- Only original content need apply. Unlink your Facebook feed now, if you didn’t do it yesterday. A 140 character world is not one you can replicate with a bot. In fact it just pisses off the Twitter horde. Really, you are doing more harm than good at this point.
- Use the personality you were given. Writers are lauded for their voice or criticized for a lack of one. Use it on Twitter. An erotic romance author shouldn’t sound like an inspirational one. And neither should only blast us with their latest thing to sell. It doesn’t have to be personal, although we love that, but it needs to be uniquely you.
- Use the 75% rule. Only 1 in 4 of your Twitter messages should be overt sales pitches. This isn’t a tweet-by-tweet rule, but an overall twit feed rule. If all I ever see from you is the same 140 character push to sell your book, then I won’t follow you long. And you will never make my favorites list. Does that mean 3 of the 4 messages are a waste of time? Nope. They can be quotes from your book, or reviews retweeted from your book, or an image of the cover or the list is endless. And each can have a link of where to buy the book. Do you see the difference?
- Tweet often and consistently. Twitter isn’t a tool for the faint of heart. Because it lives in real time, second by second, with no evil Big Brother filtering, it is important to establish a pattern of Tweeting. Like every day. Every 8 hours. No less than 4 of the 7 days, or you will just fall off the map for your budding Twitter presence. Now if you are Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Swift, Paulo Coelho, or the Dali Lama, the Twitter public will graciously wait for your wisdom. Otherwise the less well-known you are the more frequent you should post.
- Don’t let Twitter devour you. Yes, after all my other rules, I know this seems a direct contradiction. But like all good things, chocolate, fountain Pepsi, comfort food, perhaps sex (not sure about that one), too much can kill you. Or at least make you resemble a zombie. Set limits on your time. There are hundreds of apps that will let you preschedule tweets, monitor your feed, and scores of other useful junk. But if you never write another word outside of Twitter, you have a bigger problem than no Twitter account. I call this my Social Maxim.
- THE SOCIAL MAXIM (self-important CAPS intended): The amount of time spent on Twitter (insert any social media) will benefit your writing career until the point you tip over the line into the Social Zone. The Social Zone is the place where you worry about the number of retweets, obsess on your follower number, and get no real work done in a day. For me the Social Maxim says I can tweet about 4-6 times a week before I tip over into the Social Zone For you, that number may be different.
In the past week, I struck up more than one conversations on the joys of Twitter. Fellow writers over food pondered the age-old question – why bother with twitter? And if I decide to do the twitter thing, how do I do it?
As a writer with a manuscript to publishers for review, Twitter is my go-to marketing tool. I want to be counted in the writing community. Twitter is where the writing community lives and breathes between writing sprints and hours of revision. It is where writers, readers, publishers and agents go to connect together in 140 letter.
Somewhere along the way, I noticed Twitter received the honorary “the” people use for baffling mega-things they don’t understand, like “The” Internet. But it is worth the investment to understand. I’ve outlined why I and most other writing twits are so twitterpated:.
- Writing community. We writers are lonely souls pouring our blood onto pages. We aren’t always the most social, except the characters we talk to in our heads. With very little work, I have connected with a rich community of writers who provide support, camaraderie, and advice whenever I want 140 characters of connection. I feel connected to hundreds of others who share the same strange passion I have. In fact #amwriting trended at the top of the hashtag list because so many writers wanted to connect together.
- Hashtag joy: Do you love them or hate them? On any given day I both love and hate hashtags. I #hatelonghashtagspeoplemakeup but love established hashtags like #writing, #amediting, and #nanowrimo that I can use to discover like-minded people sharing my journey. At the end of this post, I have listed popular and relevant writing hashtags I personally adore.
- Promotion: Did I say I’m a marketer by day? The evil day job makes me sympathetic to social media. Twitter, more than any other, has an authentic following of loyal people. It hasn’t sold out yet, at least that’s how the Twitter world perceives itself. So promotion by authors in this world has a higher impact than other media where their sell-out makes huge sucking noises. Fans will follow you on Twitter, buy your stuff and retweet your funny, pithy or even ridiculous comments to their followers. That viral thing works well here. And since we’re writers, our words are most likely to go viral. Are the dots connecting yet?
- Accessibility to fame: This one isn’t so much a big one for me, but it has fueled Twitter’s skyrocketing success. Are you a complete fan of Misha Collins on Supernatural? Chances are great you’ll get a personal tweet from him if you are creative enough. Or what if your favorite author tweets a response to you? The chances are much better than the lottery, and look how popular that is. Americans live for fame, and work hard to touch it even for brief moments. In the writing world, the community is strong. Writers love writers. Readers love their authors. It makes Twitter a great place to touch those people who shape our lives. It’s like a 24/7 Con of your favorite poison.
I hope your love affair with Twitter is as rewarding as mine. If you enjoyed this send me a tweet @jadechandlerrom, I would love to follow you and your escapades. Check below for my treasure trove of hashtags. And come back soon for my next post, The Cardinal Rules of Twitter.
#NaNoWriMo- National Write A Book Month. 50K words in the month of November
#ASMSG – social media group for authors
#writetip – writing advice
#1k1hr – universal tag that you are sprinting with a goal of 1,000 words in an hour-long sprint