Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
When my debut novel, Mistress Suffragette, was about to be published, I realized that I wanted to have a Twitter presence. But I wasn’t certain how to go about achieving that. I wanted to tie my messages into my novel, but not reveal so very much about it that no one would buy it. I needed to create a campaign around the book without inserting a spoiler alert into every tweet.
Vowing to learn as I went, I dipped my big toe into the Twitter pond. Here are some takeaways I learned on my Twitter journey—one that gained me 3,000 followers in three months.
Lesson 1: Be Brief
Twitter’s 140-character format means you only write the headline and don’t need to write a tome, which is a relief of sorts, but also means condensing my message and providing no detail. That’s a new frontier after writing an entire novel!
Lesson 2: Engage
Remember that social media is, well, social. Don’t shy away from engaging with your followers. If they ask for something—such as retweeting or “liking” one of their tweets—it’s best to do so if you can. The key is to engage, engage, and (you guessed it!) engage.
Lesson 3: Make It a Habit
Texting my best friend about my day is a habit. To gain followers on Twitter, you need to make a commitment to spend time on the platform daily. Over time, posting milestones about my book’s release, my book-signing schedule, awards and reviews my book received, my writing process, events on topics related to my book, and so on became as easy as texting my best friend.
Lesson 4: Study Feedback and Adapt
Feedback is instantaneous. If no one retweets or likes one of your tweets, take a good hard look at it. It may be too self-promotional. As writers, we need to strike a balance between selling ourselves and engaging our followers!
Lesson 5: Tweet Daily
Tweet every day without fail, including on Sundays. Be sure to tweet at the same time each day. When is the best time to get your tweet on? Supposedly, the magic tweeting hour is between 2 and 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Lesson 6: Follow Other Authors or Book Bloggers
Not only does this make you an active member of the community, but it can also spark ideas. Retweeting content that my own followers might find interesting gave me still more opportunities to tweet. Using the #Discover tab on Twitter, I searched for conversations related to historical fiction and all things New York City. By digging around a bit, I tapped a vein of new people to follow, who then noticed and followed me.
Lesson 7: Stay Relevant and Open to All
Even if you’re a historical fiction writer, it’s helpful to keep one foot in the present in terms of your tweets. In other words, you want to stay relevant. At the same time, do your best to avoid political or controversial posts. Not all of your followers will share your personal views—and that’s OK.
Lesson 8: Stay on Brand
Be sure your tweets are on brand (I wrote about branding here), but also break up your messages so your followers grow tired of your campaign. Just don’t veer too far away from what you stand for.
The more you tweet, the more you’ll find what works and what falls flat. Don’t be shy, and don’t be afraid to be creative. Tweeting consistently will keep you top-of-mind with your followers and hopefully keep them talking about—and buying—your book.