The MN Publishing Tweet Up
Wednesday, July 20
The focus, lately, has been community. Though really, when it comes to writers and the book-minded, does the subject ever stray from community? Again, as isolated as we are in our profession and our practices, we’re still very social creatures. We learned that with the talented Hazel and Wren. Today we are going to learn about another extension of the Twin Cities literary community: The MN Publishing Tweet Up.
MCB would like to say that it takes place on x Wednesday of the month, or every x weeks, but unfortunately this wonderful opportunity is still flicking its moistened wings to test out the weather. Regardless, the MN Publishing Tweet Up is a wonderful opportunity, and not only for writers, but for editors, publishers, agents, and just about everyone else who lives and dies by the book1.
What is the Tweet Up? Where did it come from? MN Publishing co-founder Dawn Frederick explains:
There seemed to be missing an opportunity for writers and those in publishing to interact casually, outside of an overly planned or paid event. Very much like the Lit Pub Crawls in NYC, it seemed a great idea to have our own variation of this in the Twin Cities. Especially due to the many successful and newly established indie publishing houses here. Plus the NY publishing scene knows we have an incredible writing community – the MN Pub Tweet Up allows us to reflect this even more.
Here’s how it works:
Attendees arrive at the specified location (last Wednesday’s being Clubhouse Jäger), order a drink of their choice, head to the back of the bar, and take a nametag from the stack. About the nametag—it’s imperative, MCB has discovered. Without the nametag, nobody is going to look down at your chest and say “Ah, yes. I liked your tweet about [noun]. Very insightful.” On the nametag goes of course your name, your Twitter handle (if you have one), and—during Wednesday’s Tweet Up in particular—what book you’re currently reading. If you’re an attendee lucky enough to hail from a local literary presence, it wouldn’t hurt to put that, too, unless you want to go undercover.
The atmosphere is friendly. MCB would like to stress that—it’s incredibly friendly. Frederick is one of the most welcoming and extroverted personalities to have ever fallen in love with books—most of us being so awkward and introverted—and she makes an excellent host. Doubtless this fits into her philosophy regarding writers, editors, agents, and their complicated relationships:
I’ve experienced aspiring authors getting extremely nervous when in the presence of anyone who works in publishing. Seeming to forget we’re just like them, that the only difference we have is our roles in the publishing world. Someone needs to write the book, others need to make it happen. It’s that simple. Nothing worth getting overly worried or stressed about. The goal of the Tweet Up is to hopefully reflect that sentiment. To allow everyone to “come as they are” without necessarily worrying about the constraints of a formal interaction. And being able to discuss the new trends and challenges in publishing over a happy hour is always going to be a good experience, and less formal.
What’s more—the Tweet Up is not only meant for writers or those who work in publishing. According to Frederick, the only qualification for attending is to simply love books. “If publishing is going to survive the transitions
it’s currently going through,” she told MCB, “we all need to unite.”
Wednesday’s Tweet Up was only the third of its kind, the whole project still being very new. What hopes are there for the future?
We’d love to see this grow. The MN Pub Tweet Up would love to include more guest bloggers on our site, where publishing and books are discussed. There is also the possibility of us rotating Tweet Ups between St. Paul and Minneapolis. Even moving to a more organized setup with a speaker each time and lots of tweet “action” (very much like a Digital Book World event). For the moment, there are many ideas on the table on where we’d like to go. As long as the “come as you are” approach stays intact, we’re game for new ideas. Right now we’re planning the next one for this Fall (nothing is set in stone yet). Fingers crossed, I’m hoping it’ll be a something that will bring even more people.
The MN Publishing Tweet Up, so far, has seen anywhere from twelve to twenty attendees at a time. Again, the only requirement is a love of books, so there’s really nothing to stop you—if you’re reading this blog with “bibliophile” in its title—from keeping in touch with MN Publishing and pouncing on the next opportunity to meet these extraordinary people. In an hour, MCB talked about Philip Roth, debated the evils of Amazon, confessed utilization of a 1940s LC Smith typewriter for all first drafts, learned about Twitter platforms, and shook hands with a half dozen sweaty book lovers2. It’s any bookish Minneapolitan’s dream.
For more information about the Tweet Up, visit the MN Publishing website at http://pubmn.com, or follow them on Twitter: @MN_Pub. If writers are interested in contributing to the MN Publishing blog, please contact Dawn Frederick or Eric Christopher through the MN Publishing website.
1: This is not an idiom, meaning the emphasis should be placed on book, not the phrase itself. MCB apologizes for the ambiguity. Official statement forthcoming.
2: This is not to say they were in some way depraved or abnormal; the room was at the back of the bar and refused to slip below 95º. The book lovers themselves were stellar people and were only sweating because there was no other way, you understand.