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6 Twitter Secrets For Writers You Need to Know!

Note: This is a guest post by Bryan Collins. He is a writing coach on a mission to teach people how to write. He’s put together a free 20-part email course for writers and a Beginner’s Guide to Twitter that will save you time. Get both now on Become a Writer Today.

Writers use Twitter to engage with their readers, to promote their content and to talk to other writers. In this post I present to you six time-saving secrets that will help you get started on Twitter today!

Don't stop writing because you need to tweet!

6 Twitter Secrets For Writers

1. Create a bio like Neil Gaiman

Your bio should be easy to read, explain what you do, and how you can help readers.

Avoid writing a bio that reads like a sales pitch. A little bit of colour or humour goes a long way. For example, Neil Gaiman’s reads “will eventually grow up and get a real job.”

Even if you’re as famous as Neil, include a clickable link to your website, book or platform, and a professional looking headshot and cover image.

Your book cover makes a good cover image or you can source a suitable picture on Creative Commons Image Search.

Canva also provide free templates that writers can use to create a Twitter cover image (or even a book cover).

Twitter profile

2. Write tweets less than 100 characters long

A tweet can only be 140 characters in length. Traditionally, it wasn’t possible to add comments to other people’s tweets if they were 140 characters long.

However, Twitter recently rolled out a new feature that lets you comment on your retweets. That said, shorter tweets (i.e. less than 100 characters) get more engagement.

*You can also pin your favourite updates to the top of your profile for more people to see by clicking on the three dots at the bottom of the tweet.

Twitter 3 dots.

3. Share like a social media pro

Last year, I surveyed 15 writers and other social media experts, and I asked them how to write a good tweet.

They recommended retweeting other people’s content, replying to those with larger followings, sharing articles you think your followers will like, and occasionally talk about your book.

The 4-1-1 rule is a good ratio for writers too. This breaks down into:

  • Four tweets of other people’s content that you like
  • One promotional tweet e.g. your blog post or
  • One retweet

In short, go easy on the self-promotion and don’t overthink it.

4. Don’t stop writing because you need to use Twitter

The average lifespan of a tweet is five minutes. If you only tweet once a day, there’s little point in using Twitter.

Please don’t stop writing because you need to tweet.

Don’t stop writing because you need to tweet. (Click to Tweet)

Instead, use a social media automation tool like Buffer to write your tweets for the entire week in advance.

I also like Buffer because it includes a useful plugin for web-browsers.

During the week, when I read an interesting blog post, I can press a button on my browser and this article is automatically added to my queue and shared on Twitter at a time that suits me.

Buffer costs USD 10 a month, but the free version will meet your needs until you develop a more established social media presence.

5. Use these hashtags for writers

Hashtags help more people see your tweets as people use them to follow conversations.

Here are 10 great hashtags for writers to get you started:

  • #AmWriting
  • #WriteTip
  • #AmEditing
  • #SelfPublishing
  • #GreatReads
  • #GetPublished
  • #AskEditor
  • #WriteGoal
  • #WriteMotivation
  • #WritersLIfe
  • #BookMarketing

You can find a much longer list of relevant Twitter hashtags for writers on Aerogramme Writer’s Studio.

If you’re writing a tweet pick one or two of these hashtags and add them to end of your tweets; this way, you can increase the visibility of what you’re saying even if you don’t have a lot of followers. And remember, #dontgohashtagcrazy.

6. Save time with Twitter lists

Twitter lists are great for filtering through the wheat and chaff in your stream. You can set them up by clicking on your profile photo, and make them public or private.

You can  keep public and private lists of:

  • Writers on Twitter
  • Editors you want to develop relationships with
  • Readers
  • Friends
  • Thought leaders
  • Magazines and publications
  • People who retweet you
  • People who buy your books or share your posts

The Perfect Social Media Network for Writers

Twitter is as much about conversations and relationship building as it is about promoting your book and telling people about your writing.

Like many writers, I’ve used Twitter to talk to readers, to request interviews as part of my research, and to develop relationships with thought leaders.

It’s hard to go wrong using Twitter, thousands of writers use it and, unlike other social media networks, it’ll help you practice the art of #concisewriting.

Do you have questions about getting started on Twitter and using it to promote your writing?

Please let me know in the comments section below.

About Guest Post

This is a guest post. Let the author know if you enjoyed the post in the comments! If you're interested in guest posting on Positive Writer read the guidelines first and if you agree, then send your best work.

  • I love Twitter….created an account just his year to keep me posted about the publishing world, research agents and what they are doing, and to stay current with what the industry. (Okay, okay, I also am on to find great wine….#winelover!) It seems like you are left out if not on Twitter…..but I find most of my friends (35-55) are not Twitter users. This is my target market and I wonder if I am even reaching who I need to reach. Additionally, the younger agents are on it..but I do not find the seasoned agents using it as much. As I do research on who to query, most often then not, I do not find that agent using Twitter. Your thoughts????

    • Hi Writerdeeva,

      You can reach other writers on Twitter using the above hashtags. I’ve found lots of writers and editors use Twitter. Younger audiences (<30) use Instagram more than Twitter.

      If your target market is older, why don't you ask them where they are active?

      As for seasoned agents, well you can use use a tool like Topsy to see what content people are sharing, identify influencers and then follow them if it's relevant to you. If you can afford it, BuzzSumo is great for finding influencers too.

      Eventually, though you'll need to take the relationship off Twitter. I hope this helps.

  • I don’t understand how to use Canva to convert a picture/design into JPEG or TIFF formats, so I can use such a cover for my Amazon Kindle e-book, ‘Vamps’.http://www.amazon.com/Vamps-erotic-horror-Mawr-Gorshin-ebook/dp/B00XLX9SE2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1433790251&sr=1-1&keywords=vamps+mawr+gorshin

    • Canva enables you to export or save your file as an image that you can use for Amazon. They have ready made ebook templates for those on a budget. They are pretty responsive over their and I suggest reaching out if you’re stuck. They love bloggers!

  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Hi, Bryan,

    Loved this article!

    I really need to follow the 100 chararacter rule. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

    Great info,

  • Angeline

    I’ve seen a lot of Twitter advice about keeping Tweets shorter so that RTers can comment, but no one’s talking about the new ‘quote Tweet’ option which allows comments no matter how long your Tweet is. Is the shorter Tweet advice outdated now?

    • They only rolled out the quotable tweets a few weeks ago so the jury is still out. It’s still worth keeping your tweets concise. Hubspot did some testing on this I think.

      • Angeline

        It’s going to be an interesting thing to keep an eye on, see how many people are switching over to using it.

  • Perfect timing & helpful. I joined twitter recently and am still figuring it out. 😀

  • Peter Walters

    Thanks for the article, Canva will be a great help as I work on my logo.

  • Nellie

    I am big fan of your blog. I am used to read your blog regularly. Thank you for sharing twitter tips.