How Twitter Hashtags Help Authors Find Readers

by Joel Friedlander on November 16, 2012 · 39 comments

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By Frances Caballo (@CaballoFrances)

I met Frances at our local BAIPA meetings, where she is the Social Media Advisor for the group. She has just published a very useful book for writers who want to get up to speed with social media marketing. Here she shows how useful Twitter hashtags are when you know how to use them.



Hashtags are a great feature that can help you to expand your online reach by attracting users searching for your hashtags and help you reach your targeted audience. Hashtags are also useful for tracking mentions of you, your books and your genres.

Hashtags also can be tricky. You don’t want to overuse them, yet when used appropriately (two per tweet), they hold the potential to improve the chance of someone discovering your tweets—and your latest book—through Twitter’s search function. Hashtags can also increase the occurrence of retweets.

If you write memoir, you’ll want to include #memoir when you tweet about your book to attract writers and readers interested in personal stories. Looking for a prompt to get your writing started in the morning? Use the hashtag #writingprompt in the search bar to get you going.

What follows here are some of the hashtags writers commonly use.

#99c—If you have a spare $0.99 to spend on a new story, use this tag in your Twitter search bar and you’ll find dozens of them. You can also use this tag to find new readers if you’re selling an e-book for this price.

#amwriting / #amediting—These terms are commonly used for Twitter chats you join. Johanna Harness is the creator of the term #amwriting as well as the www.amwriting.org website. Chats take place throughout the day.

#AuthorChat—This hashtag is used for ongoing conversations between authors.

#askagent / #askauthor—These are great tags for writers who don’t have an agent or editor, but have questions for them. Who knows? You just might find your next editor on Twitter.

#bestseller —Have you written a best seller? Let everyone know.

#eBook —Did you release an eBook or recently convert a hard copy novel to an eBook? Use this hashtag so that iPad, Nook and Kindle users can download it.

#FollowFriday  / #FF—This is a fun Twitter tradition for expressing gratitude to your retweeters by giving them exposure to a wider audience. On Friday mornings, compose a tweet comprised of the usernames of your most loyal retweeters. You can also #FF writers you admire or members of your critique group or book club.

#Free / #Giveaway—This has become a popular hashtag on Twitter. Let readers know when you’re offering your next book or story giveaway.

#Genre / #Romantic  / #Comedy / #Suspense /#Mystery / #Erotica—Some readers search specifically for genre stories. If you’ve written one in one of these genres, use one of these hashtags so that readers can find you.

#GreatReads—You can use this hashtag for promoting your friends’ books or just sharing your impressions of the last book you read.

#Halloween—Holidays are trendy on Twitter. Use them in creative ways to promote your blog and books.

#HotTitles—Have you read some books lately that are selling like wildfire? Let your Tweeps know about them.

#IAN—This hashtag stands for Independent Author Network. Started in 2010, it’s become a resource for Indie authors who support each other in their promotions.

Social Media Just for Writers#kindle—If you have a book on Kindle, let everyone know.

#memoir—Connect with other memorists by using this hashtag.

#nanowrimo—Every November, thousands of writers take part in NaNoWriMo, the effort to write a novel in one month. You can keep in touch with other NaNoWriMo writers all over the world by using this hashtag in your tweets or by searching for this term.

#ShortStory—Do you prefer to write short stories? Attract new admirers with this hashtag.

#WLCAuthor —The World Literary Café is a promotional website for authors. Similar to the Independent Author Network, Indie authors help each other in their promotions.

#wordcount—With this hashtag, you can share your progress with other writers on the book or story you’re writing.

#writegoal—Users include this hashtag to publicly announce how many words they intend to write that day.

#WritersBlock / #WriteMotivation—Do you sometimes need a little motivation in the mornings to get your writing started? Use these hashtags and find your inspiration.

#writetip / #writingtip — If you don’t have time to take a workshop, trying using these hashtags to learn more about your craft.

#writing / #editing—These terms are similar to #amwriting and #amediting, but aren’t nearly as popular.

#writingblitz—This one is used to let your followers know that today you are writing as fast as you can and locking your internal editor into a closet.

#writingfiction—Fiction writers use this hashtag to meet each other or to share their books, goals, or ideas on writing fiction.

#writingprompt—Is it hard to get started on the next chapter of your novel? Well, worry no more. Log on to Twitter, search for this tag, and you’ll find a great prompt to get those creative juices bubbling.

#ww / #writerwednesday—Is there a writer you would like to introduce to your followers? Use this hashtag and introduce your colleague to your Twitter tribe.

To learn the definition of a hashtag you find on Twitter, or to discover what’s trending on Twitter, go to TagDef or Hashtags.org. Do you know of familiar writer hashtags that aren’t mentioned here? Please share them in the comments.

Frances CaballoFrances Caballo is a social media trainer, blogger and author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books. She helps writers and businesses attain their social media marketing and public relations goals. Presently, she is the Social Media Editor for Redwood Writers, the largest branch of the California Writers Club, and the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Social Media Just for Writers is available on Amazon.

Amazon links are affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

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    { 27 comments… read them below or add one }

    Christopher Wills November 16, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Great article. I’m fascinated by Twitter but I admit I haven’t spent much time on it yet. Just one question. How do I retweet this article? I can’t see an appropriate icon or am I missing something?

    Reply

    Frances Caballo November 16, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Christopher: You’re right. If Joel were to have a “TwitThis” or “Tweet” button, you could simply click it and the tweet would form automatically. Absent that, log into your Twitter account, copy the title and URL, and you’ll have a tweet. Let me know if you have more questions. ~~ Frances Caballo

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander November 16, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Christopher, there’s a floating palette of social media icons that runs alongside the left side of the blog. I’m curious that you can’t see it, since that’s the way most people tweet these posts. It’s currently showing a tweet count of 71 for Frances’ article, but now I’ll have to check to see what the problem is. Can you tell me which browser you’re using? Thanks!

    Reply

    Frances Caballo November 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Joel: I don’t see it either. It doesn’t seem to show up on IE but it does on Firefox and probably on Chrome and Safari too.

    Reply

    Grace Brannigan November 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Great article. I only started using hashtags but not as often as I should, I guess. Joel, I see the tweet button and I’m using IE.

    Reply

    Roxanne Crouse November 16, 2012 at 5:01 am

    Great post! I’ve been looking for a list of writer Hashtags. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

    Reply

    Frances Caballo November 16, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Roxanne: Thank you for your lovely comment! It’s always an honor for me to write a post that others find useful. I’m so glad you liked it. ~~ Frances Caballo

    Reply

    Ilana Waters November 16, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Great article! Don’t forget you can also use hashtags for age groups, like YA (Young Adult) and MG (Middle Grade). I do it all the time b/c I write in those genres. :-)

    Reply

    Frances November 16, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Ilana: Yes, you are absolutely right! Thank you so much for pointing this out. Authors can also use topical hashtags. For example, if you wrote a book about how to have a great swing, you could use #golf in your tweet. ~~ Frances

    Reply

    Tracy R. Atkins November 16, 2012 at 7:36 am

    This list is gold! Very helpful!

    There are also a lot of genre tags too, as well as niche tags. It is helpful for an author to dig around a little bit and see what is out there.

    Reply

    Frances November 16, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Tracy: Thanks for your comment and thanks so much for pointing that out. Yes, there are many genre hashtags. Plus, authors can create their own to track mentions of their books. It’s amazing what you’ll find when you start to dig into hashtags. ~~ Frances

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander November 16, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Hashtags are also a kind of metadata for tweets, and a way that we can segment or categorize our own posts to push them into other people’s searches.

    There was a fascinating article a couple of weeks ago in the New York Times about hashtags that focused on their artfulness as well as their utility. If you like hashtags, you’ll love this:

    In Praise of the #Hashtag

    Reply

    Frances Caballo November 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks so much for the link to the NYT article, Joel. I love it!

    Reply

    Roger C. Parker November 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Dear Francis (and Joel):
    Thanks for this delightful article.

    Francis, you’ve located several really great #hashtags that I wasn’t aware of.

    I really appreciate Joel’s ability to locate new voices and new topics to share.

    BTW, earlier this week, Monday, the 12th, I posted a blog post entitled “Using Mindjet to Track Twitter #Hashtags and Attract Followers.” http://blog.publishedandprofitable.com/2012/11/12/use-mindjet-to-manage-twitter-hashtags-and-attract-followers

    The next day, Tuesday, the 13th, I posted the mind map as an interactive PDF.

