10 Twitter Tips for Authors

on February 24, 2014 in Indie Publishing, Marketing & PR

If you're an author, you've probably heard plenty about the importance of social media marketing. But when it comes to using social networks as marketing and PR tools, there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Let's look at Twitter as an example.

Here are some Twitter tips that will help you build better relationships with existing fans (which ultimately leads to more book sales), reach more potential readers, and avoid pissing off your followers in the process.

10 Twitter Tips for Authors

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10 Twitter Tips for Authors

Keep these Twitter tips for authors in mind when promoting yourself and your books on the social network to build better relationships with fans, reach more potential readers, and avoid pissing your followers off.

  1. Be personable. Twitter is a social network, not a billboard for your book.
  2. Quality, not quantity. Aim to reach readers, not win a popularity contest.
  3. Use #hashtags to reach interested groups. But not too many. #obnoxious
  4. Don't retweet every positive mention of your book. Really. Stop.
  5. Include a link in your bio to your website or blog.
  6. Follow your fans, not just other authors.
  7. Use a headshot for your photo, not a book cover.
  8. Add a custom profile background for branding.
  9. Share. In social media, you get what you give.
  10. Don't beg followers to buy your book. Ever.

Do you have other Twitter tips authors should consider? Share them in the comments.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. Through her company, 3 Beat Media, she operates All Indie Writers, NakedPR.com, BizAmmo.com, and numerous other blogs.

Jenn has over 15 years experience writing for others, over 11 years experience in blogging, and 9 years experience in indie e-book publishing. She is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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  1. John Soares February 25, 2014 Reply

    Very good advice here Jenn! I see far too many writers violating it, especially when every single tweet screams “Buy my book!”

    Sharing on Google+ and Twitter…

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern February 25, 2014 Reply

      There’s one author in particular who drives me insane. I continue to follow him because I like his work. But his social media marketing is such a terrifying example. Every single time someone mentions his book, he retweets it. Every time someone leaves a review of his book somewhere, he tweets it. Every time someone says they’re about to start reading his books, he retweets it.

      It’s one thing if you’re gearing up for a big launch or you’re trying to promote something different. But this is the same series of books all the damn time, and they’re all about pushing sales. Announce a new book. Mention a sale. But for goodness sake, talk about something else once in a while! Thankfully I can mute him in my main feed. But yikes.

      The saddest part is that he’s not a fringe case. I don’t know who keeps telling authors that this is how you use social networks. But they need to be muzzled.

  2. Lori February 25, 2014 Reply

    Amen to all of the above. You could apply it to 1) webinar hosts; 2) blog owners; 3) anyone wanting to promote themselves and too lazy to understand how social media works; 4) people who think social media IS a popularity contest…..

    Well done, Jenn. Love it.

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern February 25, 2014 Reply

      Thanks. 🙂

      And you’re right. It applies to much more than just book promotion. I remember ranting (with other actual social media professionals) about several of these things, what, 7 years ago now? It’s sad to see they’re still such problems. I don’t know what it is with authors in particular though. I’ve never come across a group so out of touch when using social media. Obviously there are some authors who use these tools very well. But the vast majority that I come across do not. And these aren’t new tools. They aren’t new “rules.” They’re largely common sense. And if you don’t have that, all the tools and marketing tactics in the world can’t help you.

      I can’t help but wonder if there’s an anti-social element to this. Authors can be solitary creatures. They’re told that they need to use social media if they want to sell their books, so they do. But they broadcast because it’s easier for them than actually building relationships. I remember when I used to work with a lot of indie musicians through my old firm. They embraced social media and did amazing things with it, well before “social media” was even a common phrase. With writers, it’s been a very different story. It’s getting better though. It just feels slow-going sometimes.

      There’s a post for the future perhaps — what indie authors can learn from indie musicians. I could swear I wrote something like that before though.

  3. Angela Booth February 25, 2014 Reply

    Great insights into book marketing, Jenn.

    Love the infographic. I’ve just posted it to Google+ and will pin it. I hadn’t considered using Canva for infographics; you’ve inspired me.

    Re book marketing, I think authors can be forgiven a lot. It’s hard work writing a book. Showing it off can be a lot like new parents boasting about their new baby. Everyone wants them to stop it, but the kid’s pretty cute, and the parents will get over it in time. 🙂

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern February 25, 2014 Reply

      Thanks Angela. 🙂

      I’m loving Canva so far. It’s like a shiny new toy. LOL

      I get what you’re saying about them being proud of their “babies.” But the same could be said for anyone who builds a business, releases an album, or really accomplishes anything that matters to them. Taking pride in our work is a good thing. But I think there needs to be much more self-awareness. Your baby of a book can’t grow to reach its full potential if you drive potential fans away early on.

      In the example I mentioned in response to John, the author in question has been promoting the same series that way for well over a year. Most parents seem to rave a little less about their second, or third, child. 😉

      I suspect it’s one part social issue because so many writers are used to working in more isolated environments than other business owners. But I also suspect it’s partially an issue of poor planning. I come across authors all the time who didn’t even think about how they would market their book until it was written and ready to be released. Never a good idea. So they run around from one social media outlet to another, frantically trying to make up for lost time. Can’t be done. I suppose it’s just another case for having a solid book marketing plan in place.

  4. Kostas February 28, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jennifer. You have highlighted some important points here. I use twitter mainly to connect with other bloggers and I am amazed at the varying ways in which they use Twitter. Your tips can be useful for all sorts of writers!

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern February 28, 2014 Reply

      Thanks Kostas! Social media tools are wonderful things like that, as long as we aren’t being spammed. 🙂

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