Social media sites like Twitter are great for helping writers build and interact with a loyal, enthusiastic following. When used effectively, these platforms can help you expand your reach and boost engagement.
Before jumping into the fray, it’s important to know how to effectively use Twitter to promote your books, connect with readers, and build a community (hint: it’s not all about marketing). So here are some of our top tips for making the most of Twitter!
Engage with your existing readers
All social media platforms are just that — social. Twitter is more about building a community and interacting with readers than constant self-promotion. Embracing the social aspect of the platform will help you build a loyal following that, when the time comes, will boost your new book.
Reply to readers who reach out
Twitter is a platform made for engagement, so it’s the perfect place to interact with readers. When a reader tags you in a tweet, you can like or reply to it to establish a personal connection.
Author Karen M. McManus quote-tweeted a reader’s tweet about staying up late to read her book, creating a connection with the reader that calls out a plight familiar to most bookworms.
However, there are more ways to engage with your readers than just waiting for them to tweet at you.
Ask for readers’ opinions
One way to interact with your readers is to ask for their opinions! Most book lovers are more than willing to share their opinion — and Twitter is made for that! Asking for your followers’ thoughts and feelings, whether it’s for a book recommendation or feedback, is a great way to boost engagement and create meaningful interactions with your readers.
Mark Dawson asked his followers about where they first heard of him. His followers were quick to chime in, and his tweet saw over 50 replies!
One quick and simple way to crowdsource readers is to use a Twitter poll! The poll feature provides multiple-choice selectors that make it easy to reply.
Science fiction author Daniel Arenson regularly uses Twitter polls to ask his readers interesting questions. Here he asks his readers about an alien invasion. This poll sparked engagement not just within the poll itself, but also in the replies.
Share fan art
Sharing fan art is a great way to engage with loyal readers and promote your work at the same time. If someone has created amazing fan art and posted it to Twitter, try quote-tweeting it. You will get to talk about how much you appreciate their work, giving recognition to a talented reader.
Here, V.E. Schwab quote-tweeted a reader’s painting of a character from her Shades of Magic series. She engaged with the reader and boosted the tweet by adding her own commentary:
Broadcast on Twitter
Twitter broadcasts — powered by Periscope — let you live stream video directly to your audience. Twitter will show the broadcast at the top of your followers’ timelines as well as notify them. That kind of exposure drives more viewers and increases the chances of engagement — in fact, tweets with videos such as broadcasts attract 10 times more engagement than those without.
Julayne Lee broadcasted her book release event on Twitter. Not only did she promote her own book, but she let all of her readers experience this event — even if they couldn’t all be there.
Reach a new audience
Twitter is a great platform not just for interacting with your current readers, but also for reaching a new audience. There are many ways to engage with users outside your own following on Twitter, which provide excellent opportunities to attract and acquire new readers.
Get involved in trending topics
Tweeting about trending topics is one of the simplest ways to expand your reach on Twitter. By using a hashtag, your tweet can gain exposure to those outside of your following. Some common hashtags for writers on Twitter include #WritingCommunity, #amwriting, #writetip, and #FridayReads. While hashtags are great, try not to use more than one or two in a single tweet.
Here, author Helen Scheuerer tweeted about #InternationalWomensDay, a trending topic at the time. She cleverly tied the subject of the hashtag back to her own books and experience, creating interest for people outside of her following.
Host a giveaway
Giveaways are a great way to reach a new audience on Twitter. Whether it’s a free book or some swag, people love winning free stuff! You can count entries by asking people to follow and retweet, further spreading the message and growing your follower count.
Author Allie Larkin hosted a giveaway of her book along with some swag. In this case, she had people sign up for her newsletter to receive the giveaway instructions. Getting people to sign up for her newsletter means she’ll be able to reach out to them any time in the future with updates about her books.
Do a cover reveal
Twitter is a great place to host a cover reveal. Not only will you reach your own readers, but you can reach new readers as well! By doing a cover reveal, you can help create more hype for your book.
