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LLRye
06-26-2017, 07:11 PM
As a 27-year-old, I just set up my first twitter profile around a week ago, and I have no idea what I'm doing. I've never used the platform before, but I made a profile for two main reasons: It's nice to have access to a steady feed of world news, and I've been told repeatedly that as an author you kinda need one for promotion and so on. I'm still working on my first manuscript, but apparently sooner is better than later, so I took the jump.

I'm aware of how hashtags work, more or less. I write something I want to share, and then add hashtags so that people who search on that hashtag can see them. Similarly, I can search on specific hashtags and see posts relevant to the subject. So far, so good.

I just don't know what to actually do on twitter. I see people share tacky quotes and make mundane updates about their day, but that just seems so... meaningless, to be honest. Of course, there are a bunch of people who churn out quality content on their blogs, vlogs and what have you. Obviously, it's a good place to market all of that. And once you've gathered a following, I bet it's a great place to promote your (eventual) book, but how am I supposed to build a following if I have no idea what to say?

I've heard of some weekly 'contests' like #1linewed or #meta4mon, and I could definitely share something there, but what do I do on #amwriting, #writerslife, #writing and so on? Who cares if I just finished another chapter or if I've sat down with my manuscript for five hours without producing the 1.000 words I'd set as a goal?

Also, how do I find out what something like #ASMSG or #1K1H means? Hell, I'm not even sure whether it's possible to follow hashtags or I need to do a new search each time.

I feel completely clueless, and I could really use a newbie guide. Do any of you have any advice? Or know of a blog post on the subject or something?

randi.lee
06-26-2017, 07:22 PM
Hi Rye,

Hope you don't mind me calling you that. Twitter is...a beast. It's largely filled with people trying to promote themselves - and trolls. Olympic-level trolls. However, if you know the right hashtags to use and the right people to follow, it can be helpful.

#AmWriting is your best friend. Whenever you post anything that has to do with the topic of writing, toss that hashtag into your Tweet. It's somewhat universally known and will help you find an audience.

Follow authors and get yourself on some lists. Best way to do that? Pick a list of authors and start following. They will follow you back, add you to more lists, retweet your Tweets, and help you attain a bigger following. Here's an AW list someone put together and a good place to start: https://twitter.com/LisaSpangenberg/lists/aw-absolute-write

Twitter can, at moments, feel like a waste of time. If you're diligent (people will unfollow you if you stop Tweeting for extended periods of time) and post helpful information (such as sharing helpful articles about writing and publishing vs. only Tweeting about yourself all the time) you'll find an audience, make some friends and sell a few books along the way.

Anna Iguana
06-26-2017, 08:44 PM
One of the keys to Twitter is to spend less time tweeting about yourself and more time replying to others in ways that are helpful.

EMaree
06-26-2017, 09:16 PM
I just don't know what to actually do on twitter. I see people share tacky quotes and make mundane updates about their day, but that just seems so... meaningless, to be honest.

You gotta follow people you care about: real life friends, writing friends, internet celebs you find cute, authors you're a fan of. If you're finding all the silly mundane updates dull and meaningless, it's a good sign you're either not following people you care about or social media just isn't your thing.


Of course, there are a bunch of people who churn out quality content on their blogs, vlogs and what have you. Obviously, it's a good place to market all of that. And once you've gathered a following, I bet it's a great place to promote your (eventual) book, but how am I supposed to build a following if I have no idea what to say?

Evidence from Twittering writers points to tweets having slim-to-no affect on sales. It's honestly not that great for promotion, and if you're expecting that following to become sales later you're going to be disappointed.

If this is the end goal of joining Twitter, you might as well turn back now. Which sounds cynical as hell, but hey, it's the truth of book-Twitter.

Twitter for a lot of writers acts as a water-cooler, especially for those of us who don't know many writers in real life. It's where we go to mess about in-between writing sessions.


I've heard of some weekly 'contests' like #1linewed or #meta4mon, and I could definitely share something there, but what do I do on #amwriting, #writerslife, #writing and so on?

