Why Authors Need Twitter

twitterI know it seems silly sometimes; posting 140 character updates to a social media outlet. You may think its a waste of time and effort but you may be missing the boat!

Twitter is the preferred social media venue for news shows, reporters, politicians, publishers and literary agents. It would be a bad move for an author–especially a new or independent author–to ignore Twitter. You could get so connected so quickly which will help you sell your books. Besides that, Twitter is so easy to use!

Here’s how to get the most out of Twitter:

1. Brand yourself as an author with your Twitter name and profile description.

2. Find people to follow–friends, other authors, vendors, business associates, publishers, agents, etc. (and be sure to ask your friends and business associates to follow you on Twitter too!)

3. Check into your account at least three times a week (but daily is ideal); read the posts on your homepage from the people you follow and retweet posts you think would benefit your followers (a retweet [RT] is just like forwarding an email). There is even a shortcut button you can use when you mouse over someone’s comment.

4. The more you share information from other people, the more people will share information about you! Tell your followers about the people you do business with, etc. Use @ before their Twitter name to create a quick hyperlink for your readers to follow. (for example @alanepearce)

5. Share about what you are doing, learning and thinking; or what the characters in your book are doing/thinking. Remember though, Twitter is more about helping others before you talk about yourself. Do so sparingly or people will think you are just selfishly promoting yourself.

6. When you do an event, have a book launch, etc., create a hash tag (#) for people to use–this helps Twitter find what is trending, and helps you find out who is talking about your book.

For example, when my author/client Michael Gunter (@Michael_Gunter on Twitter) published his novel, Blackwell we created the hashtag #BlackwelltheBook so when people read and like his promo chapters, they can tweet about it with that hash tag.

We even put a link in the back of his sample chapters with this pre-populated tweet: “Reading #BlackwelltheBook by @Michael_Gunter; get a free sample at http://klyvian.com/”.

Now when people read his PDF or Kindle free sample, they can click this link and automatically share with their followers how to get Michael’s book sample. This makes it easy for them to share–which is what they want to do on Twitter.

7. Link your Facebook and Twitter pages so when you post on one it will show up on the other–an important time-saving tool for sure.

I have to say, initially I liked Facebook better than Twitter because Facebook seemed more interactive. However, I certainly see the value of Twitter and I have to admit that I’ve made more business contacts on Twitter than I have on Facebook. With that said, I also think you need to represent yourself on many different social media venues…go where your readers are!