Quick Note: Yes, the Path2pub website has had a bit of a makeover to make the site more accessible to you readers. If you have any suggestions or have any issues with the update, please let us know!
Today’s AUPQ, Erica_V wants to know: Twitter is a really tricky place in the writing scene because it’s shared both by writers and agents. Obviously, there are certain things writers wouldn’t want agents to see, yet it’s still hard to bite our tongues and not share our grievances over rejections because we don’t want agents to blacklist us. How do you Path2pub ladies feel we can balance this, not being too silent we feel stifled but also not sharing too much to ruin our chances?
I completely understand wanting to be expressive with fellow writers on twitter about the querying process, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Twitter writing community, it’s that it isn’t a diary. Or at least, not a reliable one that keeps your heartfelt confessions safe. With the writing community, the people you’re ranting against/about are right there looking. If you tweet about getting constant rejections, there’s a chance a brand new agent still trying to find their footing in the industry will be more critical with your MS because “if other agents are rejecting it, then maybe there IS something wrong with it”. I’ve literally seen the reverse of this where the agent requested an MS via DMs because the writer tweeted about having an influx of full requests. There are agents that request MSs via Twitter based on Moodboards and hype over a pitch. So it might be subtle, but Twitter does influence some agent’s decisions and no one really wants to lose their chance over an aggrieved tweet that blew out beyond expectation. So yes, it makes it tough to find that balance you’re asking about.
Recently, my publishing path hit an iceberg and you literally can’t tell from my Twitter that anything went wrong. Or my raging thoughts about it. I spoke to the Path2pub ladies about it, spoke to my friends and family, but I’m not going to be publicizing my thoughts on Twitter because I don’t want that used to define me. So my advise would be to consider sharing grievances with writers groups, or even better, on your blog—agents don’t have quick access to those. That way, you can air your feelings to the public without fearing that you’re risking your chance of being agented. It’s not exactly fair, but that’s just how it is. 🤷🏻♀️
—Lucia, the YA Fantasy Writer!
Twitter can be an utter hellhole so I completely agree with Lucia that we are definitely better off sharing a lot of things on other platforms that give us greater control over our privacy. When we are upset, we want a place to rant and air our grievances, but the problem with doing that on a public platform is that everyone can see it and we have absolutely no control over how people interpret your words or react to them. Agents are not the only ones out there – there are also other writers, readers and a heck of a lot of trolls who will take a stab at you just for the sake of doing it. I’ve experienced this personally, so trust me when I say that the 280 character limit of a tweet is not enough to provide proper context to your feelings! The last thing you want is for your words to be taken out of context and receive all sorts of unwarranted commentary about them. Your feelings are valid! So you wouldn’t want to run the risk of having them invalidated and criticised unnecessarily.
One way some people work around it is having a private Twitter account limited to only the people they trust. The new Twitter Circles function can also be used for this. That way, you have a platform to air your views to people who are likely to understand, with a far lower risk of getting blacklisted or any of the other negative stuff that could happen!
-Amber, YA/NA SFF!
So, I have had my Twitter account since 2008. I have also been active on the internet since I was in fourth grade. I have seen websites come and go and yet somehow, the Bird App still reigns over all of us. I have had many Twitter accounts, a lot of them in fandom spaces, just like my former Tumblrs. What I have learned over the years is that sometimes we have to vent our frustations out. But we don’t need to voice them to the world. Having a close group of friends helps when you get a rejection, or even when you get a full request.
But, we also have to be cautious about our group chats too. Sometimes, there are people are act like your friends but aren’t really your friends. They might try and ruin your own reputation on line. As aspiring writers, we kind of want to have our own brand and let the agents know what our brand is. And sure, I might have written tweets I regret from many years ago. But like I’ve told my friends before, if someone wants to drag up tweets from 2010, they have a long way to get there and also it kind of proves they have no life. Just always be cautious when you tweet online. And if you find Twitter being a mental drain for you, it’s okay to take a long break from it.
–Briana, Slice of Life YA
Even though this question specifies to Twitter, I want to expand my answer and speak about other platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and even Facebook. I can count with my hand how many times I have shared my grievances in any platform, and typically they are just short and to the point tweets, not really rants. The Internet is at the tip of our fingertips and what I have learned is what you put out there stays out there and even if you delete it, there is a possibility you had already made an impression. It is hard to share and open up but finding a close group of friends, like Briana mentioned, that you can share your frustrations might be the best approach.
There was a time that I was so overwhelmed with rejections and I just wanted to rant and express myself. I turned to my notebook that has a Winnie the Pooh quote: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” I literally use that notebook only for my rants and frustrations. And I agree with Amber with the new Twitter Circle you can adjust who sees your tweets!
Alex, Romance Writer!
I agree with what has been said by my fellow contributors about sharing “too much” on social media. You just never know who’s reading, commenting or sharing what you post. Also once it’s out and shared, it can’t be taken back, so it’s a reality that we have to face and live with whenever we decide to post something on social media. As Alex said, even if you delete the post, maybe it had already made a bad impression, and there’s the fact that maybe someone saved it, took a photo of it… you just never know where it will end up or how it can be used. Personally, I don’t rely on Twitter or Facebook to share my frustrations regarding rejections or hardships in the road to publication. I have my family, friends, writer friends and critique partners who are my “safe space” and thankfully I can talk to them.
I believe we all need a special person or group of people to have by our side when things get hard and we just need someone to listen. Of course I’m not saying we should only share the happy news on social media and not what makes us struggle. I just think we have to question if we really need to share it, consider how to do it and be aware of the implications it can have. It’s not the same to rant about a rejection because the agent didn’t like our book; as sharing what we can learn from that experience in a constructive way. I think that would benefit the readers of our posts even more.
-Mariana, PB Writer!