How to find your ride-or-die writing community
Because crying into your pillow about rejections isn't as fun as venting about it on a group chat. Trust me.
When I first started querying one of my many now-shelved manuscripts in 2018, I also joined the Twitter #writingcommunity. At the time, I didn’t do it to make friends. Psssh. Back then, I was a total loner and disliked most people. I didn’t need friends! Instead, I decided to engage with the writing community to keep an eye on literary agents’ tastes, who they represented, and how they interacted with authors.
But querying is a lonely journey. Especially when you’re querying your book well before it’s ready—like I did with my first 4 manuscripts. So as the rejections piled on, I gave in and started chatting with my fellow writers on Twitter without expecting any real connection to happen. This was just to make sure I didn’t spiral and scream on social media every time I got a rejection.
And guess what? That’s how I met some of my best friends.
Don’t get me wrong: Social media is a cesspool of toxicity, and the kind of discourse BookTwitter whips up is exhausting and almost always destructive. But it’s also the best place to find your ride-or-die writing community.
Here are some ways you can find your author besties that worked really well for me.
1. Engage with BookTwitter hashtags
The most popular hashtags are #writingcommunity, #amwriting, and #writerslift. But if you’re looking for agent representation, #amquerying is a great place to connect with fellow warriors in the query trenches. I don’t really recommend tweeting about your rejections or full/partial requests, but interact with fellow authors, see who you vibe with, and hop into their DMs.
Yes, yes, I know how anxiety-inducing it is to send that first DM to a potential writing buddy. But before you know it, you’ll have exchanged thousands of messages and you won’t even remember who DMed first. (That’s what happened with my now-bestie, Ananya Devarajan. Who started the conversation way back in 2020? Who knows, and who cares?)
2. Strut your (book) stuff
Create a hashtag for your work-in-progress (WIP) and whip up an aesthetic for it that you can share with the writing community—and be confident and excited about it. If someone says good things about it, thank them and ask them what their book is about. Spark conversation!
For example, my hashtag was #desiEMMAromcom for the book my agent offered on, and this was the aesthetic:
I had already amassed a decent Twitter following and tons of eager friends by this point, but even when I was a newbie to BookTwitter, I was actively talking about my WIPs and connecting with potential ride-or-die author friends.
PS: If you’re not comfortable sharing too many details about your WIP, that’s okay too. You don’t have to share the book title (I actually recommend not to), the plot, the characters’ names, or anything of the sort unless you want to. ~Vibes and tropes are good enough!
3. Be authentic and kind
I can’t stress this enough. Twitter is full of horrible folks, like most places on Earth (online or offline). If you can show people kindness and treat them the way you’d like to be treated, you’re already in the top 10% of good accounts to follow on social media.
You don’t have to like everyone—god knows I don’t! But the people whose tweets make you LOL, the ones whose writing you can’t wait to read based on just an aesthetic or book hashtag? Tell them you appreciate and support them. I believe so strongly that if you think a good thought about someone, you should express it to them. It might make their day—and help your relationship, too.
4. Give it time
Friends aren’t made overnight, so try not to rush the process. Focus on building relationships versus labeling them right away. And then, before you know it, you’ll be grumbling about query rejections, celebrating your new agent, and lamenting how depressing it is to be on submission—all with your ride-or-die writing group chat.
I hope you enjoyed reading my very first newsletter. If you’d like to help your existing writer besties make more friends, click the button below and share my newsletter with them!
You can also hit ‘reply’ and tell me how you found your ride-or-die writing community, if you have one. I’d love to add on to these tips on the Substack website. Edit buttons exist for a reason!
I’ll see you next Friday—and good luck with your writing!
Love hard & dream big,
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