Chip MacGregor

March 1, 2012

Thursdays with Amanda: Why Authors Should Be On Twitter


Amanda 2 CropAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. She posts about growing your author platform every Thursday. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

I was on a plane yesterday with a gentleman who found out I was an agent and started asking me about the industry. He had a book idea, and a bunch of questions to go with it, and eventually he started asking about formatting the manuscript and design and all of that stuff.

“You don’t have to worry about that,” I said. “An author has two responsibilities: Deadlines and marketing. They have to get their manuscript turned in on time and then market the heck out of their book.”

And that’s where the conversation took a turn.

“I didn’t know authors had to be marketers,” he said. “I thought they just sat in their homes and wrote and wrote and didn’t talk to a soul.”

Twenty years ago, he would have been right. But Al Gore’s Internet changed everything. It made the world smaller.

And Twitter is as small as it can possibly get.

Ten years ago, celebrities were untouchable. If you wanted to know about their lifestyles, you read the tabloids or watched Cribs. If you wanted to meet them, you stalked their tour buses or started working out in LA gyms. Or, you’d stand outside of MTV studios in Time Square or set up camp in LAX, studying the faces of passersby. But even these strategies would fail. Meeting a celebrity was an occurance left to chance.

But these days, it’s as easy as sending a text message.

I follow Zach Braff (@zachbraff) on Twitter. He’s an actor/director/writer, most well-known for his work on Scrubs and Garden State. He’s a big-time celebrity, but on Twitter, he's just a regular guy. He dispels tabloid rumors, shares photos of his happenings and tells jokes. He lets his 375,000 fans in on his everyday life and he repays their support and love by interacting with them. He responds to their questions and laughs at their jokes. He’s involved.

Here’s the bottom line: If I can get Zach Braff or Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) or Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) Barack Obama (@barackobama) or some other big-time, hot-shot to respond to my tweets, shouldn’t I be able to get my favorite author to do the same? And at the very least, shouldn’t mid-list authors be more available on Twitter than high-profile actors and musicians?

If the Internet made the world smaller, then Twitter has turned everyone into next door neighbors. And as authors, writers and aspiring future celebrities, it’s your job to be available to your fans.

Next week, we’re going to talk about what makes a great Tweet, and after that I may have a few guests come here and post on how they’ve used Twitter to grow their following.

In the meantime, go set up a Twitter account and follow your favorite celebrity. Then tell me if you don’t feel more connected to him/her in a warm, fuzzy way.

I dare you.

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