5-STAR Fantasy / Sci-Fi

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Twitter Tips for Authors

Twitter is an amazing tool to brand yourself as author and connect with your readers and fellow authors. Twitter can play a big role in your Author-Marketing Strategy if used correctly.
It is not an exclusive "free advertising tool" for self-promoters as some people are using it and driving their followers 'nuts.'

We collected some great Tips for Twitter Starters and Twitter Veterans as well.

Getting Started with Twitter (for Authors)

- Be Yourself - Not Your Book
Present yourself as person and not as your book. It might seem a great idea to take the book title as Twitter name - but what are going to do when writing your second book. You would need to open a second account for this book, the third book, etc.
Followers are also more likely talking to a person than a book.

- Choose your Author-Name as Twitter-handle
To brand yourself as author choose your author-name as Twitter handle. If it is not available anymore extend it with 'Author', 'Writer' or a underscore 'First_Last'.

- Provide a Bio, a Photo and an 'URL' (website-address)
Take your time to draft a good sentence for your Bio. Nothing too crazy, too fancy - just a great line so followers have an idea who you are or what you write. A photo is a must but if you like to keep your anonymity you can use a cartoon-ish picture or a manipulated picture of yourself. Don't use your book as profile picture. (Followers get the impression that you 'only' want to sell your book).
The URL could be to your blog, your Facebook page, or other social media sites where followers can learn more about you. Don't use your book link at Amazon. (Same reason as with the picture - new followers won't buy your book anyway. They might do later when knowing more about you.)

- Tweet-Out some Tweets before start following others
Post your first tweets even if you have no followers. Your new followers will read them soon.

Getting Followers on Twitter (for Authors)

- Time to get active on Twitter - Who to follow?
Start following your first Tweeps (Twitter Users). Follow only Tweeps you are interested in. They might be fellow authors, readers, book bloggers, book sites, news sites, people with the same hobbies you share, etc. Follow Tweeps who are posting (by your definition) interesting tweets or have an interesting Bio or are people you know.

- Do not follow everybody you see on Twitter
At first, you are limited to 2,000 people to follow. So, choose your Tweeps as described before. Once you have 2,000 followers yourself you can follow more Tweeps.

- It's all about Quality
If one of your goals is to brand yourself as author and build your own Twitter community where you discuss topics you're interested in - the more it is important to have quality followers and not just thousands of followers who give you every morning a quote of the day, do the 'follow you, follow me game', or are just tweeting out their links to their eBay, Amazon, or other e-commerce sites. It sounds great to have 100,000 followers but these before mentioned users will never communicate with you or have even a look at your tweets.

What to tweet and not to tweet (for Authors)

- Do not sell your book!
Nothing annoys your followers more then asking them "Please buy my book", "Please, read my book", "Now only 99 cents" etc. Followers are quickly annoyed and will call this 'shameless' self-promotion. And you might think the same when reading only these kinds of tweets from people you are following and might decide to not follow these Tweeps anymore.

- Make yourself as Author interesting
Tweet about your writing and the progress of your new book project. Having received an amazing review, award, etc. Share the publishing process, provide tips for others. Share sale success etc. If you make yourself/your book interesting enough  your followers will probably investigate and buying your book and/or reviewing your book. (soft sale)
Let your followers know if your book has been featured, or you've done an Interview or a guest-post. Let them know about reading or signings, how to get freebies, etc.

- Get involved in discussions
You're seeing your followers discussing interesting topics - get involved. Or ask a question to start a conversation.

- Re-tweeting
If you see interesting or helpful tweets from others you'd like to share - RT (Re-Tweet) it to your followers. This helps interesting posts to get a wider audience. Your followers will RT your Tweets as well if they are interesting for them. Don't ask for RT's - your followers will re-tweet your tweets if your posts are good (interesting, helpful) enough for a RT.

- Using Hashtags (#)
Use Hashtags - so Tweeps who search for for a category or genre can easier find your tweets, like #thriller #para #ya #WritingTip etc. Don't overuse them - else tweets can be more difficult to read with to many hashtags.

- Build relationships with other writers
“Thanks for the RT” doesn’t exactly build relationships. If someone retweets your tweet or mentions you, take the extra two minutes to check out their Twitter profile, see what they write, and comment on it in a tweet with a 'Thank you' included.
Fellow writers are mostly also readers and are great to have relationships with to share tweets, writing tips, found a beta reader group, etc. Do NOT use these relationships trying to sell them your books. (This can be seen a lot on Twitter)

Even more Quick Twitter Tips (not only for Authors)

- Be honest. Have fun. Don’t try to sell anything.

