I Guess I Don’t Hate Twitter After All.

Well, hi there.

Some of you might remember a few months back when I said I thought Twitter was dumb.  I might have even said, “Twitter is for people with nothing of real value to say” or even “Get a blog if you want to tell us about your life.”  That kind of thing.  Of course, this is coming from the dude who had a pretty sweet website built for him, complete with blog and he, um…rarely blogs anymore.

Yeah.  Hi.  That’s me.  *raises hand*

Well, I’m here to recant my previous statement and tell you that, ahem…I think this Twitter thing is actually pretty dang sweet.  Yes, I will eat my words.  Won’t be the first time, and likely won’t be the last.

Why the change o’ heart?  Gosh, I’m glad you asked.

You see, about a year or so ago, I opened my Twitter account.  I saw that people were jumping on the bandwagon with both feet and mostly out of curiosity, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  I learned how to follow people (mostly celebrities and such) and a couple of friends and I thought: Eh…it’s all right. Then I sort of noticed a trend.  People were posting like 800 “Tweets” in a row (looking at you, Roger Ebert!) and I sort of felt like: Really?  Aren’t you sort of defeating the 140 character limit?  Shouldn’t you get yourself a bloggy blog? (Turns out Ebert has a blog too.  Good on ya, Rog.)

Then I noticed that it was sort of becoming a place for people to put my FAVORITE (sarcasm) types of updates: I’m hungry.  I’m bored.  This song is my favorite…etc, etc… I was thinking to myself: This is the biggest colossal waste of space ever.  Twitter is dumb.  People who Tweet are dumb!  People who spend night after night on Twitter are well…dumb!

I noticed that my favorite band in the world was on Twitter and they also thought it was dumb.  They said, and I quote:

EELS have abandoned their Twitter account. “The only tweeting I wanna hear is in my backyard. This s— is not for us,” says EELS leader E.

I wanted to take a similar stand.  I decided to shut mine down and just be done with it.  As I was searching for the way to closer ‘er on down, I saw a Tweet from Mandy Hubbard, YA author and newly minted agent.  She said that Stone Arch Books was looking for authors to write ghostly, sports, or romance books.  All one had to do was Direct Message them and someone would be in touch.

My Twitter account dodged a bullet.  I Direct Messaged the Stone Arch peeps, and after some back and forth message (or is that Tweeting?) I sent some pages of my MG work to them.  Before long, I was asked to write 2 fiction books on sports.  Just like that.  To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.  Sure I’ve never been much of a sports guy, but I loved the challenge of writing outside of my comfort zone.  And hey, let’s face it.  I wrote a non-fiction book on ballerinas, for cryin’ out loud.  Sports?  I could do this.

Then, I discovered that lots and lots of publishers, authors (both published and hopeful) and agents were haunting the halls of Twitter.  I began following all sorts of these folks to see what they had to say.  I learned about #hashtags and how to follow topics that are helpful.  I followed and un-followed director Kevin Smith (too many Tweets Kev, sorry).

And most recently?  I’ve managed to meet a wise-beyond-her-years agent intern by the name of Cassandra Marshall, who has been a godsend for writers who have questions about query letters and agent stuff in general.  We sort of started talking about (of all things) Selena Gomez and her song “Naturally”.

Yeah…long story.

Eventually, we got around to talking about queries and how many query letters she gets about vampires, werewolves, etc.  I had to ask about zombies (of course!) and she said she’s seen piles of those, too.  So much for that.  But…in a super cool move, she offered to look at my query for GOODHALO.  I sent it and she asked to see the first 10 pages.  Anyway, I won’t bore you with the details, but thanks to the power of Twitter, I’m meeting folks and introducing them to my work in ways I never thought possible.

And to think there are agents out there who STILL (still!) insist on getting a query letter through the mail.  For shame, old-timers.  For shame.

So yes, Party People.  Twitter has won me over.  While I don’t have a TON of followers and less than 500 tweets under my belt, I’m hanging in there.

LESSON LEARNED: Twitter is a great networking tool.  Also: it has gotten me work and might just snag me an agent…somehow.

Oh…what’s that?  You’d like to follow me on Twitter?  Well, sure.  You can do that.  I’m at: http://twitter.com/tktroupe.  My mind-blowing updates also show up waaay at the bottom of my web pages, too.  If you’re reading this on www.thomaskingsleytroupe.com (which you should, it’s so pretty) you’ll see my um…Tweets in that black bar down there.

No, over to the right.  Yes.  Right there.  Good work, cap’n.

And for all of you writer-types out there, here are a couple must-follows:

colleenlindsay – Agent extraordinaire who also is the founder of:

#askagent – Which is a once monthly forum where folks can ask questions about agenty-stuff.  Just not query letters.  For that, go to:

#queries – This thread will get you an answer pretty dang quick.  You can also hear what other writer peeps are going through, query-wise.  Also, it’s a place where some of the agent interns comment on the stuff they’re seeing in the ‘slush pile.’  Folks like:

thatwemightfly – Which is the aforementioned Twitter pal o’ mine, Cassandra Marshall.  She’s gonna make a heckuva agent someday.  Believe that.  She’s one of, if not THE, founder of:

#askintern – Want to ask a question of someone who’s in the slush pile trenches?  Line yourself up with this hashtag and you’ll be all the wiser.

Of course, you should also follow:

hroot – Who is Holly Root, one of the nicest agents I’ve ever queried in my travels.
courtney_s – Who is Courtney Summers, easily one of the most talented YA authors out there.
mandyhubbard – Aforementioned YA author and agent du jour.
NathanBransford – All around good guy, agent and author.  Dude’s got lots o’ advice for new authors and writer wannabes.
stonearchbooks – A great publishing house to work with!

Anyway, follow some of these folks and you’ll easily find more and more peeps to follow and learn from.  I’m sure someone is going to feel slighted, but again…this is coming from the guy who was going to 86 his account about 6 months ago.

Cut a fella some slack.