Why Twitter Matters (to me)

About two years ago, I committed myself to ending my Twitter account.

I found the medium annoying and distracting. Here I was, trying to write a Walter Payton book, spending too much time Tweeting this, Tweeting that. I went so far as to actually end my account, and told my, oh, 1,500 followers that I would be committing Twitter-cide.

Ultimately, I changed my mind.

Now, I’m on Twitter all the time. As I sit here and write, I keep Twitter open in an adjacent window, Tweeting away when I’m bored or a though pops into my head. Do I still find it annoying? Not really. Distracting? Definitely. It’s sorta like computer crack. And yet, whereas I once considered it to be of little value, I now realize it is, for an author, invaluable.

Why? Two reasons:

1. Name a better reach-out-directly-to-readers tool? Seriously, name one. I certainly can’t think of any. MySpace is long dead, Facebook is heading in that direction, Instagram is sorta lame. With Twitter, I literally can say to 7,581 (my updated Follower total) people, “Book’s coming out!” or “Here’s a preview!”

2. This isn’t discussed much (if ever), but landing a book deal isn’t merely about an excellent idea. It’s about an excellent idea’s potential to sell. If I can meet with a book company executive and say, “Look, I’ve got 100,000 Twitter followers to talk books with,” well, I’m a million times more marketable and impressive. Literally, by people following me on Twitter, they’re helping my career; my ability to live a beautifully charmed and wonderful life, kicking back at a Starbucks, traveling here and there to research, etc.

As a result, I try and follow everyone who follows me. If they’re doing me the honor, I should do it right back.