Monday, March 3, 2014

Author Promo Basics: Using Twitter #authortips #MFRWorg

An Avatar Can Establish Brand  
This post is part of a series of basic promotional tip sheets for authors. Today's topic is using Twitter. Why join Twitter? The site can increase awareness of your author brand, and help you sell books. It's also a great way to meet new readers and have fun at the same time.


If you don't have a Twitter account, here's how to make one. If you have one, skip to the next section. Begin by going to
  • Use your author name as your user name. You are branding yourself as an author -- this is not the time to use cutesy nicknames. If your author name is taken, add underscores if needed. (kayelleallen / kayelle_allen / _kayelleallen / kayelleallen_ would all work)
  • Location doesn't have to be where you really are. Everywhere I have a profile, mine says "At the keyboard."
  • Upload a good photo for your avatar. Size must be at least 48x48 pixels (px). You can use the same one from your other social media sites.
  • Write a short bio. This is your chance to practice succinct writing. You have 160 characters. Include who you are and what you write about. Humor is a good thing. Here's what I wrote.
    Founded Owns Author SciFi Romance, Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance, Non-Fiction. Blog Empress.
  • You can include links in the bio (see mine above)
  • Put a link to your website or blog in the website section. People who look at your profile are already interested. Let them find you. You are on Twitter to increase branding awareness and sell books, so make sure everything you do enables that.
  • Do not choose "Protect My Updates" as this will block readers from finding out what you're sharing. You can't tell anyone about your books if no one can see what you post.
  • Likewise, do not sign up for "verification services" either. Do not make your readers jump through hoops to follow you. You need a lot of followers if you're going to be successful, so don't do anything that prevents people from following you.
  • Don't say "I don't auto follow" or "I follow back." Tell us WHY we should follow you, not how you use the program.


  • Follower -- someone who follows you
  • Following - what you do when you follow others
How many followers do you need? Since you don't have to read or answer every tweet, don't worry about having too many followers. There is no such thing.
You can view the followers of other authors. If you are new and don't know whom to follow, find authors who write within your genre and see who follows them. See whom they follow. Follow these people yourself. You can also follow their lists of people. You'll see lists if you look at who another person is following.

To follow: click the person's name. A small dialog box will pop up that shows you more about them. Click the "Follow" button. That's all there is to it.

This is a good place to mention "follow ratio." This is how many you follow vs. how many follow you. When you begin, you will be following more people than follow you. As you gain followers, the ratio will even out. It's good to have a balance of followers to following. A celebrity or business on Twitter will generally have far more followers than they are following. That's to be expected. But if you look at a person's following and see they have only a handful of followers while they are following a large number, look out. This can be the sign of a spammer. Sadly, they are everywhere, even on Twitter.

Follow other authors. All of them have readers. Some have more than others. If you share their tweets and they share yours, both your readers are going to see the messages. Mutual promotion is a way to get your posts out there where people can see them.
Bonus Tip
Click the gear symbol next to a person's name, and then click "Add to or remove from lists." A larger box will pop up. This is where you can create a list that helps you organize followers. Why would you do that? Other programs outside of Twitter can use those lists to help you curate your information (i.e.,, RebelMouse), and your followers can also follow your lists. You can become a source of good information. In today's info-centric society, this is a good thing. It's easier to do it now when you're starting than to go back and do it later. In our lesson on you'll learn how to use these lists. Trust me -- it takes seconds and it's worth doing.


Mention - this is using a person's Twitter handle (their name, i.e., @kayelleallen) When added to a tweet, this mention triggers an alert the other person can find. This is a great way to share news with someone. Tip: don't start a tweet with a mention if you want it to be seen by the public. If it's at the front, the tweet can only be seen by the mentioned person and your mutual friends. How to get around that? Put a period directly in front of the name (.@kayelleallen) or put it in another part of the text.
Tweep - what your fellow Twitter friends are called. Yes, it's goofy. Learn to deal with this. It's not likely to go away. It's part of the fun of Twitter.
Hashtag - this is taken from the # symbol (pound / number). On Twitter, using this symbol creates a search term that can be used to show other items labeled the same way. (#MFRWorg) If you see this on Twitter, clicking it will bring up all posts with that hashtag. How do you find good hashtags? See what your friends and other authors are using. You can also look them up on Twubs.
Try these:


#SciFi  #SciFiChat
Use a hashtag to search for what you love to do. Do you #crossstitch, #quilt, or like to #workoncars? Do you love #Loki or #Thor from the Marvel Avengers universe? Maybe it's the boys from #TheVampireDiaries (also #TVD). Whatever your fandom, you can find it on Twitter. Begin following a few hashtags you enjoy. To take part, post a tweet with the same hashtag. Others will see it. To search on a hashtag in a tweet, click on it. There are hashtag chats on Twitter. To learn more about those, follow and you'll find a schedule. I attend #ScifiChat every Friday from 2-4pm Eastern. This week, I'm being interviewed. I've never done an interview where my answers had to be this short. Should be a fun challenge.


As an author, you are a public figure. You are in view of everyone. Remember that and keep all your communications professional at all times. Social media is never the place to have a meltdown. It will go viral in a heartbeat and it's hard to recover. It's never wrong to be kind.


This post isn't meant to be a treatise on the subject of Twitter. It's an introduction. If you have a specific question, post it in the comments and I'll do my best to answer it for you.

Twitter is a great way to have fun as an author, gain readers, and tell people about your books. Don't be afraid to give it a try.


Kayelle Allen is a multi-published, award-winning Science Fiction Romance author of unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion. She is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers.
The Author's Secret

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