Allen Eskens revealed the cover of his latest book on Twitter, to the excitement of hundreds. He also included the release date, description and preorder link, giving readers that final push to buy!
Many authors choose to partner with a blog to host their cover reveal, giving them exposure to the blogger’s following on Twitter (and elsewhere). When using this strategy, it’s good etiquette to link to the blog post instead of posting the cover image itself for the first 24 hours, so the blog has an “exclusive” in exchange for promoting your book to their audience.
London Shah partnered with MuggleNet to host her cover reveal. She announced when the reveal would happen ahead of time, using an eye-catching graphic to help build buzz.
Once it went live, London linked to the exclusive cover reveal on MuggleNet by retweeting their announcement tweet.
Participate in the writing community
There is so much more to Twitter than just selling books. Twitter is home to a supportive community of writers! Here, you can build an invaluable network of other authors, agents, booksellers, librarians, and more. According to literary agent Eric Smith, “Even if you don’t have a book out yet or a deal in place, laying the groundwork here is so important — not just for future sales and support, but for the emotional benefit of finding your people in this quirky publishing landscape.”
Getting involved in the writing community on Twitter is easier than you think.
Participate in tag games
Tag games are a fun way to engage with other authors and readers, and connect with new folks. A popular example of a tag game is “Five Things from my WIP.” With this game, an author will list five things in their manuscript, and then tag another author to participate. Participating in tag games is a great way to bond with fellow authors while also reaching different audiences!
Tess Sharpe teased her new book with the Five Things From My WIP game. Quote tweeting in a thread gave exposure to the other authors that contributed. Additionally, this sparked interest not only for her own followers, but also anyone following the tag game.
Celebrate book birthdays
An easy way to participate in the writing community is by congratulating other authors for their #bookbirthday. Typically when a lot of books come out, #bookbirthday will start trending. By using this hashtag and tagging the author in your tweet, you can create a valuable connection. In fact, authors often return the favor!
Take part in Twitter chats
Twitter chats are an effective way to engage with the writing community — they let you personally answer questions readers and authors ask in the chat. It is also an efficient way to keep track of the questions asked with the hashtag. There are many different chats out there for authors. Interact in an existing one such as #WriteChat — or create your own!
Author Claribel A. Ortega hosts #LatinxChat, a Twitter chat for Latinx writers to talk about their current projects, struggles, and goals. Here, writer David Bowles talked about his upcoming project in response to a #LatinxChat prompt.
Perfect your profile
Your profile will become what people on Twitter associate with your books. Creating a cohesive brand here is beneficial.
Match your profile to your brand
Try uploading an interesting header such as an ad for your next book. Headers are often underused, but they can create brand recognition between you and your books. You can use Canva or another design site to easily create a header image.
Roshani Chokshi’s profile includes a great example of a Twitter header. She placed an image from her upcoming book, which includes both the title and the release date. This image helps inform any new visitors to her profile about her new release.
See more examples of stunning author Twitter headers here.
Use the ‘pinned tweet’ feature
A pinned tweet is a tweet that stays “pinned” to the top of your profile, regardless of when it was posted. This means that whenever someone views your profile, your pinned tweet will be the first one they see.
Romance author Alyssa Cole pinned a tweet about her new and upcoming releases at the top of her profile. This tweet is also a part of a thread, with links to purchase below. By doing this, anyone who visits her profile will immediately know about her new books and be able to quickly and easily purchase them.
Promote your other platforms
Twitter is also great for gaining exposure on your other platforms. Whether its a blog post or a book review, you can share it on Twitter. This will make your online presence more cohesive. You can even link to other platforms on your Twitter profile, leading readers to your website or your BookBub page.
Jean M. Grant used Twitter to share a link to her more in-depth review of a book she loved on BookBub.
How do you use Twitter as an author? Let us know in the comments below!
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