Sunday, May 3, 2015

How Authors Use Twitter @kayelleallen #MFRWauthor #UsingTwitter

My Twitter "Cover" Banner  
Twitter is an excellent place to get news about the writing and publishing industries. The program is easy -- like most things -- once you understand what you're doing. Let's walk through the basics of how to use the site.
This tutorial assumes you have already created an account. If you haven't done that yet, stop and create one now.
Here's a principle to follow on every social media: use your author name. You should always be findable by the name on your book covers.

Tips for Names

You cannot use a space on Twitter. Put your first and last name together. If your name has been taken already, consider adding an underscore (first_lastname) or add one to the beginning or end (_firstlastname OR firstlastname_). You could also add author to the end (firstlastnameauthor OR firstlastname_author) depending on the length of your name. There is a limit to the number of characters.
Do not use the word author first (authorfirstlastname). Why not? Because when someone tries to mention you on Twitter, they will write your name with the @ symbol in front of it (which triggers Twitter to find and link your account). If your name is @authorfirstlastname and they type @firstlastname -- you will not come up in the search. What comes up if they write @author and then begin to look for your name is a list of all people (in alphabetical order) who used author as the first part of their handle. If your name begins with AA or numbers, you might be viewable easily. If not, good luck! It might be pages before they see your name, assuming they stick around that long. Remember: always be findable by your author name.

Log in and Try This

If you already have an account, log in, then click Notifications. You'll see anyone who mentioned you.
Within the rows or boxes that hold tweets, you'll see a star icon. Click that to favorite (like) the tweet. It shows the person who shared your post that you saw it. It's like a thank you.
To send it out to your own followers, click the two arrows (similar to a recycle symbol). A box pops up. There's a place to comment (you can say "Thanks for sharing" or whatever you might like). Then click the Retweet button.
To reply (if you don't want to retweet) click the single arrow. Write your message, and then click Tweet.
To follow, click the person's name. A box pops up about them. Click the Follow button.
To send a tweet to a person, or to mention them, type a short note, and then type the @ symbol. Begin typing their name immediately after the symbol (mine is @kayelleallen). If you are already following them, their name will show up as a possibility, and you can choose it to have it enter for you. When you reply or retweet, it will go to them without having to add their name. Try a few and see how you do. :)
If you like to read about a specific thing, use a hashtag (#) to search for it. For example, if you love Lord of the Rings, or the Hobbit -- use #LOTR or #Hobbit. In Twitter, go to the search bar (upper right) and type one of those. Hit return, or click the magnifying glass in the search bar. Tweets from anyone who used the term you searched for will show up. Try it with almost any word (no spaces) and you will see the possibilities. The popular searches for writers are many. Try these:
·                     #amwriting
·                     #amediting
·                     #writing
·                     #romance
·                     #suspense

There are whole books on Twitter, but this gives you the basics. Give Twitter a try. It's a lot of fun and you will have a new way to reach your readers and friends. Besides... it's also a great way to keep up with favorite TV shows, movies, music, sports, and anything else that interests you.

Kayelle Allen (who follows the #Thranduil and #Loki hashtags)
Author of the Tarthian Empire Companion, a World-Building Bible and Guide to Writing a Science Fiction Series
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