Today is #WriterWednesday and also the second anniversary of #amwriting – which has got me thinking about hashtags. There are now many Twitter hashtags out there that are useful to help writers promote their work, connect with other writers, and – well – write. How do you use them, and which should you use?
If you’re not yet familiar with hashtags, they are simply words or phrases used in tweets with the # symbol in front of them. Make sure you don’t use any spaces or punctuation, and they become links in Twitter that, when clicked, reveal a timeline of everyone whose tweets contain that hashtag. To make the most of your hashtags, include a relevant weblink where appropriate and where space permits.
Here are my top 10 hashtags for writers, with suggestions for how to use them – and a recent example of each plucked from the Twittersphere. Click on a few of them to get a feel for hashtags and how you might use them – and do share any others you’ve found useful in the comments below.
Writing can be a solitary experience, and Twitter is a great way of connecting with other writers. It’s like a virtual watercooler. #amwriting is a hashtag started by Johanna Harness as a way of supporting writers and fostering a sense of community. It even has its own website at amwriting.org. Use it to tell us what you’re working on, support and learn from others, and share your experience.
If you’re at the editing stage, let people know and ask for any advice you need.
#WriterWednesday or #ww was originally intended as a way to give shout-out to writers / suggest authors to follow, or to share writing tips. In practice, it also covers pretty much anything else to do with writers or writing too.
For some people, regularly sharing your word count in public can be a great way to stay focused. Use it to share your successes (and failures!) and motivate yourself and other writers.
#followfriday or #ff is one of the most popular hashtags on Twitter, used on a Friday to suggest people to follow to your followers. Ideally, don’t just include a list of @usernames – tell us why we should follow the person or people you suggest. You can do them one at a time, or include a list of people grouped together by topic or reason.
#ff can help raise your profile too, if people return the favour, or at least thank you in public. This isn’t why you should do it – but it’s an added bonus if it happens.
Another thing you can do on a Friday is tell us what you’re reading. This can be a good way of name-checking other authors your admire – or even promoting yourself if you can persuade your friends to include you in their #fridayreads!
Ideally, include the Twitter @username of the author and official hashtag for the book if either exist; and a link to the book on Amazon. If you have an Amazon Associates account, you might even earn a few dollars (pounds, euros etc.) if people buy your Friday Read on your recommendation.
And if someone else gives a shoutout to one of your books – whether one that you’ve written, or one that you’ve published – retweet it on your own Twitter account, and add it to your ‘Favorite’ tweets.
Use #writingprompts as a way of engaging with other writers by suggesting a trigger for a story; or to look for writing inspiration yourself. Sarah Salway starts her Twitter day with a writing prompt, for example. Also check #writingprompt (no ‘s’), since this is used too; and maybe throw in an #amwriting for good measure! You’ll notice that many of the hashtags in this list are combined where appropriate.
Running a book giveaway on Twitter? Use #bookgiveaway to help people discover it.
You know that you should never pitch to an agent on Twitter, right? They really don’t like it. However, you should follow them, and many are prepared to give advice on Twitter. #askagent is the hashtag to use, which some agents will seek out to answer your questions. #askpub and #askeditor are variations to ask questions of publishers and editors.