Friday, August 19, 2011

MJ Fredrick: Tweet This!

Our guest today is author MJ Fredrick! Readers, be sure to welcome her to our 30 Days of Promo Goodness event here at The Cozy Page!

Take it away, MJ...

I think I would love Twitter even if I wasn’t a writer, just because it’s quick and easy and informative. I learned about Michael Jackson, Osama Bin Laden and Amy Winehouse from Twitter, because I have it on more often than I have the news.

But I’m here to talk to you about promoting, so…


Signing up for Twitter is very easy. Make sure you use the name you write under. If someone else has that handle already, change it to JaneDoeAuthor or JaneDoeWriter or JaneDoeRomance. You don’t want your handle to be too long, because you only get 140 characters, and if you’re doing promotion and want someone to “retweet,” or pass on, what you’ve said, your long handle can make that difficult.

Come up with an interesting bio. I won’t follow someone with no bio, or one that seems too self-serving. It need not be clever, but pertinent information, like “I write for Carina Press” or “avid book lover” will tell us something about you.

Clever is good, though. Caroline Fyffe has, “Walking across America on my treadmill one step at a time....” on her bio. Cute, huh?

Finding friends is the next challenge. Twitter will happily let you import friends from your email account and your Facebook, or any other social media. Once you have a few friends, you can peruse their friends and follow them. You don’t need to send a request, and just because you follow them doesn’t mean they’ll follow back, but they might. I never thought Jill Shalvis would follow me, but she does!

Fridays on Twitter are “Follow Fridays,” marked by the hashtag (more about that later) #FF. Lots of people mention people they follow, and you can follow them as well. Again, not everyone will follow you, but some will.


Reply to tweets. Get in conversations. Twitter is not just about promotion. Engage with people. But don’t do it just to engage. Find things you’re interested in. Lots of people talk about TV shows (beware of spoilers!), sports, books, news articles. It’s amazing how you get to know people, too. I remember things about people on Twitter I don’t remember about my own family! I sold at least one title to a girl because she and I both had crushes on Jeffrey Dean Morgan and I used him as the model for my hero in one of my books.

Retweeting is like sharing on Facebook, or passing it on. I retweet interesting news articles, reviews of friends’ books, funny sayings, release day information. When you retweet, people take note and may return the favor.


On Amazon and Smashwords and The Wild Rose Press, and probably others, there is a “share” button. When you click, it will open a Twitter dialogue box, complete with a link. You can add your screen name and a quick blurb and a hashtag or two and send it on. Try not to use all the characters allotted so people can retweet it for you.

Using hashtags will help you get read more widely. Hashtags are the words that begin with the number symbol (#). You cannot have any other punctuation in a hashtag or it will break it, so some of them look odd. But they’re fun. People can follow the hashtag to find things they are interested in. Some that I use are #amreading (good to use with your link above) or #amwriting. #1k1hr is for writers doing writing sprints. #kindle will get you noticed by people who use Kindles. A great list of hashtags is here.


One thing I’ve found effective is working with a group of other writers to retweet promotion messages. I’ve done this with The Wild Rose Press group, who use the hashtag #twrp, and the Wet Noodle Posse, who don’t use a hashtag. We set up a day or an afternoon, post a promotional blurb, and everyone retweets it to their followers.

Yes, we have some of the same followers so they get the message more than once, but the blurb does get to more people that way. You can include your website, a clever sentence, anything to drive traffic to your book.

Thank you, MJ, for the Twitter tips! Readers, tune in tomorrow for a peek into MJ's latest release, Midnight Sun....


Karyn Good said...

Great tips and great reasons to use twitter!

Jannine Gallant said...

You hooked me MJ. I'm almost convinced I can figure out how to tweet!

Lilly Gayle said...

I'm still learning twitter and this was very helpful. Thanks! Now, if I could only figure out how to add more than one person to my #FF.

MJFredrick said...

So glad y'all enjoyed it! Jannine, I'm addicted to Twitter. It's fun and easy when you get going. Lilly, I always hesitate to do #FF because adding people takes so long. With the new Twitter, though, I think it offers you the opportunity to auto-fill from your followers, anyway. I'm going to test that theory.

MJFredrick said...

The new twitter lets you auto-fill from your followers and the people you're following! That's way cool. Hadn't tried that!