Using Twitter for Effective Book Promotion

Bonnie Tranchtenberg, the iUniverse author whose book Wedlocked made it into the Kindle top 100, and who we interview in this issue of Footnotes, says that getting on Twitter was the best thing she ever did for her book promotion efforts.

She’s not alone. These days there are many big name authors who choose to communicate with the world through Twitter. So, perhaps it’s time you got tweeting too. In this month’s Author Advice, we show you how it’s done.

So, what is Twitter?

Twitter is an extremely popular instant messaging system. Users send very short messages (called tweets) that are up to 140 characters in length to a list of followers. Authors can use Twitter to post about their books, their writing, and their interests.

Where do you start?

First off, sign up to a Twitter account. Write something about yourself in your bio and be sure to include a link to your blog or website. Some people recommend using a photo of yourself, others use photos of their book cover. It’s up to you.

Following and being followed.

In the world of Twitter you can choose to follow people. A good start is to look for famous authors or people who tweet about books and book marketing and follow them. You will now receive all of their tweets. At first you won’t have any followers, but by tweeting regularly and following others you will gradually build up a network.

How to use Twitter

  1. Tell the world about your book Many authors use Twitter for book promotion. It’s a very easy and cost effective way to raise awareness about your work. Be careful though, constantly promoting your book and tweeting nothing else will quickly loose you followers.
  2. Post about your interests With many millions of users there’s bound to be someone with the same interests as you. Tweet them. Naturally it’s better if your interests relate to the subject of your book. If for example you wrote about raising children it makes sense that you tweet about that topic.
  3. Re-tweet other people’s posts If someone sent a good tweet you can re-tweet it. It means you are forwarding their post to your followers. People like it when you re-tweet them and your followers benefit from an interesting tweet.
  4. Use hashtags If you’re on Twitter long enough you will notice tweets that are marked with the # symbol. It’s called a hashtag and they work like this: if you have a writing tip, for example, you can mark it with the #writetip hashtag, and anyone looking for tips will see your tweet. It’s a good way to get new followers. Some other good hashtags for writers are #amwriting #writing #bookmarketing.
  5. Interact with other authors Try searching for tweets by other writers, for example by searching the #amwriting tag. Suddenly you will notice that there’s a large international community of writers. Join in the conversation, make friends and get networking. In this way Bonny Trachenberg made contact with a bestselling author and they agreed to do a cross promotion, and everyone benefited.

The secret to Twitter success

Patience. Posting one tweet will not suddenly drive hundreds of followers to buy your book. The most successful authors use Twitter regularly to build a following over a matter of months or years. Yes, years. It’s a powerful tool, and if used well it’s almost certainly guaranteed to help you market and sell your book, but unfortunately it does require time and effort.

Get started on your Twitter journey today by following @iuniversebooks.

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