Promote your novel in 140 characters or less


How can you promote your novel in 140 characters or less?

With Twitter of course.

Twitter is a free method of marketing you can use to promote your novel and your brand as an author.

Who doesn’t like free?

Out of all the social media platforms, Twitter is the noisiest. If you don’t focus your efforts in the right place, it can be a waste of time. Your tweets won’t reach your intended audience.

Twitter is about expressing yourself in 140 characters or less. Which is one of the reasons I’ve always liked it, I’m all about short and sweet. It’s why I much prefer texting over a phone call.

When it first started in 2006, eons in social media time, social media years are much like dog years don’t you think? The entire tweet could only be 140 characters including your handle and such. There wasn’t even the option to use images.

Can you even imagine? No images? How archaic.

Recently they changed their rules. Handles, usernames when you reply, images, GIF’s all that stuff doesn’t count toward your character limit.

Can I get a WHOO-HOO!!

I like short, but man it’s sometimes freakin hard to smash all I want to say into 140 characters.

You have a lot more freedom with what you post, and for authors, the use of images when promoting is very beneficial. As with all social media, your main goal should be engagement.

Twitter IS more forgiving because there is so much going on. You can repost your content (preferably slight variations of) several times which you don’t want to do on other platforms. But you still don’t want to go all wild and crazy with the self-promotion.

So how can you best leverage Twitter to promote your novel?

1. Make sure your profile reflects you, your books, and your intended audience. When people come across it, you want it to be easy for them to see what you’re all about and want to connect with you.

2. Research relevant industry hashtags and determine which are the ones you should be using to get the most exposure and find readers. Here is a great blog post full of hashtags authors should use. Just remember that the hashtags do count toward your character count so chose wisely.

3. Tweet out fun tidbits from your book, or about your book, to entice potential readers to click your link and buy.

4. Ask open-ended questions that tie into the books you write or things that interest you in general. Get people engaged and talking.

5. Schedule time on your calendar to interact. I use the rule of thirds. Use a third of your time posting your original content, a third interacting, and a third retweeting other compelling content.

6. Use a scheduler such as Hootsuite so you can batch task your Twitter scheduling. Saturday evening is usually my social media scheduling night (I live a wild life). I can craft all my Twitter messages, curate other cool content, and schedule it throughout the week. Then I go on each day to interact. If you don’t batch task, you should. It’s much more effective.

7. Have a Twitter party. What is a twitter party you ask? It’s a real time chat on Twitter using a certain hashtag to keep the conversation organized. I’ve hosted several, participated in a ton, and it’s a fun and great way to meet people.

8. Spend time finding people in your industry to follow and engage. Be purposeful and don’t follow anyone and everyone. You will overwhelm yourself if you do that and there’s no point in following random folks you don’t want to interact with.

9. Create Twitter lists to keep things organized. A Twitter list is a group of Twitter accounts organized by you around a certain topic. For example, I have lists for authors, bloggers, publishers. Then I can see the tweet timeline of just those people I’ve added to my list. It cuts through the clutter.

10. Create a content plan. Don’t wing it. That will lead to frustration. Set aside certain days for particular types of tweets.

For example:

  • Monday – book promo Monday (yours and others – share the love)
  • Tuesday – industry trends you can use curated content that you find
  • Wednesday – character insights
  • Thursday – things that inspire you
  • Friday – fun Friday tweet whatever is on your heart and mind. Your followers want to know you

Not all social media platforms are for everyone. You need to use what you’re comfortable with AND be where your readers are. If your readers aren’t on a platform you’re comfortable with you may have to adapt.

Don’t think you need to be on every single platform that’s out there. There’s not enough time in the world for that. You’d never get any writing done.

Start simple. Be consistent. Make things happen.

Happy writing.

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— laina

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