Twitter is an amazing universe that makes it possible to interact with just about anyone. While it’s true that tweeting to Stephen King might not get you a response, there is a chance it could. Perhaps it’s not a best-selling author you’re looking to engage with. Is there a literary agent or publisher that you’d love to connect with? Maybe it’s a reviewer or well-known blogger that you’re interested in engaging. The sky’s the limit with Twitter, but there is some etiquette involved.
Don’t tweet to a well-known author asking him or her to read your book
Do read his or her book, post a review, then tweet it and @ tag the author in your tweet
Don’t tweet to agents or publishers asking them to read your manuscript
Do retweet one of their blog posts with an interesting comment and @ tag them in the tweet.
Don’t tweet to reviewers or bloggers requesting they review your book
Do read their reviews and post them with a comment and @tag them
Do you see the pattern? Everyone likes to be valued. Everyone appreciates when his or her own work is read and shared. If you do it sincerely, over time, you may build a relationship with some of these “influencers” who are just people after all. Read their tweets, become familiar with their passions. If their interests converge with your own, engage in conversation about them. But give it time. Building relationships doesn’t happen overnight.
Will it always work? Of course not. Just like life, some folks will want to be your friend, and others won’t. It’s also important to distinguish between those who are personally engaged on Twitter – not everyone is. But there are many best-selling authors, literary agents, publishers, and reviewers, who do manage their Twitter following. One of my favorites authors and friend, David Morrell, responds personally to all his tweets.
The important thing is to be authentic: no false flattery, but genuine interest in what others have to say. Treat others as you’d like to be treated, and you’ll be surprised at how gracious and helpful many of these Twitter “stars” can be.