Hello and welcome to my Twitter for Authors series. This is the first in the series tackling the basics of Twitter specifically for you fantastic authors out there.

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting to write your first book, or you’ve written loads – Twitter is one of the best social media platforms to be on for authors, and here’s why:

  • Twitter allows you to connect easily with other people in your field
  • It enables you to communicate with potential readers quickly and easily
  • It allows you to create a community of interested people and future fans of your work

‘But I don’t have time to write and be on Twitter…’

I know, I feel the same way. Making the time to be on social media and achieve your writing goals – let alone any other life commitments is difficult. However, it’s also necessary. Don’t be put off though, once you start making the time for social media, it will pay you back.

You’ve gotten this far, so let’s talk about the basics of setting up your Twitter profile.

If you’ve already got a profile, keep reading, I have plenty of suggestions on how to make it better.

Your Twitter username/handle:

Your Twitter handle (the bit with @ in front of it) should be obvious and short. Usually, your name or pen name is perfect. If your name is taken though, stick author on the end. So, if your name is Olivia Jones, your Twitter handle could be @oliviajones or @oliviajonesauthor etc.

Using your name or pen name will make you very easy to find. If a reader or reviewer wants to look you up on Twitter, they can simply type in your name and up you pop. If you have a more ‘creative’ handle though, they likely won’t find you.

N.B: If you have other social media profiles like Instagram or Facebook, try to keep your username the same on all of them. This will make you much easier to find.

Your Twitter bio:

Your bio is the section on your profile that appears below your Twitter handle. You only get 160 characters in this section so let’s make them count.

Your bio one of the most important tools you have on Twitter. To make it sing, you will want to do the following:

  • Mention your book/s, but quickly. Your bio should be about you, rather than your work. So yes mention your notable books so that followers can get the link between you and your work, but don’t list them all.
  • Don’t brag. Your books may have won notable prizes, or you may have won some awards but by bragging too much about them, it can be offputting.
  • Don’t sell too much. If you try to sell your books directly in your bio, it can look a little desperate. Do the selling in your Tweets instead.
  • DO tell your potential followers why they should follow you. Readers on Twitter aren’t interested in following every author that comes their way unless they have something extra to offer. What will you be Tweeting about, what makes you unique?
  • Don’t forget to mention the genre of books you typically write in. Readers usually have their favourites, so this will make you more attractive to the right kind of people.

If you need a little extra hand, here are a few author bios that really hit the mark:

Profile image and cover image:

To really connect with your readers, your profile image should be a photograph of you. The photograph doesn’t need to be professional. A high-quality, clear photograph of yourself to allow your readers to connect you to your books will do.

You can be a little more relaxed about your cover image depending on where you are in your author journey. If you have a book out, a cover image with your book cover and a noteworthy review or quote would be perfect. If you’re just starting out, then a photograph of an inspirational location relating to your upcoming book would work well.

How to build your following

You’ve set up your profile and are ready to get lots of followers and more importantly – start engaging with the Twitter community. Let’s keep it simple for now, you’re just starting out after all and building up your following will take a little time.

Start with a couple of tweets

Before you start attracting people to your profile, you’ll want to have a few tweets already posted. Introducing yourself is a good start but be creative about it. Talk about the book you’re writing or things that inspire you.

Top tip: Don’t just tweet about your book. Social media is just that, social. So, promote your book but interact too. Go for this formula: 30% community/interaction, 30% reposting and linking to others’ content and 35% self-promotion.

Use the best hashtags you can find

Hashtags are an integral part of Twitter. When clicked, they allow you and others to see a feed of other tweets that have also used that hashtag. When promoting your book or raising your author profile on Twitter, you’ll want to use the best hashtags possible to stand out.

Search Twitter for hashtags that you think might work and see if others are using them too if the answer is yes – get using them. Stick to 2-3 hashtags per tweet, don’t go over this though because it can appear spammy.

Start finding followers

Building your follower list can take some time, so a good way to build it is to find similar authors to yourself on Twitter, check their follower list and follow those people too. Make sure they are people who will likely follow you back though, and stay away from profiles that look like bots or spam profiles.

Be consistent

Tweet once per day to start with. Increase that to twice per day once you start to get into a good rhythm. The point here is to be consistent, so if you find tweeting twice per day too much, then bring it down to once per day and stick to that. You want to stay on peoples’ radar, so the more consistent you can be, the better.

I’ll be doing more articles in this series delving deeper into Twitter for authors, how you can increase engagement, convert followers into email subscribers and schedule posts effectively to give you more time writing.