Today let’s look at how some authors use Twitter, and what features they value. I surveyed writers from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and asked them how they use this fast-growing medium.
RMFW’s “Twitter” stars – survey results
Note: “Tweets” means # of messages sent per day.
Tweeting: 6 months. Tweets per day: 2-3. Followers: 130. Tool or Time-waster: Tool.
Tweeting: 7 months. Tweets per day: 2-3. Followers: 358. Tool or Time-waster: Tool.
Tweeting: 4 months. Tweets per day: 1-2. Followers: 150. Tool or Time-waster: Tool
Tweeting: 2 months. Tweets per day: 5-10 Followers: 80 Tool or Time-waster:
Kelley Pounds discussed branding in my survey and explained the need for a focus. If you profile yourself as a writer and get followers interested in your name or genre and Tweet about that regularly, you’re building your audience based on that. If you suddenly start Tweeting about things unrelated to what your followers expect, you begin to lose followers because you are undermining your brand. Kelley Twitters as kellscreations and Tweets about her art and jewelry.
Since Diana Rowe writes travel articles, she wants potential editors or PR people to find her. Diana likes the ease of a short, 140-character post – she calls it her “Star Ship Enterprise Captain’s Log” She finds tips from other well-traveled journalists. “It fuels ideas for more articles,” she says.
Christine Duncan tweets to increase traffic for her two blogs.“It helps you connect not just to readers but to agents, publicists and small publishers, so it’s a worthy writing business tool,” she said. “I’ve learned about blog book touring, other social networks and some publicity ops, all because I use Twitter.”
Karen Duvall has gathered many followers in a short time, no surprise since, in addition to writing fantastic novels, she’s adept at all things cyber, computer and social. Karen focuses on editors and publishers, since four publishers are considering her agented novel, Knight’s Curse, now. She follows editor Colleen Lindsey, noting her comments about books, submissions and personal interests. Commenting on Twitter’s time-wasting potential, Karen said, “It would be easy to abuse, but I haven’t had that problem. As for it being a tool, yes! Heather Osborn of Tor announced last week she had a slot open in her schedule for paranormal romance and a bunch of Tweeting writers were able to send her their manuscripts. (Osborn) received 35 and read 8 over the weekend. Networking is important in this business. You snooze, you lose.”
How to tap Twitter’s strengths
Free info flows as easily as wine at an RMFW conference, but when the info pipe is spewing data at 500 gallons a second, one must avoid drowning.
Rather than accumulating many followers, I suggest you be selective. Pick a handful of industry pros to follow, and after your feet are wet, add a few more.
Find RMFW Tweets from those members listed earlier and/or Shannon Baker, Chris Goff or me – and see who they’re following. Borrow from their follow list at will. I’ve been following Maria Schneider, a freelance writer and former editor of Writer’s Digest magazine, and consider her a good addition. Feel free to lift Maria’s name from my list.
Maria Schneider compiled a list of 25 Good Twitter Follows for Writers. Browse it at http://tinyurl.com/7swo3a and start following.
Include a photo.
This powerful feature helps your followers feel as if they know you.
Next: More tips on how you can harness the power of this fast-growing medium.