How to Optimize Twitter for Readers, Connections, and Opportunities

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Twitter isn’t the optimal platform for selling books. Even with the recent implementation of #AmazonCart, authors shouldn’t go into the social media platform assuming they’re going to make a killing right away. If that’s the case, then why should you still consider Twitter as part of your author platform? It’s simple. Marketing is about more than selling.

The term “marketing” gets a bad rap because many people picture an Internet marketing guru with a never-ending sales page peddling products for $97 a piece. Despite this salesy image, one of the biggest parts of marketing has nothing to do with selling at all. It has to do with making connections.

Twitter is a great platform for connecting with readers and other authors. It’s also one way to open yourself up to opportunities such as contests, collaborations, and speaking engagements. If you’re interested in reaching beyond your circle, here are five ways to optimize Twitter for making connections:

1. Prep Your Page

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Twitter isn’t about making sales, so you shouldn’t devote your profile page to selling. When you fill your bio with 20 different hashtags and six different links to your books, it makes you look desperate and unapproachable. Your bio, your profile picture, and your page background serve as opportunities to connect with potential followers on a personal level.

Use your bio to show your personality. Many Twitter users place a short description in the bio of who they are and what they do. Feel free to think outside the box here. Take a famous quote and repurpose it. Describe yourself as a combination of several different people you admire. You can close things out with a link to a blog here, but don’t make it the focus. In the bio, you should concentrate on telling visitors what you’re all about.

Like any networking profile, pick a picture that represents the image you want to convey. A dark fantasy author might post something brooding, while a children’s author would depict a happier persona.

Using a free tool like Canva, you can design a background image for your Twitter page. Many authors fail to take advantage of this space to convey additional information. Since there’s not a lot of room in the bio, you can use the background image to cover additional things about you and provide other links of importance. This is a perfect opportunity to use pictures of your book covers and a picture of yourself that wouldn’t work in a tiny thumbnail.

Think of your profile page like you would an open house. If there’s trash littered throughout the yard and a gaping hole in the front window, then you won’t get many people to stick around. Make your page personal, clean, and informative to increase your chances of connection

2. Set Notifications

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If someone sends you a personal tweet in the middle of the social networking woods, does it make a sound? If you don’t have your notifications set up correctly, then the answer is no.

When you first sign up for Twitter, the site will send you a barrage of constant emails, which could encourage you to turn off notifications altogether. But when you cut off all the emails, you’ll miss out on some valuable opportunities to make connections.

Check your settings to make sure you receive notifications when someone Retweets, Favorites or Replies to one of your tweets. You should also set the system to email you when you get a new follower or direct message. These settings will make sure you don’t miss a reader or author’s efforts to make a direct connection.

Not all of the connections will be important and some will be spam, but you need to be prepared to reply to potential fans and fellow authors. Even a simple Favorite or a Reply with a “Thanks!” can be the difference between making a connection and missing one.

3. Create Lists

sadasdaLists make Twitter work. Without the use of this key feature, Twitter feels like a torrential downpour of messages. Lists allow you to partition the people you follow in an easily-digestible fashion.

Creating a list lets you add certain followers to a feed of tweets that’s absent of spam and advertisements. Lists are less for connecting with fans than they are for keeping an eye out for new opportunities. Make your own list with fellow authors or other movers and shakers in your field. If someone on your list asks a question or offers a collaborative opportunity, then your list will allow you to see the tweet and respond quickly. When you follow the right people, the list may also provide you with links to information that will help you grow in your career.

Creating and curating the proper list can take some time to do right. If you’re having trouble, follow someone else’s list in your genre or field. This list can help inform your own list, or you can treat it the same way you might if you’d been the one to create it.

4. Research and Use Hashtags

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All hashtags were not created equal. It’s tempting to search for the worldwide trending hashtags and try to tweet a flurry of posts in rapid succession. This strategy isn’t likely to get you far, because unless your post is related, Twitter users will quickly skip over your message.

Creating your own hashtags is also tempting, but unless you have a built-in audience, it’s rare that your efforts will result in much traction.

The best strategy is to find niche hashtags about being an author or ones that are related to your genre. Hashtags should be used as a way to connect with other writers or people who have similar interests.

When you’re writing or editing, #AmWriting and #AmEditing can bridge the gap between you and other writers dealing with the same hard work. If you’re a dark fantasy author, your posts about books or your genre as a whole can connect with potential new fans with the use of #DarkFantasy.

This isn’t the kind of tactic that will gain you new readers every time. It’s a general thing you should keep in mind whenever you tweet. Slowly but surely, your use of these niche hashtags can help authors and readers to find your optimized profile page.

5. Keep Promo Limited

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Spam runs rampant on Twitter and other social media platforms. If all of your posts are about your books, then you’re part of the problem. Besides, when 20 percent or more of your posts are an effort to sell your books, it’s likely that after a while no buyers will be listening.

Post about your books no more than once out of every five tweets. When you do put a promotional post out there, make sure it isn’t in the form of “buy my book.” It can be a link to a new review or a video blog you just posted to describe your upcoming pre-order. The less you try to sell, the more true connections you’ll make.

