Today I want to talk about Twitter. A few months ago, I had maybe four romance novels on my “to read” list. I pretty much limited myself to my very favorite authors, reading all of their books until I ran out and then scrambling to find a new author’s backlist to pillage. Romance Novels for Feminists helped a little by shoving me toward some new authors I wouldn’t hate (because: feminist), but I read a lot so I often found myself checking random romances out of the library, hating them and vowing never to try anyone new ever again.
Then came Twitter. I noticed on a couple of my favorite authors’ websites that they’re on Twitter quite a lot. And since I hate email newsletters and most authors are bad about sending them out anyway, I thought joining Twitter might be a good way to ensure that I would hear when they had a new book coming out. And that worked.
But do you know what else happened? I “met” some new authors. They followed me and I followed them and we started tweeting at each other long before I ever read their books or even a review of their books. And I started filing away the names of tweeters who seemed to share my convictions on what makes good romance to check into when a free spot opened up in my reading schedule.
It has worked so much better than I ever anticipated. There are so many great writers whom I now love that I doubt I ever would have found if not for Twitter. Great writers in romance sub-genres I didn’t even know existed: nerdy BSDM erotic romance, supernatural medieval romance, steampunk romance. Things that if I had known existed, I would have been on in a hot second.
So if you’re a reader, I’d definitely recommend the following: 1) follow the authors you like, 2) follow some of the writers they follow and 3) pay attention to who they talk to and then follow some of those people. My three favorite new-to-me writers were found just this way. Delphine Dryden seemed to spend a lot of time chatting with Charlotte Stein, who I already loved. Lisa Hendrix tweeted me about the Wonder Woman panties I posted. Isobel Carr has protracted conversations with a number of writers I enjoy about topics that I would deem “theory of romance” which is endlessly interesting to me. I’ve now read and loved all of their books.
And if you’re a writer, I’d recommend a similar approach to find readers who might buy your books: 1) follow and converse with readers and reviewers who tweet at you, 2) tweet about your books, but 3) don’t tweet only about your books. I’ve unfollowed a couple of writers whose tweets are too far toward the self-promotional end of the spectrum. I definitely want to see reviews of your work and buy links, but not every day, all day. That doesn’t tell me who you are as a person or even as a writer. If I like you, I am totally capable of finding your books.
The reason this approach has worked for me is that I got a sense of who these writers are prior to seeking out their books. And while that’s not a complete guarantee that I’ll like a writer’s style, it does seem to generate better results than picking library books at random.
Speaking of better results, pop on by on Monday for my first foray into Anglo-Saxon cooking for Lisa Hendrix’s Immortal Warrior. It combines fantasy and romance with history. I am completely enamored.