Using Twitter for Authors

This article is for authors who want to understand how to use Twitter to promote their book.

If you haven’t heard of Twitter by now, whether or not you use it, I am 99.99% sure you are not reading this article right now. That’s how well-known Twitter is. Whether or not you choose to use this social network is up to you. If you are using it and want to know how to use it further, keep reading. If you really think you can’t do it and/or choose not to, I encourage you to read the rest of this article before completely writing it off.

Social networks, especially Twitter are not going away and they are only gaining more and more popularity and clout in how people communicate and discover news. Your book is news, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, there’s a story there with enough rich detail to create a nice following on Twitter and connect with people who want to read what you’ve written. Some people have even written books just through tweets.

If you’re new to Twitter, before diving in, you might be wondering, What is Twitter? What does it do? How much time do I need to spend on Twitter? How do I build a following? Can Twitter actually help me promote and sell my book?

What is Twitter?

“Twitter is an online social networking website and microblogging service that allows users to post and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”. Launched in July of 2006 by Jack Dorsey. Twitter is now in the top 10 most visted internet sites.”

Twitter Statistics as of 5/7/13

Twitter Company Statistics Data
Total number of active registered Twitter users 554,750,000
Number of new Twitter users signing up everyday 135,000
Number of unique Twitter site visitors every month 190 million
Average number of tweets per day 58 million
Number of Twitter search engine queries every day 2.1 billion
Percent of Twitter users who use their phone to tweet 43 %
Percent of tweets that come from third party applicants 60%
Number of people that are employed by Twitter 2,500
Number of active Twitter users every month 115 million
Percent of Twitters who don’t tweet but watch other people tweet 40%
Number of days it takes for 1 billion tweets 5 days
Number of tweets that happen every second 9,100
Twitter Annual Advertising Revenue Revenue
2013 (Projected) $399,500,000
2012 $259,000,000
2011 $139,000,000
2010 $45,000,000

Source Follow Statistic Brain on Twitter @StatisticBrain

What does Twitter do?

Twitter is a free resource to connect, learn and share information. It’s a place to discover news as it’s happening and to write people and organization directly by using the @username. You can search Twitter by using hashtags, #subject, to see what people are talking about around virtually any subject.

How much time do I need to spend on Twitter?

You don’t need to spend hours on Twitter. You do need to make a commitment to use it. Start by spending 15 minutes a day on it to get used to how people share information, what people share and talk about and start to follow those people.

How do I build a following?

Creating a following is about consistency and content. How often are you engaged with Twitter and what are you Tweeting about?

  • Consistency
    • 15 minutes per day to begin
    • 5 days per week, at least
  • Content
    • pictures
    • quotes
    • re-tweets
    • excerpts from book
    • articles
    • questions

Start by following people or organizations that interest you. You can do this by going to the #Discover tab and then going to “Who to follow” or “Find Friends”. Some of your friends are already on Twitter. People love being followed so give them a follow and write them a message by clicking on the little person avatar and click “Tweet to @person”.

Can Twitter actually help me promote and sell my book?

Think of Twitter as like an extension of your book. You can dive into little details, your process in publishing it, pictures from the book and other things that are connected with it. It’s an opportunity to give your readers an insight into your process and genius in creating a book.

Here’s a great article by Don Power @donpower at SproutInsights about an author who has had success using Twitter to promote her book.

Twitter can seem quite daunting when you first start your account. Keep with it and don’t give up. It takes time to get into it and find your groove.