Whether you hate it or love it, Twitter is still an influential platform that can be used to tell the world about your new (or existing) book, but if you don’t use it that often or don’t even have an account yet, what should you be doing when it comes to this specific social media channel (if you want it to help in self-promotion as an author).
The likelihood is that if you’re reading this, you are serious about promoting your book and reaching out to a larger audience, so along with other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is still a good channel to connect with others.
So, what is the best way of using Twitter and are there things you could be doing right now to make it work better for you? Here are our top eleven tips on getting the most out of it for you as an author.
One – What’s in a name?
This may be a little obvious, but, if you haven’t yet created a Twitter account, make sure you chose a name which is relevant to you and your chosen genre. For example, If you’re an author of historical novels and yet your Twitter handle is @fluffybunny1, you may find that people will make assumptions about your credibility when looking at your page.
If you have an existing and personal Twitter account, you may want to consider opening a new one specifically for you as an author, this will then allow you to align yourself more closely to the genre.
Two – Profile Image
People will make assumptions based upon what they see, so your profile image needs to do you justice, as an author it is better to use a professional photograph of yourself, a good head-shot will give the impression of professionalism from the get-go.
If you don’t want to use a head-shot, do instead use a high-res image of an element that’s tied into your book, it could be a logo or a graphic which is important to the series. But please don’t simply stick with the default image of the egg, you tend to see this used on many fake accounts.
Three – Banner Image
Like the profile image, the banner you choose to represent you & your work is important, it should be professional, relevant and clearly showcase your book/s. Obviously we would recommend that you have one designed which includes images of your work along with copy which promotes, but if you don’t want to do this, at least use an image which (again) is relevant and looks professional.
Four – Bio
Your bio should not be something that you throw together quickly, it’s one of the first things that visitors to your profile will read, so it should let them know what to expect from you. Admittedly, you do only have the space for 160 characters, but this doesn’t mean you should waste them, a well-constructed bio along with your profile and banner images should highlight your professionalism as an author.
Five – Followers
One of the most frustrating things of starting a new account will be the lack of followers, this may lead to the temptation in seeking robot followers, these are still a thing (although Twitter is always clamping down on them), but it is easy to gain followers with them and for a fee. The simple answer is….. Don’t, they are fake, they’ll never retweet anything you post and they will make your account look shady.
Gaining real followers takes time, it takes some effort and it will require you connecting with others, but then that’s what social media is there for, to connect with other people. So, take your time, engage with others, like, retweet and comment, and above all, have fun, before you know it your followers will start to grow, and best of all, they’ll be genuine.
Six – Follow others
Find other influential people within your genre and follow them, you’ll find that lots of people will follow you back, but you will also see how they interact with their own followers (which can be really useful).
Seven – Saying thanks
If people retweet content from your page, make sure your say thanks and tag them in the post using their Twitter handle, this may seem like a little be of work, but it really helps to grow relationships and your presence upon the channel.
Eight – Self Promotion
Now the main reason that most professionals use Twitter is to sell something, however, if your page is simply one continuous advert, people will switch off, think of watching a show on TV, you’ll sit through the ads, but they’re not the reason your watching, and if it was 30 mins of pure ads, wouldn’t you just change channels?
So, be sparing with your adverts, post content that you would want to read yourself along with a couple of ads.
Nine – Hashtags
Adding great content to your channel is important, but you want it to be found, and one of the best ways of doing this is in using Hashtags. So if you have written a post about self-publishing, you simply add the tag #selfpublishing to the post, this way anyone looking for posts on self-publishing will have a better chance of finding your post, just make sure you add several tags and keep them specific to your audience.
Ten – Lists
Creating a list in Twitter is a great way of staying connected to other users without having to follow them, you can bunch people together and go back to them when you need to, you’ll also find that most people love being added to one of these too.
Eleven – Use it
The main thing with Twitter (and any other social media channel) is that you’ll get out of it what you put in, if you take the time and effort to connect with others, post content that you find interesting, retweet, like, engage and follow others too, you’ll have fun, make connections and build a platform that will help with your goals as an author.
When we want to buy a product these days we always look for reviews to see how others found it, and a book is no different, a great review can work wonders in helping the unsure reader make the decision to purchase your publication and not another.
Reviews themselves can and should be used in several locations too, when most people think of reviews for a book they think of its Amazon’s sales page, the gold stars and the comments left by people who have already bought the book. But there are other places to use your reviews and (most importantly) several different ways of getting reviews.
Let’s look at how you can get some reviews first.
One – Promote your eBook
Giving your eBook away for free as part of a promotion can be a great way to increase your downloads, the more people who get to read it will eventually lead to an increased chance of reviews. This can work incredibly well if you have a series of books, making the first in the series permanently free will not only help with obtaining reviews, it will also help in selling the other books in the series.
Two – Ask the reader
You will have noticed that in the back of most books you’ll see a call to action for the reader themselves, this is a polite request asking the reader to leave a review online of your book, this works incredibly well in eBooks, here the request gives a link to the book’s sales page, making it incredibly easy for the reader. But even with a printed book, you can still have a page which politely asks the reader to leave a review, it’s best to have this just after the final page of the book, once they’ve read ‘The End’ the next page asks for their review (include a picture of the book and make it stand out).
Three – Use your website & mailing list
Any serious author these days will have a website (if you don’t have one yet, it really is worth considering), your website is your platform to the world and gives you the opportunity to self-promote, inform and engage with your readers. Again, you may need to offer something for free (maybe a chapter of your latest book or even a complete book) in exchange for their email address. Once you build a mailing list you can send out news, promotions and even sneak previews of new books, just make sure you ask for a review in return.
