

For more ideas on how to use Pinterest, see Pinterest for Beginners by Jane Friedman.

Also, Pinterest for Authors: the Formula for Great Pinterest Boards by Penny C Sansevieri.


Following Back on Social Media

You might feel great gaining your first followers, and be tempted to follow them all right back. Don’t. Most writers following you in #WritingCommunity’s are probably fine (but don’t assume so). I only blocked 4 jerks on Twitter in my first 2 years -so I didn’t unwittingly follow them- but its always a good idea to screen accounts before following back, in case they happen to be a troll, a jerk or to post content you dislike. So before following back, check the account:

-has a bio and has posted (writing a comment and using hashtags on Insta, not just posted a photo) -so you don’t follow a (primitive) bot account.

-look at posts and see if you want that person’s content on your feed.

-check if the account is only following a few hundred but followed by thousands -they’re an influencer who’s likely to unfollow you after you follow back.

Also be aware that while some writers will always follow back fellow writers, others may follow or follow back through interaction only (in my case when replying to people’s posts).

Further General Social Media Reading

Social Media Tips by Marc Guberti is aimed at businesses generally, but has some useful tips for writers.

Why You Should Join All Social Media Networks, yet not be active on all, by Jan Friedman.

Would you like to discuss author socials, newsletters and other aspects of author platform with fellow authors?
My Strictly Authoring Discord Server is dedicated to this. Let me know you’d like to join it by replying to my posts on Blue Sky on Mastodon, or via my contact page.

Related Reading

Prioritising Writer Social Media

Becoming an Indie Author advice part 1

Becoming an Indie Author 2: Book Launch

Author Newsletters: the Basics

Author Website Set Up Tips

Getting Started On Twitter

Computer with Twitter bird on screen.
Photo by MORAN

Twitter Bio

Some writers are partial to following writers of the same genre. The easiest way to let us know what type of writer you are is to state your genre/ text type and audience age in your bio. If you have a website, you may like to put a link in your bio to make it accessible through your @ (and by extension through your tweets) instead of just on your profile page. Beyond that, try to inject some personality into your bio, as well as telling us about your interests, so your bio gives us a sense of who we’re potentially following.

First Tweet

Introduce yourself to the #WritingCommunity. Tell us who you are, what you write, that you’re new and anything else you like. I suggest asking other writers a question to encourage people to interact with you too. My first tweet said who I was, who I’d like to meet and had a question for the #WritingCommunity (I forget exactly and it no longer exists because I deleted my account).

It got a tone of likes, tens of replies and perhaps several hundred followers. One of them is still a friend now, four years on. I can’t promise you the same response, but it’s a great way to ‘meet’ people. (I don’t recommend #MyFirstTweet -you get some weird/ random responses).

Before You Tweet

You might like to ask; why am I on Twitter? I assume many of us hope to sell our books, but do you want writer friends/ colleagues to share the journey and seek help and advice from along the way? If so -will you tweet as a companion in the writing/ revising/ querying trenches?

Will you tweet writing motivation and encouragement, or humour or tips and advice? If you want to connect with readers, will you tweet discussion questions related to themes in your writing, your interests or share links to topically relevant articles? And what and how much would you like to say about yourself, your life and your opinions on your writer/ writing focused twitter account?

Before You Retweet

You may consider, am I going to retweet everything of interest to me, or just things topically/ thematically/ genre or generally related to my writing and or topics I feel strongly about? Will I retweet things which are helpful, useful, encouraging or entertaining to my followers? Will I retweet to help the writer whose tweet I’m retweeting?

It’s also worth considering how often you retweet. Retweeting anything which interests you many times a day may make your account look like a bot, and put people off following you.

What Should I Tweet?

Tweets with images tend to get more impressions, but writing or reader related quotes, jokes and clever or just well-timed comment tweets about writing, reading or life can get lots of interaction. Asking a few questions to get to know your followers and encourage people to interact with you is also a good way to start.

Don’t forget, social media isn’t just about producing organic content. On Twitter or Instagram -reply to and interact with others- especially if you’re looking to find your #WritingCommunity on either. Even if you’re not -reply to people who reply to your content, to connect with your audience.

Promoting a Blog or Book On Twitter

Include a blurb. Don’t just tweet a link. No-one will click it if you don’t give us reason to. And don’t just write, “My book is out on Amazon now!” Sell it to us, with a pitch.

Example: “George thought he had problems. He’d lost his job and the house might be next. Then his city vanished, taking everyone he knew with it. If he can’t work with out-of-towners to find his city and bring it back: he’ll truly lose everything. #BookBoost #SpecFic #BookPromo.” (Yes, these are actual Twitter promo hashtags.)

How Do I Get Tweets Seen or Interacted With?

