By Rob W. Hart/ Twitter can seem intimidating, mostly because it has it’s own language. But learning the difference between #WW and a WIP will help you make connections and build audiences.
First, let’s focus on the hashtag. Because if you’re not using them, you’re not reaching people.
For the uninitiated, a hashtag is any word in which the ‘#’ symbol appears before it. Say I’m really into pie. I can post a tweet that says, I love pie. But a whole new world opens up if I change it to: I love #pie.
Now the word “pie” is a link, and anyone who searches for it will find my tweet.
Pro-tip: If you add any sort of punctuation to your hashtag, it’ll kill the link after that punctuation mark. For example, if you want to hashtag #Bob’s, you’ll only return results for “bob.”
Here are the top 10 hashtags used by writers on Twitter:
1. #amwriting – This is the reigning champ of Twitter hashtags for writers, and should be used early and often while writing…
2. #amediting – …and this is for when you’re editing your work.
3. #askagent – Some agents will answer questions that are tagged with this. You are following agents, right?
4. #fridayreads – So you can tell people what you’re reading. Happens every Friday. This is a great place to get your name out if you can get friends and fans to tweet your book as a Friday read.
5. #WW – This can mean a couple of things, but for the literary types, it means “Writer Wednesday.” This is sort of like Follow Friday. Name some of the writers you follow and tag them up. Some will even return the favor.
6. #pubtip – Agents and authors will often throw out some useful tips with this hashtag, for querying and for publishing in general.
7. #yalit or yalitchat – These seem to be the most popular destination for the YA crowd (because just searching for YA brings back a ton of useless results).
8. #wordcount – Writers love to commiserate, especially over word counts. Share yours because it might inspire you – or something else – to keep at it.
9. #writetip – This is another great opportunity to find, or share, some inspiration.
10. #FridayFlash or FictionFriday – This is a good way to stay loose. Write some quick fiction on your blog and share it through these hashtags on Fridays.
Now, as for the abbreviations (because you have to keep that word count under 140 characters!), here are some of the more common ones:
MC = Main Character
POV =Point of View
ARC = Advanced Reader Copy
NF = Non-fiction
CP = Crit (critique) Partner
WIP = Work In Progress
PB = Picture Book
MG = Middle Grade (novel)
YA = Young Adult (novel)
MS = Manuscript (mss=manuscripts)
So, for example, if I want to tell someone about the point of view of my main character, I can just write about the POV of my MC. See how many letters that saves?
There are far too many hashtags and abbreviations to list here, but these will get you started. Finding new ones to target yourself to even more diverse audiences is part of the fun of Twitter.
If you know some useful terms, feel free to add them below in the comments.
About this post’s author:
Rob W. Hart is a writer with a background in PR and journalism. He just completed his first novel, Apophenia, and maintains a blog about books and writing at blogduggery. You can also find him on Twitter.