Four – Beta Test your book
Opting for a ‘soft-launch’ where you only promote the book to a select few is more common than you may realize, the purpose of this is to fine tune the book and get feed-back, some of this feed-back may then be usable for a quote, but it’s really important that you get honest feed-back that you can then act on, the most successful films do this with test audiences and you should do the same with test readers.
These test readers could be part of online authors groups (such as Goodreads), they could be readers who you engage with through your author social media channels or they could be people who are part of your mailing list. This process can take several months to complete, so you should be patient, but it really is worth taking the time to complete, it can really help with the editing, proofing and promotion of your book and really doesn’t cost much to do.
Five – Give your book to people of influence
This could be as simple as sending out free copies to book bloggers in return for a review/quote, you may send a copy to someone you admire and has relevance to your subject and genre. The key is in doing some research, if you are going to send your book to a prominent Blog writer or Vlogger, make sure that they actually review books that are in your own chosen genre.
Six – Use Social Media
Engaging with your audience via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other channels is a great way to self-promote and also get to know those who read your work, the main thing to always keep in mind is that it should not just be about promotion, you do need to have a conversation/interaction with your followers, it should be fun and engaging.
When done correctly, social media is a great platform to ask for reviews and promote free (or discounted) books, but again, just don’t go overboard with non-stop adverts.
Seven – Using paid services?
Yes, you can buy reviews and there are plenty of people on freelance and independent sites who are more than happy to write one for you. But, you do have to consider the ethics and feedback of what you may be about to buy, some services will simply put your book in front of readers who are happy to leave reviews, this is a little better, but if you have a review which when quoted shows where it came from, then your reader may not trust its validity. Given the choice, it may be better to look for more organic reviews first.
Once you have some reviews, where do you place them?
One – Your book cover
A great review is always worth placing upon the cover design of your book, for most books the quote/s are place upon the back page, normally above the main blurb, this is so that the reader is hit with it prior to reading anything else. Depending upon the design and available spacing, you may also want to consider placing a small quote upon the front page too, this works really well if it’s relatively small and of course punchy/positive (remember, it is a sales tool for your book).
Two – Your Book’s Sales Page
When you upload your book to Amazon, it will allow you to add a detailed description about the book itself, in a lot of cases this is where an author will simply copy and paste their book’s blurb. It is of course worth taking your time with this page as this does become a sales tool for your book and should be approached with some serious thought, but along with the description you can of course add a quote, adding this just above the description of the book will add some gravitas to your page and help in the book’s promotion.
Three – Your social media
A quote will also look great when placed upon the social media banners for your author’s profile pages, you’ll normally have a banner which has artwork and your book on, you should consider adding a quote to it too, just don’t over-crowd the banner.
Four – Your Website
You should definitely have your quotes placed throughout your website, make sure that they stand out as quotes and have them upon all of the relevant pages, in most cases the quote will be in a different style font or placed within a quotation box, the website should also give you more room to publish multiple quotes.
Five – In Print
If you are making any promotional materials such as posters, business cards, bookmarks, flyers, t-shirts and other give-a-ways, make sure you include a good quote within the designs, again, this is another great opportunity to sell your book, so use it.
For most authors the dream is to hit it big and spend your days as a full-time writer, so, if you have written and published a book, you’ve certainly made a start towards realizing that dream. But there are other ways to make an income through writing (although you’ll still want to keep working on your next book, I’m sure).
There are plenty of places where you can sell your work and at the same time grow your skills (along with your writing portfolio), here are four areas where you should also be considering if you want to become a full-time writer.
1 – Start a Blog
Now, just like the get-rich-quick articles that I’m sure you may have read, the ones that boldly state ‘Become an overnight millionaire by writing an eBook’ or ‘make $$$$ with your own website’, just writing a blog and sitting back to let the money come rolling in simply doesn’t work. You have to put effort in, and it can certainly be a slow burner, but does this mean that you shouldn’t consider a blog? No, having a blog gives a writer a great platform to highlight/advertise your talents, you will need to self-promote through social media, on-line advertising and even word of mouth, but with time you can grow your visitors. It’s at this point that you can integrate your blog with Google Adsense or use programs such as Clickbank to market products & services which you’ll earn a commission from.
2 – Are you an expert?
There are countless online magazines (both large and small) that publish many new articles each and every day, these magazines are always on the look out for experts who can share their knowledge within a certain area. So, if you have specific skills in one or two areas (or even more), look for the magazines that serve that interest and write to them. If the area of your interest is very niche, then that’s great, with most of the mainstream bases already being covered (over and over again), it makes it a little easier to stand out in a field where there are currently less knowledgeable writers.
3 – Write for other people’s/business’s blogs and websites
If you run a website you’ll already know that content is king, having a site which offers quality content (relating to your area of interest/business) is so important to ensure that SEO is being taken care of and that you offer information of value to your readers. However, for many small businesses this is another job on an already long list of things which need to be completed, so, lots of businesses out-source their blog writing, social media and content creation for their site. This of course is great news for you, even if you’re not an ‘expert’ within their specific field, you just need to be able to do some in-depth research (using multiple references).
4 – Freelance on gig sites
With the phrase ‘side-hustle’ being so widely used and understood, we now live in an age where people juggle multiple ways of creating income for themselves and their families, there are many Freelancer websites where you can advertise your services as a writer and make money. There is a lot to this subject and to find out even more, you may want to check out this great article on being a Freelancer https://www.websiteplanet.com/blog/ultimate-guide-to-being-a-freelancer/
You can certainly make money through writing (and not just with a book), many writers have great careers (and in an areas which they are truly passionate about), but it does take work and effort, the more effort that you can put in to your career in writing, the more you'll get back out again.
Book cover designers.