Firstly, I’d just like to put it out there that ‘necessary’ is the one word I struggle with most in the English language. I just can’t get my head around the little bugger, no matter how much I’ve tried, so I think I deserve something of an applause for being daring enough to put it in my blog post title.
Okay, so I’m roughly half a year into my blogging and writing career and I’ve had a lot of changing views surrounding Twitter for authors, mostly due to the influence of others. I wrote some time back about a ‘rule of thirds’ social/useful link/own content rule I followed, and why it was beneficial for other authors to follow a similar approach.
Have I changed my mind since then?
For new authors, no — the best way to build a following fast is to share useful content, whilst not overkilling things and being sure to be social at the same time. The first stage of your Twitter career should probably consist of network and relationship building — in other words, establishing social karma.
James Parsons, a fellow author and friend, recently wrote about how Twitter is an essential tool for networking. And I’m inclined to agree, 100%. You see, where James hits the nail on the head is that Twitter isn’t about creating your author ‘brand’, or using it as a sales platform. Twitter is about being social, and connecting with people.
But is being social necessary for authors?
Again, round of applause for spelling necessary correctly. I got it right first time, I swear. But anyway, I’ve seen a lot of arguments against Twitter for authors. Some authors brand it a ‘waste of time’ with others saying that it ‘takes time away from the writing and does nothing to boost sales.’
These statements are probably correct. Social media is a waste of time if you don’t enjoy it and if you are looking for sales.
But for networking and making new connections? It’s essential, and enjoyable.
I’m not going to hide the fact that I have a big mouth, especially on Twitter. But I enjoy ranting about particular topics and sharing my views. I love connecting with new authors and friends too, so how is that a waste of time exactly? I still get my 1,000-1,500 words per day written. I still get two blog posts per week posted. And I still have time to do university work and have time for a social life.
Is Twitter for authors a necessary (damn, it got me again) part of marketing? Probably not. But if you have fun with it, why not use it?
Growing your author platform
I’ve also got no doubt that Twitter is the biggest way to grow your author platform. Most of my blog traffic comes through the search engines these days, but Twitter still has immense power, especially when someone retweets or shares one of my posts. Maybe one of those people will go on to check out my books, or subscribe to the mailing list. Or maybe not — they’ve still been interested enough to have a read of my post and make their own mind up about me. Would they have even had that opportunity otherwise? I don’t think so.
So, I don’t really think it’s a question of whether Twitter for authors is a necessary thing. To sales? Perhaps not. To making connections and expanding your reach? I can’t think of any better.
If you don’t enjoy using it or find it a waste of time, don’t bother with it.
Advice for new tweeters
If I were starting my Twitter career right now, I’d love to just hear the words ‘there are no rules’. And the other words, ‘followers aren’t necessarily fans’. Still, having more followers does expand your reach. They might not purchase your stuff, but having a wider reach may lead to that sort of thing eventually.
So, I’d have a read through my Twitter rule of thirds post if I were starting out. I don’t follow these principles anymore — I tweet about stuff that interests me when it interests me, I share useful content when I find it and don’t bother with scheduling, and I only share my latest blog posts once or twice per day on the day of publication. Maybe this method could work from the start, but I’m not sure. I have the luxury of being able to count on people sharing my blog posts now, so I can be more free in how I use Twitter.
Just don’t spam, and you’ll be fine, basically.
‘Necessary’ — yeah, I think I’ve got it now. If anything, this blog post was good spelling practice.
What We Saw Goodreads Giveaway
If you’re a mailing list subscriber, where you are only sent an email a few times per year with new release information, you’ll be aware that What We Saw is launching next week, probably Tuesday. You’ll also be aware that if you pre-ordered via Pozible, your eCopy will be sent out tomorrow.
However, I have a little something new for everyone — my very first Goodreads giveaway. I have a signed copy of What We Saw to give away, just the one, with 40-ish people already requesting. So, be sure to enter for a chance to win. You have a week.
I have a few other goodies planned next week to coincide with the launch. For now, enjoy!
How do you use Twitter? Do you have any advice for new authors using Twitter? How have your Twitter habits changed as time has passed? Do you also struggle spelling ‘necessary’?