Today I am delighted to be joined by writer Terry Tyler.
Terry has written a post, that while targeted at writers, is in fact full of helpful hints for all who are considering taking the first tentative step towards Twitter or indeed who are unsure of how to get the best out of those very concise 140 characters!!!
I hope you find a new trick here that will help you navigate the many challenges posed by Social Media…
Writers and Social Media (particularly Twitter): a guide for the new writer.
by Terry Tyler
First of all I’d like to say a big thank you to Mairead for inviting me onto her blog. She asked me to write a short piece about writers and social media; I don’t claim to be an expert, but it’s almost solely through Twitter that I’ve developed my readership.
When I started self-publishing five and a half years ago, I’d been active on MySpace and less so on Facebook (which I’ve never been keen on) for some years, but hadn’t tried Twitter. I’ve since found it to be the site I like the most; I’m a bit of an addict!
Here are some dos and don’ts that I hope will be helpful to any new writer who is just starting out, and dipping a tentative toe into the tweeting water.
- Most importantly, DO engage with others. No one expects you to say thank you for every follow or retweet, but it’s good to retweet other people, or comment on what they’re posting about, or on their blog posts. Everyone likes to feel that they’re not talking to thin air! Some of my odd comments have resulted in online friendships and new readers..
- …but DON’T do the friendly-chat-as-thinly-disguised-sales-pitch thing. I’ve seen it so many times; I start chatting to someone online, and within three exchanges they manage to get the subject round to their book…
- DO seek out and follow people who are interested in the subjects you write about. If you write romance, you need to be putting words/phrases like ‘avid reader’ ‘romance’ and ‘good book’ into the search, then clicking on ‘people’; you will then see a lovely big list of tweeters who might be interested in what you do!
- but when they follow you back, DON’T bombard them with links. Say hi, if you like, but wait for them to discover your book themselves. They’re following you now; they’ll see your tweets in their feed, and investigate further if they want to. Another good tip is to look at popular writers in your genre, and follow everyone they’ve followed.
- DO seek out book bloggers, those wonderful human beings sent from the gods who not only read our books but also write about them, and spread the word—these are people you need to know! There will be some whose reviews you find particularly interesting and who might be amenable to reviewing your book, if you take the time to check their blogs out.
- … but DON’T see the magic words ‘book blogger’ and immediately send a tweet asking for a review. This isn’t how it works. All book blogs have submission guidelines, and some might be temporarily closed, or not accept your genre, or only review their own reading choices. I have a book blog, but I’m primarily a writer, so I don’t take submissions; this is stated clearly on the top of the blog. All the same, I get requests for reviews every single week.
- DO share good posts from others, either by retweeting or clicking the ‘share’ button; you want to build up a following, not just bang on about your own work all the time. Generosity breeds generosity; if you take an interest in others, they will take an interest in you.
- … but DON’T just share everything you see, or every single blog post that appears in your email inbox. Be selective.
- DO tweet stuff that isn’t about you and your work. There’s more to you than the book you’ve written, isn’t there? And please DON’T tweet about your word count. No one cares. Honestly.
- DON’T get too caught up in social media to the detriment of your writing. The most successful self- and indie press published authors I know do not use social media every day; they’re too busy working on their next best seller. While you’re chatting away on Facebook writers’ groups about your lack of time and motivation, you could be writing the next chapter.
- If you have not been involved in social networking before, DO understand that the key word is ‘social’. Facebook, Twitter, etc, are not just free advertising. One of the reasons I don’t do book stuff on Facebook is that I was using the site for years before I started self-publishing, and didn’t want to suddenly start bombarding my friends on there with lots of promotional posts.
- DO pin a tweet to the top of your page. This makes it easier for others to retweet you. Change it often, at least once a week. I’ve seen some pinned tweets that have been there since 2015. Surely they have something else to say by now?!
- DO give a few details about yourself on your bio, but DON’T include the words ‘buy my books here’ or ‘check out my books’ or anything similar. This makes you look as if you’re on the site only to make sales.
- DON’T call yourself an expert, or a best-selling author, or an award winning author, on your bio, if you’re not. Getting to the top of a genre chart for two days three years ago during a special promotion does not make you an ‘Amazon best seller’. Grandiose claims usually have the opposite of the desired effect.
- DON’T do auto DMs. You know, those ones that say, “Hi, thanks for following! Check out my blog here, buy my book, subscribe to my YouTube channel, follow me on Instagram, donate to my Kickstarter, give me the shirt off your back”. Everyone hates them. Yes, that’s everyone.
- DO take an interest in other writers. I’ve discovered a couple of my favourite authors by clicking on those promotional tweets that flutter by, and then clicking ‘buy’. One of the reasons you’re a writer is that you love books, right? Since using Twitter I’ve made several online friends who I’ve since got together with in person; it’s a great way of meeting like-minded people.
- Most of all, DO be genuine. Hang back a bit, until you’ve got used to the site. Think of social media as real life; imagine you’re entering a room filled with strangers. You wouldn’t just walk up to them and start talking about yourself and your work; you’d find points of common interest, ask them about themselves.
And that is, probably, the best piece of advice of all.
Thank you so much Terry for this invaluable information on Social Media that I think everyone can avail of. To find out more helpful tips on Social Media, Terry has written a number of useful posts, which you can check out HERE
Who is Terry Tyler?
I have 13 books on Amazon. I write contemporary fiction: psychological thriller/drama, family and love relationships, a little bit edgy, a little bit dark, always real life. I’m a history addict, love winter and bleak places, countryside and sea…..
TV & film wise: The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, The Wire, Sleeper Cell, Game of Thrones, The Last Kingdom, historical docs ~ anything good about war, post apocalyptic worlds, gangsters, government conspiracies, crime.
And good humour. Love South Park.
Music: rock, jazz/blues, a bit of classical and opera.
I live with my husband in the north east of England.’
Website ~ http://terrytyler59.blogspot.ie/
Twitter ~ @TerryTyler4