11 Things I’ve Learned After Being On Twitter for 11 Years
It’s a great place to connect with other authors. It’s the main reason why I got Twitter. As a new writer in 2009, I was looking for ways to connect with authors, readers, and other creatives while promoting my work. There are loads of creative people on Twitter and they’re at varying levels in their career with lots of insights to share.
It’s one of the best platforms to sell books! Of all the platforms out there, Twitter seems to be the best for selling books – at least for me. People will click on your links and actually buy your books sometimes – you just have to learn the right way to promote your book(s). You don’t want to over promote and bore/annoy people. They also want to hear about your day and see different aspects of your personality. If you get people interested enough in *you* then some of them will buy your book (or Retweet it).
It’s as good as you make it. Yes, there will be some accounts you follow who will post a lot of rubbish. Yes, there will be some trolls who are too keen to post negative comments or offer unsolicited advice. Yes, sometimes people you like and admire will post something disappointing. I’ve found that unfollowing those accounts who don’t line up with my vision has helped tremendously. Try not to engage with drama lovers – block or mute as needed. Also, sometimes people will have a bad day or go through a weird time in their life where they’ll post uncharacteristically negative things and you have to decide if they’re still worth following – usually they are. I know I may have posted off things from time to time – sometimes I was venting after a bad moment at work or if I had a falling out with a friend. I’m happy most of my followers have stuck with me through the good and bad times. I say that if you follow accounts that resonate with you (and unfollow those that don’t), you’ll get a lot more out of the Twitter experience. And if someone bullies you or another person, you can always report and block them.
It’s writer friendly. Indie April, Review May, and Indie August cater to self-published authors. There’s also several pitching events such as PitMad where authors can Tweet about their books in hopes of finding an interested agent. I’ve found it to be an accessible place no matter where you are in your writing journey.
The Writing Community is there, but you don’t have to fully subscribe to it. Initially, I was really excited about the whole #WritingCommunity thing and it seemed like a great opportunity to support one another and buy one another’s books, but then I saw how some of it’s turned into a method of gaining followers quickly. There’s also a lot of accounts that always post questions in order to gain more engagement. I’m not saying this is wrong – everyone has their own way – but I personally don’t connect with most of the “Writerslift” and “Writing Community” engagement posts. It doesn’t feel authentic to me. I choose to ignore it and not get too involved. I like connecting with authors organically and buying indie books when I can. There’s a great community of authors on there who don’t play the gain games, but if you like the #WritingCommunity vibe, it’s there for you if you need it.
You can grow a following organically. I have nothing against people who want to gain followers quickly. A lot of people make use of the “Writerslift” hashtag and gain thousands of followers within a few months. I guess I’m someone who enjoys a slower, steadier growth where people follow you on your journey. It took me a few years to get over 1,000 followers and it’s definitely snowballed since then! I think the more I post and engage, the more people will follow. I’ve never paid for Twitter gain services and I don’t use the Writing Community and Writerslift hashtags. I’m happy with how I’m handling it.
You’ll connect with the coolest people. Not only will you meet a lot of authors, but you’ll connect with bands, artists, musicians, photographers, or just random cool people who post interesting insights. Some of them will even buy your books
Be careful with DMs. Speaking for myself, I try to avoid DMs on social media unless I know the person. They can be land mines. Be careful who you trust. Sometimes they seem like the most genuine, supportive people, but then they’ll quickly turn on you – or not turn on you, but drain a lot of your energy. I’ve known very few exceptions to the DM rule. I don’t like unsolicited messages especially on Twitter. A lot of people are simply curious (or bored) and don’t genuinely care about you as a person. Please be wary of this.
Post engaging content and support others to build the right following. I think having the right followers is more important that having a LOT of followers. Of course, more people will follow you the longer you’ve been on Twitter. Posting interesting content frequently will draw in more people to follow you and keep following you. Showing your support for others also helps with building genuine engagement – people will be attracted to your positive mindset and they’ll want to read what you have to say.
You can schedule Tweets, but I prefer to post live. It took me almost a decade to realize you can schedule Tweets and save drafts. I’ve honestly never made use of these features and prefer to post live. It feels more authentic this way. However, if you’re super busy or prefer not to login too often on Twitter, these are features you can make use of!
Some threads can be a huge learning experience. I love when an author will start a thread about something publishing-related; it’s a great way to learn about others’ experiences in real time. Sometimes you’ll learn an interesting book promo tip and/or enjoy the shared experience we have as authors. I definitely recommend.