How to be effective on Twitter – and a game!

It seems like the number of writers considering self-publishing an e-book is rising. And the number of writers following me on Twitter with a self-published book is rising too.

That’s wonderful. I don’t mind at all. Nice to meet you. I absolutely love that this opportunity is available for writers.

But please don’t send me an automated DM that says, ‘welcome and check out my book.’

Don’t start spamming the Twitterverse with links to your book – not if that’s the only thing you tweet about. Seriously. That won’t encourage me to buy your book at all.  And if you do it too much, I’ll unfollow you. Enough is enough.

Don’t keep linking reviews of your book every hour, announcing where you are on the ranking list because I don’t care.  #itsnothingpersonal #really

But I do care about you. I want to get to know you. Your personality. What do you blog about? I might check it out if it seems interesting. Tweet about a funny thing that happened to you. Interact with people. Comment on their blogs. Encourage them. Promote others. Retweet people.

Then I might be interested in your book and your rankings.

Twitter is not all about YOU. Or your book.  #sorry  #truthhurts

That being said, Heather Kelly created a fun new Twitter game. Right now, it’s called The Twitter Game.  #sooriginal We use different fun hashtags and anyone and everyone can join in. If you belong to Tweetdeck, you can click on the hashtag and create a column just for that hashtag. So you won’t miss any of the tweets. Here’s Heather’s original post introducing the game.

It’s a great icebreaker. People will see you and get to know you. And maybe follow you. But don’t do it just to sell your book or promote your blog. Do it to have fun and meet people. Because in this crazy journey to publishing filled with rejection we all need to laugh.

So join in the fun. Last week one hashtag was: #thingsiletmykidsdosoicanwrite

Today’s game and hashtag is #badquerytips

See you in the Twitterverse! And have fun!

How to survive Twitter – part oneHow to survive Twitter – part two , Must-know Twitter hashtags


47 Responses to How to be effective on Twitter – and a game!

  1. anne gallagher May 9, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    Soon, I promise, very soon, I will get up the courage to join the Twitterverse. I wish it came with a 16 yr. old to show me the ropes first.

  2. Kris May 9, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    See you on Twitter, Laura. Great tips!

  3. Laura Josephsen May 9, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    It’s been fun seeing the comments for those games. 😀

  4. Jennifer Shirk May 9, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Sounds fun!

    I have to say I really cringe (and almost want to UNfollow) when people DM to thank me for following and then add “hey, check out my website or book etc..” It’s so “used cars salesman” like.

    • Laura May 9, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      I know. I cringe too. But more because they probably don’t realize those DMs are hurting their marketing efforts! Twitter really isn’t that hard to pick up on. NO pressure.

  5. Susan Kaye Quinn May 9, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    So THAT’s what the #badquerytips is about. Fun! Will check it out…

  6. Sheri Larsen May 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    You make some great points about using Twitter. It’s a great tool for self-promotion (which I don’t need just yet…lol), but it’s also a wonderful way to meet other writers and learn a ton. I find so many surprises on Twitter–links and unexpected conversations. 🙂

    • Laura May 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

      I love the writers I’ve met on Twitter and the great links I find. It’s really a writer’s tool.

  7. Stina Lindenblatt May 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    I’m going to check this game out. It sounds great. 😀

    Anyone who DMS me right after I follow them and tells me to check out their book is instantly defollowed (is that even a word?). 😛

    • Laura May 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      I probably should unfollow them but I give them a chance to see how often they tweet about their stuff first.

  8. Karen Lange May 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    The game sounds like fun! If I get back on Twitter I will check it out. Thanks for the info. 🙂

  9. Heather Kelly May 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    I have to say, that I got my first twitter spam this week, and I also unfollowed my first person as well. (Unrelated incidents.) I really can’t take credit in creating the game, but love that we’re all having such fun playing it. I follow some other threads unrelated to writing, and have found the tweets (and Hashtags) to be not as fun or creative. I think tweeting writers have it going on!!

    I agree twitter is like any other piece of social media–people will follow you because they like you or what you say. Not because you self promote in every other tweet. Just be yourself, and be respectful, and the self-promotion will come.

