This November on the Conquer Books blog, we’re focusing on the art of writing. Twitter is one of those things that can strengthen your writing career, connect you to an agent, and build a following. Alternatively, you can spend a lot of time fuming at political tweets or trying to figure out the perfect hashtag instead of getting your daily word count in.
But all in all, I’m a fan of writing Twitter. Because us writers do a lot of our work alone, we don’t benefit from the casual conversations and mentorship that comes from an office environment. Through Twitter, I’ve met some online buddies and learned a lot.
I sorted through all the tweets I liked in 2019 and pulled out the best pieces of writing advice just for you (and you and you and you). Some of the threads are definitely worth opening up. Be sure to follow these writers and agents for more good advice. You can find me on Twitter @RebeccaZornow.
Down below you’ll find:
- Advice for Your WIP (work in progress)
- On Getting Published
- On Business
Advice for Your WIP
This just in: Writing is hard. Revising is hard. Creating and deleting and re-creating is hard. That's not a reflection of your abilities. It's just a reflection of the fact that it's hard.
— Victoria/V.E. Schwab (@veschwab) October 24, 2019
(Hi, I'm an editor.) Having clean prose is important, but the vast majority of manuscripts that I look at need developmental editing more than line editing.
Self-editing tip: read your manuscript out loud.
— Septimus Brown (@SeptimusBrown) April 5, 2019
Writing tip: wife is not feeling well and kiddo got up early so morning write time was shredded. But to recover, I wrote moment by moment bullets of the scene, playing it out in my head without prose. Same creative thought process and builds foundation for full prose later.
— Mike Chen (@mikechenwriter) July 28, 2019
In writing, my mantra has become:
Write for me.
Edit for you.
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) August 17, 2019
Yes, do not, I repeat, DO NOT query your #NaNoWriMo MS in December, no matter how much you love it. Do yourself a favor and let it simmer for a month. Then look at it again. Then let your CPs and maybe an editor (if possible) look at it.
You are worth the extra effort. https://t.co/OdIOdoZ4Wk
— Deborah Maroulis is at 30k words! (@yaddathree) November 20, 2019
Hey you, yeah you!
Writing a book with a female protagonist or main character!
Don’t define her by putting other girls down. Define her for herself!
Don’t create other female characters with the sole intention of showing how they are lesser to your MC
— Yoshi Yoshitani (@yoshisquared) July 29, 2019
You have to learn to write badly before you can learn to write goodly.
Er, I mean, write good. Write well? WHATEVER. See what I mean?!
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) July 29, 2019
I'm ashamed to admit how many nods I had to cut from this damn book.
— Dea Poirier (@deapoirierbooks) March 3, 2019
I’m a mom with a FT job who has risen with the birds for years to write before the day job.
Committing to this career path requires a tremendous amount of sacrifice, and most folks don’t want to hear that.
Strength to your sword arm. 🤜
— Lisa Brown Roberts 🌛💫💖 (@LBrownRoberts) October 25, 2019
Friends of the #writer: seeking knowledge.
It’s great to read a book that’ll teach you more, either about writing or about the part of a story you want to research.
Go out and DO the thing your character does if it’s reasonable.
— Jabe Stafford (@OculusWriter) October 2, 2019
Stephen King says sometimes you feel like you're just "shoveling shit from a seated position."
That was my writing today. But hey. It's word count.
— no, the other nicole (@NicoleVanDenEng) June 17, 2019
I generally use 3-4 betas & none are family. I try to send it to people who read or write in the same genre. I found most of my betas here on Twitter.#CPmatch is a good place to connect as well.
And congrats on finishing the book!! 🎉
— Michelle Keener (@MKeenerWrites) January 27, 2019
While editing I’ve discovered I use too many “fluff” words
— Zoeybird (@NikkiFantasea) January 2, 2019
On Getting Published
I’m fairly new to the writing side of twitter but I found this useful hashtag #MSWL that I thought I’d share in case anyone doesn’t know about it. It’s essentially a hashtag agents can use to share the types of manuscripts they’re looking for.
