Twitter is a powerful tool for an author to use as part of their author platform. It is a free and easy to use announcement platform that can be tailored to supplement your book launches, let your readers know where your latest article or story has published, and a great way to show support to fellow authors or causes you love. Many people like to use Twitter to stay up to date with the news of the day or to follow people that interest them, but that should all be done on your personal Twitter account. As an author, you should have a twitter account that is linked with your blog and other writer social media outlets that serve more like an announcement feed and remains free of personal comments except for those related to your writing process or about your stories and work in general.
Signing up for Twitter is free. Simply log into the social media website and select a name for your new Twitter feed. This name should be either your author pen name or your website name. It needs to be a name that your readers can recognize and connect with you as an author. My Twitter is @wvancamp. In retrospect, I should have chosen to use my blog’s name instead because this matches my website, but being a beginner I chose to use the account I’d already started for my personal use. When this account took off, I did not wish to change to a new name and start over finding new followers. Don’t do what I did. Choose your name more carefully.
Once your Twitter account is set up, you need to start finding followers. One way to attract and keep followers is to constantly have new content appearing in your Twitter feed. These tweets could be writerly quotes, links to various posts on your blog, links to articles you feel might be interesting to your readers, or other miscellaneous information. The key to remember is that your feed needs to be 80% content of other people and 20% content of your own. Remember, you do not want to be considered a spammer. make sure that the information and links that appear on your Twitter feed appeal to the sort of readers you want to attract to your platform.
On my Twitter feed for No Wasted Ink, I have set up certain systems to automatically post to my Twitter feed. For instance, via WordPress, every post that appears on No Wasted Ink automatically appears as a link on my Twitter feed. My Facebook page is set up the same way. Whenever I post on my author Facebook page, a link to that post appears automatically on my Twitter feed. Finally, I use a free account on HootSuite to schedule post to appear on my Twitter feed based on days and times that I choose. I use HootSuite to promote guest posts, author interviews, and essays on my Twitter feed. I also promote the stories and poems that publish on Medium or in independent magazines online. In bulk, I write out the tweets ahead of time and HootSuite trickles them out, one by one, at the designated time. In this way, my Twitter feed is always active even when I am busy living my life or writing my stories. There will be times when I’m at a writer guild meeting when one of my neighbors will stop and stare at me. They will have gotten a tweet on their phone from me, yet I am seated beside them listening to a lecture alongside them. Usually, once they figure out what is going on, they smile.
Another part of my Twitter feed comes from a third-party service called Triberr. There is a free version and a paid version of Triberr. In most cases, the free version of the program is all you will need for your author platform. Triberr organizes its users into tribes. Each tribe is lead by a single leader who chooses the theme of the Triberr tribe. I seek out tribes of fellow authors or tribes of Science Fiction and Fantasy readers and writers since this is in tune with the sort of readers I wish to attract to No Wasted Ink. Once I find a tribe I like, I apply to it and wait to be accepted by the tribe’s leader as a member. This can take some time but is well worth the effort. Once I am accepted as a member, I scroll through that tribe’s post and choose the ones I would like to promote on my Twitter feed. I checked them off and this puts them into a queue. My Triberr is set up to automatically post all the articles I have chosen to Twitter. You can set it up to drip post every 20 minutes or up to five hours. I tend to not have these posts drip to quickly because I don’t like to use up my queue of posts to quickly. But if you have a large number of tribes and wish to promote other people more fully, then setting your drip to be more often could be a good idea.
This combination of automatic posts from my website, Facebook, preset tweets from HootSuite, and Triberr all create a robust Twitter feed that attracts readers, keeps them informed as to what I’m doing as an author, and entertains and informs them. In this way, not only do I keep most of the readers that subscribe to my Twitter feed, but new ones find me every day.
One last thing you should know about Twitter and using it as an announcement platform for yourself as an author is that you need to keep your list active and pruned. Twitter is set up so that you need to be balanced between the people you read and the people that follow you. When you first starting to build your list you can add as many people as you want until you have 2,000 followers. After that point, Twitter slows you down with an add limit. You can only add proximately 10% of your feed at any given time to your Twitter followers. What this means is that if you follow people who are not following you back, eventually you will not be allowed to follow new people. Would I like to do is always add people who are following me. Then once a quarter, I use a free service called Tweepi to locate people I follow who are not following me back and remove them from my following list. Remember, this is an announcement list. If the follower is not following you back, they are not getting your message and are useless to you. Another thing I look for among my followers are people who have not posted on their stream for six months or more. I consider these followers to be inactive. I also remove inactive followers from my Twitter feed.
I hope that this has given you a better understanding of how to use Twitter as part of your author platform. While Twitter is only one part of your entire platform, it is one of the more important social media services you should be tapping into. If you are an Indy Author, Twitter gives you an easy way to promote your books and stories to a wide readership. If you use hashtags and Triberr, you can expand your reach significantly. For traditional authors, many book publishers look at the following potential authors can provide in support of their books. Having a large Twitter channel in addition to your website and newsletter can prove to be an asset for your consideration by these firms. Remember, some automation to simply your posting can make Twitter easy to use and not take up your valuable writing time.