An Author’s Guide to Twitter. #s, @s, and More

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I’m around 14 months Twitter-old now. There was a time when I was derisory, to say the least, with my comments of this social media platform, and the behaviour of people who thought the world would be entertained or engrossed by their thoughts of the day. I really wondered what all the fuss was about.

But 14 months on, I’m a changed man.

My only previous venture into author networking was through WordPress, and it was and still is a great tool. But now I’m a fully fledged Twitterite I can honestly say that that’s where it’s at!

Around a year or so ago I posted a kind-of guide on Twitter for beginners, as I was one, probably still am to be honest. If you wanna read that without scrolling through my other posts of nonsense you can do that with a click of your finger right here.

I shared my experiences of Twitter and, by my standards, it got a decent amount of Likes. So I’m letting that micro-fame go straight to my head and am here again with another all-encompassing guide.

Now I’m a year older I’d like to think that my understanding and networking on Twitter has improved somewhat. So here are a few things I’ve noticed and learned. These points are all geared towards authors seeking to ‘improve their brand’ but I hope that others who don’t tap keyboards whilst they create fake people and places, may find something useful.

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Tweet about your WIP (that’s Work In Progress, although I know you already knew that). Writers love to read about other writers. They tend to click on that little heart when they see stuff about others’ successes and hurdles. Be that “Yay, I’ve managed 3000 words today,” or “Shit, this short story is licking some serious balls right here,” writers understand both the joy and the pain.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets that look from people when they find out I like to write stories. You know, the one that says OK, yeah, cool, whatever as their eyebrows raise. The sarcastic smiles and the I could do that if I really wanted to attitude. Although I say all that, I’m not that forthcoming with talking about my writing really. Maybe it’s shyness or a tiny lack of belief, but I just get on with it so have the evidence to back up my claims of ‘being such a creative.’

But on Twitter there’s no need for this, people understand.

Share and Retweet. Isn’t there some advice somewhere about the 20:80 ratio? You know, tweeting about yourself only 20% of the time? I admit I’m not that good at sharing others’ tweets, but I’m trying. This point is obviously relevant to all on Twitter, and not just newbies and authors. But it really helps. I’ve found that RTing (that’s cool Twitter speak) is usually #reciprocated (there’s a hashtag – that’s a Twitter thing, too). Not that you should only RT so you can have your content shared also, but by showing an interest in other users’ content it makes you seem more interesting and less self-absorbed, and this is only going to result in more followers.

It took me a while to work out how to share a blog post, too. It is pretty complicated though to be fair. Let me explain, and I hope this isn’t too esoteric for you to follow. At the bottom of the blog post you will see a Twitter icon. If you click this, you can share it on your profile. I know, not exactly rocket brain science, but rather close.

Don’t keep banging on and on about your book. Self-promotion is of course very important, especially in these days of the self-published author. And paying for adverts is perhaps a cost too far after editors and book cover artists, etc, so Twitter is a free and useful promotional tool. But when every Tweet on your timeline is a shameless plug of your book, with nothing else; no witty comments, pictures, or RTs, you’re not going to look like prime Follow meat. Who wants to scroll through their timeline with plug after plug of a book that they’re definitely not going to buy now?

The odd bit of self-advertising is fine, but don’t become simply a marketing machine. Be yourself, your potential readers will love you for it.

Be supportive of others in your chosen genre. I say chosen, yeah like I chose to write horror. No, horror chose me. But you know what I mean. Taking horror as an example, there are hundreds, or indeed shitloads of authors, book bloggers and geek sites dedicated to the frightening and the macabre. Follow em. Share their posts. If they see you encouraging more people to check them out, they’re more likely to do the same for you. This contradicts a previous point granted, but life’s not all black and white you know!

I never used to review books, or anything for that matter. I didn’t really know what to say, there’s so many people out there doing it better, how was I going to make a difference. You know what? It’s easy. Just write what you think and the words will follow, plastered upon that screen in your own unique voice. Writing reviews is still writing, so it’s all practice.

And not only that. From writing for books by indie authors I’ve ended up interacting with them on Twitter. This is where you do things with @s Authors love reviews, that’s a given. But giving a shout out to a writer whose work you enjoyed gets them on your side. I’m not name-dropping here, they know who they are, but being actively involved in a Twitter writing community is a great buzz. Thanks, guys!

GIFs GIFs GIFs. A well placed GIF in your Tweet not only draws someone’s attention but can really give your thoughts or message a real punch. Whether you’re excited about hitting a deadline or stressing out that your WIP is a poo-pile, a GIF brings the chuckles and maybe even a Like or Retweet.

Although saying all that, you may spend hours scrolling through the hundreds of suitable GIFs and still never find the right one. There’s been some cold, lonely nights where this has happened I can tell you.

So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to all things authory and Twittery (well, as comprehensive as it’s going to get. If you wanted more detail, I’m sorry). Make sure you check back next year when I reveal my Expert’s Guide to Twitter. Surely I’ll be an old pro by then?

 

Photo credit: streetwrk.com on VisualHunt/ CC BY-ND

Photo credit: clasesdeperiodismo on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

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