Thanks to editor Mishael Austin Witty for this guest post!
Most writers are notoriously bad at self-promotion. We’d much rather plug away at our latest masterpiece or read someone else’s than get out there and pound the “pavement”, trying to get someone to read what we’ve written. The fact is, though, that in today’s world, even the best writers have to market their work, and one of the best ways to do that is by maintaining a social media presence.
My current personal favorite social media outlet is Twitter. It’s really easy to use, once you get the hang of it, and it can significantly increase your sales and readership in a very short amount of time. Here are three things that I have learned over the course of my Twitterventures:
1) Your username should reflect your brand.
When I first started out on Twitter, I signed up for the sole purpose of promoting my HubPages articles. I was not thinking about marketing myself as a writer, in the broader sense of the term. At the time, two years ago, I had come up with the “brand” idea of “workingmomwm”, although I never actually could decide on what the final “wm” stood for.
Now, two years later, I’m no longer a “working mom” in the traditional sense, and I’m no longer publishing much on HubPages. My brand has changed. I’m focusing more on my books and my editorial services; therefore, I’ve come up with a new “brand”, woweditor12. WOWEditor is a partial acronym of my full website name, Witty Online Writing and Editing. The “12” got added on because “woweditor” had already been claimed, and since I have two children, I thought I would add a “1” and a “2” to the end of it.
When you are a writer, you ARE essentially your brand, so it’s best if your username is some combination of your first and last names; for example, mine would be @mishael_witty. This is simple, to the point, and your followers will know exactly who is tweeting what. If you tweet about your books, your followers will automatically connect your name to your book titles.
2) Don’t just retweet what everybody else is tweeting.
I made this mistake a lot when I first started working with Twitter. Aside from links to my HubPages articles, I just couldn’t think of anything else to tweet about. So I started retweeting everybody else’s posts. Guess what? I didn’t spend much time using Twitter, and I didn’t connect with very many people. As a result, I didn’t find Twitter to be all that helpful to me…
Until I started reading and learning more about Twitter. It was then that I discovered the World Literary Café and all the joys of tweeting about your free books (one of my books is part of Amazon’s KDP Free program). And I started looking for Twitter buttons on every website and blog entry I visited (if I found them particularly helpful). I figured that, if I thought something was helpful, other people would find it helpful, too. Can you guess what happened then? That’s right. I started gaining followers left and right and worked my way up from a measly 20 or so two years ago to over 900 now…still not as many followers as some Twitter powerhouses, but it shows that I’ve learned a little something about how to use Twitter.
The thing is: You will win some followers by retweeting (especially the people whose tweets you’re sharing). But you’ll also lose some followers who think that you don’t have anything new or original to say yourself. That’s definitely not an image you, as a writer, want to portray to your readers/followers. Think of it as a little upfront damage control.
3) Tweet about something other than writing.
Sure, you’re a writer, but there are other things that interest you too, right? People (especially writers, I find) are multifaceted. They have a variety of interests. Take a minute right now and think about two or three non-writing interests that you have. What are they? Wouldn’t it be cool if you started tweeting about some of those things?
When you tweet about something other than writing or editing (I, for example, tweet about things related to jewelry making, parenting, Internet marketing, and Christianity), you automatically open yourself up to new followers. You can connect to more people this way (especially if your tweets contain hashtags). And more connections equals more potential readers for you and your books!
Mishael Austin Witty has been expertly “manipulating words” since 1992, and she’s been a professional writer/editor since 2001. In the in-between years, she graduated from high school and college and got a master’s degree in experimental psychology. A member of the Christian PEN Editorial network, she edits both fiction and nonfiction—Christian and secular. A Jane of all trades, she can assure satisfactory completion of any editing or writing project that comes her way. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.