Twitter Tips for Authors

Promoting your book online doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, the frustration experienced by Twitter users often results from failure to take full advantage of the site’s numerous marketing tools. The truth is uncovering Twitter’s benefits can be tricky, but after following a few simple steps, you’ll be growing your fan base in no time.

One of the best ways to build a network on Twitter is actively reaching out to not only authors, but also agents, editors, bloggers, critics and others who share your interests. Try to target people who can contribute to the growth of your network and offer some level of exposure. Take full advantage of Twitter lists! You can put people into public lists in hopes of getting their attention, lists such as “Funny Tweeters”, “Smart People”, “Awesome Authors”, etc. Use private lists for more meaningful curation, and keep an eye on your lists to know who you should be engaging with regularly.

What You Should Tweet
Your tweets don’t need to be spoilers or quotes directly from your book. However, adhering to topics that relate to your genre might be helpful. Remember, your objective is to get people following you, which takes time. Loading your tweets with plugs about your book will likely turn away many of the followers you’ve accumulated. So focus on being part of the Twitter community, and particularly the relevant subcommunities on it. This doesn’t mean you can’t tweet about personal things in your life. In fact, showing your human side is a great way to use Twitter and let people know you’re not just there to spam your book.

Start with People You Know
You could spend years waiting for users to find you. Instead, reach out to your email contacts and connections from other media sites. Share your tweets with friends on Facebook and Instagram, and ask them to follow you. Make sure you have a Twitter Follow Button on your website or personal blog, and put your Twitter profile in your email signature.

Don’t Get Stuck Online
By not allowing yourself to become confined to the Internet, you open an entire universe of potential followers. Joining a writers community and connecting with group members on Twitter is a good place to start. Chances are they’re attending group meetups for the same reason. Consider adding your Twitter handle to your business card, and don’t forget to follow people you meet in real life. Twitter is a great way to add a new dimension to your real life relationships.

Using Hashtags
Hashtags make your tweets easier for writers and potential fans to find. There are a variety of popular hashtags in the book community on Twitter. You’ll start to discover some the more you use Twitter and the deeper you engage with communities. Use them on your tweets where relevant and be sure to check out the hashtag feeds from time to time to find new users and content yourself. Here are a few basic hashtags to get you started:

  • #Mustread
  • #Fiction (or nonfiction)
  • #Fantasy (or whatever your genre)
  • #YA
  • #amreading
  • #books
  • #Kindle
  • #WhatToRead
  • #BookLovers

Designing Your Profile
Keep you profile simple, which means every detail should be effective or at least memorable. Use your real name or pseudonym rather than a catchy, fictional one like “Bookninja.” After you’ve added a quality photo, a short bio, and a link to your website, you’ll be ready to start promoting. For bonus points, work one or two relevant hashtags into your bio and include an awesome cover photo!

Twitter Ads
When you’re starting out on Twitter, it can be a daunting task. Why bother tweeting if nobody’s around to hear it? Having only a handful of followers can easily discourage you from doing anything on the platform. This is where Twitter Ads come in handy. You can use them to boost your followers quickly by targeting relevant users and showing them some of your top tweets in hopes of scoring a follow. In addition, you can run ads specifically on individual tweets so you can increase your sales on a link you tweeted or up your like/retweet stats.

Start Today
Don’t put off Twitter just because you’re not sure what to do with it. Figure out a game plan and start using it! It takes time to grow your following, so every minute you’re putting off creating your Twitter profile is time lost. If you’re not quite ready to jump in full time on Twitter, that’s okay. You can set up a professional-looking profile and put out occasional tweets as you’re able. The important thing is to be there when people are looking for you. Twitter gives people an easy way to connect with you, so don’t leave them hanging by not having a profile at all.

Follow @ClayburnBooks on Twitter!

Check us out on Twitter and say hi! We’ll be tweeting lots of great self-publishing resources in addition to book recommendations and other items of note for authors and book-lovers alike.


Clayburn is a writer in NYC. You can find him on Twitter at @Clayburn.