Over the past few days, I have witnessed more than one aspiring writer approach an agent or other industry professional and pitch a project to them ... via social media.
After spending months (or possibly years) working on a book, WHY would you do this?
Maybe you decided to join Twitter because you read something somewhere about how important a platform is, or how beneficial internet networking can be. Maybe you discovered Spencer and Heidi use Twitter, and so now you think you should too.
You should never do ANYTHING because Spencer and Heidi do it. THEY shouldn't do most of the things they do. Like have plastic surgery. Or sing. (Let's hope this list never involves procreation.)
I read recently in an interview where an author said that she treats social media like a cocktail party. No sex, politics or religion. Bingo. I've developed some amazing relationships through my blog and Twitter, relationships that have enriched my life, made me laugh, connected me with people who understand my season of life in a way that even my family can't. But if I have something negative to say (or ... pictures ... to ... send), I ignore the public forums and jump on over to email or the telephone.
Twitter isn't the place to blast a reviewer out of the water and give out her private contact information because she didn't like your book. (Also, don't use it to tell a grandmother/principal from Texas to suck it, even if you really did think she was a spammer.) And it definitely isn't the place to query - especially when you tweet the same thing to every single agent in the business.
It's not just a Twitter problem. Blog posts aren't the place to rage and bitch about how unfair the industry is, or about how many rejections you've received, or about how incredibly stupid an agent or publisher is because they didn't sign you. Nor is it the place to slam successful authors and the houses that publish them. Maybe you do have more talent in your little finger than that author does in her whole body. Talk to your BFF about it. Don't rant Your Nasty to the largest public venue in the world (wide web).
(And on a side note, while I only use it for people I actually know or have a professional relationship with, Facebook has become very low on my list of priorities, largely due to the passive-aggressive use of The Status.)
When it comes to the writing business (or any business at all) the very best thing you can do is your research. Learn what to say and more importantly what NOT to say. Read the blogs of Nathan Bransford, Editorial Anonymous, Editorial Ass, Michael Hyatt and Rachelle Gardner (especially this post). Git yerrself educated.
I'd like to quote my Awesome Agent, Generalissima Holly Root of Waxman Literary.
"While publishing is a dream/goal, it's also a job, and like any job is not always sunshine and kittens."
That was a tweet, by the way.
There can be extreme wisdom in 140 characters.
There can also be extreme stupidity.
It's really all up to you.