As the coeditor of an anthology by foreign women in modern Turkey, and an American living abroad in Istanbul, Twitter has been an invaluable tool to bring me closer to the world I work in, and up to speed on my industry. I meet my readers (fellow expats, travelers, writers, and culturati among them) and my publishing world colleagues (agents, authors, editors, publishers) to discuss not only issues relevant to my first book, but also to the memoir I am currently writing, and the rapidly changing state of publishing. I’ve also connected with professionals who are giving me feedback on my work in progress.
Some examples of how I use Twitter as an author:
1) On May 29 at EST 4pm, I will guest host #litchat, an open discussion series founded by a fellow author (@litchat), on the topic of expatriate literature. (#litchat is an hour-long open discussion on a topic, three times a week. You can follow it in Twitter search or on www.Tweetchat.com using the term “litchat”.) I’ll be guiding the discussion, soliciting opinions and offering my own based on this view: Expatriate literature may be stocked in the travel section, but does it deserve a shelf of its own? Living for extended periods in foreign locales, expatriates struggle to reestablish themselves and find meaningful access to their new home. Travelers passing through often have the luxury to avoid the very issues of assimilation and identity that dominate the expat psyche. We’ll talk about the unique depths this can bring to expat lit’s combination of outsider-view-from-the-inside and journey of self-realization. See litchat.wordpress.com for more info.
2) #editorchat – I follow the illuminating transcripts at editorchat.wordpress.com since the chats take place at 5am Istanbul time and I haven’t managed to be awake during them yet!
3) Through Twitter I’ve also been invited to write a guest post for an editor’s blog, voted in the top 100 publishing blogs, about my experience as an author abroad trying to get up to speed with my traditional and digital publishing options and comparing today’s conditions with those I once reported on the e-publishing beat at Internet World trade magazine in 2000.
4) #queryfail and #queryday – these discussions (also found by Twitter search and Tweetchat) have been consistently good to refresh my own agent pitching techniques, especially as I prepare a package for an agent this month
5) A pop physicist I met on Twitter is currently vetting some popular science in the foreword of my current memoir, and I’ve discussed some of my emerging theories about online psychology (also in current memoir) with a group of psychologists championing it, including the founders of #mentalhealthcamp
I wholeheartedly recommend authors use Twitter in these ways and all the others you’ll likely be inspired to pursue.