- Twitter about stuff that has to do with your blog, but also Twitter stuff that has nothing to do with your blog.

- Share links, share ideas, ask questions, answer questions — anything but “what are you doing?” unless it’s really interesting

- Write each word like it matters, because it does.

- Respect the people you follow. Be interesting. Listen first, tweet second. Don’t waste words.

- Don’t follow more people than you can handle. If you’ve got too much going on, you miss a lot of the good stuff.

- Stop thinking that twitter is pointless and just try it. It’s all about community, reach out and be a part of it.

- Send out interesting, funny, resourceful and insightful tweets and this will earn you more followers.

- Tweet often and experiment with different times of day and night, weekday/weekend. You never know who is ready to surf Twitter.

- Make tweeting a two-way dialogue. Comment/respond to the tweets of others. It’s OK to push out links to your latest blog entry but don’t overly sell anything in your tweet.

- Better to be friendly and positive than negative and critical in your Tweets

-Feel free to comment on current events, hot trends, news, cool individuals, relevant issues, unique ideas, and things you find of value.

- Remember
Talk, don’t sell. Twitter is not a marketplace - it’s more like a community room. Pull up a chair and make friends.

Twitter Glossary (Excerpt)
(Find the official Twitter Glossary here
>>> https://support.twitter.com/entries/166337-the-twitter-glossary#)

The @ sign is used to call out usernames in Tweets, like this: Hello @Twitter! When a username is preceded by the @ sign, it becomes a link to a Twitter profile.

A short personal description of 160 characters or fewer used to define who you are on Twitter.

The Connect tab lets you view interactions, mentions, recent follows and Retweets. Using the Connect tab you're able to view who has favorited or retweeted your Tweets, who has recently followed you, and all of your @replies and @mentions.

DM = Direct Message
Also called a DM and most recently called simply a "message," these Tweets are private between the sender and recipient. Tweets sent over SMS become DMs when they begin with "d username" to specify who the message is for.

#FF stands for "Follow Friday." Twitter users often suggest who others should follow on Fridays by tweeting with the hashtag #FF.

A follower is another Twitter user who has followed you.

Your following number reflects the quantity of other Twitter users you have chosen to follow on the site.

A user's "Twitter handle" is the username they have selected and the accompanying URL, like so: http://twitter.com/username.

Curated groups of other Twitter users. Used to tie specific individuals into a group on your Twitter account.

Similar to RT, an abbreviation for "Modified Tweet." Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message with modifications, for example shortening a Tweet.

Mentioning another user in your Tweet by including the @ sign followed directly by their username is called a "mention". Also refers to Tweets in which your username was included.

A Twitter page displaying information about a user, as well as all the Tweets they have posted from their account

A Tweet posted in reply to another user's message, usually posted by clicking the "reply" button next to their Tweet in your timeline. Always begins with @username.

Retweet (RT)
A Tweet by another user, forwarded to you by someone you follow. Often used to spread news or share valuable findings on Twitter.

Abbreviated version of "retweet." Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message.

Tweet (noun)
A message posted via Twitter containing 140 characters or fewer.

Twitterer (offcial Twitter User - others say Tweep)
An account holder on Twitter who posts and reads Tweets. Also known as "Twitter user"

URL Shortener
URL shorteners are used to turn long URLs into shorter URLs. Shortening services can be found online.

We found some of these great Twitter Tips (You will find there even more...)

here >>> http://www.thefictiondesk.com/blog/twitter-tips-for-authors/

here >>> http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/33-twitter-tips-for-authors-book.html

here >>> http://www.problogger.net/archives/2008/01/25/35-twitter-tips-from-35-twitter-users/

and here >>> http://parayournormal.blogspot.com/2012/06/7-twitter-tips-for-indie-authors-by.html

Please, let us know your Twitter Tips (...for Authors.)


Marie Gilbert said...

what wonderful advice. I was assigned the job of marketing our first self published book for our writer's group and I'm very appreciative for all your help.

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

Thanks for this! I'm changing my profile picture. It is my book cover:)

Mary Barbara Alfaro said...

An excellent article. Thanks so much for posting this. The guidelines about following and followers make a great deal of sense.

Amber Dane said...

Thanks for sharing these helpful tips!

bristolcitychick said...

Not a Tweeter yet as was a bit confused by the whole process. After reading this, may well give it a try, just need to pluck up the courage and find a decent username! Thanks for great info.

Karen Cioffi said...

Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks for a good article.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this! I find Twitter very frustrating because most authors are using it for sales/promotion of their book, 100% of the time. It's a scrolling billboard of self-promotion. I want to promote my book, but I don't want to annoy everyone in the process!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this great advice. I have been on Twitter for about 3 weeks and still have a lot to learn!

