Twitter Tips For The Newbie Writer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Firstly, I’d like to thank Lizzie for asking me to appear on her blog, and her suggestion that I give my ‘five top tips for tweeting’.   As Twitter is a huge galaxy containing many, many sub-communities, I’m going to relate my tips mainly to the world of writers and readers, as this is the one in which I am most often found.

There are thousands, and probably millions, of self-published books out there, as many blogs, many of which are tweeted on a daily basis.  So how do you make yours stand out and, thus, make people want to click on the link to your book/blog?  It’s hard – very hard.  As I always say when giving advice, I am no expert, but I have found the majority of my regular readers via Twitter and my blog gets lots of views, so I hope I can help a bit.

Here goes!

1. Your tweet is an advertisement for your book.  If it contains punctuation or spelling errors, incorrect spacing in order to get all the words in, text style abbreviations or bad grammar, how can you expect someone to want to read anything else you write?  It’s quite a challenge to fit the right wording into those a hundred and forty characters whilst leaving room for the link, but you can play around with it until you get it right.  I see the tweet almost as an art form!  You can also save your best ones in your ‘favourites’, to use again, but please vary them; even the most perfect tweet loses its impact if you see it every other day for three months.

2. Always, always, think about what would make you click on that link.  Just tweeting “Check out my book ‘Another Vampire Novel’” isn’t going to stir up much interest.  Try to summarise what the book is actually about, in as punchy a way as possible.  Alternatively, you can quote from a particularly original review – emphasis on the ‘original’; please, please, not “I couldn’t put it down” or “it really drew me in/kept me turning the pages”.  If someone’s likened your writing style to a well-known author, you can use that; but don’t forget to put quotation marks around any quotes, or it looks as though you’re saying it about yourself.  If you have a large number of five star reviews, or the book has been shortlisted for or won an award, that’s a good thing to mention.  I don’t think referring to your book as a ‘five star read’ is a very good idea, because virtually all books have at least one five star review.  If you’re tweeting about a blog post, it’s much easier to get people to want to look at it – think newspaper headlines!  As an example, which one of these two tweets for the same post and would make YOU want to read it?

New blog post: the results of my KDP free promotion (link)

How I got 5 thousand copies of my book downloaded in 3 days! (link)

3. This next tip is about generosity.  If all you do is schedule churned out tweets about your own book by one of the various apps available, hardly ever actually appearing ‘live’ on the site, it is likely you will find yourself, within a few months, thinking, so much for that.  Didn’t work for me.  Twitter is not a free advertising tool, it’s a social networking site.  Talk to other people.  Take an interest in what they’re writing about.  Read their blog posts.  Help other people promote whatever they’re doing, too.  As with any other community, the more you give out, the more you will enjoy what you’re doing, and make interesting and helpful online friendships – and, with luck, people will want to read what you’re writing about, too.

4. Retweeting is one of the keys to making Twitter ‘work’ for you, but don’t go over the top.  I did; I used to do two or three sessions of a hundred retweets per day.  No wonder I got unfollowed a lot!  Think about it – imagine you’re just using Twitter to be social and read the odd interesting article, and you only choose to follow about two hundred people.  If one of those people starts bombarding your feed with endless retweets from people you haven’t chosen to follow, you won’t be pleased, will you?  Yes, yes, I know you can still follow someone while choosing not to see all their retweets, but most people don’t know this, alas!  Some of those people who unfollowed me might have been potential readers, but I would imagine I put a fair few of them off.

5. My last ‘Twitter Tip’ is a quick list of other things NOT to do!

  • Send auto DMs.  You know the ones: “Hey, great to meet you!  Please like my Facebook page, follow my blog, buy my book, attend my garage sale and come round for tea on Saturday.”  Awful.
  • Directly flog your wares via tweet, to complete strangers: “Thanks for following!  I’ve just published my debut novel – please check it out! (link)”  Ditto directly asking strangers for RTs: “Please retweet this video of my precocious kid singing some crap song on youtube”.  Both equally awful.
  • Retweet people’s random bits of conversation because you can’t be bothered to look for something they might want to be retweeted.
  • Expect amazing results by tweeting about something once a week.  The average life of a tweet is about 15 minutes, I believe.  After that, your message will be lost forever.  Of course we all know that we mustn’t keep shoving things in people’s faces, but there is a happy medium to be found.
  • Forget to consider your fellow retweeters.  If your timeline consists of fifty retweets of others, thirty “Thank you for followings”, etc, a twenty tweet long conversation you could have had with your friend via email or text, all before anyone can some original content to retweet, they’ll probably give up.  We’re all busy – before you log off, leave something you’d like retweeting at the top.
  • Fail to un-tag people from conversations in which they are not involved.  On Fridays my interactions page is jammed up with people I’ve never heard of thanking other people for #FF mentions, because they couldn’t be bothered to erase everyone else’s name from the group.
  • Hassle people to follow you back.  People can choose to follow, or not, who they want.
  • Fail to look at what you’re retweeting.  The other day I got about 20 RTs for a promotion that had occurred two weeks before, even though I’d put the date on it.  Pointless and irritating!
  • Include the phrase ‘buy it at’ in your bio.  Yes, of course you must put your links to your books, but the bio should be about YOU, not an invitation to purchase your wares.

Okay, I hope that’s been a help!  There are many other posts about self-publishing, Twitter, etc, on my blog on the UK Arts Directory and I also have a personal blog, on which I write about many different topics – relationships, nostalgia, the odd rant, funny bits….

If you would like to look at my books, here is my Amazon.com author page and my Amazon.co.uk author page.

Many thanks to Lizzie, once again!

Advertisements

About Lizzie Lamb

I write contemporary women's fiction mostly based in Scotland with hot heroes, feisty heroines and always a happy ending. Along with three other authors - Adrienne Vaughan, June Kearns and Margaret Cullingford - I formed the New Romantics Press under which all our books are published.