Short answer -use hashtags. By algorithms no-one I’ve spoken to can fully explain, hashtags help your tweets get onto people’s feeds, but they can do more. Specific, relevant hashtags can act as subheadings and incline people to read and interact with your tweets. Savy Twitter users may also find and interact with your tweets by searching hashtags. For a list of hashtags to connect with writers and find tips, help and prompts on, see this post.

Tips for Getting Tweet Impressions & Interactions

1. Be Concise

My two line tweets often get the most impressions, whereas 3-4 lines often get the least.

2. Tweet Some Questions

Few of us have the gift of being able to write statement tweets which go viral, so ask some questions most writers/ readers can answer (unless you’re seeking specific information). This encourages people to interact and is a good way to get to know your followers. The odd poll can help too, especially if your question is thoughtful or a research question.

3. Use 1-3 RELEVANT Hashtags

Lots of hashtags hurts eyes and puts people off reading tweets. No hashtags means we don’t know what the tweet is about. Using vaguely relevant hashtags clutters that hashtag’s feed with tweets writers searching that tag for information or tweets to interact with may find irrelevant and or annoying. So stick to 1-3 relevant tags. Here’s a list of popular, categorised tags to choose from. Using a popular, umbrella hashtag like #WritersOfTwitter/ #AuthorsOfTwitter will also boost impressions.

4. Interact

Don’t just ❤️ others tweets -some of us only look in ‘Mentions’ and only notice replies -so reply. Help when you can. Answer questions. Play tag games or respond to prompts (these are listed in my Hashtag Guide.) Reply to familiar faces on your feed and log in at a regular(ish) time of day. Doing this increases your chances of seeing and being able to interact with the same writers, and their chances to interact with you, making it easier to get to know people.

What do the Community Acronyms Mean?

WIP= work in progress

CP= critique partner

POV= point of view

Antag= antagonist villain/opposing force

Protag= protagonist

MC =main character

MS= manuscript

PB= Picture book or paperback

MG =Middle Grade

NA used to mean New Adult -which no longer a marketing category (aside from Romance/ indie books), but some people use it because they don’t know about YA Crossover (the new traditional publishing thing).

YA = Young Adult

SFF =Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction

LI =love interest (courtesy of @Davina06496120).

What do these Query Related Terms Mean?

QT =Query Tracker, for keeping track of literary agents you’ve queried (courtesy of @KLSmall_Author).

Synopsis: means ‘book summary’ -including the ending- generally 500 words for literary agencies. But some agency websites call a query letter pitch (which is ideally around 300 words, ending with an impossible choice the MC must make or point of tension after main conflict and stakes are revealed -but not the ending) as… a synopsis.

‘Short synopsis’ tends to mean ‘query letter pitch.’ ‘Long synopsis’ tends to mean book summary. Unfortunately, ‘synopsis’ can mean either. (Unsure? I’d ask others how they interpret that agency’s guidelines, or email the agency to clarify).

A Blurb is NOT a pitch

Blurb =back of the cover description, which can say anything to entice a reader to read the pages.

A Pitch must include: MC intro, MC role in conflict, MC personal stakes, (MC impossible choice) and anything unique about those. It can include other interesting things, eg lists of crazy situations MC must overcome to resolve conflict, but omitting or not making any of the 3 clear is likely to see your query letter rejected, or your tweet pitch ignored (rejection/ no industry likes having many other causes too).

Staying Connected On Twitter

Managing Notifications: Untagging, Muting & Seeing Replies

Replying to @____ and 48 others
Tweet your reply

Once you’ve met people, don’t be that person who notifies 50 people when talking to the one person who tagged them. When you hit ‘reply’, check if above it says ‘replying to @___ and 48 others’. (Like it does on the right).

Select the ‘and’ before ’48 others’ then untick the ‘others in this conversation’ option from the menu, to reply to the one person who tagged you.

Or re-tick/ re-tag the 3/50 people below you’re speaking to (below ‘others in this conversation). If the blue box is ticked -like above- you’re about to notify (in this case) 48 people of your reply. It’s much easier to stay connected if our notifications aren’t bursting with replies of people not speaking to us.
If others don’t do this for you, hit the top right 3 dots on any tweet in the thread clogging your notifications, then select ‘
mute conversation‘ from the menu.

This means you won’t get notified when someone replies to your tweet in that thread. To see those replies, go to your profile, select ‘Tweets and Replies’. Then scroll down the ‘tweet and reply’ feed to your reply in the tag thread. Selecting your reply will display replies to you.

Staying In Touch: Twitter Lists

The easiest way to remember who you’ve met and something about them (eg. genre, where they live in the world, etc) is to add them to a twitter list by a category of your choosing (using the left menu in your profile page). This will store people’s twitter handles for you and create a list feed which only displays list members tweets (which is how I find my friends tweets out of tweets by the 4k writers I follow.)

