Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MGOC Extra Essay: How Writers Can Use Twitter for Self-promotion by Sally Bosco

We all know that Twitter is potentially a good self-promotion tool for writers, but how can you do that without seeming obnoxious and self-obsessed? I’ve put together a few thoughts:

1. The purpose of Tweeting isn’t really to sell books, it’s to build relationships, have a dialogue with writers and readers, to pique potential readers’ curiosity about you, and to gain their interest. They’re gaining access into your secret world. Make that a place people want to visit.

2. If you’re new to Twitter, start by following your friends. They know people who know people, and this will widen your circle. Do the same for any writers your know or writers’ associations that interest you.

3. Make sure to have the URL of your web page displayed in the profile that appears when people access your account. This seems like a no-brainer, but some people forget to do it.

4. Increase your blog readership: If you used WordPress to create your blog or web page, there is a feature that will automatically publish to Facebook and Twitter a snippet and link to anything you publish on your blog. If not, you can write a quick summary of your blogpost with a link. Twitter is searchable, so if you write a review of a (for example) Stephanie Meyers book, people who are searching for Stephanie Meyers may have your blog come up in a search. Increased traffic to your blog is always a good thing. This helps you to build your brand.

5. With that in mind, you might offer a freebee on your blog like a short story or writing article and post a quick summary and link to your Twitter account.

6. Speaking of freebies, many successful authors post giveaways of their novels on Twitter. Kelly Armstrong has weekly book giveaway contests and calls them Freebie Fridays.

7. Find groups who hit your target market and friend them. Just Google "Twitter + your subject matter." You may want to do this gradually so it won’t appear that you’re spamming people.

8. Go to and search for subjects that interest you.

9. Follow people and organizations who are relevant to your writing. If you are writing a novel about, oh, I don’t know, cross dressers, try to make contact with people who are interested in that subject matter. A simple Google or Twitter search will yield that info.

10. Don’t Tweet obsessively or people might delete you. (Unless you’re Kim Kardashian, then you can Tweet as much as you want.)

11. Comment on other people’s postings so your Tweets don’t seem like one-sided conversations.

12. If you’re interested in certain publishers, agents or writers, follow them. Here is a link to publishers’ Twitter accounts:

13. Get to know the book bloggers. They are the new powerhouses of online promo. Google terms like “litblogs” or “book reviews” + your particular genre or author who writes novels similar to yours.

14. Use hash tags in your Tweets to make them searchable in Twitter. i.e. #werecats

15. To the right of your Twitter feed are two columns. One has a listing of trends and the other has a list of recommendations of whom to follow. Consider adding some of the resulting people/profiles. Again, use caution in following too many people at once, because it can look like spamming and Twitter can kick you out for that.

16. Consider retweeting others’ posts. When you place your cursor over the person’s post, a Retweet link activates. This lets you retweet that message to your own followers.

17. Offer some of your own pearls of wisdom/writers advice. Make up some quotable quotes. One of mine is, "It takes a lot of procrastination time to be able to write for one hour."

18. Make sure to reply to posts that mention you. To find them, check the @YourName on the right side of your Twitter screen.

19. Reply to other messages of interest that are posted by other Tweeters.

20. Pimp other authors’ books, too. Many of them will reciprocate.

Remember that this is all for the purpose of entertainment. Have fun Tweeting, and your readers will catch your enthusiasm.

Check out Sally's books, blog and other writing at and follow her tweets at Watch for her young adult paranormal romance, The Werecat Chronicles, to be published in May.

1 comment:

  1. Great tips, thanks! I am still learning Twitter, and how to expand using it. Meg Mims