— Alyssa Hannigan – Writer (@AlyssaHannigan) January 23, 2019
#amquerying question: how long did it take you to hear back from any full MS request?
I’ve heard horror stories like 6 months and then a form rejection…I’m hoping that’s not the norm…
— Simone Kern (@simone__kern) January 20, 2019
On another post someone said they had no idea how to begin a career writing online. Since I do it for a living and LOVE IT, I decided to put together a very basic starter list of websites.
— Kathy Benjamin (@KathyBenjamin) November 11, 2018
For today's #TenThings, let's talk about WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE GETTING NOTHING BUT FORM REJECTIONS WHILE QUERYING. Because that was one of the most frustrating parts of querying for me– not knowing if it was the query, the hook, or just a bad agent match.
— Delilah S. Dawson (@DelilahSDawson) February 15, 2019
Can’t sleep at 4:00 am. My book launch is tomorrow, but I think it’s important to say that even at a moment of triumph like that, it’s still possible to be very unsure about what—if anything—comes next. There’s always the next mountain to scale.
— Kristin Button Wright (@kbuttonw) January 25, 2019
This last year, after shelving a book I dearly loved, I wrote another book. I wrote for the market, instead of myself, and was surprised when it failed worse than the first. Take my advice: WRITE FOR YOU, not for trends! Be a Kurt Cobain in a market full of New Kids on the Block.
— Brielle Porter (@briellums) January 7, 2019
10.75 Most first books don't get an agent or sell.
Let me repeat that: MOST FIRST BOOKS DON'T GET AN AGENT OR SELL.
Yes, some do. Those are outliers. You might not be one. I wasn't. My 2nd book was almost out of agents to query when I got The Call. Publishing is a long game.
— Delilah S. Dawson (@DelilahSDawson) February 15, 2019
Every now and then, I stumble upon the outdated notion that indie authors self-publish as a last recourse because we aren't good enough to go trad. Malarkey! But now I'm curious–if you chose to self-publish, what were your reasons?#writerscommunity #indieauthors
— Nate Philbrick (@NatePhilbrick) January 10, 2019
So much of publishing = your reaction to the test is part of the test. The query process hones the skills you'll need as a traditionally published novelist– and if you flounce out, this might not be the career for you. If you can't handle querying, you can't handle being on sub.
— Delilah S. Dawson (@DelilahSDawson) October 28, 2019
9. If someone in your writing group gets an agent, the first response should not be asking for an introduction, it should be asking to read their query and first pages. Go for the knowledge, not the ladder climbing. When one member levels up, they can help the others level up.
— Delilah S. Dawson (@DelilahSDawson) October 29, 2019
Today, I received a form rejection for the MS that received multiple offers last month.
*This tweet is for anyone querying and feeling a bit down.
— Kate Foster 🐕 (@kfosterauthor) October 11, 2019
Just wanted to let you guys know that I'm willing to pay $2.99 for a good book. I'm willing to pay $5.99, $7.99, $12.99, $18.99… Hell, I'll pay $30 for a great book.
All this to say, don't devalue your work just because the industry says $.99 or bust.
— 𝕂.𝕄. 𝕎𝕖𝕤𝕥 🔆 (@KM_West_) March 3, 2019
Just a note to creative types: Never EVER throw contracts out. Keep them and make them findable. In the last 2 years I've been saved twice by having found copies of contracts (from 91 & 97) that Other Parties had lost. Lawyers stopped obfuscating/prevaricating and came into line.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 14, 2019
I once paneled with a bestselling MG author.
A dad in the audience how he could support his teenage son, an aspiring writer.
This author said if he cared about his son's success, he should set aside $10-50k to hire his son an editor.
Readers, I LOST MY GODDAMN MIND. https://t.co/89Fenhpn5f
— Victoria/V.E. Schwab (@veschwab) February 6, 2019
Newbie author milestone today: got my first six-month statement. Now I’m having a drinky to celebrate. Miserate? Both, I think. Like a wake, but for someone you know won’t stay dead forever.
