My Twitter Rules For Authors
Posted by Johanna Harness on Mar 4, 2011
1. Being a friend is more important than being important. If you’re on twitter to show how important you are, you’re doing it wrong. Talk to people. Build relationships. Join communities. Show an interest in the people who follow you. This is called “being a real person.”
It’s not enough to show up and expect to be adored. Honestly, if you’re perceived as a snob, you are better off staying away. I refuse to buy books by authors with better-than-thou twitter personas. Lots of authors are good and I choose to give my money and my time to nice people. I have a thing for nice people. And publishers. And book sellers. Nice people rock my world. I want them to succeed.
2. Don’t keep score. RT the things that make your heart sing. #FF when you are moved to do so. Be genuine in the things you promote. When you compliment someone, mean it with your whole heart.
3. Acting in love is never a mistake. Encourage people. Inspire people. Fan the sparks of creativity until they catch fire in others. If you’re asking, “What’s in it for me?” you’re doing twitter wrong.
4. Stories matter. The stories we tell say something important about who we are and what we value. Keep telling your stories even when it seems like no one wants to listen. Believe in the power of your own story.
This is where my advice may seem a little contradictory. Following back is a good thing to do. Talking to people is critical. Being open to new ideas is essential.
BUT: you are not required to continue following anyone who makes you feel even one bit smaller than the amazing person you are. It’s okay to unfollow negative energy. Sometimes it’s mandatory. If someone makes you feel your story is too insignificant or too small, if someone makes you feel like the writing world would be better off without you in it–unfollow that person immediately. Cultivate an atmosphere of love in which to write. Listen to the voices that help you get better. Get rid of the ones that tear you down. Period.
5. Individual voices matter. No voice is so small it has no value. This goes hand in hand with the last rule, but it’s the flip side. No one deserves to be your stepping stone. If you’re pushing someone else under so you can jump across the stream, you’re doing twitter wrong.
6. Diversity matters. Same begets same begets same. Brilliance bubbles up in the Pond of Different. Twitter gives you the opportunity to listen to people who are not just like you. Listen.
7. Positive energy comes back to you. If you want good for others, they will want good for you. Want=energy. Want=prayer. Want=power. Be careful what you want.
8. Happy trumps smart. Write your heart out. Surround yourself with others who support you.
9. Enjoy the presence of other writers. Twitter allows us to peek inside the habits and minds of our writing colleagues. And wow. Seriously. Wow. It’s a carnival in there. There’s no neat little rule book to follow. There’s no one set path. There are bright colors and clowns and dark alleys and balloons and ferries and ferrywomen and goblins and dragons and monsters and one room with boxes of epiphanies and cloaks in various shades of red. If you can imagine it, a writer is working with it. Give yourself permission to absorb this amazing energy and find your own wings. I started #amwriting to get writers talking to each other and the energy there still blows me away.
10. Life is short. Everything we do, we do right now. Hug the kids. Write the novel. Eat with friends. Pour the wine. Twirl. Spin. Laugh. Think. Tweet.
Now is all we have.
So, you know what I’m saying: tweet in the now, but make time for the rest. Especially the spinning. Never underestimate the power of a good spin.