Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and reading resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Writer comics by Debbie Ridpath Ohi are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Twitter Guide For Authors & Illustrators > The Basics > Anything I should keep in mind before I start following people?

Index of topics: Main Twitter Guide For Writers & Illustrators page. To go back to my blog for kidlit/YA writers and illustrators, see Inkygirl. You can find me on Twitter at @inkyelbows (focus: writing and illustrating children's books) and @DebbieOhi (livetweets, chat, photos, personal ramblings). Also see my list of Other Useful Twitter Guides For Authors And Illustrators and Twitter Lists of: agents who represent kidlit/YAkidlit/YA editors, children's book art/creative directors and K-12/teen librarians on Twitter.

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Q. Anything I should keep in mind before I start following people?

Good for you to think before you immediately dive into following tons of people.

1. If you're new to Twitter, DON'T follow hundreds of people right away. Why not? Because people check out your Twitter account out of curiosity and see that you follow a ton of people but are only followed by a few, they may think you're a spammer. My advice: Gradually add to the number of people you follow as you start getting more followers. If you have a blog or are on Facebook, let those people know that you've joined Twitter and invite them to follow you there; make sure to include a link to make it easier for them to find you.

2. Don't follow everyone blindly. Be selective. Why? If people don't know you, some may be curious enough to check out your follow list to find out what type of people you're following. I also advise checking out people's feeds first, to see if they're actually active on Twitter. Your kneejerk instinct may be to follow literary agent xxxx immediately but if she hasn't updated her account in many months or even years, what use is it to follow her? "Because I want to know when she starts tweeting again," is a valid answer, but if your follow count is low then you may want to start off by only following active accounts. See Reason #1.

3. Have at least a few posts online. The best chance you have of attracting followers is when they check out your feed for the first time. When someone first follows me, I usually check out their page right away. If they have no posts, I'm not inclined to follow them back unless their bio is unusually interesting -- why should I follow them if I don't know how they post?

"What's the big deal?" you may ask. "They can always start following me LATER, when I start posting." My answer: How will they know what you're posting, if they're not following you?

Yes, you can always mention them in a post -- that way your post will appear in their feed. From my experience, however, I've learned that people may assume they're already following you if they see your post in their feed. More on this later, but my point is this:

If you want people to follow you, make your feed as interesting as possible. DON'T leave it blank.

Last updated on August 2, 2015 by Debbie Ridpath Ohi