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Umgowa
05-22-2018, 02:51 PM
I've heard that Twitter is a good way to help market your book. Does anyone have any ideas on good ways to develop a following on Twitter? With Facebook you send out Friend Requests. I understand that, but how do you get people to follow you on Twitter?

lizmonster
05-22-2018, 04:08 PM
Twitter is a different animal than Facbook or Goodreads. IME it's an acquired taste and not everybody's thing. It's sort of like being at a cocktail party where everyone's talking, but not necessarily to the person standng next to them. Personally I really enjoy it, but it took me a while. (Whether or not Twitter sells books is a different question, and I think the answer's different depending on how you're published.)

Your tools are searches, follows, likes, retweets, and hashtags. Here's one potential getting-started method:

- Follow some people you know and/or like: friends, authors, celebrities, journalists, etc.
- Like and retweet things you like and want to share.
- Comment if and when you feel like contributing to the conversation. (It's common for no one to reply to you - Twitter is often a read-only experience.)
- Search for topics that interest you. (Twitter uses hashtags, like #InfinityWar, but you can also search for general keywords. Once you see the common hashtag used, you can search on that and use it for your own posts.) Like and retweet posts there that interest you.
- Follow users who post things you enjoy/find useful.

Hashtag games can be useful for giving you concrete things to post about. There are some, like #authorconfession, where there's a daily question and anyone who wants can answer it using that hashtag. This will find you more people with common interests, and it'll help them get to know you, too.

Over time, you'll find that liking, retweeting, following, and tweeting yourself will get people to follow you.

One trap you want to avoid is becoming the "Buy My Book!" tweeter. This doesn't mean you never tweet buy links to your own work, but make sure you tweet other things as well. There are people who tweet nothing but Amazon or Patreon links. There are people who'll follow you, and drop you if you don't follow them back. Don't be that person.

One way to talk about your work without being Pushy Sales Person is to talk about it while you're writing it, or (if it's finished) some of your insights into the process. Share like you're talking to interested acquaintances, not like you're in a marketplace. You do not EVER have to get personal or revelatory, but sharing little bits of your personality is more likely to get you "sticky" followers.

TL;DR: Follow people you genuinely want to follow, and contribute to the conversation at your comfort level. Building followers can take time, but it'll come.

Polenth
05-22-2018, 07:10 PM
On the subject of not spamming about buying your book, make sure that you have all the static links set up. You can link to a webpage in your profile, so link to your author website (if you don't have one, now is a good time). You can also pin a tweet to the top of your profile, so you can pin your book release announcement rather than continually repeating it.

You can keep it simple at the start. Make sure you fill out your profile and have a profile picture. Then tweet about stuff you're doing. You can say that you're new to Twitter and figuring it out. Introduce yourself if you want. It doesn't have to be the most groundbreakingly original statement in the world. Just something that shows you're a real person. Now when you follow people, they can get some idea of who you are, and will decide whether they're going to follow you back.

talktidy
05-22-2018, 11:17 PM
Have a look at John Scalzi's twitter feed for how someone builds a twitter following. I use him as an example because he sure tweets a lot. Also cats.

Old Hack
05-22-2018, 11:28 PM
I've heard that Twitter is a good way to help market your book. Does anyone have any ideas on good ways to develop a following on Twitter? With Facebook you send out Friend Requests. I understand that, but how do you get people to follow you on Twitter?

When I get a friend request on Facebook I delete it if it's not from someone I already know. And that's your key here: you use Twitter and Facebook to your advantage by engaging in conversations.

If you just send out friend requests on FB you aren't using it right. If you tweet into the void, you aren't using Twitter properly. Have conversations with interesting people. It works.

Umgowa
05-23-2018, 05:42 PM
A lot of great help here, thank you. I keep hearing about "joining the conversation" . .. I would love to know how do join the conversation. First, do I need to be formally following a person in order to join the conversation? Secondly, once I am looking at the list of Twitter postings for a given person, what exactly do I click in order to join the conversation. Thanks for any insights you can give.

Richard White
05-23-2018, 07:22 PM
Umgowa> Some writer's groups meet regularly on twitter, and that's a great way to a)meet people and b)get used to how fast things can flow on Twitter

#magicmon Monday - 7pm EST (usually)
#storysocial Wednesday - 9pm EST
#writerlifechat Wednesday - 8pm EST
#creaturechat (focused on writing books with non-human characters) - Wednesday 9pm EST
#storydam Thursday - 8pm EST
#SFFBarCon - Every other week, alternating Fridays and Saturdays - 8pm EST - led by our own AggyC.
#WritersRoad - Every first Monday of the month at 8pm EST.

And there are a host of others.

I find having TweetDeck helps me with these chats as I can have a column dedicated to the chat I'm in instead of trying to dig the chat out of the stream. With a writer's chat, there's usually a moderator posting questions and people answering them, commenting on other answers, and occasionally having side chats. The experience of the participants ranges from "I just started last week" to "I've been writing for years" and participants can be from anywhere in the world, although, given those times, most tend to be US/Canadian authors. All of the above groups are highly inviting of new participants, but the threads flow fast the more people who attend, (again, another plug for TweetDeck), so you have to pay attention and sometimes scroll back after the chat (usually about an hour long) to catch everything.

It's a great way to find people to follow and lots of people will follow you if you're a good participant and not just there to sell stuff. Usually, they have a thing at the end for people to promote upcoming books or recent releases (if in doubt, ask the moderator).