Staying in Touch: DM Groups

If you want to talk regularly, or easily ask questions in a private group, or find out what friends are saying without sifting through public Twitter feeds, you can make or be added to a group DM. That’s when someone starts a new Direct Message, but after pasting one person’s twitter handle into ‘search people’, and selecting that account from the drop down menu, you paste another twitter handle in, and continue adding up to 75 people (soon to be 100 under new management). Then select ‘Next’ -top right- then type your message. See below for DM etiquette.

NB: twitter etiquette is to speak via public tweet and agree to DM people, not to jump straight into people’s DMs. So if you’re creating a DM group, I’d tweet publicly asking who’d like to be added.

Shortcut: scan your feed for writers offering to add you to their DM groups (which is what many of my friends did with mine ?).

I hope this helps you get started.
To navigate Twitter’s #WritingCommunity and find out which hashtags to use in your tweets, see my Hashtag Guide. If you’d like a more detailed Twitter introduction (including Twitter etiquette), see Emma Lombard’s comprehensive Twitter Tips for Newbies.

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Twitter Pitch Parties & Pitch Tips

Twitte Pitch Parties + Mentoring Programs

I will no longer state how many pitch parties are on Twitter or have moved elsewhere, because as Twitter falls apart the number is constantly changing. In this post I’ll try to include updates on pitch parties current locations, links to their current websites and note when parties have been discontinued. I’ll give detailed advice on effective pitch and party preparation and on making the most of #WritingCommunity support. (Hint, RTs are the beginning -not the end!).

But First… Is your book Ready to Query?

Have you edited your MS for every aspect of character, conflict, story tension etc you’ve read up on? Have you received constructive feedback from critical readers focused on making the book a better reading experience? Did you edit again and possibly get a second (and third round) of critical readers? (Especially if you’re a fellow pantser ?). Is your query letter up to scratch? Have you researched its contents, how to ‘sell’ the book to literary agents or acquiring editors in your pitch, and received critical feedback?
If not, see this post to kick your query letter into shape!

Which Pitch Party is for Me?

#IWSGpit Most fiction. January 25, 8am-8pm EST, 2024 TBC. IWSG

#KidLitPit Children’s books from PB to YA. January 26th 11.59pm in your time zone (all/ any), 2024 TBC. Website

#SFFPit Fantasy, Sci-fi, Speculative Fiction. August, 8am-6pm EST (Not yet scheduled for 2023. Its unclear if it will continue).

Savvy Authors Pitchfest begins 9am Feb, June & Oct 2024 TBC. This event is by registration on their Savy Authors Site.

#PBPitch -Picture Books- February 16th 2023, June 15th & October 26th, 8am-8pm EST, 2024 TBC. PBPitch Website.

#PBParty Picture Books. March 1, midnight to 1am EST OR 6pm -8pm EST via Google Form. 2024 TBC. PBParty Website.

#WMPitch -Picture Books through to YA- April, 8am-8pm British Time Cancelled? Website no longer exists.

#MoodPitch Fiction, all audience age ranges and genres. November 2023 cancelled. The organisers are hoping to deliver an April 2024 party, but are currently unsure on which platform. Moodpitch website.

#Smoochpit Romance. This is pitching to a mentorship program, not literary agents. 8am-9pm EST May 12th 2024, TBC. Website

#SWANAPit writers from South West Asia & North Africa (countries listed on website). May? Cancelled? Website no longer exists and Twitter account inactive since 2022.

#APIpit Asian and Pasifika Writers, May 5th 8am-8pm 2022. No 2023 dates. Cancelled? Website not updated since 2022. APIPit Website.

#Pitmad Most fiction & non-fiction. (2022 TBC): March, June, September, & December, 8am-8pm EST. Pitmad Website Pitmad is discontinued as of 16/02/2022.

#LGBTNPit Authors in the Queer Community, special focus on trans & non-binary authors. April 14th 2022, 8am-8pm. LGBTNPit Website. Discontinued as of May 2022.

#CanLitPit for Canadian authors. Cancelled 2023. The organiser aspires to move to a new platform in 2024 and has left Twitter. CanLitPit Website.

#PitchDis for authors with a disability & neurodivergent authors. Post-poned till 2024. PitchDis Website.

#DVpit -Marginalised Writers- August children’s and YA, Adult has moved to Discord (announced here, as of May 2023). Discord invites will be delivered via their newsletter. DVpit Website.

#KissPit Romance. 9am-9pm EST, May 6,. Discontinued as of July 2021.

#PitDark Dark Fiction. May 25th & Oct TBC, 8am-8pm EST, 2024 TBC..

