I got started on Facebook years ago, and although I was confused at first, I caught on quickly enough. Twitter, though, frightened me and I stayed away from it. Oh, I created an account. But once I had one, I had no idea what to do with it.
So my poor Twitter account got ignored for a few years.
And then I wrote this book. I might have mentioned it once or twice. Hee hee.
I had no idea what I was doing at that point - where to turn or who to query. And when I did find someone to query, all the advice I'd read said, "Make it personal!" Right. How, exactly?
While attempting to learn more about a certain agent so I could, in fact, make it personal, I saw her Twitter handle. So I started following her and realized, "HEY. She's telling me all kinds of cool stuff!" So then I started following (read: stalking) more agents - any that I could find that repped my category and had a Twitter account.
So that's how I got started, but it doesn't explain why I feel Twitter is so important for writers. For one thing - the networking. There are hashtags - such as #amwriting and #amediting. You check those out any time, day or night, and you will find tons of other writers doing the exact same thing as you (well, maybe not exact. I'm usually sitting on my feet in my office chair, slowly losing circulation to my legs). I have made the MOST amazing friends on Twitter.
The second reason is, as I stated above, you can find agents on Twitter. DO NOT PITCH YOUR BOOK ON TWITTER. Ahem. But, you can follow the agents, find out what they like, and see if they will be a good fit for you. Also, they often give great advice, like Sara Megibow who does ten queries in ten tweets - she says why she's interested (or not ) in a query. Julia A. Weber does lots of writing and querying tips, and she's hilarious.
The third reason is that there are a lot of writers out there who are paying it forward - they've done well and want to help others out. They host contests to try to connect writers with critique partners or agents. Contests that can give you valuable feedback on your writing, even if you don't win.
I'm still new to Twitter. I'm still figuring it out - like I don't know what a Twitter Chat is (vows to find out), but I do think it's a valuable resource to every writer in the querying process, or even thinking about the querying process.