I’m very pleased to welcome Dane Cobain back to Linda’s book Bag today. Dane previously wrote about the relevance of poetry and you can read that post here. So often I have authors contact me for a slot on the blog to promote their books but when I ask what their Twitter handle is so that I can tag them they tell me they don’t use social media! Today, Dane is sharing his tips for authors in making the most of Twitter.
You’ll find Dane’s fiction, poetry and non-fiction books here.
Twitter for Authors: Ten Top Tips
A Guest Post by Dane Cobain
For authors, Twitter is one of the best social networks around for reaching out to readers, engaging with fans and making an impact in the industry. Unlike many other social networks, Twitter is public by default, and its username-based system – as opposed to Facebook and LinkedIn, which use profiles and pages to add a degree of separation – makes it easy for authors to talk to both individuals and organisations.
Today, we take a look at ten ways for authors to make the most out of the social network.
Tools like Twuffer allow users to schedule tweets to go out on a date and at a time to suit them. While it’s a bad idea to automate too much, it can be useful for scheduling countdowns to cover reveals and new releases or to schedule the same tweet at different times to reach international audiences.
Twitter’s inbuilt list tool allows you to group users together in a single timeline. It’s a good idea to do this for any publishers that you’re interested in, as well as for journalists, reviewers and other influencers, so you can keep an eye on what they’re talking about.
Dashboards like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite allow you to view Twitter data in real-time so that you can respond to people accordingly. By saving searches for terms like “need new book” or “new fantasy”, authors can reach out to readers directly and offer free samples.
One of Twitter’s strengths is that it allows third-party developers to create their own tools using the network’s API. Some of them, like ManageFlitter, allow users to manually follow or unfollow other users based on certain criteria. For example, you could follow new bloggers or unfollow users who haven’t posted for thirty days.
Hashtags # are one of the unique benefits that Twitter has to offer, and they allow you to reach a much wider audience. Look up hashtags that are already in use, or try a tool like DisplayPurposes which will offer up suggested tags to help you to reach people.
Live chats are great because you can chat to people in real time, and all of the posts are usually grouped together with a single hashtag. Many chats take place on a regular basis, or you can create your own as a way for your readers to get to know you.
Due to the way that Twitter works, it’s much easier to participate in the global conversation around trending topics than it is on Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms. Because of this, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what people are talking about and to jump into the conversation when appropriate. You don’t need to relate it back to your work every time – just make your voice heard and you’ll be surprised at how many people start to interact with you.
Never underestimate the power of a retweet. Go out of your way to retweet your most dedicated followers – it gives you extra content to share, and they’ll remember it when your next book goes on sale.
A vanity search is a search for your own name, and it’s particularly useful for authors because they can keep an eye out for people who are talking about their books but who haven’t necessarily tagged them by mentioning their username.
One of Twitter’s strengths is how easy it is to talk in real-time about current events. This ranges from events and conferences to the release days for books by other authors if you’re reading along with everyone else. Even tweeting throughout a day of writing can be entertaining. Be creative!
How do you use Twitter? Do you have any tips for how to make the most of it? Let us know what you think with a comment.
This post is written by Dane Cobain and sponsored by Publishing Addict, an organisation that specialises in building great author websites to help writers to establish a brand, connect with their readers and to sell more books.
About Dane Cobain
Dane Cobain is an independent poet, musician and storyteller with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not in front of a screen writing stories and poetry, he can be found working on his book review blog or developing his website.