  10. Donna K. Weaver May 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Well said, Laura. It makes me nuts when people do that. I’ve unfollowed some people because that seems to be all they use Twitter for.

  11. shelley moore thomas May 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    You simply must stop having so much fun on Twitter. Eventually, you are going to wear me down and coax myself and other hold-outs over to the dark side! Stop, I say!

    *guiltily/sneakily clicks on links to check out the fun*

    Shelley (still twitterless)

  12. Amie Borst May 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    sounds like fun! knowing me, i’ll screw it up somehow…but i’ll laugh about it later, so it’s all good!

  13. Kelly Polark May 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    I agree. I would consider someone just promoting a book on Twitter and nothing else a SPaMMER!
    Will play the game today too! 🙂

  14. Lydia K May 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    I don’t Twitter but if I’d did I’d be in. Sounds like so much fun!

    • Laura May 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

      When I’m deep in revisions, about to query – I need to smile and laugh during the day. And it’s a great way to connect. Especially if you’re new to Twitter. (hint, hint) No reallym Twitter is a personal choice and though it’s done wonderful things for my blog, my connections, and my learning base – I understand why some are hesitant to join.

  15. Tana Adams May 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    I heart twitter! I’ll see you on the twitterverse today! #Iagreewitheverythingyousaid 😉

  16. Lisa Green May 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Yay!! It IS a fun game. I look forward to today’s topic. Are they going to be listed on Heather’s blog? How will we know oh wise one? Oh and good points about self-promotion.

  17. Ansha Kotyk May 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Just like every other business and social transaction there exists an etiquette. Nicely done Laura.

  18. Jennifer Hoffine May 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Great post! Me, me, me/sell, sell, sell blogs bug me, so I imagine it’s even more obvious in the Twitterverse.

    The hash game sounds clever and fun.

    • Laura May 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

      I know it sounds harsh. But I’ve stopped reading blogs when the writer, after their first book got published, talked about nothing else. Kinda sad.

  19. Robin Weeks May 9, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    Cool game! I’ll have to check it out! How long will it go on?

    Here, here on the auto-DM’s. I completely ignore them, though I’m rather tempted to immediately unfollow. If I’m interested in your e-book–or even your print-book–I know where to find your profile. You’ll get me interested by being INTERESTING. There’s a reason we fast-forward commercials.

  20. LynNerd May 9, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    Laura, your post is perfect timing for me, although after writing a long comment on Kelly’s blog (about my stupid mistake trying to do my very first blog post), saying I’m all for having her walk me through it so I can see what it’s all about, but I lost it when I tried to publish it. I got an error code! I think maybe because I get your posts in my email and I clicked on her link from there. I don’t know, but how frustrating! Especially after many trying hours spent yesterday trying to figure out why of why the text I typed for my blog post wouldn’t show up in the preview. Only the silly photo showed up. Over and over, I tried this, that, and the other thing. Delete entry and start over. Can you tell I’m basically computer illiterate? I finally figured out that the text was coming up as white (even though I changed it in the posting window) against a white post background. White on white equals a blank page. Duh! The white post background looked really cool against the black background of the rest of the page, but I guess all the test was programmed to be in white, and I was unable to change it. Now that would be funny in a tweet — mind boggling blank page!
    Please tell me setting up a Twitter account is easier than setting up a blog.

    Oh, and my first post is asking about tips for etiquette in blogging! Your tips for etiquette in tweeting definitely apply to etiquette in blogging, too. It’s kind of common sense to me, but I guess some people are super gung-ho to promote themselves.

    That’s the one thing I resent about being told social media is a must for writers. Such a selfish motive, and I’m a terrible sales person. If the social media is fun, then I’ll stay with it. If not, I’d rather spend that time writing.

  21. Pam Torres May 9, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    There is a reason that we DVR our favorite T.V. shows. My mind shuts down if I feel like I am just reading a commercial. #boring Great post. Also thanks for the links to the other posts. I am still trying to figure out tweet language.

  22. Jen Daiker May 9, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Okay that is not only awesome but it’s totally genius! I’m addicted to twitter, I find it so much fun and such a quick and easy way to connect with those when I don’t have time to hop online and properly comment on one’s blog!

