140 characters: part treasure map, part scavenger hunt.
I’ll admit, I prefer Twitter over Facebook. My friends (the real ones, not merely FB “friends”) faithfully post to Facebook, which to a self-absorbed writer working from home with little more than a silent cat for company, means I must dedicate segments of time to read posts and comment. On the one hand, I’m thankful–I keep in touch with people I wouldn’t otherwise, I like to send well-wishes for new babies born, graduations, new jobs, and view photos of holidays and tender or wacky moments. On the other hand (I say, bristling) I occasionally feel my time is stolen when visits to FB cull info such as “XX is now a fan of sour cream/monkeys/dryer sheets, etc.” I’ve hidden all the Farmville-esque silliness, but when it comes down to it, minute for minute, I prefer Twitter (@RebeccaLacko).
Nearly everyone in the writing and publishing industry has an account; (Twitter is after all the ultimate challenge in sentence clarity and brevity–how can they resist?) I am now connected to a network of admired authors, editors, publishers and PR geniuses, and at any moment of the day I can log on to posts of their links featuring information I really want to know. I’ll always love my Friends; I have much to learn from my Tweeps.
Writer Dana Lynn Smith says ” Twitter is a great tool for building an author platform and promoting books.” Here are Smith’s Top Ten Ways Authors Can Use Twitter to Promote Books:
1. Help others by sharing information, while you gain a reputation as an expert. You can post links to helpful articles, recommend resources, and teach mini-lessons.
2. Meet potential customers and stay in touch with existing customers. Promote your Twitter URL everywhere you’re listed online, and include keywords in your tweets to attract followers who are interested in your topic or genre.
3. Stay on top of news and trends in your field and get ideas for your articles and blog by reading the tweets of the people you follow.
4. Promote live and virtual events such as book signings, podcasts, virtual book tours, teleseminars, and book launches.
5. Gain visibility and new followers by hosting a Twitter contest where you give away a prize to a randomly chosen winner, or give a free gift to everyone who follows you and re-tweets your contest message. See this post for tips on creating a Twitter contest.
6. Ask for help and get instant responses. When you request product recommendations, referrals to experts, or help with a technical issue, it’s amazing how helpful folks are.
7. Spread good will by helping your peers. Introduce other people in your field or genre, or recommend other related books or products. Re-tweet interesting posts from people that you follow.
8. Promote your book and other products and services. The key is to be subtle and make promotional tweets a small percentage of your overall communications, so people feel like they gain value from following you, not just a stream of sales pitches.
9. Meet other authors, experts, publishers, marketers, and vendors. Twitter is ideal for networking and it’s a great place to meet potential joint venture partners.
10. Keep in touch when you’re on the road. There are a number of applications that facilitate twittering from mobile devices.
Have fun! It’s fascinating to meet people from all over the world, gain a glimpse into their lives, and develop a cyber-relationship.
Excerpted from the Twitter Guide for Authors by Dana Lynn Smith. For more book marketing tips, follow BookMarketer on Twitter and get Dana’s free Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you visit her book marketing blog. Learn more at Dana’s “Boost Your Book Sales with Twitter” teleseminar on August 12.
Follow me on Twitter @RebeccaLacko
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