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Twitter Strategies for Authors

For many of us, the words “social media” often conjure up images of teens posting on Facebook (WAAY out of fashion for teens, by-the-way… according to teens, FB is now for ‘old people’) pictures of their lunch or latest beau. But, even if that were the case, the world of social media is actually a very powerful and ever-changing marketing tool. This is where a number of twitter strategies for authors can truly make a difference.

There are certainly a million different social media products on which an author could spend a limitless number of hours.  However, there is almost a secret place that ties so many of the platforms together, and which is capable of reaching out to others who are interested in EXACTLY the things you write about. Twitter. Twitter is quite arguably the most powerful tool online for developing a readership and fan base.

Why Twitter for Authors?

The Twitter-verse is particularly well suited to sending out frequent, though small, bits of information. These snippets should range from excerpts from your book, to your author bio, to your commentary on everything and anything that might be related to your topic. It’s an amazing tool for sending out ‘ticklers’ to a base of readers that create enough interest and curiosity to get them to pop over to your site. Even if they DON’T go to your site, you are remaining engaged with potential readers. The process works like this – a Tweet drives someone to your blog, your blog is hosted on your site, the article on your blog is tied to something in your book, the reader of the blog explores your site, your site gets the reader to buy your book. Simple, right? Twitter is the ‘connector’ that creates awareness of your bigger pieces content by sending out little snippets that create curiosity.

Twitter is also a good tool to capitalize on OTHER writers’ content. Articles, quick reviews of other books, information from other blogs, photos, all of it can be shared via your Twitter feed. This is one of the most common ways of building a symbiotic relationship with other writers across the web. By sharing THEIR content, you are helping build their readership at the same time you are using  their content to build your own. The owners of the content you share will be inclined to follow you – thereby exposing their readershiop to your ideas – and hopefully building up your following.

Participating actively in the social media sphere can be daunting. To keep your readership interested, you will need to literally post 3-5 time PER DAY. This ensures your tweets are remaining at the top of your readers Twitter feed – and keeping your message visible. Twitter is a very ‘temporary’ medium – only a fraction of Twitter users ever go back and read tweets from earlier in the day.

Tips for Author Tweets

1) Don’t look like a ‘newbie’

Most of the social media platforms have some level of arcane language. Twitter is no exception. For example:has a language all its own. Some examples are:

  • Follower: someone who has subscribed to your Twitter feed
  • Hash-tag: (#) this denotes a “topic” or catchphrase that can then be used to search for common topics. It is used by putting the symbol before the word or phrase anywhere in your tweet. #dogearpublishing or #bookmarketing for example. The hash-tag makes your tweet more likely to be discovered in searches on Twitter.
  • Reply: self-explanatory – your answer to someone who has tweeted you, by using the “@” symbol
  • Direct Message (DM): a direct message is how you contact someone who is following you (and whom you are following) one-on-one. In these interactions, this is a private conversation between you and the other person
  • Retweet (RT): broadcasting another person’s tweet to your followers
  • Trending Topic: the ‘hot list’ on Twitter. Every category of topic has conversations that are becoming more and more popular – and therefore garnering more and more tweets… which then results in more and more viewers. Obviously to be able to participate in these trending topics, and link them back to your blog, can be very valuable.

2) Birds of a feather… Follow those whom it makes sense to follow.

You’ve written about a specific topic, or in a specific genre. Follow others in your market space. Follow thought leaders on your topic. Toss in the occasional outlier, but be careful – they really have very little value to you developing a following. Read the tweets from those in your competitive arena. And mimic them. If  someone with a 100,000 followers thinks something is worth tweeting about – well, maybe there’s an idea you can capitalize on. A very useful aspect of Twitter is that it can be highly targeted. ONLY follow people you want to follow – and more importantly who you want to follow YOU. Following the feeds of people who write to YOUR target audience is a good strategy for building your own following.

3) Getting the numbers – building an audience

It’s really very simple, actually (though it doesn’t mean it’s easy or quick). In order of importance.

  • Write focused content
  • Hash-tags in every tweet with focused keywords. Readers searching for those words may find your Twitter feed in the results
  • Follow those whom you want to follow you.
  • Retweet. Feed the ego (and get great content) by re-tweeting content from those you follow. This does two things – gets good content, and in most cases they will follow you too.
  • Hash-tags redux – outside of the hash-tag, use focused keywords in your tweets. These should be focused SEO type keywords that tie into your website.
  • Watch the marketing crap – Don’t sell. This isn’t the time or place, save that for your website. Your tweets should be about all the TOPICS surrounding your book, not JUST your book.
  • Slow and steady – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Post several times a day if you can.

Following all these tips will get you well on your way!

Ray Robinson
Ray Robinson

When Ray first entered the publishing industry, authors relied on “vanity presses” to produce their work – many of whom would charge $15,000 or more and leave the author’s garage filled with hundreds of books. Ray, along with coworker Alan Harris, joined forces with Miles Nelson to create Dog Ear Publishing to provide the author community a self-publisher with a heart. The group’s application of new technologies and publishing on demand reduced the cost of publishing a book to a fraction of what it had been for previous generations; authors now have the ability to publish a book in as little as six weeks and print as few as a single copy.