#JoyPitch The opposite of Pitdark, for ‘light hearted feel good fiction and non-fiction’ of all categories and age ranges. June 1st, 8am -8pm, 2024 TBC. Joypit website.

#FaithPitch -Christian Fiction- September (2022 TBC). FaithPit. website Discontinued as of March 1st 2022.

#QueerPitch LGBTQIA+ Authors, August 1st, 2024 TBC. Queer Pitch Website.

#LatinxPitch -For Latino Writers of PB-YA Fiction- September, 8am-8pm CDT, 2024 TBC. Latinx Pitch Website.

#PitBLK For black authors, has been postponed to Fall (date tbc, announcement here). PitBLK website.

Indie Book and Author Parties

#ReadGala All authors, genres and categories. Thursday, May 25th & Nov ? 2023. Website

#SelfPitch For upcoming or recently released self-published and indie-published books. 7am-7pm PDT 13/7/23 Adult, 13/7/23 for Kidlit. Website

Preparing For Pitch Parties

1. Read Pitch Crafting Advice & Successful Pitches

If you haven’t taken this step, chances are there’s a lot you don’t know or understand about how to write a successful pitch. If you don’t know where to find tweet pitch advice, mine is here for starters.

Reading as many strong pitch examples as you can also helps. To find them, search the pitch party hashtag and the hashtags you plan to pitch on. The ‘top’ feed may have some great examples, but it also has rather ordinary pitches by people with lots of rts them, so I also suggest skimming ‘latest’ too.
A third source of inspiration and understanding is successful query letter pitches. Here’s a spreadsheet of 600+ successful query letters by genre.

2. Comparison Titles & Formatting

Use comps in your pitches. They can indicate more about tone, setting and themes than you have room to indicate in your pitch. For party pitches, you’re not limited to books published within the last 5 years (unlike query pitches). Film or tv series and older books are ok. Ideally your comps will be recognisable to agents and publishers, and or contrast with each other (e.g. my MG tweet pitch comps were MATILDA X kids INCEPTION).

Alternatively, you could have a notable twist on a comp, e.g. gender-swapped (fairytale/ well-known story) or for example Downton Abbey —with witches. Putting your comps in ALL CAPs at the top of your pitch can help them stand out and encourage industry folks to read and pay proper attention to your pitch.

3. Party Hashtags

Agents and publishers will search genre, audience age and marginalised writer hashtags to find pitches of interest to them. Parties like SFFPit have their own official hashtag lists, which aren’t always the same. So whichever party you’re pitching in, check if it has its own hashtag list and if so, use hashtags from that list, so your pitches are seen by industry professionals. I’ve linked every pitch party I know of’s website above.

As you’re identifying the main relevant hashtags for your pitch, and having already chosen comp titles, now is a good time to type your pitch and hashtags into a post or do a character count to check each pitch with comps and hashtags fits the platform or specified party character limit. If you’re struggling with this, you might want to skip to step 4.

4. Get Feedback on Your Pitches

There are a few options for doing this.

Pitch Feedback Parties

#Mockpit (their website hasn’t been updated since 2021) and #Practpit used to exist, and be practice pitch parties run on a particular hashtag, day and time. I’ve deleted my Twitter account, so I can no longer search the above two hashtags to see if these parties are still running, but you’re welcome to search both stags on Twitter and see if you can find recent tweets on them. If they are still running, they’re a great way to get pitch feedback if you’re new to Twitter and have few contacts, or want additional opinions on pitch revisions.

Asking For Feedback

Alternative to the above, you can tweet/ post on other platforms asking for feedback, or search your pitch party’s hashtag for anyone offering feedback. Or you can or do a search of ‘Discord’ and ‘#AmQuerying’ to look for servers which may have pitch feedback channels. If you’d like to join my Craft & Query Discord Server (which has pitch, query letter, synopsis & beta reader channels), let me know by replying to my posts about it on Blue Sky on Mastodon, or via my contact page.

5. RT or Comment Lists

Tweeting offering to add writers to a twitter list where you can RT or comment on each other’s pitches is a good way to encourage each other and to boost your pitch visibility. With so many people pitching in parties, its also an increasingly popular idea. If you don’t want to make your own Twitter list (which stores handles of people pitching so you can check their feed or pinned tweet), I suggest searching the pitch party hashtag for people offering to put writers on their lists.

6. Join a DM Group

Pitch parties can be lonely, stressful and discouraging affairs on your own. Creating or joining a Group DM on Twitter, or a Discord Server to share pitches for RTs and comments, and to chat, commiserate, celebrate successes and cheer each other on makes Party Day much more enjoyable. It gives you a community, whereas spending time on the party’s hashtag feed on your own may give you the feeling of being a drop in the ocean.

If you’re new to pitch parties or have questions about anything, including agents or publishers who like your pitches, a DM Group gives you a bunch of people to ask directly. And as many people in my DM groups have said: pitch parties are more fun in a DM group!

