Author Do’s and Dont’s: Twitter

Lemme start by saying, I don’t have millions of followers. This post isn’t about how to get followers, even though if you do and don’t do some of these things, you will see more followers. Not a promise, but I think many would agree that these etiquette items will help you keep a happy, steady following.

As an author, we have a unique issue on Twitter. Most of us are there for marketing, then we find this thing called the #WritersCommunity (or #WritingCommunity depending on the day…) and we feel obligated to NOT MARKET because now we are in a room full of people selling the same thing as us. I guess if this was an in-person writers convention, we wouldn’t try to sell our books to each other, but it’s not, it’s social media.

So the number one thing I want to say is:

Don’t think you can’t sell your books to online friends.

This comes with the next few, really close at the heels:

Do share your book on Twitter and with the community.
Don’t spam people with your book.
Don’t DM new followers with spam of your fucking book.

If you DM me about your book before we get to know each other, I’m unfollowing you immediately. This should go without saying, but there, I said it. Don’t be fucking spammy. That means with DMs and your profile feed. Just don’t do it.

Tiffany, how do I share my book without being spammy, then? Here are a few more to cover that:

Do keep a good ratio of marketing shares to personal tweets.
Do retweet and support others MORE than you market your book.
Don’t retweet with comment all the got damn time.
Don’t be egotistical, bro.

There is a balance to it all as well.
We do want to know about you, but not in EVERY.SINGLE.TWEET.
We do want to know about your book, but not in EVERY.SINGLE.TWEET.
We do want you to retweet others, but not in EVERY.SINGLE.TWEET.
We do want to see your dog, but not in EVERY.SINGLE.TWEET.
Noticing a pattern?

My happy balance has always been about 1 to 5 with marketing material. If I only tweeted my book all day and nothing personal, I would tweet it once, then tweet or retweet 5 other things that aren’t my book. Some people probably think this is too much, but this is if I’m doing NOTHING else. In reality, it turns up to 1 marketing tweet in 15 other tweets because I retweet and support more than 5 things/people at a time. I also tweet out my writing questions, polls and comment on my books progress regularly.

Worse come to worse, look at your feed. Does it take a viewer more than 10 seconds to find a link to your book? That’s too long without sharing your work because people have short attention spans. They aren’t just searching for your book for 15 minutes, scrolling until their eyes bleed.

Do keep it interesting for us!

That’s another reason people think you are spammy. You are only showing the same cover image over and over again in your tweets. Mix it up with mockup images, animated covers and book trailers. I have recommendations if you need some services done or want to DIY.

Twitter is a buffet for followers, give us variety. Mix it up like salad!

Last comment on this, and then you can fight me, I know you’ve been waiting for your opening… If you have over 2,000 followers, please stop kidding yourself, your followers are not seeing all your tweets every day. Twitter is a big ALGORITHM. They are picking and choosing what your followers see.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Real quick segue: Tweeting with comment. I know some people might think this is all good, but actually, when you do that, the subsequent responses, likes and retweets belong to YOUR TWEET not the original tweet. This immediately takes the importance away from the original tweet. For PURE support, just retweet.

Do retweet with comment AND retweet without comment. You can do both on the same tweet!

Last thing on that: If you only retweet with comment all the time, your feed is full of things that you said and it eventually looks like you’re not supporting the community but just wanting to see your own face in the profile pic bubble running down the left side of your profile feed. #egotistical

Do share good book news from others. (Book release, interview, book on sale, etc.)
Do share good book news for your own books. (Book release, interview, book on sale, good reviews, etc.)
Do answer when people tweet writing questions!
participate in polls and retweet them for max exposure!

Regarding following:

Do follow people back.
Don’t follow people back who will make your Twitter life miserable.
Don’t follow bots…
Do unfollow people who make you miserable.

Don’t feel obligated to follow everyone who follow you.
Don’t follow people just to get them to follow you.
Don’t UNFOLLOW people after they follow you back!!

Followers can be the Twitter goal, but not at the cost of kindness or sanity.

A note on Twitter jail: I don’t know everything about it because I’m a slow and steady kind of gal when it comes to following and getting followers, but from everything I heard, people are getting blocked from following people because they follow too many people in one day. When the ratio of followers to following is too off kilter, the ALGORITHM recognizes it as a possible bot or shady individual.

I think the biggest thing is to let your social media life be NATURAL. Trying to dive in and follow 1,000 people a day so you can get a 1,000 followers a day is not natural and not what social media is intended for. So, you go to twitter jail.

A few to round it up:

Do understand that interacting is how you get new followers.
Don’t think that you are a nuisance.
Do be kind online.
Don’t talk bad about your book sales, reviews, etc.
Don’t beg for followers. Dear god, no.
Don’t bring unnecessary drama to other writers.

Did I say be kind? That should have been number one.

Lastly, if you wanna meet some people who exemplify these rules, I have some recommendations on friendly, non spammy, smart and cool folks in the writing community you should meet!

Leave a comment and let me know what I missed.

Thanks for reading!


3 thoughts on “Author Do’s and Dont’s: Twitter

  1. “PURE support, just retweet.” Oh! I did not know this! I thought RT with comment was more polite! I shall simply RT from now on.
    Thank you, Tiffany!
    (Btw, do I do ok, on Twitter?)

    1. Don’t get me wrong, retweeting with comments is good if you want to recommend a book and leave a nice comment about it, but it shouldn’t be used all the time. Nothing should be used all the time, really. lol.

      I think you do great on Twitter, Shira! You’re very supportive and share great content. I really appreciate how you reply to peoples tweets when I retweet them! This is awesome because sometimes no one replies and that can make social media feel very lonely.

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