How Authors Can Maximize Twitter

Welcome to Day 2 of Twitter Week on my blog. Yesterday’s post discussed 5 Easy Steps to Managing Twitter. Today, Lenore Holditch has a wonderful post about using Twitter to promote book sales, though even if you’re not an author, you can still apply these tips to your own niche. Be sure to come back this week for the Twitter Hop, where you can find new friends and contacts. Below is Lenore’s post.

Once long ago, all a writer had to know what to do was, well, write. Now authors have to sometimes be their own marketers. An easy and free way to promote both you and your work, however, is to simply use social media platforms like Twitter. To learn how to maximize its potential, continue reading below.

Create a Following base. While this is the first step, it is often the most difficult for authors who just have started using the Twitter platform. If you are a well-known author, most likely fans will do all the hard work and request to follow you; however if you are newbie, you might very well have to get your hands dirty and forage for some followers on your own instead. An easy way to do this is to pay attention to “trends” and “hash tags”—if you are a murder mystery author and a trending topic is appropriately titled murder mystery geeks, this would be an excellent opportunity to click on the trend and see who is posting about the topic. You can then read a couple of posts and pick and choose which accounts seem as though they might be interested in your work.

You might even type in some key words in the search bar and see what or who pops up and request to follow them accordingly. Since you will be adding strangers, it’s imperative that you don’t come off as a spammer and truly explain who you are and what you do in the bio portion of your Twitter account. Otherwise your request will be rejected in an instant. Acquiring a good following base is hard work and may take some time, but it is definitely worth it in the end. Note that your Twitter following count can be used as tangible proof that you actually have fans which may convince publishers to give you the ok for your next book deal when/if the time comes.

Connect with Fans. Once you have a few followers, it’s important that you engage with them to make your presence known, especially following the weeks before and after your book release. This is not to say that you should annoyingly flood your followers’ time line with excessive tweets—about 5 or 6 tweets spread throughout the day should suffice. But you should definitely try to interact with your audience by answering an occasional direct tweet and/or re-tweeting some of your followers’ posts. It’s equally important that your personal tweets are not only clear and concise (you have a 140 character limit) but that they are meaningful and informative as well without sounding like a walking talking advertisement. For example if you are on a book tour, a tweet casually saying “Hello Houston! Come check me out at the Galleria Barnes and Noble at 2” should work quite well.

Be Creative in Your Approach. While tweeting informational subjects is good, you also want to find creative ways to make your audience excited about your new book release so that they will rush to the store and purchase it. There is no better way to do this than by having your audience involved even in the preliminary stages of your work. This means that if you are struggling coming up with character names or possible scenes for example, don’t be afraid to ask your audience for some suggestions and/or feedback. After all, they are your fans and they know what they like/don’t like. When your book is almost in the finishing stages, you might even want to consider posting small excerpts as a teaser mechanism to get your audience interested. Other options may include hosting chat forums via Twitter after your book is published. For example, you can tweet to your fans that you will be answering any questions regarding your latest work between the hours of noon and 1 p.m. You can even host contests. For example, you can say “whoever answers this question correctly first” or “whoever is the first person to re-tweet this post” will receive a prize, like a free autographed copy for your newest book. Don’t forget to use twit-pics as well. Here, you can post photos of your book’s artwork or take photos of you at work.

This guest contribution was submitted by Lenore Holditch, who specializes in writing about top online colleges. Questions and comments can be sent to: holditch.lenore @

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  1. Another keeper!!

  2. Thanks for coming by, PJ!

  3. Thank you for a really useful posting!

Stacy Juba