It’s no secret that Twitter is our favorite social medium. We love the fast-paced nature, the conversations, how quickly things can become viral (well, we don’t always love that). But for many new authors, Twitter seems confusing, if not downright pointless. Today, we’ll share some of our best practices for how best to utilize Twitter for authors.

Starting Out

Twitter for authors tip: Your followers comprise your Twitter experience, so choose wiselyOnce you’ve created an account, the first step is to follow people. This is the part that snowballs into confusion for most authors. They begin following author accounts, or people who spam, and then complain that Twitter is just spam. Your followers comprise your Twitter experience, so choose wisely.

Besides the obvious two users (@sgrpublishing and @susherevans), you should follow authors who you like, and those who write in your genre. Don’t know who that is? Pop on over to Amazon, check out the bestsellers in your genre, and then use Google or Twitter search to find them. If they’re an author of some standing, they’ll have a blue checkmark next to their name.

Should you auto-followback? It really depends. When someone follows you, take a moment to check out their feed. Is it all hashtags and spam? Is it giveaway entries? If it’s real conversations, then follow them back!

What to Say

Twitter for authors tip: You wouldn't just walk up to a stranger and start asking them personal questions.Once you’ve got your information consumption right, you should then focus on conversations. How do you strike up a conversation. Easy! Just reply. If they ask a question, answer it! If they have good news, congratulate them!

A word of caution here: You wouldn’t just walk up to a stranger and start telling them what to do or asking them personal questions. The same goes on Twitter. Also, be cautious about sending private messages unsolicited, even if they follow you. Always good to ask for permission first!

When To Bring Up Your Book

We know you’re thinking about it. As we talked about a few weeks ago, soft selling is the art of making relationships first, then selling later. The same rule applies here. We’ve experimented with a bunch of different frequencies for posting book ad tweets. For the most part, they really don’t work to generate sales. The best way to generate sales is, unfortunately, to have readers read your book and recommend it to others.

One or two ad tweets every so often will refresh your followers’ minds about your books. As well, new followers might see the ad for the first time. Patience is key here.

The best time to utilize Twitter as a marketing tool is when you’re running a sale. All of those relationships you’ve been cultivating will come in handy when you say, “Hey guys, I’ve got a sale happening this weekend, will you help me?”

It’ll amaze you how many of your new friends will help out.

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