Twitter for authors and illustrators

Children's Illustration Watercolour: Dog pulling washing off the laundry line.

Are Writers or Illustrators Twits if they Tweet?


We have to be social on the Internet but how do we balance it?

Twitter for authors and illustrators? I mean come on, who has time for all the social networking available to writers and illustrators? And when will we have time to write or illustrate the “important” stuff?

I have picked up so much helpful information lately on many topics relative to the business of writing and illustrating. I have been up since 4am trying to document all the gems- my head is spinning! I have discovered so many answers that I know will benefit me (and you) when I get to share it all. There is so much information available to us but it is a maze to sort through and now again this week the question is raised: Am I a Twit if I Tweet?

Social media can be extremely consuming but I truly believe it is a vital part of a writer’s or illustrator’s business. I can honestly say it has bought me work, connected me to some great people and put a lot of fun in my break times. Yes, it has been worth the time but I do my best to be disciplined. I must be mindful of the balance between the Internet and my creative and family time – not always easy!

Twitter – Tried it, didn’t buy a T-Shirt either.

Years ago when Twitter was new I opened an account and fiddled but never really gave twitter a go. Now I wouldn’t even know my account login.

After digesting Michael Hyatt’s view on Twitter in his book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World I am seriously considering opening a new Twitter account with a renewed curiosity. Michael has convinced me that Twitter may be a valuable community platform and it may well be worth my time. I bought his audio book which was a great time saver (listening in the gym) but I now want the hard copy to bombard with a juicy highlighter pen, as it was so full of great information – thanks Michael!

So am I a Twit if I use Twitter too?

Although I understand the need for social networking, I have to be precious about my creative time (especially as I am getting busier and busier!) I don’t like jumping around aimlessly on social media without building relationships in the process. I don’t like the spammy “look at me, look at me!” attitude at all.

I write, so obviously I like to share what I think is valuable. I also appreciate the heads up from others so I’m willing to test the Michael’s theory. But there is a reason I have renewed courage to take on another social platform when my work opportunities are accelerating: I now have tools to streamline my social networking and make it more profitable for the people I connect with too.

So Twitter here I come, you are on my radar in the next few weeks. I will let you know if I was a Twit or not in a few months but in the meantime, I would love to hear about your experience if you Tweet regularly. OK, I am all ears … or is that eyes here?

7 replies
  1. Ian
    Ian says:

    Good post, Kayleen.

    Some advice I got was initially focus on the one platform, whether it’s Twitter, FB, blogging, etc. Perhaps Pinterest is a good one for you being artistic.

    One of the things that frustrates me as a follower is that I end up getting multiple versions of the same information, ie, it’s tweeted, FB-ed, etc. I like Twitter because I usually learn more things from it which I’m able to share as well.

    • Kayleen
      Kayleen says:

      Hi Ian,

      I have a Pinterest account and only use it for research. You can get great ideas for different aspects of this industry and for my personal crafty things like handmade gifts etc.

      I have opened a Twitter account @ArtKayleenWest and haven’t really tested the waters yet but will see. I will look out for the duplicate posts. I am hoping I find an answer for grouping the whole social networking in some software platform. I am still checking it out. I will post my finding as I think we all need help sifting through all this these days.

      Kayleen 🙂

      • Lauren
        Lauren says:

        I read something that said you should generate most of your content on your website/blog and then use social networking as a way to draw people back to your website rather than putting all your good content out in sites you don’t own. Makes sense to me!

        • Kayleen
          Kayleen says:

          Yes that is true to a degree.

          You want to add value no matter if it is on your blog or on social media but I t is good to refer people back to your blog (and to your work). Besides, you are limited to what you can Tweet anyway, and any social media sites are limited to members.

          If you have your “fleshed out” content on your website blog and refer to it now and then it benifits everyone. Hopefully while you are investing your time sharing your knowledge, your readers will be loyal and support you.

          You need to be relational minded and be generous in giving rather than adverstise yourself.

  2. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    Very interesting question Kayleen. I tried twitter for a little while but really felt like I wasn’t making connections. I felt like a lone tweeting bird with no-one to hear my cries. Maybe I did it wrong, I don’t know. I know that you can easily hook twitter up to facebook so that your facebook posts become tweets at the same time, that could help save time coming up with regular tweets. I did try Instagram, the photos look awesome on the iphone but really you can’t use the images for much else as soon as you put in any other medium they look really grainy. I’d choose twitter over instagram but I think artist’s would do well with a website, blog and facebook account. Twitter hasn’t won me over just yet. I’ll be interested to see how you go with it.

    • Kayleen
      Kayleen says:

      Hi Lauren,

      Time will tell but I am willing to test the approach Michael mentions in his book (and other great ideas). I have been testing all platforms to see what is best for me. My situation may vary a little from you as I write too (not just illustrate). I think it has to be determined individually as everyone has different preferences and time restraints too.

      I will definitely post what I find as I am focussing on making my blog a real place for information for my reference and that of others.


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