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Connecting with Authors on Twitter

2013 March 13
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In 140-character messages called tweets, Twitter allows people from all walks of life to share thoughts, links to webpages, and images. Add a select group of followers and you can keep your messages between friends — or add celebrities, organizations, and movements whose messages will take your feed to a bigger scale. You can follow people with mundane insights like me @LPerenic, or learn about major political change from President Obama (@BarackObama). If you aren’t sure where to begin and browsing is how you often stumble upon new things, a good place to start is the discover feature on Twitter, where you have the option to browse categories, including books. This category has 60-some rotating suggestions of book-related tweeters (twits? tweeps?) who might be fun to follow.

twitter

Straight away Twitter suggests some heavy hitters in the world of young adult writing: authors like Sarah Dessen (author of Lock and Key, on the The Ultimate YA Bookshelf) and Neil Gaiman (author of The Graveyard Book, which made the 2009 Teens’ Top Ten).

A lot of authors are easy to find on Twitter since their username is also their real name. Divergent (2012 Quick Picks nominee) author Veronica Roth is @VeronicaRoth, while Caitlin Kittredge (author of The Iron Thorn, which made 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults) uses the abbreviated name @caitkitt. Just to be different, David Levithan is also listed at @LoversDiction, which is a reference to his book The Lover’s Dictionary. I had never heard of this book and hadn’t read it either. See, I’m learning already!

twitter social graph – Marc_Smith via flickr

I like the variety of names as well as avatars. For many authors, I don’t know what they look like, so seeing their faces on Twitter is fun but disconcerting. It almost feels like I am meeting the authors for the first time when I put a face with their name. Authors can be easier to identity when they use a book cover as their avatar. Ellen Hopkins (author of Glass and Impulse, both 2008 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers) uses a shot of her latest book, Tilt, to gain the attention of her fans. Browsing for familiar logos can lead you to authors to follow on Twitter. Groups like YALSA — hey that’s us! — use their logo as their avatar.

Similar to finding a good book, authors to follow on Twitter can be found by word of mouth, a re-tweeted post, or from collections of tweets like The Hub’s weekly post, Tweets of the Week. I prefer to throw my question out into the Twitterverse and see who replies. Out of humility or a little shyness, I have a lot of responses from fans but none from any big authors I know.

With a handy call out to @YALSA, my query for awesome authors for teens who are fun to follow was met with this response from @noelliespinelli: “@LPerenic @maureenjohnson is sort of like if a cartoon squirrel could tweet. I like her. #yalsa.” It’s not something I had tried to put into words but her descriptions is how I feel about following Libba Bray, whose constant observations and Instagram discoveries are delightful and insightful. (I’m also secretly terrified she will find out I’m not done reading The Diviners yet.)

Here are some other YA authors to know:

Who do you follow and why? Share with us in the comments section below. I often find authors to follow when other authors do shout-outs and praise for their fellow writers. I’m going to browse my Twitter feed for other inspriisng authors while humming “One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx because that is how my tangential mind operates. And yes, The Fixx is on Twitter too: @FixxOnline.

Also if you have the the time and patience to explain hash tags to me, I am all ears. I only just realized they aren’t “hatch tags,” so what do I know. (In my defense, they do look like little crosshatch marks.)

— Laura C. Perenic, currently reading Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (2012 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

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