Wayne Epperson said...

This item contains the best guidance for a newbie like me.

Thank you for the tips ...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great advice - very useful.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article!

Anonymous said...

Even if you don't have much to tweet about at first, it's easy to click the share button after you read an interesting article or buy a book on Kindle, for instance. Great way to get started and find like-minded tweeps.

Carolyn said...

Should you follow your followers (just to be polite)? Or not?

Clive Eaton said...

There is some great commonsense advice here. Probably the most useful is setting up your Twitter account using your name and adding your photograph plus a decent bio. I rarely follow people who use avatars, don't provide a bio and have an account which seems to intentionally hide their identity. Also, before automatically following others I read a few tweets. If the tweets are all 'me, me, me' then I tend not to follow. If I can see interaction with others I then click the 'follow' button. I've built almost 2,000 followers in my first six weeks using Twitter (and no I haven't bought any lists) and retweet a number of posts every day. I'd also advise joining some writer/artist groups such as #ASMSG, #IAN1, #ArtKNB as this helps to get your name out in the community. Follow the guidelines in this article and you'll find success on Twitter. Thanks for a great article which I will now share with my followers. @CliveEaton

Terry Tyler said...

Excellent post!

You asked for any other Twitter tips??

Many people rely on retweets to get the word out about their books, blogs, or whatever. Thus, we retweet others alot, and they do the same back - it's a reciprocal thing and we all get what it's for!

A few points about retweeting, not just from me but from what others say, too:

1. An RT back is better than a thank you.
2. If someone RTs you several times, RT them back! It's polite.
3. Saying that, if YOU want to be RTd back, leave something you want to be RTd at the top of your page. Sometimes I scroll down people's pages for MILES looking for something to RT back!
4. And, most importantly, if someone retweets your book/blog promotion, take the time to find something of theirs they would WANT to be reweeted. Don't just RT the first bit of daft conversation you come across - it's lazy and rude!

Re some of the things the others said - no, Carolyn, you can follow who you want! Never feel obliged to follow anyone.

JSM - when you first use Twitter you think it is nothing but a stream of promotional links - I know I thought that. But when you use it more you find that you automatically start interacting with people more - you can always start the interaction off! Also, the more you use it the more you find it is so much more. If you make a few comments and RT someone else's books, they'll RT yours, too. this is also one of the ways you find readers.
My twitter activity is about 50% retweeting of other people's stuff, 40% chatting, and 10% my own tweets.
Oh, and most of my regular readers come from Twitter!! So yes, it works

Bob Denton said...

Use the Favourite function to favourite those Tweeps whose tweets you find relevant and interesting, then when you log on to Twitter, you can check your favourites to see their recent posts. This helps sort interesting posts from the flood of self-promotion.

Angela Ackerman said...

this is great--this info all packaged like this is super helpful to those trying to figure out twitter--thanks for putting it all together! :)

My twitter tip is to make those #FF hashtags relevant and interesting (even funny!) People want meaningful connections on Twitter. Make your #FF stand out and say why people should be followed or write something fun and unique, rather than conserving words to fit more names in.


L. Darby Gibbs said...

Love this. Could be titled How to be a Responsible Tweep. Very nice and thank you.
Elldee (L. Darby Gibbs) @LDarbyGibbs

Unknown said...

Very good informative article.
You can have too many, so I would agree 100% have a good amount that is based on quality, and that is active.

Well done


Diane Griffith said...

Very interesting advice. I am quite new to Twitter and not sure at all how to use it, except I need to spread the word about my 4 books on Amazon, Kindle, B&N
I use proceeds to help abandoned dogs in Cyprus and feral cats get fed and neutered. It's a sad situation :-(
They need all the help I can get for them. It's a drop in the ocean, but every drop counts. Ill-treated dogs find kind homes sometimes abroad. :-)

Diane Griffith

SherryGLoag said...

Thanks for this post, I so struggle with twitter, but will try to 'do better' in future with the help of your advice.

Jude said...

This is great advice. The guidelines are excellent.

I've been observing Twitter and following a number of Twitter users for about a year now. Doing this gave me a good idea of how twitter might best work for me. Some users are incredibly witty, funny and succinct. Others are blah blah blah. I have recently become more active myself, starting with RTs, replies and a few tweets. Taking it slowly...

I contribute the following feedback for others thinking of becoming active on Twitter:
I quickly unfollow anyone who tweets too frequently. If I'm following a number of users, it's really annoying if one user takes up all the tweet space, with tweets every few minutes. Feels like they are shouting in my face, and have no awareness of other users I might wish to 'hear'. I feel like telling them to get a life. Thank God for the unfollow button. Less is more, and I really look forward to the quality tweets of users who use it sparingly and with skill. It's fantastic when used well.

