Back in June, I met with long-time online friends in Newark, DE, for the first-ever Word Sharks Conference. In attendance – J.J. Brown, Elizabeth Cottrell, Pamela Wight, Jessica Pettengill Messinger, and Barbara Forte Abate.
Since then, we have stayed in touch sharing blogs we like, having book discussions, and sharing other resources and insights.
Out of one of those conversations came some fantastic insight into Twitter by J.J. Brown. She shared her philosophy and advice on how she uses Twitter. I thought it was so good, I called “dibs” on sharing it in a blog.
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Article by J. J. Brown
I love twitter because it is a free and open conversation that’s so fast-moving. Twitter is quite famous for NOT being a place to sell books or much of anything else. So, I don’t have advice about how to use twitter to sell books.
Being active on twitter is a wonderful way to meet writers and readers, and exchange thoughts on the writing process and story ideas, as well as inspiration. And once in a while I get a tweet asking to review a book of mine, or to be interviewed on a blog, or submit a post for a website, or a story to an anthology, which is fun.
I can’t count the many interesting people I’ve met and shared views with on twitter, and sometimes later in-person as friends (none of whom were creepy).
21 rules I apply loosely, depending on how much time I have are:
How to tweet:
- Be interesting and super brief; don’t repeat identical tweets.
- Talk about yourself and the books you’ve written, but not ALL of the time, just sometimes.
- Post provocative things about writing, about your books, and the news – things people react to.
- Share other writers, artists, and thinkers works, at a good ratio. Tweeting 5 of others’ things then 1 of yours works well.
- Use a photo in your original tweet so more people will see it. This magnifies your reach because more people look at pictures than words, even on twitter.
- Tweet quotes from famous authors or artists who inspire you, just to share the joy.
- After you tweet something original or important, stay on a few minutes to respond to any replies.
- Retweet things others post that you think need a broader audience because they’re great, funny, or important.
- Say something insightful about any link you share on twitter, don’t just hit the Tweet button though it’s tempting.
How to interact:
- When someone tweets your work or retweets you, thank them via direct message (which is private) or tweet (which is public).
- When people react to you, tweet back like a conversation. It hurts to be ignored there like in any conversation.
- Never argue on twitter. Yes, sometimes a person will be mean to you. Ignore them. Praise, or add a new thought, or brood away silently.
- Use #amwriting (for insights, personal progress) #amreading (for reviews) and other hashtags to enter writer’s conversations, then respond when people join your thought stream.
- Follow people who follow, retweet, or comment to you, IF you’re interested in their twitter feed.
- Don’t follow people who offer to buy twitter followers or increase your reach. That is kind of spammy messy stuff I don’t get into at all.
- Seduce people you’re most interested in on twitter, tastefully, by retweeting and commenting on their tweets.
- Think of the new contacts as friends and connections, not followers or fans.
How not to drown in the twitter stream:
- Don’t look at your live stream, it’s a jungle in a thunderstorm.
- Make lists of groups like writers, editors, publishers, artists to organize your new friends.
- Do look at your lists’ tweets, your favorite people’s tweets, and any hashtags trending on that day that stimulate you.
- Keep an eye on the clock. I limit my twitter socializing to about 30 minutes on a free day, 10 minutes on a busy one.
I hope this is helpful. I started on twitter about three years ago, when I started publishing books. At first, I was baffled. Now I love it. But I keep it to short doses. And only log on when I’m in a pretty good mood.
Jennifer J. Brown, PhD, is an editor at EverydayHealth.com by day, and writer of books and short stories by night. She completed a PhD in genetics and worked as a research scientist for 20 years before turning to writing. In her fiction writing, she is obsessed with exploring death and the meaning of dreams. Published author of seven books as J.J. Brown, she was born in the Catskill Mountains of New York and lives in New York City.
Find out more about J.J. Brown’s book news at her author website.