Four Ways Authors Can Use Twitter

By Anna Patrick, Assistant Digital Publicist

Authors have been flocking to Twitter to connect with their readers, promote their work, and build a bigger readership – and are accomplishing this in 140 characters or less. The first step to getting the most out of your tweets is to become familiar with the buzzword that everyone is using across social media platforms: engagement. Using Twitter to engage with your readers allows you to get to know them, and allows them to get to know you beyond the pages of your book. Read on for four strategies that will help you promote your book and grow your readership:

 

Tweet out quotables from your book. One way to generate hype and buzz about your book, whether your date of publication is looming or past, is to tweet short but strong quotes from your work. Other Twitter users are most likely to re-tweet your quote if you keep it to one sentence. If you have characters left, end your quote with a hashtag of your book title or a shortened link to your book’s website or Facebook to allow readers to find out more and possibly pre-order or purchase your book.

Paulo Coelho, voted #4 on The Telegraph‘s “Top Ten Most Prolific Authors On Twitter,” uses this strategy often, and also tweets out a re-tweetable graphic of the quote with the title of the book.

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Keep writing, and put your writing on display. A surefire way to build a loyal readership and, not to mention, to keep your writing practice active, is to share a short piece of spontaneous prose. Write something timely or meaningful to you, in five minutes or less, and publish your short writing exercise on the blog on your web site or your personal blog. This could also work as a short Facebook post, if you do not have an active blog. Then, be sure to tweet out the link. This strategy is all about timing – if you want to target the most traffic, tweet out the link in the morning during commuting hours, at lunch, or in the evening after working hours. You can add the hashtag #MorningRead, and alter the hashtag for your respective time of tweeting.

Paulo Coelho, again, is a great example of this strategy, as he often tweets out the link to blog posts, calling them “30 Second Morning Reads.”

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Ask your readers. Twitter is all about engagement, and asking for your readers’ input is a great way to build a loyal readership and also get to know your audience. During your writing process feel free to ask your readers about characters they like, settings they enjoy, or what their favorite stories are. Stuck on finding that perfect name for a character? Ask your followers.

Ted Dekker is a great example of this strategy, as he engages his nearly 20,000 followers regularly, asking them about everything from character flaws to ways to market an early release.

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Share something from your life. Your followers are following you for one main reason – to get to know you, and to read what you have to say. Why not get a little personal? Gain your readers’ trust by sharing what you’re looking forward to, what you’re reading, or even a funny quip about the weather or your surroundings.

Neil Gaiman is a great example of tweeting out personal anecdotes to engage all of his nearly 2 million followers:

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… And lastly, don’t forget to #hashtag your title!

 

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