Why Writers Should Use Twitter (and HOW to USE It Effectively)
For the last couple posts, we’ve been talking about how to use Twitter effectively. Too many writers are like Stormtroopers—lots of
shots fired tweets that hit NOTHING.
I can admit, when I got on Twitter (when it was invented) I didn’t get it. I would—KID YOU NOT—freak out when people I didn’t know followed me. WHAT? Are you, like, a stalker? Yes, I was missing the ENTIRE point of Twitter. Hey, we all start somewhere.
Do you have to do Twitter? No. No one will take you to writer jail because you didn’t. Is it wise to use Twitter? ABSOLUTELY.
I strongly recommend Twitter for two main reasons. First, couple Twitter with a good/consistent blog and this is your best formula to go viral. Secondly, Twitter helps us find READERS (and helps readers find US).
We will rarely go viral from Facebook because the nature of Facebook is more intimate and the platform moves much slower. People are less likely to discover us/our work from Facebook than they are Twitter.
In fact, I would imagine that many of you who subscribe to this blog, likely found me via Twitter. And since my tweets are written in a way to attract only the brightest and best-looking and talented…. :D. Y’all get the point.
This is why I want authors to blog and to blog off their author WEB SITE. Someone sees a tweet for a post that looks interesting and click and enjoy the post and guess what is in the sidebar for sale? BOOKS.
***Or, in my case the footer of each post since I did all the dumb stuff so y’all don’t have to.
This is a non-invasive way to cultivate readers and sell books. We have a post. We serve. We entertain. We aren’t doing the:
Hi, I’m a writer. BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! I can’t feed my family unless you BUY MY BOOK!
Show don’t sell. Our blog gives potential readers a glimpse of who we are. They sample our writing voice and see we are professionals since we post more than every harvest moon. We have taken time to engage without asking for money. Twitter is the road sign guiding people to the rest stop of their choosing.
Enough people like a certain rest stop? That is when we go viral.
Going viral is AWESOME. Trust me, when you see THIS on the bottom of a post? GREAT FEELING.
And yes, there are a lot of shares on Facebook, but many folks discovered the posts on Twitter then chose to share with their more intimate community on Facebook.
My post Brave New Bullying and Amazon Attacks has 328 comments and still climbing. And I say this VERY humbly because all I do is my job. But, it is not uncommon for this blog to have triple-digit comments. Twitter is a BIG reason for that. And I’ve been blessed to go viral many times and not always for writing or social media posts. I blog about everything.
I STILL have people arguing over What Went Wrong With the Star Wars Prequels even though I posted it years ago. FABULOUS comments. Very well-thought out. Some thousands of words long.
There is one bone-headed statement that makes my head hurt. And I have heard it from all levels of writers from noobs to NTYBSAs. In fact, one BIG author once said, “I don’t like Twitter. Only writers are on Twitter.”
I replied, “There are over 280 MILLION active Twitter users. They’re all writers. Really?”
What I then pointed out was that this author tweeted writing quotes, talked about writing, blogged about writing. It was the All-Writing-All-the-Time Channel. If my goal is to catch a lion, but I bait the traps with peanut butter, who is the fool for griping about catching mice?
Many of us are writers because we were interested in SO many things, writing was the only way we could do them all. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archaeologist-medical examiner-ballerina-oceanographer-ninja-Navy SEAL. I’d imagine most of you had similar career plans at age 7.
We became writers because we have an insatiable love for so many things. And we have unique eyes and an imagination to bring those worlds to life. We breathe life into variations of 26 letters in various combinations to create entirely NEW worlds and characters SO real they make a bigger impact on lives than a lot of living, breathing humans.
Yes, we have a God complex.
Thus, when using Twitter, I DO recommend #MyWANA, #amwriting, etc. We NEED a group of professional peers. But never mistake your colleagues for your audience. Too many writers are all talking to each other, selling the same people who already have more books than they could finish in a lifetime. We are worn out.
In my book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World I go into far more detail, but here’s the highlight reel. What do you write? Who is the most likely person (who is NOT an avid reader who will read anything) to read your book?
If I write military thrillers, might be a good idea to follow the military hashtags—#USMC, #Army, #Navy, #USAF. Make friends, talk to people. Maybe even ask for advice. Admit you’re a writer and you want to nail the details. Humans are a super-helpful bunch.
If I write about vampires? #TrueBlood #vampires #supernatural might be good places to pop in and take a look.
Christian authors? #Jesus #Christian #lifechurch, etc.
Write about cowboys? #rodeo #horses
Suspense, mystery, crime? #DowntownAbbey #DiscoveryID #SwampMurders #JoeKenda #AR15
Sci-Fi? Try #starwars #startrek #physics, #geek, #DrWho, #Nova
Use a little imagination. I find it funny that writers have the capacity to dream up parallel universes, new forms of magic, unknown technology and yet, when we get on social media? #writers, #books #readers is how creative we get.
But this is why it vexes me when people just write off Twitter as useless. Twitter is probably THE MOST effective way to find our potential readers, talk to them, and eventually cultivate a relationship that will hopefully spread to that person’s network.
Twitter DOES have the capacity to help us go viral, but it is still an investment daily of US. I have a little over 13,600 followers. Other authors SMOKE me on number of followers. But I would rather have 5,000 VESTED followers then 30,000 people who could care less what I have to say.
I’ve tweeted almost 27,000 tweets. Granted, I’ve been a member of Twitter for seven years. Not a SINGLE tweet of mine is from an automated system. All ME. Small chats every day add up. Just hop on, talk a little, share a link, talk to people, then back to work.
Buying Twitter Followers
This dovetails into my next point. In the beginning (say, back around 2008-2012), I feel outsiders cared more about the number of followers than they do now. “WOW, she has 40,000 followers. She must be IMPORTANT.” But, over time, our audience has wised up.
Sure, feel free to buy followers. But, in my mind, that’s like hiring a prostitute to offer us a long-term committed relationship. Purchased followers aren’t vested. They don’t care. They make the numbers look good and maybe stroke our ego, but our goal should be to create relationships that might translate into book sales.
Not ALL Sales are Direct
When we take time to be human and talk to people without an agenda, they appreciate it. It’s also good for our souls since most of us feel icky simply talking to people so they will BUY something. Never underestimate the word-of-mouth power of someone who may never buy your book.
I have all KINDS of people I talk to who aren’t authors. BUT they have friends or family who are. Whose books do you think they recommend?
In the end, using Twitter wisely is a fantastic investment that doesn’t take a lot of time. A handful of tweets a day over time grows deep roots that eventually yields fruits.
I LOVE hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of JANUARY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook.