The Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Writers

by Joel Friedlander on July 23, 2014 · 14 comments

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By Frances Caballo

Have you been ignoring Twitter? Do you think you don’t have time for it? Well, I’m here to try to convince you that Twitter is worth your energy.

We already know that social media in general helps us to build our brand and connect with new readers. Twitter, like no other social media network, is especially helpful in helping authors connect with readers around the globe. You’ll also meet other Indie authors you can connect with as well as publishing experts, agents, publishers and expert bloggers.

Through Twitter I met Tony Riches, a writer and blogger from Wales. As soon as my first book was published, he asked me to write a post for his blog. Soon my book was selling in the U.K. and still does – every month.

More recently, I met Gregory A. Barker, the editor at Voice Council Magazine, who asked me to write two social media articles for his magazine, which has a distribution of 2 million readers.

I first found Susanne Lakin on Twitter and then met her in person at the San Francisco Writers Conference. I gave her a copy of my book and she began to recommend it on Twitter.

I’m active on other social media platforms yet Twitter, like no other social media network, has created opportunities for me and is responsible for my book sales in nearly every pocket of the U.S. and in other parts of the world where people speak English.

Twitter will provide you with instant accessibility to the greatest minds in publishing, writing, public relations, and editing. And this channel is probably the best platform to keep you up to date on writing conferences, book marketing techniques and workshops about your genre.

One benefit of Twitter is that you will see instant results. If you retweet someone’s message, the likelihood is high the person will send you a thank-you tweet —immediately. If you ask a question, people will answer. On Twitter, everyone is accessible because that is the nature of Twitter.

Some authors are perplexed by the 140-character limit. Writers often ask, “What can I say in 140 characters?” We fool ourselves if we think that our readers have the time or patience to read long social media posts. On Facebook, for example, recent studies indicate that the most successful status updates contain just 80 to 190 characters. On Twitter, You can actually say a lot in 140 characters or 120 characters, which will be your true character limit if you want your content to gain traction and spread through retweets.

How to Get Started with Twitter

If you are new to Twitter, here are some initial steps you’ll need to take.

  1. Navigate to Twitter and sign up. Create a password with characters, numbers and signs, such as @,#, *, and &.
  2. Your next action is to decide on your username, also called a handle. Restrict your username to 12 characters or less. Brevity is important on Twitter where every character counts.
  3. Write your bio. You will have 160 characters to work with. Think about what you want your audience to know about you and how you can further your brand in 160 or fewer characters. If possible, include keywords and a link to your recently published book or Author Central page on Amazon. Here are some sample bios:

Joel Friedlander
Writers change the world one reader at a time. But you can’t change the world with a book that’s unpublished. Self-publishing puts your book in readers’ hands.

Mark Coker
Founder of Smashwords, an ebook distributor. Also angel investor, gardener, hiker, battler of squirrels, dreamer, doer, co-author of Boob Tube.

Joanna Penn
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Thriller Author Professional speaker. Entrepreneur. On writing, self-publishing, book marketing.

Isabel Allende
Cuenta cuentos, escritora, activista y bajita. | Storyteller, writer and activist; also known for being vertically challenged.

Customize Your Image

Your next step will be to customize your profile. Click Edit Profile to upload your profile and header images.

Header and headshot images

Your profile image – also known as your avatar – will be a picture of you and needs to be 400 x 400 pixels.

Your header image will be 1,500 x 500 pixels and can be a composite of your book titles or an image that reflects the theme of your book. In all of your images, consider how they further your brand. Here is an example of Joanna Penn’s header image.


If you’d like to customize your background and the color of your links, click Settings > Design and select your colors. You can also use this opportunity to add an image to customize your background.

Note: You are the only person who will see the customized background.


Twitter’s Four Pages

It’s time to familiarize yourself with Twitter’s pages.

When you click on Home, you will arrive at your timeline where you can see a lengthy and fluctuating stream of incoming tweets. The newest updates will always appear at the top.
[click to keep reading…]

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