How to Use Twitter for Writers and Authors

How to Use Twitter for Writers and Authors

That is the question many a writer or author find themselves asking, with today’s abundance of marketing options for their books. So this post is going to help demystify what the big deal is about that little blue bird and offer some steps to help clarify why Twitter for writers and authors can be a valuable tool.

Forget what you’ve heard

Let’s begin with you clearing your mind of all you’ve heard about Twitter being a detailed news stream of peoples personal eating habits or their brilliant new flossing technique. Sure these users are out there, but you won’t be finding yourself in those circles (for the most part) after reading this post.

Twitter is this…
It’s an online community where millions of people contribute ideas and information about any interest or industry you can pretty much think of. Look at it like a cocktail party or a gathering after a half day workshop where everyone is mingling, sharing and building relationships. When used effectively, it can become a very powerful networking tool as part of your writer or author platform.

Get clear or WASTE your time!

Firstly, you need to decide if and how Twitter can be of use to you as a writer or author. You’ll find the majority of people find Twitter of most value when networking with other industry professionals. For example, if you have a children’s picture book you may find that these readers for the most part, don’t use Twitter. Instead you may find parents and teachers over on Facebook. In this case, use Twitter to network with other writers, book reviewers, book bloggers and industry professionals, where you can share your experience and information and learn from others.

On the other hand, if you have a business book on reducing your tax you’ll find quite an abundance of Twitter users interested in business  and financial related topics.
In either case, it’s important to understand who your looking to reach out to and engage with on Twitter before you start out.

Important tips to remember before you begin

Before setting off into tweet land, it’s important to consider these few tips of what can be considered as ‘Twitter conduct’.

1. Who are you? – Complete your profile

Before you begin tweeting, realise people will want to know who you are, before they decide to follow you. You are hardly going to instantly have warm-n-fuzzies with a random Twitterer, so be sure to complete your Twitter profile in full with a solid bio, handle/url and profile photo. People want to see who they are talking with, because it’s about connecting with real people.

2. Author brand not single books

Twitter is all about connecting people and cultivating relationships. It’s not about any one book or new product. Don’t make the mistake of setting up your twitter account as the title of your new book. Why? because books don’t talk, people do. Other twitterers will respond to other people, not a picture of some unknown new book.

Also, as a writer or author you are likely planning on having more than one book, so it would be crazy to limit your profile to just the content of a book. Instead create your author brand account so you can freely chat to others about their experiences, your journey as a writer, your new upcoming event and every now and then information about your book.

3. Quality trumps quantity

Far too many people get wrapped up in the amount of followers they have. There’s going to be a select percentage of people following you who connect hoping you just follow them back, not because they are interested in connecting and what you say. Twitter is about making genuine, solid connections, not who’s most popular this week. It simply comes down to this. If you engage with people and partake in active conversations in the community, give as much as you receive then you’ll slowly, but steadily see your interested followers grow naturally. Followers who are actually paying attention to your Twitter feed and that’s exactly what you want.

4. It’s not about ‘selling’ your book

Don’t use Twitter like a megaphone shouting to all those in range to buy your book. This will only do one thing, have people ignore you. Give value and you shall receive value. People will engage with those they know, like and trust. Get to know people first, be curious about their projects and goals and the chance to talk about your book will come.

Would you prefer to buy from some prima madonna, Chef turned author, who has a never ending twitter steam of “My new cook book is awesome, get it!”, or someone who is helping others with suggesting a new ingredient to add to their almost perfect family dinner?

Squish the shy demons and get out there

So by now I think you can see the potential Twitter offers writers and authors and how you can begin using it effectively as part of your book marketing plan. I know you might be quite introverted and shy, it’s quite common among creatives. You must realise though, if you are to find any kind of success today you simply have to overcome your shy demons and flap your wings.

Come up with your own creative ideas for getting the most out of Twitter. Just make at least half an hour a day to jump on and engage with others. Before you know it, your writer or author platform will have taken another substantial leap forward.

Participating not spectating

4 Responses to How to Use Twitter for Writers and Authors

  1. What do you think about creating a twitter for the MC in a series? I know John Locke succeeded with that and I have been toying with the idea. Right now I’m not really on twitter (time is super tight around here) and am thinking about how to approach it when I am ready to go out and start marketing my book.

    • Hi Mel, great to meet you. It sounds like you are just starting out, so I strongly suggest you create a Twitter account branding YOU as an author. This will work much better for you in the long run with future books you release that are not all in one series. A Twitter account just for your MC will restrict this and unless you already have a mass of raving fans for your books who already know your character such as JK Rowling , I see it limiting your reach. On Twitter people connect with people. Keep in mind, John Locke has many books building a fan base that ‘NOW’ knows and likes his MC. When your book series reaches this stage, simply create a second Twitter account. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hi Anthony, Great tips for authors especially about establishing the brand of YOU. If you are already well known like Guy Kawaski you can create a page with your book title (Enchantment) but the rest of us mere mortals need to introduce who we are and why what we say is important 1st.

    • Exactly Lauren, well said! On top of that, having an actual marketing strategy rather than trying a bit of this and that is key. Funny you mention Enchantment as I’m half way through it now in Chapter six: How to Overcome Resistance. Thanks for the comment!

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