    Joel, Francis, would you object if I created a 2nd mind map of your (clearly credited) #Hashtags and posted a link here as a PDF for everyone to download? Or, added a “Frances” section to my original mind map?

    Anyway, great job Frances.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander November 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Roger,

    What a great idea to use a mind map to track and make use of Twitter hashtags. I’d be happy to see your link here, and I’m sure Frances would as well. Note that the download of the Mindjet Player seems to be having some issues. On 2 different computers I’m getting a message to “Click to restart Mindjet Player” but it’s unresponsive.

    Reply

    Frances Caballo November 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Roger: Excuse my delay in getting back to you. I went on a bike ride in the rain (what fun!). Anyway, I completely agree with Joel. Thanks, too, for including the link. I’m going to check into it and start following you on Twitter. Perhaps we can continue to keep in touch on that platform. Have a great weekend.

    Reply

    Peter DeHaan November 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing this list of helpful hashtags.

    Reply

    Frances Caballo November 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Peter: You are most welcome! If you find or use other writing-related hashtags, send them to me at @CaballoFrances. Thanks!

    Reply

    Barbara November 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    This was great! I have to admit I haven’t taken twitter as seriously as I should, but lately I’m getting more and more followers. My first question to a new follower is always ‘why?’. Somehow writers are finding me. I haven’t used # much but I’m starting to understand. This was a great help! I’m bookmarking this post!
    Thanks!
    Barbara

    Reply

    Frances Caballo November 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Barbara: I’m so glad you found this post useful. Twitter is an awesome platform for writers. The more you use it, the more you’ll be in touch with other writers, especially Indie authors. Twitter provides a great community for writers who help each other promote their books. It’s my favorite social media network. It might become your favorite channel too!

    Reply

    Roger C. Parker November 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Dear Frances and Joel:
    Thanks for your encouragement to add Frances Caballo’s great Twitter #Hashtags to my mind map that I created to accompany my Monday http://www.PublishedandProfitable.com blog post, Using Mindjet to Manage Twitter #Hashtags to Attract Readers.

    Here are links to 3 versions of my updated mind map:

    Here’s the original Mindjet file, (if you’re a Mindjet user):
    http://tinyurl.com/HashtagMindjet

    Here’s a Mindjet Player Interactive version which you can explore by expanding and collapsing topics, and use to access the #Hashtags:
    http://tinyurl.com/HashtagPlayer

    Here’s a conventional PDF version of the mind map, that you can view, zooming in to view different topics at a larger type size:
    http://tinyurl.com/HashtagStaticPDF

    Share any additional #Hashtags for writers with us, so I can update the map!

    Thanks, again to Frances for sharing her links, and to Joel for providing a venue for us to share #Hashtags.
    Roger

    Reply

    Roger C. Parker November 17, 2012 at 11:17 am

    STOP THE PRESSES!

    Late last night, (or, early this morning), when I posted the Mindjet version of my Twitter #Hashtag Mind Map to my website, I forgot that I can’t upload native Mindjet files.

    I just rectified the problem, by posting the map to Biggerplate.

    Here’s the correct link for viewing and downloading my updated Twitter #Hashtag mind map:http://www.biggerplate.com/mindmaps/G1E7YVNB/-hashtag-tracking-mindjet-mind-map

    Thanks for your patience!
    Roger

    Reply

    Frances Caballo November 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Roger: Thanks so much for the new link and for following through on this. I look forward to connecting with you in the future on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!

    Reply

    Laila El-Sissi November 20, 2012 at 2:40 am

    Hello Frances
    I am a member of the Fremont Area Writer’s Club. Would you be interested to come to our club for a talk about hashtags?
    Thank you
    Laila

    Reply

    Frances Caballo November 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Laila,

    I would love to visit your group. Just let me know when and where and we’ll schedule a time. You can contact me directly at: frances[at]act-comms.com

    Thanks for the invitation.

    Reply

    Valerie May 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you for these tips. I just used them today to Tweet about my first ever Kindle book (free promotion). It took me a long time to get this far so nervously waiting to see what happens :-). @thenannynelson

    Reply

    Edita March 18, 2014 at 5:26 am

    Brilliant article that saved me hours researching hashtags myself, thank you so much!

    Reply

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