To find people creating DM groups, search the pitch party hashtag in the Twitter search bar. (Alas, having left Twitter I can no longer offer to add you to the dying pitch group dm that was once a great place I pitched in parties with company in).

The easiest way to share your pitches in a DM is to hit this button

Twitter Pitch Parties & Pitch Tips

on the bottom right of your tweet after you pitch it. Then select ‘Send via Direct Message’ and select the name of the DM group from the menu. On computer, you can also copy the url from your browser, paste it in the DM and hit ‘enter’ to share it in the group.

7. Tweet to Explain Pitch Party Etiquette

It never hurts to tell your followers you’re pitching and that they can support you by boosting your impressions and visibility on hashtag ‘top’ feeds to industry professionals (you may like to include a mood board for your wip in this tweet). Your followers can boost by comments (which are more effective for Twitter algorithms) and RTs (which make your pitch more visible to writers, who can then comment on them). If you don’t have many followers and aren’t getting many comments or RT’s, the other hashtag feed industry professionals can search is ‘latest’, which shows up EVERYONE’s pitch at the time they tweet it.

The other important thing to tweet is the explanation that during a pitch party a ❤️ is how literary agents and indie publishers request submissions, and that non-industry likes cause disappointment, or leave us fighting hope as we sift through tens of ❤️ ‘s wondering if even one is an actual request.

8. Mind Set

2021 March’s #Pitmad saw over 570k tweets on the hashtag (yes this includes LOADS of RTs). Its possible your pitches won’t be seen by industry professionals and its VERY common not to get industry requests. Some agents and publishers made under 20 requests -period not just per genre- in March’s 2021 Pitmad. But if you go in expecting nothing from the industry, and prepare with the goal of improving your pitch craft, making writer friends, and of testing how your pitches are received by fellow writers to learn what works well for future parties and query editing- you’ll be all set for a positive experience.

9. Decide Which Pitch to Tweet First

This is important because your first pitch will get the most impressions, as people who are supporting pitching writers are most likely to retweet and comment during the first hour. So try to identify which pitch sells your character best, makes your conflict and stakes the clearest and most engaging, and ideally also the pitch which has the most voice.
To get maximum retweets and or comments -pitch it in the first 1/2 hour. If you’re not sure how to write a pitch, or don’t know the difference between a pitch, a log line or a blurb (book pitches are different to both and must include certain things to be successful), here’s my post on tweet pitch crafting.

But when do you tweet your other pitches?

Hourly for some parties, but only 2 or 3 pitches max for others. Parties tend to get increasingly quiet after 1pm -especially in the finale hours- so you may wish to tweet all your pitches by as early as 1-3pm. That said, I saw a few agents tweeted that they were beginning to check Pitmad pitches in the last few hours of March 2021’s Pitmad, so if you are online during the party, checking when agents are online is your best way to decide. You’ll sometimes find their ‘I’m checking out (insert party)’ tweets on the party hashtag’s ‘Top’ feed, including agents searching party hashtags the day after the party. If you have particular agents or publishers in mind, you could also check their twitter profiles, as they will normally tweet when they start checking pitches.

9. Schedule Your Pitches on Twitter

Yes, you can use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, but now you can use Twitter to schedule, so everything is in one place. Whether you’re home all day and awake during a party, sleeping because your timezone isn’t compatible with the US east coast, or working -or both- scheduling pitches takes pressure off you during the party. If you’re online, scheduling lets you focus on retweeting and or commenting on others pitches.

To schedule pitches on Twitter

1. Hit ‘tweet’.

2. Type your pitch.

3. Select this button (beside the emoji button).

Twitter schedule log

4. Select your time and date.

Timezones: If you’re not on US EST time, most parties run on it, so check your party’s times above (its often 8am to 8pm but again, not always) and convert them to your timezone! If you’re pitching from Australia or New Zealand, remember it’s often the date after the party because we’re a day ahead!

5. Hit ‘confirm’ (top right).

6. Then you’ll see your pitch again. Hit ‘schedule’ (bottom right).

10. Pin your Pitch

This is so writers you know and kind random strangers can easily find and retweet it -if you’re also retweeting other writers and your feed is cluttered with RTs. I’m hearing a lot about how comments do more for Twitter’s algorithms, so I suggest commenting on pitches if you can and asking others to do so for you. (Bear in mind this only works if they’ve got time and it isn’t midnight or 2am in their timezone -fellow Aussies -and Kiwis- I feel your pain!)

To pin your pitch to the top of your profile, after its tweeted, hit the top right ̇ ̇ ̇ then select ‘pin to your profile.’

