Social Media, including Twitter, have become one of the most powerful tools an author can use to gain a stronger online platform in today’s marketplace. There are millions of users worldwide, and a large number of established book/author/reader communities to make the most of. If you are new at Twitter, or are struggling to find your feet, here are some essential basic tips that may help.
1. Setting up your profile You may think this is one of the easiest steps to get through, however it is at this point that many authors make mistakes which may cost them interest in the long term. If you’re new to Twitter, taking time over your profile can make it more attractive, and therefore you will gain more followers. If you’re already using Twitter and not getting anywhere with it, you may want to look back at your profile and ensure it’s beneficial to you as an author, or simply update it.
Ensure your username and handle (e.g @CarolEWyer) is your author name. This is how many Twitter users will search for you, so you need to ensure they are able to find your account easily, and they will be searching for a person, not a book.. You may be tempted to use your book title, but this will limit your account to one book. If you are planning on writing more than one book, using your author name makes better sense and enables you to reach your existing readership when the next book is released. If your name isn’t available or is already being used, add something to it such as ‘@carolewyerauthor’ or ‘@carolewyerwriter’.
You will also need to write a short biography. Try and keep this light-hearted and informal in order to attract more followers. Think of it as your blurb. It’s there to catch attention. You only have a short space, so try to include information that will attract your target audience. You can include the title of your latest book here too, so it is easily visible to those looking for you. Ensure you include your website address (separate to the biography).
Using a friendly photo of yourself as your profile picture is ideal – it creates a connection between you and possible readers as well as other Twitter users. You can use a book promotion image as your Header Image so that readers of your work can immediately see your latest work. It also creates a sense of legitimacy, professionalism and familiarity. Below is an example. 2. To Tweet or not to Tweet. Once you have setup your account, it can be daunting to know what to write, what to say and who you’re saying it to. Firstly, the majority of Twitter accounts are public, which is why and how people follow you. If people read your tweets and find them interesting, this is the best and most genuine way to gain followers.
A huge amount of authors are told that Twitter is a selling tool. It isn’t. Twitter is a sociable promotional tool, and so much more. It contains communities of writers and authors for support and encouragement, industry professionals for advice and tips, and of course readers and reviewers. However if you set out simply believing you can shout ‘buy my book‘, you will more than likely end up very disappointed. Although it is more than acceptable to talk about your book on Twitter, there is a subtle etiquette that you will need to learn.
Generally I advise that every fourth or fifth tweet should be book orientated. This can be very subtle, perhaps a link to a review, competition, media coverage, interview or blog tour, rather than a straight forward ‘BUY MY NEW BOOK HERE!’. Tweets such as this can be very off putting and you may find that followers quickly delete you if you over do it. Promoting the success of your book on the other hand demonstrates what a good read it is without you having to ‘shamelessly‘ brag! Ultimately, the rule is to keep it professional and confident.
You will also need to make yourself interesting as an author. If users see a neglected account, they will immediately be uninterested. You can talk about your writing journey, what research you may be doing for your work in progress, link to blog posts and competitions and generally interact with readers and authors on all sorts of topics. By making yourself interesting, you will indirectly be tempting your followers to investigate your work, and this means potential sales.
3. Build on Your Twitter Relationships. Once you have some followers, you will need to build relationships. The only way to do this is to interact, and that doesn’t simply mean thanking someone for following you, or retweeting something someone has posted. Starting, or joining in a conversation is a great way to begin, and eventually you will have a following that you can come back to on a daily basis. A great place to start with this, is other writers. Remember that most writers are also readers, so although they may eventually take an interest in your work, support you through publication and recommend your books, do not ‘sell’. Using the rules in the point above will mean they will take a genuine interest.
There is so much more to Twitter than this, but these basics are essential to get right in order to make the most of what is a global piece of promotion. If you have any questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me on @authordesigner.