Agent Questions Volume Three: How to Twitter for Debut Authors

Why should I use Twitter and what do I tweet?

This is a page that I give to my new clients when discussing the importance of having a social media platform. The entire literary world is on Twitter. I did not like that at all last year (2016) when I made up my account. At the time, Twitter scared me. I didn’t “get” it. My profile page did not resemble Facebook at all, and I thought, “I don’t have anything quippy to tweet, and I’ll never get this off the ground into anything resembling a platform.” Then, I got started and I figured out a simple way to do it. My account has grown exponentially from 18 followers in January to over 2K by the end of the year.

Step one: either go make a site with your new author moniker, or find and activate your account if you are one of the many of us who made an account 2 years ago, got your best friend to follow you and never posted a thing. Change your name to a “writer” or “author” name that you will use across all your social media sites. It’s important to be consistent with your brand name.

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Step two: “Follow” me (@Haskinauthor). I will follow back. 

To get the ball rolling, troll the homepage until you find someone who posts about writing and/or your specific genre. Or visit hashtags like #WritingCommunity, #Writerscommunity, #Writerslife, #Amwriting, and so many more, your head will spin. When you see a post you like, click on the heart to “like” it. If you love the tweet, simply retweet it. You don’t have to write anything, it will show up on your page as it is. Though it is better to add little comments to your retweets, or type someone’s name to direct it toward them.

Try to make sure you are choosing tweets from different people. Go down each person’s page and it will suggest other people to “follow” who have similar things in common, so check out their pages for good posts to retweet. All I did in the beginning was retweet what I liked. When I got comfortable, I tried to add some things of my own. Or something someone said would give me a great idea of something to share. Also, if I’m on another site and read a good article, I look to see if there is an option to “tweet” it. *Don’t forget your hashtags if you want it to be seen.



People will follow you if you retweet their posts and/or like the things they say. I began with the policy to only follow people who followed me first, but I follow them all (unless their page is written totally in Japanese, Arabic or Swahili, or some other language I don’t understand). I don’t want to unintentionally endorse something I don’t believe in, so if I can’t read it, I won’t repost it. Lots of people will turn around and “unfollow” you just to have gained you as a number, and that just irritates me beyond all words. Eventually, I go through my “followers” and unfollow the ones who have dropped me as well, but it’s a pain when your followers reach higher numbers. That’s what they’re counting on.

 Have I thoroughly confused you? I’m sorry. It really is suuuuper simple. Like. Retweet. Follow. Follow back. Eventually, you will have your own comments to make, but don’t stress about it at first.

Check out my Twitter page, from top to bottom, and see what I retweeted. My blog is set up to post directly to my Twitter feed so even if I’m not active for some reason, my weekly blog is tweeted. When my other clients join and they don’t know what they’re doing, a lot of them just follow whomever I am following. I don’t necessarily advise that, because I follow anyone who follows me first and there are some creepy guys on there that know I’m happily married, BUT “they’re waiting for me.” Ugh. Like 65-year-old widowed, supposed military men with teenagers at home, who are all conveniently in Afghanistan on “peacekeeping missions.” I can see a handful of men with that job description, but I am counting in the hundreds. Even their stories sound the same. And every one of them, black, white, purple, or Pakistani, calls me “Dear.” I hate that. You will find, as an author/public figure, that this comes with the territory. Just DO NOT REPLY.


I digress, most of these wonderful, unique people are contacts. They are part of your platform. If you have 2K followers, when your book comes out and you announce it on your page, that’s exposure to 2,000 people. If any of them “share” it, the announcement goes on their feed for even more people to see. Then, when everyone on our team shares it to our pages, each of our 2,000 followers see it, as well. Does it drive up your sales? Maybe. Does it make you a household name? No. Does it give you exposure? Absolutely. Does it make your book recognizable? Yes. Do readers buy a book they know a little about, versus one they know nothing about? You betcha.

Plus, you will find other writers in your genre to connect with on Twitter, groups to join, people to critique for you, read for you, provide services, and more writing advice than you can shuttle to Mars. It’s worth your while. In no time, you will be setting daily time limits for yourself, not to get sucked in. LOL.  Let me know if you have any problems-you know where to find me!       

–jenn (The Helpful Agent)


(**The following information is from an article I was given at a conference and I do not have the author’s name. If you know who wrote this, please let me know, so I can cite my references.)  

7 ways to smarten-up your book promotion on Twitter:

1. Longer tweets get more clicks. Internet marketers like to tell you to keep things short. But a tweet is only 140 characters, so it’s one of the few cases online where you actually benefit from using all the space you’re allotted.

2. Use more verbs. Less nouns. We’re emotionally stirred by action! So make your tweets sing, screech, punch, and dance.

3. Tweet in the afternoon and evening. After 2pm, Twitter traffic increases fairly dramatically. Maybe folks feel like they’ve got enough work done for the day that they can afford to sneak in 5 minutes on Twitter. So schedule your tweets with those people in mind.

4. Tweet closer to the weekend. As the workweek draws to a close, Twitter traffic soars — with Friday being the busiest day. So your heaviest Twitter activity should be on Thursday and Friday.

5. Ask for the retweet (“pls RT”). A lot of times in life the simplest way to get something is to ask. The same goes for Twitter. People are far more likely to retweet your content if you ask them.

6. Spread tweets out by at least 1 hour. You want to get the most people possible to see your tweets. By spreading out your Twitter activity by at least an hour, you’re increasing the likelihood of different folks seeing your activity. Plus you’re not annoying your followers by cluttering up their news feeds all at once.

7. Try putting the link towards the beginning of the tweet. Sure, 60-80% of your tweets should link to interesting content. But there’s also evidence to suggest that you should place that URL towards the beginning of your tweet. In many A/B tests between similar tweets, the one with the URL up front performed better.


Go start your platform, and happy tweeting. You can do this!


6 thoughts on “Agent Questions Volume Three: How to Twitter for Debut Authors

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