Twitter and Publishing

If you aren’t getting sick of everyone talking about “how important social media is," well then you’re probably too busy going to actual art openings rather than just hearing about them on Twitter—and props to you! I, however, spend a disgusting amount of time trolling my Twitter columns on TweetDeck . . . and even I get worn out discussing how useful social media is.

Being the astute reader that you are, you have noticed the title of this post and are probably asking yourself, “Why write a post about Twitter then?” Well, recently Twitter has been awesome for lil' Paper Darts. Without much of a budget, Paper Darts has been able to really leverage Twitter as a free marketing tool and it has definitely been "paying" off.

We’ve used Twitter to engage in conversations, promote our artists, and, perhaps most importantly, network. While playing around in the Twittersphere, I’ve noticed how other literary organizations are using the tool and here are a few of my favorites and why.

Graywolf Press

I’ve ranked Graywolf Press number one not only because of their outrageously high following (to put their 10,000 followers in perspective, Random House has 23,000 and that’s Random House people!), but they also have some of the best engagement that I’ve seen.

Examples of their engagement:

Contests: They interact with their audience by creating buzz and conversations by giving out their books.

Graywolf: First person to @reply wins a galley of Per Petterson's new novel!

Conversations: If someone asks them a question...they actually answer!

Rorey Rose to Graywolf
@GraywolfPress i want to get some poetry published - any tips?
Grawywolf to Rorey Rose: @Roreyr Good place to start is Poets&Writers Mag awards/publishing listings. Also try to find publishers w/work similar to yours.
Rorey Rose to Graywolf: @GraywolfPress thanks for the tip. btw how important is the cover letter for manuscripts you send in to publishers and what should be in it?
Grawywolf to Rorey Rose: @Roreyr Pretty important. Gives you the chance to mention yr credentials & explain what you're doing (i.e. how yr poems relate to ea other)
Grawywolf to Rorey Rose: @Roreyr Much easier to summarize a plot than it is to summarize poetry, but the cover letter gives you the chance to talk about themes, etc.

They retweet: You know an organization gets Twitter if they see value in sharing relative information rather than just trumpeting their own horn.

RT @Coffee_House_ Accepting applications for new Development Director position until Feb 28! Contact Teri Hageman for more info...
RT @mlandri1: Listen to the dulcet tones of Ben Percy, reading his own terrifying fiction on the @Orion_Magazine site:
RT @jchristie: Good editors are immensely important in ensuring good books get to my store, and play into buyer choices.

Gopher Illustrated

It might seem weird that I’m listing Gopher Illustrated right after Graywolf…considering they have a difference in followers by 10,000, but don’t let that fool you. While Gopher has a strong level of engagement, they also do a fabulous job of “broadcasting.” They share interesting links that lead back to content on their website and I’m never disappointed. Best of all, they broadcast their own content without seeming spammy . . . they make it about the content, not about them.

Examples of their good broadcasting:

Abstruse Goose is comic fun! (with a fun name)

Image maker Kee asks that you have fun and try to be playful

Music time, brought to you by The Sound of Arrows.

A Twitter Beast: Electric Literature

Electric Literature is an all around Twitter giant (they have over 160,000 followers . . . let's not even try and comprehend that). Maybe they are so huge because they do it all. They broadcast well, share interesting links, retweet, join conversations, and participate in Twitter culture (like followfriday).

Actual people on Twitter:

It can be hard to separate your own persona from your organization's on Twitter. Sometimes the people behind the organization are just as Twitter-famous (if not more) than the organization. Here are some examples of publishing dudes using Twitter under their own avatar, but on behalf of their company/magazine.

Todd Zuniga, founder of Opium Magazine

Todd Zuniga does a great job of broadcasting on behalf of Opium and Literary Death Match, but he also shares links about other interesting publishing things, and makes his own personal comments like "I give up! The writing in The Time Traveller's Wife is too clicheed and unengaging. Whoever insisted I read it: bad, bad call."

Kevin Smokler, CEO of

Kevin Smokler's use of Twitter really helps to define him as an expert in the publishing industry. He mainly shares information about other publishing happenings and every so often shares something about his own gigs like Magazine Day (which is a very neat thing I must say).

These are just a sampling of my favorite publishing peeps on Twitter. I’m probably leaving some big and little guns out, so if you have any favs please leave a comment and let me know!


And now I'm definitely Twittered out.

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No, YOU'RE the awkward one, jerk!