This topic may seem like a rabbit trail off the path to finding pure readers (your audience), but it's not, and I'll tell you why. It's because you won't get there on your own. None of us will. We need to learn all we can learn from those who know more than we do. (News flash: A lot of people know more than you. But that means more opportunities to learn, if you look at it right.)
Also, we are going to need some acts of kindness on the part of others willing to help us along. So it's a good idea to find and build relationships with people on Twitter who can help you out.
You'll notice I say relationships. Those are two-way streets, right? You've got to give as well as take. I can't make you do that, of course. But I can say that Twitter is, right now, one of the great equalizers. Many, many people are genuinely willing open up, connect, and share useful information on Twitter. If you can be just as generous and thoughtful in return, it's going to come back to you in good ways. (That's called karma in some belief systems, the law of sowing and reaping in others. And it's true. You get what you give.)
So... In reading what I'm about to tell you, keep in mind that the goal is to give, not just take. Please don't be a selfish user. There are too many people like that already. Dare to be unlike them.
That said, here is a partial list of people I recommend following for the purposes of learning to build your platform and connect with the publishing world and ultimately with readers. (There are lots of other great people to follow, too. I'm only mentioning a few of them here.)
People who know a lot about publishing
Jevon Bolden (@JevonBolden) - A developmental editor at Charisma House, Jevon is a spirited Twitter user who offers good advice, asks good questions, and encourages great Twitter chats. And she always, always thanks me when I give her a shout-out, no matter how busy she is.
Nathan Bransford (@NathanBransford) - A former literary agent with a middle grade book now out (Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow), Nathan is also a genuinely nice guy. He's the one who sent me an invitation to Google+ before it opened up to everyone. Just because I tweeted and asked if he would.
People who, at this very moment, are actually doing what we're talking about (building platform)
Moses Siregar (@MosesSiregar) - Moses is the author of The Black God's War, an up-and-coming ebook, and also a member of the Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing podcast. What's great about him is that he is currently exploring e-publishing with what is an amazingly solid book with excellent writing. He deserves a traditional publisher and an awesome contract, and I hope he gets one.
Tee Morris (@TeeMonster) - Tee is the author of what I personally consider THE BEST podcast novel ever. It's called Morevi. If you haven't heard of it... Well, remedy that by finding it and listening to it. Right now. When you're done, keep this in mind: Tee is also the author of All A-Twitter, a great guide to using Twitter. He's a social media and podcasting pioneer who has gone boldly into online frontiers. And he recently got signed with HarperVoyager. Yeah. He knows of what he speaks. (So does his writing partner, Pip Ballantine, aka @PhilippaJane. Follow her too.)
People who are a wealth of information because that's who they are
Robin Sullivan (@rsullivan9597) - Small press publisher. Author of the Write2Publish blog. Wife of author Michael Sullivan, who sold nearly 40,000 books in four months with her PR help. She styles herself as someone passionate about helping authors. That's an understatement. She is amazingly helpful. Catch her podcast interviews on The Dead Robots Society, and check out her blog and Twitter feed. You'll learn a lot. She follows back, and she chats back too.
Chuck Wendig (@chuckwendig) - Check your internal Mom at the door, because Chuck swears a lot. And by a lot, I mean it's hard to find a paragraph in his blog posts that doesn't have a curse in it. But you'll overlook the F-bombs because his advice is incredible, brilliant, useful. You'll wish you were him. (It's called Chuck Envy. Everyone who reads him has it.)
People who have been generous with me, and practice generosity as a rule on Twitter
Les Floyd (@lesism) - Les is the author of the very popular Lesism blog (lesism.blogspot.com). At today's count, he has over 40,000 followers on his Twitter account. Can you say, Klout score? Actually, Les isn't just popular. He's another genuinely nice guy who took time out of his schedule to email me a thorough answer to a platform-building question I had. This attitude of generosity is no doubt one major reason why he has so many followers. Something to think about.
Now, as I said, this is just a partial list. There are so many great people on Twitter. People who like making new friends and want to share what they know. Go find them. How do you do that? Well, I'll tell you what I do. I tweet new followers of mine and say hello, nice to meet you. I do the same with people I start following. The ones who are open to chatting...well, they chat. They self-identify. So if you do nothing else, start by saying hello and seeing if you can have some conversations. Lots of good things can come out of simple social skills and genuine interest in other people on Twitter.
Go out and have fun with it. And if you have any great Twitter people to recommend following, let me know. I'd love to be introduced to people I don't know yet!
Feel free to read the other Connecting with Readers blog posts too:
The Value of Email Lists
Hashtags for Readers
Hashtags for Writers
Overview of Making Connections
Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.