Twitter Tips For The Newbie Writer
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.
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….
Many thanks to Lizzie, once again!