Mohsin Hamid was recently branded a "monster" for retweeting favourable reviews, but authors should learn to use Twitter to promote themselves, argues Matt Haig.
But – I say, shuffling papers – I would like to read to the court some considered reasons why writers love social networking and why this is OK even if sometimes they use Twitter to promote themselves.
– We are lonely. We are impossibly lonely. Up in the attic, eating toast and wondering when we should have a shower and trying to remember what wearing shoes felt like. We therefore like to chat to people.
– Writers have always been self-publicists. Mark Twain, for instance, always went around in a white suit saying "look at me, here I come in my white suit". Maigret author Georges Simenon once had the very real plan of writing a novel while sitting inside a glass box so his readers could watch him as he wrote. Now Twitter is our glass box. And you can walk past it if you want.