Mundane updates about your writing progress, mostly.


Who cares if I just finished another chapter or if I've sat down with my manuscript for five hours without producing the 1.000 words I'd set as a goal?

Your friends care, hopefully. I love hearing about my friends' progress on their manuscripts.


Also, how do I find out what something like #ASMSG or #1K1H means?

There's probably better ways, but I just google '#hashtag meaning'.


Hell, I'm not even sure whether it's possible to follow hashtags or I need to do a new search each time.

You can follow hashtags using columns in clients like Tweetdeck, but imo hashtags aren't that big a part of the Twitter experience for most people. I never really browse them for funsies.

Twitter is for reading updates by friends, and telling friends about what I'm up to. It sounds like you're lacking that core 'following' of friends at the moment -- once you've found your community, Twitter might become more fun for you.

Old Hack
06-26-2017, 09:34 PM
I joined Twitter years ago and it was wonderful then.

*inserts nostalgic sigh*

Now it's overrun with people self-promoting, mostly ineffectually.

The best way to use it is to engage with people. Join in discussions. Ask questions. But using it as a promotional tool isn't going to work UNLESS you engage, and then it'll only work if you don't promote much. No more than about one tweet in ten.

WriterBN
06-27-2017, 08:22 PM
In addition to what everyone else said, lists are your friend. They can really help cut down on the clutter.

Also, a fairly recent feature added the ability to hide retweets from someone you're following. I find that feature really helpful if you don't want to unfollow or mute someone, but they tend to retweet a lot of (usually promo) stuff.

LLRye
06-28-2017, 04:32 PM
Thanks everyone for all the advice - I've been trying to take it in, and it's really helpful!


In addition to what everyone else said, lists are your friend. They can really help cut down on the clutter.

Also, a fairly recent feature added the ability to hide retweets from someone you're following. I find that feature really helpful if you don't want to unfollow or mute someone, but they tend to retweet a lot of (usually promo) stuff.

Great to both of those - but how do I do it? And what are lists (in a twitter context) and what do I use them for?

Anna Iguana
06-28-2017, 05:19 PM
I don't have Twitter open in front of me, and I don't want to accidentally leave out a step--but, as a quick reply: I learned how to do both these things by googling questions similar to yours. Best wishes.

muse
06-29-2017, 12:09 AM
Thanks everyone for all the advice - I've been trying to take it in, and it's really helpful!

Great to both of those - but how do I do it? And what are lists (in a twitter context) and what do I use them for?

You can make lists in Twitter and add your followers to them. I have lists like: Writers on Twitter. Fav Authors. Writing Forum Members. Agents. Publishers.... etc

It's just a way to separate everyone so you're not overwhelmed. For instance, when I go into Twitter I automatically go to my lists and check out Writing Forum Members first. Then, as time allows, I check out tweets from my other lists.

As to how you make them...At the top of everyone's page, you will see on the right-hand side a Follow or Following badge, and beside it 3 vertical dots. If you click on those dots you get more options, one of which is 'Add or remove from list.' When you click on that you get an option to make a new list (or add the person to a list you've already created.)

Then, when you next log into Twitter go to your Avatar (Profile and settings link) and the drop-down menu will give you further options including 'Lists'. Then you pick the list you want to view and voila!

Hope I haven't totally confused you. :greenie

EMaree
06-29-2017, 03:15 AM
Make sure to set your created lists to private, otherwise members get notified you've added them. (And it's kinda boring to get added to lists like 'UK Writers' or whatever.)

These days I flinch at public list adds because it's becoming an increasingly common spam tactic or trolling/abuse tactic.

randi.lee
06-29-2017, 02:09 PM
Thanks everyone for all the advice - I've been trying to take it in, and it's really helpful!



Great to both of those - but how do I do it? And what are lists (in a twitter context) and what do I use them for?

Rye - see my post above with a link to a good example of a list. You use them to stay in touch with and in front of like-minded people. My post has a link to a list of AWers.