  23. Angela Perry May 9, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    And -that- is how Twitter should be used 🙂 One of the nice side benefits to writing an article like this (in addition to the all good advice) is now I know you are safe to follow. Not to mention, I love hashtag games.

    • Laura May 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

      Thanks everyone! Though I do feel I was just commenting on common sense and what most of you also thought about Twitter!

  24. Emy Shin May 9, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    Yes, I agree. Over-promotion on Twitter, especially through DMs, can be unfollow-inducing.

  25. LynNerd May 9, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Hi Laura,

    Just read your social media post. Thanks for telling me about it. I’m not sure how to add the RSS feed yet. I’ll do it as soon as I figure it out.
    Still need to sign up for Twitter, too!

  26. Sara McClung May 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Promotional DMs are the WORST. Unless I already know you.

    That happens to me a lot on goodreads too.

    I go to twitter when I want to be entertained–not bombarded with book promotion. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE when people celebrate thigns. Getting an agent. A book deal. The release date for a novel. LOVE to happy dance for those. But an overabundance of self-promotion clogs my twitter stream and I always stop following.

    Your twitter games sound like fun 🙂

    *scurries off to think of a bad query tip*

  27. Margo May 9, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    You say it so well! It was a complete revelation to me when someone quoted “the best self-promotion is promoting others”. #itallcomesbacktotheGoldenRule

    And I will definitely check out the Twitter Game. Things I let my kids do so I can write… I’ve got to see that. And one can learn a lot from bad query tips!

  28. Lynda R Young May 9, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    I rarely even check my DMs because they’re all automated messsages.

    Love the idea of the twitter game 🙂

  29. Tracey Neithercott May 9, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    So that’s what the tweets were about today. #clueless

    I agree with all of your points. Automatic DMs don’t fool anyone and they just set me up for a letdown when I find out someone didn’t DM me with something real.

    Off to think up some bad query tips…

  30. Patti Mallett May 10, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    Yep, so true! Could not agree more.

    Love the hashtags, BTW. You have a knack for them, and never fail to make me laugh!!! Thanks for that.

  31. Kris Yankee May 10, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    Sounds like fun. I’ll have to check it out.

  32. Leigh Moore May 10, 2011 at 1:59 am #

    I need to go read your surviving twitter posts… I”m so new at it, I can’t even begin to understand Tweet deck. Can you reply from there? HOW???

    In other news, I have a mere 140 followers and already I’ve been twitter spammed. Crazy.

    But it’s fun, and I”m learning! I also love silly hashtags… :o) <3

  33. Donna K. Weaver May 10, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    I love it. Just wish I had the time.

  34. Meagan Spooner May 10, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Oof–yeah, I’m definitely over the people who are on Twitter just for marketing purposes! I don’t mind the occasional plug–and in fact I even look for them! But only from the writers I’ve gotten to know through the blogosphere and the twitterverse. That’s the most effective marketing, for me!

    Great tips. 🙂

    • Laura May 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

      Great point. Of course we should promote our books when they come out. Most of my book purchases are from buzz on Twitter and blogs. But it shouldn’t take over your tweets or the twitterverse.

  35. Shannon O'Donnell May 10, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    Yesterday was my first day on Twitter, and I had a great time reading all the bad query tips! 🙂

  36. Julie Musil May 10, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    You’re so right about the book promotion. I little is fine, but every tweet? Seriously? And I love the game you guys are playing. I noticed some funky advice and it was a couple of tweets before I noticed the fun hashtag. For bad query tips I can just look to my early queries!

  37. Ghenet May 11, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    I agree with all of your don’ts! I’m sorry I missed out on your twitter game. Sounded fun!

  38. Sherrie Petersen May 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    You’re so funny #yesimtalkingaboutyou 😀

  39. Karen Strong May 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Ugh, I hate when people do that to me. I get cranky and unfollow them.

    Which is way you really shouldn’t do that. I don’t think you should DM people that you don’t know. Seriously.

    That Twitter game sounded fun!

  40. angela ackerman May 12, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Thanks for writing this post. I’m happy to see new followers too, but the aggressive promoing is not cool, and I agree–if someone is telling me where their book can be bought every 5 seconds, I will unfollow, too.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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