11. During the Party

Get in your DM group and or the party’s hashtags to comment on each other’s pitches. When you find pitches of writer friends, associates or pitches you like, reply saying what you like about them. We’re all nervous, so acts of kindness like words of encouragement can really make people’s days. And yes, hopefully you will get some of what you have given -and you will have earned it.

12. After the Party

Celebrate, commiserate -ask how writers how they fared and share anything you learnt or ideas you have for next time with anyone likely to participate again. If you pitch in a future party, try and connect with the writers you’ve met this time and see if you can continue supporting each other in future. This is also a great chance, via DM group, Discord or tweet, to offer to trade query letter and synopsis feedback with querying writers.

Whichever pitch parties you participate in, Good Luck!

If you’d like a concise PDF of most of these steps, you can download it on the right. (Note: this pdf isn’t post death of Twitter updated).

Pitch Parties By Calendar Month

(To see them listed by type as above, select here)

January  #IWSGpit, #KidLitPit & (#AuthorMentorMatch -mentoring).

February #SFFPit???, #PBPitch, Savvy Authors Pitchfest

March #PBParty

April #MoodPitch?, #Revpit (Revision & Editor Mentoring).

May #APIPit???, #Smoochpit, #PitDark

June #JoyPitch, #PitchDIS???, #PBPitch, #CanLitPit???

July  

August #LatinxPitch???

Sept #SFFPit???, #PitBLK???

October #PitDark, #PBPitch. #DVpit?, Savvy Authors Autumn Pitchfest

November #MoodPitch?

Dec

*All party dates on this post are correct as of November 2023.*

MORE Pitch Parties.

My Pitch Crafting Tips

For a list of resource links spanning Query Letters & Synopsis to Finding & Communicating with Literary Agents, see this post.

Writer Mentoring Events

There are three mentoring programs which involve matching writers with mentors, who will provide manuscript editing notes and help writers hone manuscript for submission, #Pitchwars mentors also help with query package edits. For #AuthorMentorMatch and #Pitchwars the mentors are authors, for #Revpit they are editors.

#AuthorMentorMatch, is run by @AuthorMentorMatch in February.

#Revpit is Revision & Editor Mentoring for MG, YA & Adult Fiction, which begins with pitching on Twitter in April. For more details, visit the Revpit Website.

#RogueMentor is a new mentoring program offering mentorships in Northern Hemisphere Summer, Spring and Fall. For more details, visit the Rogue Mentor Website.

#Pitchwars mentors profiles can be viewed and the submission window for writers to submit via email opens in September. For more details visit the . Discontinued in 2022.

Critique. #PassorPages by @OpAwesome6 is for query critiquing. For details on which genres and audience ages you can receive feedback on and when visit their website. Round one is in February, with rounds throughout the year, the last in October.

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#StrictlyWriting Community

Like many writers, one of the things I loved about joining Twitter’s #WritingCommunity was the opportunity to discuss the craft and to learn with other writers. But as I followed more writers, questions about the business of writing virtually vanished from my feed. I created the hashtag #StrictlyWriting to make these things more visible.

#StrictlyWriting‘s goal was to act as a space to ask for writer or wip help, talk nitty gritty of writing craft and reflect on outlining to querying). It was also to tweet advice to help each other on our writing journeys, and share opportunities like workshops and festivals.

The hashtag died before Twitter did, but not before those of us who enjoyed it most relocated to a Discord Server, on which the hashtag’s original focus (in the graphic below) is still a goal.

Text: #StrictlyWriting is for... giving advice, reflecting/ learnings, outlining through to author platform, opportunity sharing (critiques, workshops, conferences, groups).
#StrictlyWriting is also to ask for help with outlining, drafting, editing, critical readers, querying, author platforms and publishing.
To share/ find resources, #StrictlyWritingResources.

Strictly Writing Community -on Discord

Discord began with gamers. It creates private, invite link only groups. Instead of viewing posts via a personal profile, you enter a Server (like an old school forum) with group feeds (channels), organised under Categories. Everyone comments or asks questions on topically relevant channels, so you can go straight to channels whose topics interest you and ignore channels which don’t.

Left Text: Strictly Writing Community
Left image: silver laptop, white hands writing in notebook at coffee table.Right Text: Strictly Authoring
Right image: bird's eye view of a long rectangular table with books for sale across it, buyers on one side, purchasers on the other.

The Strictly Writing Discord Community is a supportive space. It has channels for writing craft discussion and seeking critical readers, query discussion and query package feedback. There’s also a companion server, Strictly Authoring, with channels for discussing self publishing, newsletters, social media, author profiles and book marketing.

Both are open to fiction writers. Most of us on both write novels and or shorts, for audiences of all ages, many being SFF and quite a few queer.

