Publishing Site of the Week:

LitChat is a website devoted to booklovers who like to tweet about books. More specificially, LitChat is a hashtag (#litchat) in the Twitter world. There is a website, of course, but all it does is describe the #litchat function and how to use it. No idea who is maintaining the litchat website, but the whole idea fascinates me. A website existing to encourage people to go meet up over at Twitter.

LitChat’s existence supposedly starts 4 pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It ends at 5pm on those same days. During those time periods anyone using Twitter can join the #litchat fray. You do this via the standard Twitter chat function. There are two methods: either keep a running Twitter search of the term #litchat going (this is relatively easy using TweetDeck) or enter the Twitter chat room via TweetChat. I use the former method, so I can’t give any details of TweetChat. I’m sure it’s fine.

Although litchat is supposed to be for bringing “readers and writers together,” the only chatting I’ve witnessed with #litchat is writers discussing the craft of writing and their own experiences in the glamorous world of publishing. You can well imagine why this is. Imagine a roomful of readers and one or two writers stumbling upon them. It will be only a matter of a few Internet moments before there is a stampede of writers, dumping a stack of signed books in one corner and herding the two remaining readers into the other. There the hapless readers huddle, vainly trying to escape the hot breath of the self-promoting hacks (one of which is always me).

I’ve noticed the chatting often spills over past the 5pm deadline. In fact it goes on around the clock. Again, is this a surprise? We’re talking about writers talking about their writing. Will they never shut up?

Friday’s chat is a special one in that they have BNW (big name writers) host the chat. That’s how I discovered #litchat in the first place. I follow Jay Lake and he happened to host one a couple of weeks ago.

It’s a cool idea regardless of how sillily I look at it. Stop on by. M,W,F 4 to 5pm est. Or whenever. And bring your books.

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