Thursday, February 17, 2011

10 Reasons Why You Should Twitter

But I don’t want to Twitter

"I’m a writer," you moan. "I struggle to find time to write my manuscript/poems/screenplay. I don’t need to Twitter. Besides, there’s no reason to market my writing until it’s sold."
Wrong, my friend. Oh, so wrong. The time to start building your platform (yes, I said the dreaded “P” word) is long before publication. You need to connect with your audience and have your name recognized so when you do have a book published, your faithful readers will buy it.
Would you buy from a stranger, someone who appears out of the blue, screaming “Buy my book! Buy my book!” Of course not, and neither will anyone else.

Think of it as pre-marketing.
You’ll be targeting a specific audience (readers) in your genre. It’s all about connections. While bookmarks or other tchotchkes momentarily connect with a reader (not necessarily in your genre,) Twittering connects with them continually. They’ll identify with you and spread the word about your writing. And word-of-mouth is priceless advertising.

How do you start and what do you do once you’re there?

1. Open a Twitter account. It’s free and painless. Use your pseudonym if it’s available. If not, get creative. You know about creating, right? Just make sure it’s part of your platform.
2. Personalize your account. Add a picture. It doesn’t have to be of you sitting at your computer, writing. Show your house before and after you move in. Add a picture of your leg in a cast after that fateful skiing accident (you Twittered about it, didn’t you?) Photos give you a face (pun intended.) You’re not Winona Writer, you’re Winona who likes Chinese food and and knows which agents accept which genres.
3. Write a profile, briefly telling about yourself (did you backpack through Europe? People like details.) Add links to your blog and website (and don’t you dare tell me you have neither.) All of these touches prove you’re a real person, someone they can identify with.
4. Use software to manage your accounts. Tweetdecks.com, Hootsuite.com and Twitterific.com help your sort your incoming tweets into categories, tweet in advance and post to different social media sites (do you post the same message individually to Facebook, Twitter and your blog? With these tools, you don’t have to.)
5. Find an audience. With www.Twellow.com you can search by area, occupation, etc. Find the important people in your niche and follow their tweets. Leave comments and retweet their posts.
6. Find lists and participate in tweetchats. (www.tweetchat.com) Use hashtags (#) such as #amwriting and #askagent. They’re active communities and great places to network.
7. Tweet great content. This is the #1 rule of your marketing plan. If all you have to say is “Went to the dentist, no cavities” your audience won’t care. If, however, you give good content (like why you need to use Twitter) your followers will see you as someone of value. Give advice, take the other side of a controversial issue, post useful links (with a brief description so your readers won’t waste their time if they aren’t interested) and support others.
8. Retweet and be retweetable. Retweet (there’s a button for it) good stuff you find and keep your own tweets to <120 characters so others can retweet your good stuff. 9. Don’t over-abbreviate. Twitter restricts you to 140 characters, but don’t make your msg so shrt ppl cnt rd it. 10. Don’t use full URLs. If you’re pointing someone to www.grandmasgoodfood.com for a great recipe, you’ve wasted 23 of your 140 characters. Instead, shorten the URL at http://bit.ly and www.tinyurl.com.  

Remember, it's not about selling books, it's about making connections.
Finally, have fun. The people who follow you today will be there tomorrow to support you, answer questions and buy your books. A two-way conversation will turn into a two-way connection. Can you buy that with a bookmark?

1 comment:

J Q Rose said...

You have given me the kick in the you know what to get me into tweeting. Great advice. It's about making connections...I really like that thought. Thanks.