Twitter 101: Skip the hard sell

One of the questions I'm constantly asked when leading workshops on social media is how much is too much when it comes to promoting your book, CD, etc. on sites like Facebook and Twitter. I know some authors who tweet nothing but BUY MY BOOK on the hour. Chances are, those authors are losing the followers they have and surely aren't gaining any new ones. When you turn Twitter or Facebook into a shill for a product, readers switch off.

As of this evening, I have 2,548 followers on Twitter. The majority of those followers have found me not because I'm selling a book, but because I work diligently to build community, share links and re-tweet other writers. Of course, when I have an announcement about a new book, reading, etc. I will tweet it multiple times, but your status should not be a constant barrage of "me, me, me."

I went back to my Twitter feed and picked a day of tweets to highlight and show what I'm tweeting about.  This is last Tuesday:

  • Just heard Showtime canceled "United States of Tara." I LOVE that show and Toni Collette. Sigh.
  • Watching "Forget Paris." I always forget how much I love Billy Crystal and Debra Winger in the movie. 
  • Death toll in Joplin, Missouri has risen to 116 after deadly tornadoes. Make a donation to the Red Cross at this link:
  • @kelliagodon Topic for the next #poetparty will be announced soon. We're looking for suggestions.
  • Just got Collector's Edition of @KateBushMusic "Director's Cut" in the mail. Absolutely stunning artwork and, of course, beautiful music.
  • The new Friendly Fires album, "Pala," is brilliant.

I'm always on the lookout for articles and links related to poetry, fiction, social media, ebooks and music and I love to retweet them. All of those topics are in my wheelhouse of interests, so it helps make me a source and clearinghouse that people can come to for information. That's what makes Twitter work – sharing the things that interest you so that others can share them, too.

And while there are no tweets directly related to my novels or poetry, there are some tweets from Tuesday that do relate to my work. The retweet of the bike ride through Paris from Gadling fits right in with my love of the city and the fact that Conquering Venus and Remain in Light are set in Paris.

If you want more followers on Twitter, become a source for good links and information, retweet other followers, and let your interests and personality shine through. Social media is about building community – not the hard sell.


Jeannine said…
Dear Collin,
Thanks for all the tips! It is much harder this time with the new media to know what to do and how to do it. I admit I'm a bit of an amateur when it comes to Facebook/twitter. It's hard to know what's just enough, what's too much.
Lisa Allender said…
I seldom use. Twitter but am considering doing more with since reading this post, Coll-Coll. :D
January said…
I think it's time for you to update your list of poets on Twitter, Collin.
It’s glad to see good information being convey. Its a very nice written, and i really like these blog. Thanks for

the info.
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