Children's authors on Twitter
I’ve been noticing more children’s writers have signed up to Twitter of late. Anthony Horowitz is now on board, as is Justin Somper, Robert Muchamore, and you can also find Michelle Harrison, the latest winner of the Waterstones Children’s Prize tweeting away too.
Very, very interesting. And that’s just a short list – I would link to all the others but it’s too time-consuming on a day when I should be plotting how a band of Yetis are going to deal with the a giant sea monster.
So I’ve been wondering what Twitter can do for the children’s author? I’m sure many old school writers will be asking what’s the point of having a Twitter account? Well, in this industry, you work alone mostly. I’ve already made contact with illustrators and authors through tweeting, and suddenly I feel a part of a community – an extended office, if you like. It’s better than a writer’s society, because there’s no snobbery involved, and no need for secretaries to organise things. It’s about the user taking control, and it breeds user interaction, be that real-life meet-ups or simply discussions on the web. It’s a permanently open forum, with people that you choose to follow.
In my limited experience, I’ve found that children’s writers and illustrators are actually a very nice bunch of people. They’re helpful, supportive, and generally full of good advice. I somehow get the impression that adult literature doesn’t have the same community feel, but I may be wrong. But that’s why I think Twitter is ideal for us. Not only does it spread the word, and foster a community, it’s incredibly useful too.
For example, if I can’t find a book in a shop, and I mention it on Twitter, I can be sure someone will tell me where to find it. The same goes if I’m having trouble with my writing. Yesterday I was in need of an Australian base for some hairy secret agents. I mentioned it on Twitter, and ten minutes later I had answers whizzing my way.
It’s definitely a world of give and take. If you like something and write/link to it on Twitter, and someone finds it useful, there’s a high chance someone else will write about it too, either in a blog post or on Twitter. And soon you’ll repay that kind act by doing the same. It’s simply a mini form of blogging, that’s more immediate than a full blown blog post. It’s not better, just different.
The blog is still king, but tie it up with a Twitter feed and it’s even more powerful if used properly (and yes, that does mean interaction – it’s no good thinking you’re a celebrity and therefore too important to talk to your followers). So here’s hoping more children’s authors and illustrators join up. I’d love to have a children’s authors Twitter meet-up in London… maybe one day.