A Twitter guide for writers


Earlier this week I was going on about how I solved my pal’s twitter-hate. She’s a ‘proper’ writer, so every time she faced the void of twitter, felt the pressure to perform coupled with the need to sell (her book)…her fingers and mind were rendered utterly frozen.

We talked for quite a while about why Twitter can work for authors. We talked about finding people not just looking to buy a book – but looking to buy your book. And I thought I would jot some of what we talked about down – just in case there was someone out there who might find it useful. Remember, my friend is totally new to twitter so this really is advice for the absolute beginner.

We started with some cold hard facts:

How long can will she realistically spare to tweet?

I’ve read various ‘rules’ about twitter and especially how often to tweet. But many of these so-called rules are quite unrealistic when you take into account everything else going on in most people’s lives. So rather than setting yourself up to fail, think realistically about where this whole trail of social media needs to start. Create a focus and above all avoid a scatter-gun approach. Then, the understanding of how and why to tweet should come naturally.

What’s your twitter name?

Firstly, don’t think of twitter as a short term project. And don’t call yourself after the title of your book. You’re a writer – this is the first book published, of many.  Simply put – your best bet is your author name – otherwise how are people going to find you and connect?

Link your blog:

Tweeting in isolation – won’t help you sell your book, product or brand. Hoping to accidentally make friends with India Knight so she sells it you for you is also a fantasy, and one that is only going to waste your time and energy. So, to begin with let’s assume you have a blog and you can link it to twitter – not just in the profile blurb but in the blog back-end so that any new content gets automatically shared with your followers.

Everything you do online should link to your blog

Your blog can do much of your core digital marketing for you –  detailing all the wonderful sales pitches you like with pictures, and as many sentences as you can muster (over or under those pesky 140 characters) Include lots of links…to where to order your book on amazon, and of course to read all the great reviews on goodreads,

You can even write here about where you got the idea for the book, what books you love (supporting other new authors is a great way to get support for your own work)…and so much more. Your blog is your brand statement. It showcases everything great and interesting about you and ‘your brand’ so starting with that is the best first step to any use of social media. But back to twitter.

Who to follow:

One the key things to remember about twitter is, maintaining your focus.  Lots of newcomers pile in following celebrities fired up by tales of the friend of a friend who tweeted with Stephen Fry. That said, unless Stephen is likely to tweet ‘Buy my twitter-friend’s book’ it is probably not a good use of your time. And while tweeting about #GBBO may win you a handful of possibly fair-weathered friends, it won’t necessarily match you with people who are looking for a great new book to read. So at the very beginning think about who you admire and what you want to talk about (yes, even if it’s as basic as your journey to getting published).

If you’re totally at sea  – then find someone on twitter you want to be in x years time – an established like-minded fellow writer perhaps. Then look at who they are following, and follow them.

Have a glass of wine – you deserve it.

That’s a lot to get on with for now. So why not get to this point and then have a nice break from twitter.

Read more on twitter:

I’ll link to part two just as soon as that sun goes behind the clouds. And in the meantime here’s a picture I took when i was invited to Downing Street  a few years back. The invite came out of an idea I tried out on Twitter back in the early days. Just me, my blog and a little bit of tweet-thinking got me into Number 10 with the Twitterati for the night.

It’s all out there – you just have to feel the fear and do it anyway….

downing tweetfinal


5 thoughts on “A Twitter guide for writers

  1. Pingback: Why writers don’t tweet | Girl Careering

  2. Pingback: A twitter guide for writers (part 2) | Girl Careering

  3. Pingback: Content marketing – an editor’s view | Girl Careering

  4. Pingback: Making Twitter Work for Your Book | Worldian

  5. Pingback: How to score a regular blog gig | Girl Careering

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