Left Text: AusWrites on yellow square background.Right test: Queer & Or ND & Or Dis Writers on brightly painted rainbow backgrou

There’s also a Discord for Aussie Writers, and one for Queer and or Neurodiverse and or Disabled writers (because why stop at two?) The Queer/ Disabled Writer Server is for discussing life as diverse people, and writing diverse characters.

To join any server, let me know by replying to my posts about them on Blue Sky or Mastodon, or via my contact page.

#StrictlyWritingResources

This tag has also fallen into disuse, but selecting#StrictlyWritingResources shows many great resources relating to craft, querying and more. Feel free to add resources you’ve found helpful or you’ve made on it or to tweet them on #StrictlyWriting.

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Which Other Writer Hashtags Exist? Many.

If you’d like hashtags to connect with specific types of writers, prompts, live chats & tip tags (on Twitter and Instagram), I’ve cataloged many in Writing Community Hashtag Guide.
If you’re interested in questions about wip content (eg. characters, setting etc), and writing, a good tag for this is #WritingQ which is also taking off on Blue Sky (see my Blue Sky Newby Guide to get started there).

If you’re new to writer social media and #WritingCommunity, you’ll find advice on what to post and getting started on multiple in Social Media for Writers.

Writing Community Hashtag Guide

Text: WritingCommunity HashtagsBackground: pale blue

Hashtags boost tweet and post impressions, and on Twitter and Instagram alike, they can help you connect with writers in the #WritingCommunity, and with readers. There are specific hashtags for writing stages, genres, types of writers, promoting books and more. I’ve categorised hashtags by type and purpose to boost your visibility and help you find whatever you’re seeking in Twitter and Instagram’s Writing Community, via hashtag. [Note, this blog has not been updated since 2022, and as I’ve deleted my Twitter account in 2023, I can no longer check which writer chats remain on Twitter. You’ll find the ones that have moved to Blue Sky in my Blue Sky Newby Guide.]

Umbrella Writer Hashtags

First up, to find fellow writers to share the journey, share information, exchange beta reads etc, you need your tweets seen by writers. There are some popular, broad-in-purpose hashtags for this, including those below. Unless you’re posting on a niche topic (eg. steam levels in romance), I’d use at least one of these and a couple of specific hashtags (further down) as well.

Instagram Tags

#WritersCommunityOfInstagram

#WritersOfIg 

#WritersOfInsta 

#WritersSociety

Hashtags To Be Found/ To Find Writers On

Hashtags which say ‘I’m the kind of writer you are/ the writer you like to read’ are more likely to stand out on a Twitter feed and prompt us to read and reply -because they suggest we will relate to your tweet. Hashtags which say ‘I’m feeling your editing/ querying hopes/ agony’ also signal who will relate and invite a response. (If you use a few, well chosen, easy to see tags. For tweeting tips see this post.)
Some hashtags to give these signals with are Writer Type Hashtags, Genre tags and Wip (Work in Progress) Stage tags. I highly recommend the latter -most of the writer’s I’ve made friends and stayed in touch with on twitter are at similar stages of the writing process and tweeting about your wip’s stage on relevant hashtags is a great way to make those connections.

Twitter Tags

Instagram Tags

Writer by Type

#writersfindingwriters

#writersofindia

#poetsofindia

#writersofmirakee

(or search your country/ city -a few have tags).

#writersofcolor

#writersandpoets

Genre/ Text Type Tags

#FantasyAuthor/ writer

(Or your genre)

#amwritingfantasy

(Or your genre).

#Poets ( +variations)

#screenplaywriter

#nonfictionwriter

Writers at Same Stage, with Same Hopes/Woes Tags

Twitter Tags

Instagram Tags

#AmWriting

#AmEditing (You can add your genre too).

#Revising

#AmQuerying #AmPublishing

#WritersBlock

#WriterProblems

#WriterLife

Hashtags to Connect with Writers

Some writers tweet regular prompts to which other writers respond on specific hashtags. Mini writer communities can grow up around these, so if you like a prompt, I recommend viewing its feed (by selecting its hashtag) and interacting with other writers tweeting on it, as well as tweeting your prompt responses on the tag. (It’s not a prompt hashtag, but #StrictlyWriting (mainly on Twitter) has a small community talking about writing craft and the writing process on it, so you may like to search and reply to or tweet on it. For its companion tags & Discord Group, see this post).

Twitter Tags

Instagram Tags

Writer Prompts

#SFFWrite (DM me if you’d like to take over this prompt!)

#WriteStuff      

#SmoreWords     

#Auswrites         

#WriterlyWipChat

#WeaponsOfWriting  

Live Chats

(Courtesy of @AndrewRoberts66)

#5amwritersclub Daily EST

#WritersLifeChat Wed 8pm EST

#WriteChat Wed 10pm EST

#WeekNightWriters Fri 12:00 am UK

#StoryCrafter Sun 3pm EST

On Instagram, you don’t tend to get daily (or weekly) regular prompts. Challenges are more common, and they tend to run for set time periods. To find them, try typing #WriterChallenge in Insta’s search bar, and see which challenge hashtags that turns up. Check dates on posts in your search results to see if the challenge is still running.

