Social Media for Writers


For the past few years when asked for marketing or PR assistance from my publisher and (yes) my former agent , “Use social media,” seems to be the mantra. I fully understand the importance of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Of the three I believe Twitter to be the most useful. One reason is that I’ve broken myself of the Facebook addiction of late. For eighteen months I couldn’t pick up a newspaper, listen to radio, or watch television news without having one politician or another lying to me (I believe that we should ignore anything they tell us in an election campaign–all they’re doing is telling us what they think we want to here. Once the election is over they push their own agenda–which usually means finding ways to enrich themselves–until the next election that is.). After November 4, 2016 I breathed a sigh of relief erroneously believing that the election was over. Well, on Facebook it isn’t. I have started to unfriend that portion of my friend’s list who continually post politics; I don’t push my political philosophy on you, so please return the favor. The election is over, for God’s sake, move on! (While we’re at it, please stop trying to make me feel guilty by posting pictures of unfortunate children and those annoying posts that tell me if I don’t share it I’ll have bad luck. If you’re truly my friend you’ll know that I don’t share those things so in reality you’re putting a hex on me.) Still as a writer we cannot afford to completely ignore the power of social media.

Personally of the three I find that Twitter meets my needs the most for the following reasons:

  1. You can reach all of your followers for FREE. Facebook will prevent a percentage of your followers from seeing your posts–unless you pay to promote your post. If your followers are logged on to Twitter, they’ll see your tweets.
  2. You can tweet as often as you like. Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm score suffers the more you post.
  3. Engage your readers right now. Tweets are like micro-blogs and Twitter users are accustomed to receiving information at a rapid-fire pace. It is therefore the perfect way to spread news about what’s happening in your writing life at this very moment.

What to tweet and not to tweet (for Authors)

– Do not sell your book!
Nothing annoys your followers more then asking them “Please buy my book”, “Please, read my book”, “Now only 99 cents” etc. Followers are quickly annoyed and will call this ‘shameless’ self-promotion. And you might think the same when reading only these kinds of tweets from people you are following and might decide to not follow these Tweeps anymore.

– Make yourself as Author interesting
Tweet about your writing and the progress of your new book project. Having received an amazing review, award, etc. Share the publishing process, provide tips for others. Share sale success etc. If you make yourself/your book interesting enough  your followers will probably investigate and buying your book and/or reviewing your book. (soft sale)
Let your followers know if your book has been featured, or you’ve done an Interview or a guest-post. Let them know about reading or signings, how to get freebies, etc.

– Get involved in discussions
You’re seeing your followers discussing interesting topics – get involved. Or ask a question to start a conversation.

– Re-tweeting
If you see interesting or helpful tweets from others you’d like to share – RT (Re-Tweet) it to your followers. This helps interesting posts to get a wider audience. Your followers will RT your Tweets as well if they are interesting for them. Don’t ask for RT’s – your followers will re-tweet your tweets if your posts are good (interesting, helpful) enough for a RT.

– Using Hashtags (#)
Use Hashtags – so Tweeps who search for for a category or genre can easier find your tweets, like #thriller #para #ya #WritingTip etc. Don’t overuse them – else tweets can be more difficult to read with to many hashtags.

– Build relationships with other writers
“Thanks for the RT” doesn’t exactly build relationships. If someone retweets your tweet or mentions you, take the extra two minutes to check out their Twitter profile, see what they write, and comment on it in a tweet with a ‘Thank you’ included.
Fellow writers are mostly also readers and are great to have relationships with to share tweets, writing tips, found a beta reader group, etc. Do NOT use these relationships trying to sell them your books. (This can be seen a lot on Twitter)

To get the most out of your Twitter Account I highly recommend you purchase a copy of Twitter for Dummies.

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1 Response to Social Media for Writers

  1. Vaughn, thank you for this excellent–and short–promotion of Twitter. I admit, it puzzles me, like all the fifth-graders jumping rope when I came from another school where jump rope wasn’t a thing. I’ll go back and stick my toes in again. Maybe buy or borrow Twitter for Dummies.

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