Publishing on Twitter (I): writing and authorship

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.


About Anthony Haynes

Director, Frontinus Ltd Communications Associate, FJWilson Talent Services


  1. Hi Anthony,

    Thanks for linking to my blog. I’d agree that I’m a very occasional Twitterer, having only joined up when linking my blog to it. I get so easily distracted from the real business (writing) and so easily seduced by social networking.

    I spend a lot of the time muttering to myself and scribbling in circles about ideas that are prickling at me: not very conducive to either Twittering or blog-writing. But I like posting on Swimming with Books when there’s something substantial and coherent (hopefully) to say.



  2. Pingback: Publishing on Twitter (II): language and editing | Monographer's Blog

  3. Pingback: Twitter on publishing « Monographer's Blog

  4. Pingback: The book industry on Twitter: the supply chain | Monographer's Blog

  5. Pingback: Twitter on publishing revisited: authorship and writing « Monographer's Blog

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