Friday, May 1, 2009

Guest Blog: Authors on Twitter: Who’s getting it right?

Authors on Twitter: Who’s getting it right?
By Maria Schneider
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The writing community has frantically embraced Twitter within the past few months. And it’s been a delight to watch well-known authors find their voice in this new medium. With Twitter’s restriction to 140 characters, it’s surely proven challenging for authors who are used to writing in thousand-word increments to communicate with such intense brevity.

I’ve watched as NYT bestselling authors wonder in type why in the world they’re doing this and what they’re supposed to be writing about anyway. And I’ve also noticed quite a few hit their stride.

Recently, I asked this question on Twitter and on the forum:
Who are the authors that are getting social media right?

So in response to my question, here are five of the standout authors who seem to have found their voice on Twitter. They’re very different kinds of writers ranging from fantasy authors to narrative nonfiction to women’s fiction.

5 Writers Who Are Getting it Right

Neil Gaiman
Sample Tweet: “That’s enough world for tonight. The me & @mgaiman late-night-while-working-on-the-sofa Buffython is paused. Now sleep & dreams & g’night.”

“Neil Gaiman uses his blog and twitter to communicate about his books, other writers, movies, and the world in a way that connects him not only to his fan base, but expands that base.” -Libby Nicole

James Rollins
Sample Tweet: “Busy few days. Preparing for documentary video shoot and preparing for the Jake Ransom tour. I have been writing of course!”

“Thriller writer/ fantasy writer James Rollins (aka Clemens) goes out of his way to be accessible to his fans through Twitter. Following him gives you a real sense of what it might be like to be a celebrity author. He takes his fans along for the ride.” -mariaschneider

Susan Orlean
Sample Tweet: “First donkey sighted just miles from the Casablanca airport, under a billboard for a cellphone company.”

"Absolutely one of my favorite authors to follow on Twitter. Orlean writes literary nonfiction and she is drawn to eccentric stories, like her well-known book The Orchid Thief. She’s currently researching donkeys in a middle-eastern village. You get a real sense of her writing process from following her online and her she comes across as personable, entertaining and accessible, which I find inspiring from such a well-known author. Even though she’s never self-promotional, her social networking really makes me want to continue following her, and of course, buy her books."-mariaschneider

JA Konrath
Sample Tweet: “I’d eat more vegetables if, instead of vitamins and minerals, they were filled with more essential compounds. Like caffeine and alcohol.”

“His blog tour put him on my radar and he left a breadcrumb trail back to his website. There, he had a free download of the first chapters of his new book. I read and was hooked. I bought a copy. And I was impressed. It was the first time I had bought a novel based on smart advertising. Konrath’s “Afraid” campaign is a template on how to use the internet to effectively promote fiction.” -Craven

Allison Winn Scotch
Sample Tweet: “BLOGGED: How much ownership should you feel over your novel’s film adaptation? Me? Mostly none.”

“I get a kick out of Allison Winn Scotch’s tweets. She doesn’t push a lot of writing sites or info, but she always has a fun energy that I like.” -Lisa

Be sure to follow these authors. There’s much to be learned about how authors can use these new social media tools to build and expand their readerships.

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