Sunday 10 July 2011

What's the Point of Twitter? - Lynne Garner

Once you’ve had a book published you soon realise you need to learn marketing skills. There are many ways to market your work and perhaps the easiest is Twitter. If you’ve not heard of Twitter it is a free social networking site. You can tweet as often as you wish, you follow other members and they follow you which hopefully creates a fan base. A tweet is a comment of 140 characters or less, also making this is a great way to hone your writing skills.

Some authors are using Twitter as a tool to prove they can write by creating ‘Twisters.’ Although I’ve not discovered any children’s writers doing this I have found a few who write for adults, for example:
"Time travel works!" the note read. "However you can only travel to the past and one-way." I recognized my own handwriting and felt a chill.”

By Ron Gould and another from:

“She insisted they call the baby Robert. If he’d known the real reason, he’d have put up more of a fuss.”

Now I’m a novice at Twitter but what follows are a few things I’ve discovered along the way. Firstly although you want people to know about your writing don’t just sell, sell, sell. To make things interesting you could use this five point formula:

·          Tweet a tip
·          Tweet an amusing quote
·          Tweet an interesting fact
·          Tweet a ‘plug’ for your work
·          Repeat the above

In addition you can also re-post a followers comment, this is known as re-tweeting. You can also link photographs to your tweets by joining: Although I have not done this yet with my personal Twitter account I have on an account I manage for the hedgehog rescue centre Herts Hogline –

When you first join find people with the same interest as you and follow them, hopefully they will follow back. Stick with it and keep tweeting. Slowly the number of followers will slowly increase and when someone follows you remember to follow back.

Now there are a few things you should not do on Twitter:
·               Do not tweet things that are personal
·               Do not moan about your editor, life, love or the universe
·          Keep repeating yourself

If you follow someone and they do not follow you back there is little point to continue following them, well unless you find them interesting. To check if someone returns the compliment visit:

Lastly if you join Twitter and are looking for your first follower then follow me (!/lynnegarner) and I promise to follow back.  

Lynne Garner


Lucy Coats said...

Well said, Lynne! Many of our lovely festival goers have come over from Twitter. It's our top 'referrer'. All authors should be using it--and the new book from Publishing News--The Publishing News Guide to Twitter (in which I have a small role as commentator on using Twitter for children's books)--is a good place to start learning more about how to use it most effectively.

Gillian Philip said...

Absolutely! Although I don't think anyone should do anything they aren't happy with - it's counter productive - I can't think of a promotional tool easier or more fun than Twitter. But I do disagree with the advice never to tweet anything personal - I tweet personal stuff all the time - so long as it's funny and/or interesting to other people (not the classic 'what I had for breakfast' that's always quoted by Twitter-haters). And I love reading other people's personal tweets, so long as they're funny, etc etc. Also, there's nothing quite like a Nicola Morgan/Lucy Coats/Jane Smith online drinks party (and no hangover). (Much.)

Nicola Morgan said...

I was about to say what Gillian said about disagreeing about not tweeting anything personal. And then I saw she had said it. :) Definitely tweet personal things (unless you mean secrets - obviously don't tweet secrets). Personal things are what make you human and Twitter is, at it's best, very human.

I'm about to publish an ebook called "Tweet Right - the sensible person's guide to Twitter", so anyone interested but nervous will have a guiding hand...

catdownunder said...

I have found Twitter fun, helpful, informative and supportive. Fun? I can tease Nicola and she can tease me. (We can also be serious and support each other.) Helpful? Carole Blake saw one of my tweets and gave me some help I was looking for.
Informative? There are news feeds feom all over the place if you want them. I follow two. There is also a great deal of information to be gathered from the Twitterers I follow.
Supportive? Someone in the industry offered to look at the first three chapters of my last attempt to write a novel. (I am still finding that hard to believe!)
Twitter - if you control it rather than let it control you - is lively conversation to be enjoyed!

Rebecca Emin said...

I am a massive fan of Twitter. I have found it the best way to discover things about writing and writers, and made some connections on Twitter which have been invaluable.

In fact I can say without a doubt, if it wasn't for Twitter, I would not have a book in the process of being published now. It's a wonderful place for writers to share information and tips.

I'm on there as @RebeccaEmin if anyone would like to connect :o)

Lynne Garner said...

By personal comments I meant stuff that would allow some stranger to come knocking on your door or someone to open an account in your name. I no it sounds obvious but you do hear these stories where people have almost given out their address then tweeted I'm about to go on holiday for two weeks. Might as well invite someone in to take what they want.