While Twitter can be looked down upon by some writers as shameless self-promotion, a rising tide of self publishing authors are turning to the tweet to market their books, engage with readers, and put a human face on the scribe behind the book.
To Tweet or Not to Tweet?
It's easy for established writers with publishing contracts to scoff at the Twitterverse, but for self published writers without the might of an established house behind them, social media is a great way to gain 24 hour access to what the New Republic recently called the "world's greatest cocktail party." The key is to not only tweet for the purpose of book marketing, but to establish an authentic presence to interact with a growing community of readers and writers who are constantly seeking new connections and new favorite reads.
Build Authority AND Relatability
A powerful Twitter presence can simultaneously help you build authority as a trusted source on your subject matter, while also giving you a platform to speak more informally about books, writing, and your process. Many of the most popular self publishing authors on Twitter share a mix of formal book promotion updates along with one-liners and casual exchanges with fans and friends.
Ksenia Anske, a fantasy writer who has taken to Twitter to build a platform for her self published fantasy series, now boasts over 50,000 followers and updates regularly on everything from the perils of writer's block to the perfect cup of coffee. Anske's success is hardly random; she has clear intentions for the site and outlines several guidelines for aspiring self publishing authors interested in book marketing. Like several other self publishing successes, Anske stresses the importance of using the platform to encourage other writers as well and not just toot your own horn.
Before you start tweeting, be sure to create an attractive profile that includes an engaging, brief bio listing your book title and author website, if you have one. Get rid of the default "egg" photo as well, and upload an engaging photo so that potentially readers know you're a real person.
Don't Be a Wallflower!
If you're curious about promoting your book on Twitter but you're not sure where to get started, search for favorite authors and bloggers you enjoy, and begin following them. To join the conversation, try using reading related hashtags like #FridayReads or #AmReading to let the world know what books you love.
Don't be shy about praising other self published authors you admire, retweeting their links, and promoting books and articles you've read. Genuine, positive interactions can brand your online identity as an authentic, interesting author and can help you grow a community of supporters and, ideally, loyal readers.
Keep the faith and may the force be with you!