Tuesday, May 14, 2013

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

So, I ran into a pretty unique situation today on Twitter. Actually, I should clarify by saying it was unique for me. I’m sure other writers have encountered similar situations—and if any of you have, I’d LOVE to hear how you handled it.

One of the people I follow on Twitter, a pretty influential blogger/reviewer, was having a conversation about books with Jewish characters. She’d gotten a question from a reader of her blog and had asked for recommendations there. When she closed the comments section of her blog down—I guess she received a lot of comments—she continued the conversation on Twitter. The people she was tweeting with mentioned a few books, but were asking for more.

I follow a number of reviewers, publishers, agents, editors and influential people in the publishing world. One of the rules—unspoken or not—is that you don’t pitch your book to them on Twitter. Whoever invented the etiquette rules of Twitter has decided that this is a no-no, and I can understand that. Twitter is a place to get to know people and to converse with them in a very limited capacity. If you’ve ever tried to express yourself in 140 characters, you know what I mean. And their Twitter feeds will get completely clogged with the thousands of followers who want something from them. Some of them do post submissions requests there, but all of them direct readers to their website, where their specific requirements are.

Interacting with anyone on Twitter is a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, by following people, you get an idea of their personality, their likes and dislikes, etc. You can easily be fooled into thinking you’re friends. You’re not. Especially with people you follow professionally, and people with whom you might like to have a professional relationship in the future.

So here was my dilemma. I wrote a Jewish themed book. The Seduction of Esther is a contemporary romance focusing on the holiday of Purim. One of the people in this Twitter conversation was looking for Jewish books. Mine releases June 3. Hello!

Another of the people is looking for something about Passover. My WIP focuses on Passover. Hello again!

This is like dropping a gift in my lap. Unless of course, it’s a time bomb. The question is out there. Can I butt into the conversation and mention my book? Should I? How many of them will I annoy? What happens if I do?

Well, I decided that this was a very particular request. If the comment section of the blog had been open, I would have responded there. But it wasn’t. The question was not a general, “Hey, romance writers” kind of question. It was about a very specific niche. My books perfectly fit this question.

So I did it. I sent one tweet out to all of them letting them know my book is coming out June 3 and that I’m working on another. I didn’t mass tweet. I wasn’t obnoxious. I didn’t ask them to follow me or check out my website. I simply answered their question.

One of them responded with “Awesome.” Another of them Favorited my tweet. I didn’t respond. I kept my cool, although inside I was jumping up and down. I’m hoping I didn’t annoy the rest of them.

And maybe, when I announce the release on Twitter, some of them, or their followers, will see it.


  1. You can also send a direct message to someone if you don't want all your followers to see it. I have a good number of Twitter followers and usually use quotes from reviews to plug my books. I don't spend time on Twitter about other things, except maybe award shows.

  2. Sometimes a little courage pays off. Hope it works for you.

  3. Morgan, I do send DMs to people, but for this, I thought it would be more intrusive (I may be wrong).

    Glynis, thanks! I hope so too.

  4. I can't see any problem in responding to a specific request and/or mentioning one of your books in a relevant conversation. They asked about books with Jewish characters; you told them about one (which happened to be yours). I don't think you have broken any Twitter 'rules'!

  5. Thanks, Paula. That's pretty much what I think.

  6. Yikes...I'm totally out of the loop on Twitter...I don't do it...not enough hours in the day...so I can't offer any advice, but it sounds like you've gotten some good suggestions here.

  7. Debra, Twitter's actually easier and less time consuming than other forms of social media--at least for me. But I know what you mean, there's only so much time one can devote to things.

  8. About a year ago, I spent a lot of time trying to 'interact' on Twitter, but I wasn't very successful! I much prefer Facebook where I have made far more contacts.

  9. Sounds as if being brave paid off! Way to go!

  10. The real test will be their response in June. I hope it goes super well for you. Esther is a lovely story.

  11. Paula, I like each of them for different reasons.

    Thanks, Deb, I hope so.

    Ana, you're right. I'm curious what, if anything, happens.

  12. You handled it well. I often use DMs to help communicate more directly without being obtrusive or adopting a "look at ME!" status.

    I wasn't sure about Twitter to begin with. It seemed like I couldn't keep up. I did however find time to dedicate to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (although I'm not as good at this one as I should be, I think), daily - as well as a few other sources I check/update weekly.

    All the best with the outcome of this. And,in the future, BREAK A PEN!

    -BC Brown "Because Weird is Good."