By ‘Publishing on Twitter’ I mean ‘Twitter as a source of information about publishing’, rather than ‘publishing text by tweeting it’. Twitter is often stereotyped as a source of trivia about celebrities. Well, you can use it that way if you want – but you don’t have to: the whole point about Twitter is that you choose whom to follow, i.e. whom to receive information from. As a result, one can use Twitter professionally – as a source of news and information about the industry one works in. As such it is, I find, unrivalled.
But whom to follow? – that is the question. Publishing and the book industry is well represented – see, for example, an extensive (though far from comprehensive) listing on website of The Bookseller. In this mini-series of posts I will introduce my own favourite Twitter accounts, three at a time.
I begin here with those dealing with writing and authorship. Subsequent posts will cover:
- editors and editing;
- publishers and publishing;
- the industry supply chain and readership;
- the wider context: IP and the creative industries.
So here, in no particular order, are my top three accounts to follow on writing and authorship.
@itchofwriting: This account belongs to Emma Darwin. It provides interesting insights into the writing life, in general, and the process of writing, in particular. My favourite example of a tweet on the latter comes from 8 Sept 2010: “Novel novel novel. Beams and windows safely in, cranes, diggers, pile-drivers sent home, now it’s picks, cement, tension rods, floorboards”. One of the main reasons I like @itchofwriting is that Ms Darwin admits to imperfections: that she doesn’t always feel like writing, that it doesn’t always go smoothly, that juggling projects to meet deadlines is difficult – that an experienced and successful author is not above such problems is, surely, reassuring to the rest of us. Ms Darwin also tweets as @emma_darwin. I confess the distinction between the two accounts is somewhat lost on me – so I follow both.
@EliseBlackwell: This account belongs to novelist Elise Blackwell. As she says in her Twitter profile, Ms Blackwell ‘talk[s] literature, writing, and books’. She’s clearly very active – she goes places, meets people, is involved in events – and, as a result, has plenty to relay. Her tweets are wide-ranging and tend to be high-brow: those that I have stored in my Twitter ‘favorites’ list include messages on subjects such as Roland Barthes, design books, and Spanish fiction. Ms Blackwell also tweets as @scMFA: she uses this account in relation to her role as director of the MFA writing course at the University of South Carolina. I don’t usually follow accounts from MFA courses because their content is very parochial. @scMFA, however, wanders further afield. It is particularly useful for its links to interesting online articles about creative writing studies.
@swimmingwbooks: OK, here’s a wildcard. When I began drafting this post, I wasn’t sure what the third account in the ‘writing/authorship’ should be. But at the last moment I came across this account, owned by author Susan Pearce. I call this account a wildcard because it’s very new: at the time of writing, @swimmingwbooks has tweeted only five times. Who is to say where things will go from here? But three of the first five provide links to a lively blog, so I’m optimistic. One to watch, anyway.
So the next post in the series will feature accounts relating to editors and editing.