Leela Devi Panikar said...

Thank you,I learned much about tweeting. Been on it for a long time off and on. I shall enjoy it more now that I know more about tweeting.


Denise Golinowski said...

Thanks for the tips. Very helpful for someone who is trying to ease herself into the twitter-verse.

Martin Appleby said...

good to know, especially for 1st time authors such as myself, no shameless self promotion!!

50 Something Yoga said...

This has been helpful. I know I have made a few mistakes along the way; time to change that now. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all these useful tips. Without guidelines, it's hard to figure out what is acceptable.

Jeanette Bennett said...

I'm a very boring person, so I started Tweeting as my character Dr. Wendell Howe, a 27th century temporal anthropologist studying the Victorian Age at @Wendell_Howe. Most of the followers on my personal tweet feed @Scablander only started following me when they found out I was behind Wendell. If anyone wants to try something this crazy, I started a blog called "Twitter as a Tool for Writers" at http://writersandtwitter.blogspot.com/ I'll give you all the secrets to Tweeting as your character.

My the way, I like your article and put it as a link on my blog. Lot of useful info.

Barbara McDowell Whitt said...

Thank you for these very helpful suggestions on Twitter use. I use Twitter to tweet links to my blog. Relatively recently I began retweeting articles that I believe other Twitter users will find as informative as I did, such as this one, but no more than four or five at a time. I like the way the images break up the "motonotony" of my own photos. Recently I began tweeting pointers on "How to Write Better."

Shelley Wilson said...

Excellent post, thank you for such straight forward information. I am a Twitter virgin so feel a lot more confident to get involved.

celia said...

Good post. Thank you.. I unfollowed somebody the other day because they were just too in your face

Anonymous said...

This is a great compendium of much needed knowledge! I'll be referring to this often until I get the hang of it!

I'd also recommend in addition to this Twittery awesomeness Kirsten Lamb's blog - warriorwriters.wordpress.com

Always helps to read, read, read!

Brigette Manie said...

Enlightening advice, especially with the twitter abbreviations

Unknown said...

I've just started-out on Twitter and I feel like a stranger in a strange land. I found this to be a very thorough and helpful cheat-sheet. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Great tips, why do I always find these things afterwards. Twitter explained!

Unknown said...

Awesome tips thank you!

Kate Porter said...

Wow! Now I know what I've been doing wrong. Being a novice at twittering this helps a lot. Thank you for sharing.

LifeAfter50 said...

Excellent tips - just what I've been wanting and couldn't find. Will RT your Tweet.

Another tip for authors - be sure to review books (I use Goodreads and Amazon) you've read and be sure to give credit to your local libraries - they RT when you mention them.

Thanks for providing this info. Indie Author News. Melissa

Anonymous said...

Hi! My handle is @FrostieMoss. I started to use Twitter only recently in order to promote my debut novel and to share ideas and pointers as I feel totally lost with marketing. I personally don't think promoting one's work with tweets is wrong. All fellow authors tweet with their links to spark interest daily and I don't mind it. On the contrary, I feel thrilled to get to know them and their work this way. We make sure to thank each other and we retweet each other's posts and also arrange to connect on Facebook, Goodreads and even our blogs. I am currently talking with some of them about the possibility to feature each other in our blogs and I have already made a lovely author friend and we share ideas every day by email. I am making new interesting contacts everyday and I love the camaraderie and the friendly atmosphere of Twitter. This article helped me understand a lot of the jargon and I will make sure to check out all the useful links too. Heartfelt thanks!

Joe Wasylyk said...

Originally, I was advised to join Twitter if I planned to write a book. At that time I didn't even have a personal computer or any access to social media. It's amazing that there are so many strategies to learn for anyone in the writing business. Thanks very much for all those detailed tips and strategies regarding Twitter.

Cyndi Raye said...

These are some really good ideas to remember. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Love these practical tips.

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Anonymous said...

Is it okay to have the header as a photo of the book cover? I was about to add mine... Thanks!

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Really fantastic post you have posted here.

Elizabeth John said...

Great info! Really appreciate it!

Kim said...

Great info, thanks for sharing with your followers!

Yawer Qazalbash said...

Thou I am an old user but the suggestions are very useful and informative.

Writing for Readers said...

Great advice. It's also important to be consistent, posting regularly.

Denise Turney

Rosalinda Morgan's Blog said...

Excellent tips. I'm still struggling with some tweet terminology. Thank you.

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