Love to talk about books and/or writing? Hungry for a good conversation? Look no farther than your Twitter account. You'll find so many options. All you have to do is learn to use that handy little hashtag – that's the pound sign (#) followed by a topic word or phrase.
There are so many Twitter conversations for writers and book enthusiasts to enjoy – more than one every day of every week. Participate by including the full hashtag in your tweet – it does count toward your 140 characters, but without it, other people won’t “hear” you.
Most chats are guided to some extent, and they run for about an hour weekly, but a hashtag can be used 24/7. Readership will be less outside the scheduled chat time but still existent. Most moderators prefer conversationalists so save any self-promoting tweets for after-hours.
For starters, here's a list of some of my favorite writing and book-related chats.
Boast about your writing progress, seek support, and buoy others by marking your posts with #amwriting or #writegoal; #amediting, #editgoal, or #amrevising. Stuck? You can always #askagent. These hashtags don’t have a time or date expiration.
You can actually do some writing and reading by participating in a meme such as #badjobsinnovels (one-tweet descriptions of the minor stock characters our heroes forget), #firstdraftmovielines (one-tweet fictitious lines for real films), #failedchildrensbooktitles (self-explanatory, think humorous), #Shakespalin (after Sarah Palin referenced Shakespeare in one of her tweets, the Twitter community took to their own accounts to quote Palin with the Bard’s language and flair). The Twitter user @nyneofuturists posts a weekly prompt to inspire one-tweet plays. The hashtag for this is always #tp (as in, twitterplay), followed by the prompt’s number; for example, #tp86. The participation in these discussions naturally dwindles over time, just as any conversation does.
Interested in making a schedule for yourself? Here's what I would suggest:
#litchat (4pm ET)
This discussion about books happens three times each week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – so there’s no – well, okay, there’s less – excuse to miss it. Visit the litchat website for information about past and future chats and book-related philanthropy.
#journchat (8–11p ET)
This conversation is for writers and readers who get ink, real or virtual, on their hands – in other words, journalists and bloggers.
The 24/7 #poettalk focuses every Tuesday, all day Tuesday with #poettues.
#editorchat (8:30–10pm ET)
If you are a professional editor or work with one, you’re welcome to join this discussion. The founders and moderators find FriendFeed the easiest space for the discussion to happen in. Chat transcripts and bonus interviews are at the website.
#YAlitchat (9pm ET)
Interested in young adult literature as a reader or as a professional in the publishing business? This chat offers guided discussion three weeks out of the month and open discussion one week. The person who started this offers quite a lot of additional information via the website.
#ScribeChat (9p ET)
All about “writing, editing, marketing, and publishing fiction and nonfiction in a changing industry,” these weekly chats are also posted on the website.
#bookmarket (4p ET)
Book marketing: necessary for writers and others working in the business, fascinating for readers. There is a corresponding website.
#followreader (4pm ET)
This smart chat explores the publishing industry at an accessible level with thoughtful and insightful facilitators at the helm. Visit the website for archived notes and further discussion.
#fridayreads (all day)
An online, worldwide answer to the question, “Whatcha reading?” Share what’s on your nightstand and pick up tips from others.
#ufchat (6p ET)
Urban fantasy is a growing and intriguing genre, and this chat isn’t afraid to explore, celebrate, and roast it. There is also a website.
#scriptchat (8pm ET)
There’s competition among professionals and amateurs in every field, but this weekly discussion aims to bring experienced and beginning screenwriters together in community. For a bonus chat every first Sunday, first download and read a copy of the produced-script-of-the-month.
#blogchat (9pm ET)
For many of us, blogging is our writing outlet – maybe even our main reading material, too. Talk on Twitter about this online, short-form writing.
#pblitchat (9:30pm ET)
Picture books deserve the attention paid their older siblings, and they get it every week here.
Let me know if I missed any of your favorites. And happy tweeting!
Kristin Thiel writes, edits, and tweets from Portland, Ore.