— Sarah Read (@Inkwellmonster) October 24, 2019
Today a customer mentioned that she could get a new hardcover book online for $15. Our mission is not to shame anyone for their shopping practices, but we do feel a responsibility to educate about what it means when a new hardcover is available for $15 online.
— Raven Book Store (@ravenbookstore) April 17, 2019
I ghostwrite! It's how I make my full-time income whilst I built up my own work for self-pubbing. Currently I spend 2 weeks/month ghosting and 2 weeks/month on my own stuff. Some books I've ghostwritten hit the Amazon Kindle top 100!
— ☀️ Dayman (ah-ah-ah) ☀️ (@HLMacfarlane) February 19, 2019
I wish there was more transparency in the process, but essentially, our field is having to present ourselves as successful and supported, whether we are or not.
— Summer Heacock (@Fizzygrrl) April 23, 2019
I'm going to lay out some things about publishing that may get me in trouble, but here we go.
You can't properly judge a book based on the marketing it gets. Just because a book is heavily marketed doesn't make it great, and a book that gets no marketing doesn't mean it sucks.
— Summer Heacock (@Fizzygrrl) April 23, 2019
Hey guys! There's a new video up on my channel! I'm talking all about some of the mistakes I made in my debut year! Check it out! And let me know what things you wish you would have done differently. https://t.co/DWMLfvRnLz #authortube #writingcommunity #debutauthor pic.twitter.com/6FcVUjD2jL
— Kim Chance 🦄 (@_KimChance) February 27, 2019
Something I didnt quite realize before I sold my debut:
Typically, the powers that be want a 2nd book similar to your 1st in genre, category, mood
So, it's important to write something of your heart. Bc youre prob (hopefully!) going to have to write a 2nd book that matches it.
— Liz Lawson (@LzLwsn) October 3, 2019
Authors, it's realllly important to know what you can write off as expenses. That includes website costs, design costs, swag, book purchases that can be considered research, business cards, and ads. Bloggers, this counts for you too, if you're getting paid or in your first years.
— Dahlia Adler (@MissDahlELama) March 26, 2019
Voldemort didn't try to kill Harry Potter until he was 55
Darth Vader was nearly 40 when he built the Death Star
Hannibal was 52 when he escaped from captivity
Thanos was over 65 when he collected the infinity gems
Annie Wilkes was 44 when she found Paul
It's never too late ❤️
— Dea Poirier (@deapoirierbooks) October 17, 2019
so, i did something big today. after 7 years i gave notice at my job today. I will still be here for about 4 months part time but then i'm out for good. huge, huge sense of relief and also fear bc ahhh the unknown! but it's def the right thing to do & i am v excited for 2020 ☺️💜
— claribel a. ortega pre-order my book, GHOST SQUAD! (@Claribel_Ortega) November 18, 2019
Good morning Twitterverse. My novel is a fucking mess, the characters make no sense, there's no arc, no structure, no goals, no clear motivations. MC is spinning in circles, too many detours. I'm so frustrated!
But I said I wouldn't quit, so I'm not gonna quit. I'm just tired.
— Mackenzie Littledale 🔙🔜#amquerying (@MackenzieLitt13) November 18, 2019
the first picture book i ever sold was published today and when i read it to my 3yo at the bookstore, she said “mama, you helped make this book? can i make books like this too?” and it broke me in the very best way.
— Saba Sulaiman (@agentsaba) October 30, 2019
Publishing doesn't determine your worth.
Query results don't determine your worth.
Pitch events don't determine your worth.
Writing doesn't determine your worth.
Your worth is intrinsic, woven into who you are, and exists because you do.#WritingCommunity
— michaelkroghwriting (@mkroghwriting) June 7, 2019
Feeling really emotional tonight. Maybe it was talking to high school students about failure and stubborn hope and coming late to coming out. Maybe it was signing books for more than an hour over time. Maybe it was all the love, and belief, and pride. What is my life?
— Victoria/V.E. Schwab (@veschwab) May 4, 2019