Ten Twitter Tips for Authors

Whether you’ve published books or write a column, interacting with your fans is important and will keep them interested. Twitter is just one integral part of marketing strategies for authors. Those 140 characters can be used to hook your readers and spur them to want more. Here are some tips for using Twitter to sell your writing.

  1. Choose a good Username and Account Name, they’re different, wisely. You can use your own name or the name of your book or column for the Account Name. Your Username should be catchy and short. The shorter the Username the easier it is for your tweeps to RT and @ you—remember, they only have 140 characters.
  2. Your bio can only be 160 characters but search engine robots consistently check Twitter bios, so make the most out of those characters because it can help your readers find you, and not just on Twitter, but on the Web as well.
  3. Don’t forget your web address because it adds credibility. When I go to a Twitter profile without a bio or a web address, I usually won’t follow the user.
  4. Pimp up your profile with a customized background image. You could just go to the Design tab under Settings and upload the cover of your book, but that might not be exactly the feel you’re looking for. Browse the templates at twitterbacks.com and see if you find something you can tweak with Photoshop to create your own design with a bit of information to boot.
  5. A tweet a day brings the tweeps (followers) your way. Of course you’ll tweet about what you’ve written yourself, but don’t stop there. If you find something you like on the Web, tweet about it. If somebody you follow offers a cool post, retweet (RT) it.
  6. If you want a message to be forwarded, it’s ideal to keep it under120 characters so your followers can easily add RT @YourHandle in front of the tweet. The more your post is retweeted, the more readers will see it.
  7. Your tweets are more likely to be found by search engines if you select your first 42 characters carefully, write keyword-rich tweets, and use # tags. Search tags on sites like tweetag.com, and watch the right-hand column on Twitter to find Trends, which are the topics a lot of people are tweeting about at the time.
  8. Make a list of keywords describing what you tweet about or the people you want to attract as tweeps. Then use these keywords when you sign up for Twitter directories like Twellow, WeFollow, and Twitfind.
  9. Visitors to your website are great potential followers so integrate Twitter into your website with badges and widgets. A Twitter feed on your site gives your visitors fresh content on a regular basis and search engines like that, and so do readers.
  10. Many tools like Tweetdeck can help you manage your tweets. For instance, if you want to tweet about an article with a really long web address, you can use a URL shortener. I like Bit.ly because it tracks click-throughs. I also use Hootsuite to schedule tweets so I can post them all at once but have them appear on my profile throughout several days.

Oh, and don’t forget to have a Facebook fan page for you and your book as well.