Hope that helps.

Polenth
05-23-2018, 07:52 PM
A lot of great help here, thank you. I keep hearing about "joining the conversation" . .. I would love to know how do join the conversation. First, do I need to be formally following a person in order to join the conversation? Secondly, once I am looking at the list of Twitter postings for a given person, what exactly do I click in order to join the conversation. Thanks for any insights you can give.

Twitter isn't as formal as a lot of other social media. If you follow someone, it isn't like a friend request. They don't have to approve it (though they can block you if they don't want you following). They don't have to follow back. That makes it more laid-back than something like Facebook, where people are unlikely to want to talk to you if they don't know you. Follow anyone you think is interesting.

The same goes for conversations. You're not opening a chat and inviting people to take part. You see a message, so you reply (on the web version, there are little icons under each tweet for reply and retweet). You don't need to be following someone to do that, but I'd suggest talking to people you follow is a good starting point.

When people talk about Twitter chats, what they mean is people are using a hashtag (words with a # in front) to mark their tweets as being in a chat. That means that people can search for the hashtag and see all the comments in the chat. That will make more sense once you get the basics down.

kneedeepinthedoomed
05-23-2018, 08:21 PM
Tweet about what you're working on and how, and use the right hashtags so people see your tweets.
Follow people back.
Weed out your follows from time to time because a lot of people follow you in order to get you to follow back, then unfollow a while later to make themselves look cool (more followers than follows).
Post stuff your target audience will be interested in, then they will start following you.
Be very active, update regularly, and keep the quality high. Same as with blogging.

Richard White
05-23-2018, 09:16 PM
Also, your tweets will definitely shape your followers.

Mostly on Twitter, I follow authors, publishers, agents, and other people associated with publishing. However, the quickest way to get me to unfollow you is spend most of your time talking politics. Others might find that interesting, but I like to treat twitter like the local pub. I don't spend time arguing with people there - the unfollow/mute function is the quickest way for me to deal with people who're soapboxing.

Some other authors have huge followings because people like their political takes, so you have to figure out what appeals to you, but I'm still of the opinion that politics and religion are best discussed in person and privately - not shared with the world. Then again, I'm old and cranky.

screenscope
05-24-2018, 06:26 AM
The way I build my following is:

- Post promos for my book and links to my blog, using a variety of hashtags
- Follow anyone who likes or retweets the tweet (and retweet their pinned post or one of their tweets)

This results in a constant stream of followers and a lot of retweets. Reciprocation seems to be the key for me and I have over 8000 followers and follow a few more than that.

I also tweet political comments, but they haven't affected sales or the number of followers. The beauty of a tweet, unlike a Facebook post, is that it's very fleeting so you can tweet frequently without annoying people too much!

CameronJohnston
05-29-2018, 05:57 PM
If you follow thousands of people then I will never follow you back, and neither will a lot of other people. What would be the point. You will never see my tweets among that many others or be able to interact on any meaningful level with me and it just screams you are blatantly trying to promote something. I avoid those accounts like the plague.

Lizmonster has the right of it. Post about things, talk to people, especially other authors, and get to know them. When you have a book or something else coming out then tweet about it, but don't push it hard, and people that like you will retweet it to their own followers.

Lisa Driscoll
05-31-2018, 10:12 PM
Twitter is a monster unto itself. You can't quickly build a following if that's what you're after. It's an investment of time and you have to give for a long time before you will reap the benefits. Find your tribe - it's old advice but it's good advice. Find writers, agents, and yes book bloggers. I'm a book blogger and I have a clan of friends. We are book people! Find us, follow us, follow our blogs and engage!! Having friends that ENJOY reading and REVIEWING is very underestimated power in the book world! A book blogger lives to find a book they love and tell the world. I also have friends that are authors that I promote heavily even if I don't read their genre. I promote them because I connect with them as people. I also review for a newspaper! If I read and love your book - then you can bet I'm putting my review in that paper for you. It's free and it's invaluable to make Twitter friends that will love what you do. You just have to put in the time.

CameronJohnston
05-31-2018, 10:42 PM
Twitter is a monster unto itself. You can't quickly build a following if that's what you're after. It's an investment of time and you have to give for a long time before you will reap the benefits. Find your tribe - it's old advice but it's good advice. Find writers, agents, and yes book bloggers. I'm a book blogger and I have a clan of friends. We are book people! Find us, follow us, follow our blogs and engage!! Having friends that ENJOY reading and REVIEWING is very underestimated power in the book world! A book blogger lives to find a book they love and tell the world. I also have friends that are authors that I promote heavily even if I don't read their genre. I promote them because I connect with them as people. I also review for a newspaper! If I read and love your book - then you can bet I'm putting my review in that paper for you. It's free and it's invaluable to make Twitter friends that will love what you do. You just have to put in the time.

That is very good advice. This is a huge part of it on Twitter. Find friends and groups of similar minded people and interact with them, not merely acquire random targets for selling promotion.

Cindyt
06-01-2018, 01:08 AM
Well, it sure has bumped up the hits on my blogs.

screenscope
06-01-2018, 01:40 AM
Well, it sure has bumped up the hits on my blogs.

Same for me. My writing blog, combined with a mix book promotions, humour and social comment has been very rewarding. And the best part is that I spend very little time on Twitter. It's an efficient, fun platform.