Posted on November 22, 2013, in First Person Singular. Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. I am really thrilled to have Terry as the first guest on my blog. I’ve learned so much from following her blog and learning how she tackles the thorny question of promoting oneself on twitter etc. I hop you do, too.

    Like

  2. Brilliant and simply explained masterclass for Twitter here from Terry Tyler, an inspiring and intelligent Tweeter if I may say, thanks for sharing Terry and inviting such a super guest onto our blog, Lizzie. Good work.

    Like

    • Thank you Adrienne. Tyler is so knowledgable and generous with her advice. I’m thrilled to have her on my blog.

      Like

    • Thanks for commenting, Ade. I know that everything we learn we share with others, so to be learning all this stuff first hand from terry is a great help.

      Like

  3. When a newbie to Twitter – and completely befuddled! – I clicked on Terry’s tips and printed them off. They were such a brilliant guide – easy to follow, full of good sense and great advice. You’ve ducked and dived along with Twitter’s changes, Terry – and I’m still following your leads. Thank you!
    Great blog post!

    Like

    • June, I came to Terry through you! I’m still learning and I always read what Terry has to say. She’s such an inspiration, her blog posts are worth printing off and keeping.

      Like

  4. What a great post. Thanks Terry for sharing your Twitter tips with us. Duly noted! Love your blog, Lizzie! 🙂 x

    Like

    • Thanks Jan, once your book is published some of these tips will come in handy, I’m sure. Thank you for commenting about my blog – its been ‘sleeping’ since March but now I need to get more foot traffic across the pages.

      Like

  5. Thanks Lizzie and Terry for all the Tweeting tips! Things there I hadn’t thought of and others that I hope I don’t do:)

    Like

    • I think all of the writers who’ve commented on this blog are more sensible (and have better manners, I might add) than to do some of the crass things Terry has outlined.

      Like

  6. Excellent advice here, thank you! I’m not on Twitter yet but intend to join when I have the time!! In the meantime, I’ve printed off the five tips and will hold in readiness.

    Like

  7. Thank you all!!!! I am far from an expert, or indeed a best selling author (because unlike many I don’t start screaming ‘best seller!’ the minute I top a free genre chart – or even a paid one – yes it has actually been know, ha ha!) but if something I’ve written has helped, I am very pleased!

    Like

    • Terry, you’ve been a great first guest on this page and set the tone. I’m a great fan of yours and I’ll continue tweeting about this over the weekend (end your free book!) to get it more coverage.

      Like

  8. Terry, you and I already follow each other, and I shall try to keep your brilliant tips at the forefront of my mind. It’s generous of you to share your tips, and you’re the perfect first guest for Lizzie. Many thanks.

    Like

    • Great tips Terry. When you are new to twitter, it’s hard to think up different things to say
      apart from the fact that you are promoting your new book. But you have given me food
      for thought. Thank you!

      Like

      • Cathy, you’ve been on a steep learning curve, too. But now you’re really getting the hang of the whole social networking ‘thing’. Keep going 🙂

        Like

    • Margaret, its amazing that Twitter brought us to Terry ( or t’other way about!). We’re learning all the time. I suppose the thing is not to let it overtake the writing.

      Like

  9. Margaret Cullingford

    Great advice, Terry. Thank you for sharing. After more than a year on Twitter, I’m still an absolute numpty much to Lizzie’s disgust. As one of the NR4, I know I’m letting the side down, and need to up my game. Believe me, your wise words will help me a lot. Just need to get organized

    Like

    • Mags, as your old piano must have s aid to you: “Practice makes perfect.” There’s a lot to learn and Terry’s post will help all the newbies out there.

      Like

  10. Thank you for these brilliant Twitter tips. Everything you said is so true. People forget that Twitter is a SOCIAL networking site. Also, I’ve had far more success by posting photos of beautiful scenery & cute animals (almost everyone likes them), interacting with other tweepsters including RT’s, and tweeting about my blog postings (I try to give the post intriguing titles) — instead of flogging my books in every tweet.

    Like

    • Thanks for commenting, Maureen. I try to mix and match promo with more sociable posts. As you say, that’s the way to make new friends and to meet readers.

      Like

  11. Thanks Lizzie and Terry for these hints on how to use twitter….it still confuses and befuddles my brain, but I guess if I follow some of these ideas I will eventually get the hang of it. I used to think Facebook was a waste of time too before I got the gist of it.

    Like

    • Jo you have a fantastic blog and your Writers on the Same Page subgroup in Twitter is always informative. Twitter would seem to be a natural progression for you in preparation when you want to publish. Start slowly and build it up that’s what I did.

      Like

  12. Fascinating insight here and wonderful tips for those of us inexperienced in using Twitter as a promotional tool. Thanks for hosting, Lizzie 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks Liz I know you are a Twitter user, So you already au fait with some of these matters. It’s a good free promotional tool if one uses it wisely. It’s easy to sicken people with posts about your book though so I try to be very careful.

      Like

  13. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I to
    find It truly helpful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you
    helped me.

    Like

  14. Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from.
    Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark
    this site.

    Like

  15. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog stand out.
    Please let me know where you got your theme. Thank you

    Like

  16. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more
    of your useful information. Thanks for the post.

    I will certainly return.

    Like

    • Thank you. So glad that you found the information helpful. Social networking is such a fundamental part of our lives these days but it can be a bit of a minefield.

      Like

  17. Hey there! I’ve been following your web site for a long time now
    and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Texas!

    Just wanted to say keep up the excellent work!

    Like

  18. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of
    any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet
    my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.
    Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your
    blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    Like

  19. Lots of good tips thanks for these. 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: