How #Authors Should Use #Twitter

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Image of holly and christmas bells in a stained glass pattern

Image: iClipart

Last week I explained what Twitter is and the basics of how it’s used. Today I’m going to expand on this idea, by explaining how authors should use Twitter to build their fan base. This is one of the topics I covered in the class I taught at last summer’s Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association‘s summer writers’ conference.

If you google this question, “How should authors use Twitter?” the Twitter folks have, of course, already addressed this topic right here. But their advice seems to be directed at writers who have already established a fan base. Most newly-published authors and aspiring writers just aren’t there yet. So how do you build that fan base and then use Twitter to maintain that fan base and make it grow? My previous posts have been leading up to answering this question.

On November 24th, I wrote a blog post entitled, “What Should My Blog Be About?” This should be the jumping off point for writers who want to build a fan base and have them follow you on Twitter. First of all, if you have an interesting and useful blog (i.e. it offers helpful tips; it shares recipes or DIY projects; it gives away free stuff), then you’ve already started to hook your fans and draw them in. Twitter simply makes it easier to grow that fan base by adding your blog to the Internet index I mentioned in last week’s post.

The trick, as I said in “What Should My Blog Be About” is to tweet about those same tips, recipes, DIY projects, and giveaways. As long as your blog is somewhat connected to the theme of your book, once your book comes out in stores, you’ll have a group of followers who are familiar with your name, will recognize it on the book’s cover, and will say, “Hey, isn’t this the same lady who posts free stained glass window patterns on the Internet?” or “Hey, isn’t this the same guy who restores Model T’s?” And when they see the stained glass window or Model T on your book’s cover art, they’ll go, “Holy karma, Batman! This is my kind of book!”

So just as you see in the heading to this blog post, you simply include (no more than three) hashtags in the title of your blog post, and be sure to tweet your own blog posts on a regular basis.

WordPress, the blog hosting site that I use, offers an instant connection with Twitter, so as long as you keep your Twitter connection updated, each time you post, the heading will go out to your Twitter followers.

From there, building followers is simply a matter of following (on Twitter) all the folks who do what you do: stained glass windows, restoring old cars, baking cupcakes, etc. Whatever your hobby is, as long as it’s somehow connected with your book, then you’ll find you have lots of people to connect with on Twitter who will want to read your blog posts; and as long as they like your writing style on your blog, they’ll also be curious about your book when it comes out.

Next week I’ll talk about how joining groups can help expand your following even more.

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