NB: for more Insta tags see below Twitter Prompt & Twitter Help tags.

Twitter Shorts/ Poetry Piece Prompts

If you enjoy writing shorts or poetry, you’ll find regular prompts and fellow shorts writers and poets on these tags.  In this case, appreciating (and perhaps sharing via retweet) each other’s writing is a good way to connect. #WritingPrompts is used by a range of writers for a range of prompts, whereas the tags below have a single host tweeting prompt words on them, sometimes daily, sometimes on a particular day.  

Hashtags To Find Tips/ Help On Twitter

Whether you’re writing, revising, editing or querying, there are specific hashtags you can search to find tips and practical help. (In Twitter, selecting or pasting any hashtag in the search bar will display a feed of only tweets on that tag. All tags below are linked to those feeds).

To Tweet for Writer Help you’re welcome to use #StrictlyWriting or, if you’re searching for resources, #StrictlyWritingResources. For asking for help or tweeting to writers generally, #WritingCommunity is the best umbrella tag to use, which I tend to use with topic specific tags like genre or writing stage tags. Writers tend to tweet any subject on #WritingCommunity now, but the tag helps your tweets get impressions, so its still worth using.

To seek Critical Readers, you can ask who’s interested by tweeting on the Critical Reader Tags below.

Genre Promo Examples  

#YAFantasy

#LGBTQBooks

#Romance

Find Genre Promo Tags   

To find you genre, put your it/ your subgenre/ audience age (maybe with the word ‘books’) onto a # in the Twitter search bar, and see which variation of relevant tag is most popular.

More Instagram Hashtags

Writer Community

Hashtags

#WritersCommunity

#WritersSociety

#WritersHelpingWriters

#WriterSociety

#WriterCommunity

#WritersTogether

Tags to talk to

Writers

#WritersOfInstagram

#WritersOnInstagram

#FellowCreativeMinds

#WritersOfig

#WritersOfInsta

#Writers_Den_

#WriterGram

Author Type Tags

#IndieAuthor

#BlackAuthors

#AuthorsOfColour

#Authoress

#AuthorMom

#WattPadAuthor

#Authorpreneur

Talk to Authors

#AuthorLove

#AuthorsOfIg

#AuthorOfInsta

#AuthorOfInstagram

#AuthorsOfInstagram

#AuthorCommunity

#AuthorsCommunity

Tags to Talk About

Writing

#WritingANovel

#WritingABook

#StrictlyWriting

#JustWrite

Tip/ Help Tags

#WritingAdvice

#WritingTips

#AuthorsSupportingAuthors

Blog Promo Tags

#BlogPost

#InstaBlogger

#WriterBlog

#BookBlogging

#InstaBlogging

#BloggingCommunity

Critical Readers

#BetaReader(s)

#CritiquePartner(s)

Author Content Tags

#AuthorGram

#AuthorQuotes

#AuthorMemes

#AuthorLife

Author Activity Tags

#AuthorTalk

#AuthorVisit

#AuthorEvent

#AuthorInterview

#AuthorSigning

Book Lover Tags

#BookLover

#BookWorm

#BookAddict

#BookNerd

#ILoveBooks

#Bookish

Tags to talk about & or promote books

#BooksAndCoffee

#BooksBooksBooks

#BookPhoto

#BookPhotography

#Bookstagram

#AllThingsBookish

#BooksThatMatter

#BookLove

#InstaBooks

#FantasyBooks

(YourGenre)#books

Reader Tags

#BookReview

#ReadersOfInsta

#BookCommunity

#IgReads

#BookLovers

Poetry People Tags

#Poetry_Addicts

#PoetryLovers

#PoetrySociety

#PoetryTribe

#PoetryCommunityOfIg

Poem Tags

#Poetry

#MicroPoetry

#PoetryGram

#PoetryOfIg

#ByMePoetry

#PoetryIsArt

#PoetryPorn

#PoetryIsLife

#PoetryCorner

#PoetryForTheSoul

#PoetryIsNotDead

#PoetryOfInstagram

Instagram has many more tags and new ones developing. Searching any of the above tags and seeing which other tags people posting on them are using will turn up more related hashtags.

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Related Posts

If You’re New(ish) to Twitter or Instagram’s #WritingCommunity, here’s an Introduction and some tweeting and posting tips.

Leaving Twitter? Check out my Blue Sky Newby Guide.

For Pitch Party and Mentoring Program Hashtags, details & website links, see this post.

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