Monday, October 17, 2011

Self-Publishers: Take the Twitter Oath

So you are self-publishing...then you need to be on Twitter.  Once you have an account; decide what your message will be.  Make it about your books, self-publishing, your writing process, but pick one and stick with it.  Multiple messages will be confusing for your followers.  My aim @harmonygirlit is to tweet about the self-publishing process.  After you have chosen your platform, hold your right hand up in the air and repeat after me: 

Now that you have taken the Twitter oath, sign up for an account at and start tweeting!  First things first, learn to tweet directly.  Try it by sending me this tweet: 

@harmonygirlit love your blog, took the twitter oath.  

I promise to follow you until I get that first tweet about your lunch.  Then you will be promptly 'unfollowed'.  Putting someone's twitter identifier at the beginning of your tweet will send a direct message (DM) to them and won't be sent out to the rest of your followers.

Follow Someone
Now, go out and find some people to follow.  Try to only follow people important to your platform.  If necessary, create another 'personal' twitter account to follow your best friend and the news.  If you are following dozens of people, make separate lists so you don't have to scroll through thousands of Twitter messages to find something useful.  This can be done under your homepage under 'lists'.

Where it's @
Check the @mentions button on your twitter homepage often.  These are where direct messages from others to you show up.  Don't ignore them!

Remember to include #hashtags with most of your tweets.  They allow you to 'tag' your tweets so they are included on a long list of every other tweet with that hash tag.  Every time I include a hashtag my follower base grows slightly.  For a list of hashtags specific to writing and the self-publishing industry, see my 'Twitter Resources' guide under my resources section of the blog.

Retweets (AKA RT)
My followers also grow every time my tweets get retweeted.  Granted, I only have two retweets – but I did get a boost in followers – both times it happened!  Don't be shy about asking followers for a retweet, but don't be annoying about it, either.

Twitter Conferences (for lack of a better term)
I've also participated in several twitter conferences using TweetChat.  Agents, publishers and writers will set aside a day and time for question and answer sessions via twitter – followable by including a hash tag.  @bradfordlit and @colleenlindsay will often do this and #bookcountry will often host (just a few examples).

Linking Up
Oh, and don't forget to link your twitter feed to your other platforms; Facebook, Amazon author page, Goodreads, etc.

More Stuff
Be sure to download my Twitter Resources guide on the resources section of my blog.  In addition to hashtags, it has websites that help you find followers and websites to help you decipher 'twitter speak'.

Confession time:  I only have 27 twitter followers.  Wait let me check...yep, still just 27.  So you'll have to excuse me while I go follow my own advice – I'll let you know how it goes...


  1. Hi, Terra. Actually I've heard that an author's Twitter posts should be varied; some personal, some philosophical, some on the writing process and some shameless book promotion. I honestly don't know what is best, I've only started with Twitter this year and mainly to promote my books originally. Then I learned that was 'wrong.' Now I mix it up and it 'seems' to be working better, at least in terms of followers if not book sales.

  2. Thanks for your comment! I agree - I don't think pure self-promotion would gain many followers. I may try mixing it up too, keeping mainly to my self-publishing message with just a few self-promotion tweets every now and then.

    I know that I have 'unfollowed' people for tweeting too much about their personal life - so I try to steer clear of that myself. But to each their own!