Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Exploring: Twitter Lists for Writers

If you’re published, or about-to-be published, you’ve heard plenty about establishing your online presence with a website and/or blog and various social networking sites you can use to spread your message and promote your book.

Twitter, probably the most popular and the most ridiculed of all social sites, is popular with readers and writers. Even more exciting, agents and publishers hang out on Twitter. This venue offers several features that can be useful to writers. The one I’m looking at today is Lists.

The List feature appeared in 2009, but I ignored it at first. It seemed like one more way to waste time. Now that my follows total about 850, I realize how convenient it is to have a few specialized lists that allow me to see a stream of messages from a few selected people.

Since I’m about to embark on an agent search for my new novel, I want a convenient way to scan agent comments and advice before I send queries. To accomplish that, I created a new list called “Literary Agents."

To create a list: On your Twitter Home Page, in the right side bar, there is a link called “New list.” Clicking on that link brings up a box in which you’ll enter:

List Name
Optional Description (less than 100 characters)
Privacy designation (Public or Private)

I chose to make my literary agent list public so it would be available to other writers. I found some of the agents by using Twitter’s “Find People” feature, and discovered more on the AQ Connect list at Agent Query.

If you use Twitter as one of your networking sites, try using the list feature. As your follow list grows, you’ll have a way to follow small groups outside the main stream of “tweets.”


Patricia Stoltey is a mystery author, blogger, and critique group facilitator. Active in promoting Colorado authors, she also helps local unpublished writers learn the critical skills of manuscript revision and self-editing. For information about Patricia’s Sylvia and Willie mystery series, visit her website and her blog. You can also find her on Facebook (Patricia Stoltey) and Twitter (@PStoltey).

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  1. Patricia: Thank you three times! This is brilliant. Like you, I thought of the list thing as a novelty and waste of time. But now the tweets I want to read has grown. And I'd never considered an agent list. Wow! What a resource! Some will even post what they're looking for at thw moment or what conventions they're attending. Thanks so much for sharing this valuable tool.

  2. I was resistant to Twitter at first, but now I like it. I have to check out the list idea to help me manage things better.

    Thanks for the great post!

  3. This might make me re-visit Twitter as a viable tool. Thanks, Patricia.

  4. You are a clever, organized person. When I get a chance, I'll have to do the list thing also.

    Morgan Mandel

  5. I also stayed away from "Lists" because I couldn't figure out what they were or what to do with them. But once I figured it out, I found it was pretty much the only way to stay organized on Twitter. It's so helpful.

  6. I'm doing the same thing at FB - have separate lists for agents and publishers, and trying to connect with same on Twitter. Part of my theory is that I would prefer an agent who is adept at social marketing. If they're NOT on Twitter and FB, then I'm not sure they're right for me. Also, one can get a really good sense of the personality following their short bursts at both networks - it really is a great tool.

  7. I started to make lists, but I haven't had time to go back through all of my followers and put them into lists.
    Yes, lame excuse...

  8. You're definitely going to drive me to B&N to buy a book about Twitter.

  9. Thank to everyone for coming by today. I'll keep on adding new agents to my Twitter list as I find them, so let me know if you find one I've missed.

  10. Thank you for sharing the information about Twitter lists, Patricia! Sounds like a very useful feature that I have yet to use.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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