Friday, May 9, 2014

Useful Twitter Hashtags for Writers

If you're an indie author, odds are that you already have a Twitter account. As most of you no doubt know, Twitter is a powerful form of social media. And if you're anything like me, you've probably used it heavily for promoting and marketing your books at one point or another.

However, aside from being a part of your marketing plan, Twitter is also a tremendous resource in terms of obtaining information.  Using hashtags (which are words or phrases preceded by the pound sign, "#"), you can locate tweets about almost any subject under the sun.  For authors, however, there are several hashtags that may be particularly valuable.

The first hashtag I'll mention, #MSWL, came to me via my editor, the fantastic Faith Williams of The Atwater Group (and in the form of a tweet, ironically enough).  It stands for "ManuScript Wish List," and to be frank - until I saw it in Faith's tweet - I had never heard of it. In essence, this hashtag is used by agents and publishers to identify the type of material they are currently interested in: fantasy, mysteries, romances about love between mutated fish and amnesiac zebras, what have you.  Great for those interested in being traditionally published, but even if you aren't it's a way to find out what the industry is looking for at any particular juncture.

Next, there's #askagent.  This one is practically self-explanatory: you ask questions that you may have about agency representation and related subjects, and someone (or multiple someones) will [hopefully] answer. There are also similar hashtags, like #askpub and #askauthor, that serve an almost identical purpose.

Finally, there's #99c. This is a hashtag that you can use as an author to announce that your book is on sale (for 99 cents, of course).  However, it's also a useful search mechanism for readers who are on the prowl for affordable books. In short, you can use this hashtag to fine-tune the parameters of any special pricing promotions.

Needless to say, there are dozens - if not hundreds or thousands - of other hashtags that are useful to writers.  Naturally, you shouldn't go overboard when incorporating them into your messages, but judicious use of these tools can clearly help you in your journey as author.

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