Another thing to keep in mind about promotion is that you should never tweet a sales message at another Twitter user. Most people will see this as spam and some may respond with frustration. You should only share something with another user if it has direct relevance to them, such as a mention of that person by name on your blog.

More Connections Lead to More Sales

Twitter isn’t about direct selling. Unless you have a huge audience, it’s unlikely that “buy my book” posts will even get that much traction. Early on in your writing career, one of the best ways to get sales down the line is to make more connections.

Connections with readers can lead to reviews and mailing list signups. Coming together with other authors can result in multi-author box sets or successful Facebook promotions. You never know where a Twitter connection will lead, but the only way to miss out on these career-changing bonds is to never make the connection in the first place.

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Author Marketing Pages (Book Landing Page Builder)

We’re pleased to announce our latest author marketing tool called Author Marketing Pages. It’s a web-based wysiwyg tool that allows you to create a beautiful book landing page in minutes, without any web design skills or html knowledge required. Watch the video below for a demo of how it works. When you’re ready to sign up, just head on over to AuthorMarketingPages.com.

Why Do I Need This As An Author?
Chances are you’re a great storyteller, but you’re probably not a web design guru or coding expert. So how do you make a great looking page to feature your book? Most authors hire this out to a design team, or have a virtual assistant do it for them. But that costs money and takes time. With Author Marketing Pages, you can simply, and quickly create your own page in less than 10-minutes. A page that you will be proud to show off to your potential readers.

Add your Author Marketing Page to places like:

  • Your email signature
  • Share on your social media channels
  • Link from the back of your book
  • Forum signatures
  • Anywhere else you want

How Much Does It Cost?
Author Marketing Pages are free. You can create as many pages for as many books as you want. Just login and start creating pages and publish them live and start promoting them. There is also a paid plan, which includes things like:

  • Free 3d book cover image
  • Promotional blast of your finished page
  • Add email signup integration
  • Custom domains

Ready To Create A Beautiful Book Landing Page?
Start right now at Author Marketing Pages.

5 Things You Should Email Readers to Keep Them Engaged

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Building up an email list is like getting your first car. With your hands behind the promotional wheel, you can do anything you want to directly market to your readers. Much like a brand new vehicle, however, you need to take care of your email list and make sure you’re using it properly.

If you use every email to scream “buy my book,” that’s the equivalent of taking your new car out drag racing night after night. You might get a few sales here and there, but eventually, your email list will crash from too many unsubscribes.

Instead of using your list primarily to sell, you should figure out how to make a better connection with your readers. You likely know your ideal readers best, but here are five things you should consider sending the members of your list to keep them engaged:

1. New Releases and News

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If a reader signs up for your list, then he likely wants to know when your new books are coming out. You should also let your readers know when something exciting is happening with your books, like an audiobook adaptation or your inclusion in a multi-author box set.

Aside from notifying your readers about any book discounts, it’s a good idea not to go to the well one too many times. You shouldn’t make selling your book the primary focus of every email.

Put yourself in the place of your readers. How effective would it be if a writer you knew and loved pitched you like a car salesman once a week? You’d probably get pretty fed up and unsubscribe after the second or third message.

When a new book does come out, make sure to promote it in a creative way. Many authors tie in giveaways with their releases to get their readers to spread the word. You can use a platform like Rafflecopter or KingSumo to turn your release into a viral event.

It’s also a good idea to give your email list the first crack at a book at a discounted price. Allowing your favorite readers to save a buck or two makes them feel special and gives them incentive to stay on the list for all future deals. Your goal shouldn’t be to milk as many dollars as possible out of your list. By treating your readers like you’d want to be treated, you’ll keep them for life and turn them into true fans who’ll spread the word about you and your books.

2. Personal Stories and Opinions

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Many authors send nothing but new release information and news. If you’re putting out new work only two or three times a year, there’s a chance that the readers on your list may forget about you. After all, there are dozens of movies, TV shows, and books competing for their entertainment attention. To rise to the top, you need to connect with your readers on a personal level.

Some successful authors like Hugh Howey do a fantastic job with this. Howey writes dystopic fiction and sci-fi, but he publicly shares a lot more than his thoughts on the genre. He tells stories about his time working at a bookstore and his dreams of sailing around the world. The bestselling author also shares his point of view on issues related to indie publishing vs. traditional publishing.

Howey sends his subscribers what he cares about. It’s possible that some or many of his readers won’t care about every post, but what they do care about is connecting with someone who has made himself open. Howey doesn’t hold anything back and neither should you.

Consider writing about your journey as an author. Write about your successes and your struggles. Discuss what parts of your life have inspired your stories.

At the end of these emails, ask your readers if they’ve had any similar experiences. You’d be surprised at how many fans will respond with their own tales of woe and joy. In a world that can be scant on real, personal connection, these emails give your readers a chance to link up with someone they care about. When you consistently deliver emails like this, you’ll make more than fans. You’ll make friends.

3. Bonus Materials

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In some cases, you’ll be lucky enough to stumble on people who are huge fans of your work. These voracious readers will eat up every last word you create and beg for you to write more as soon as possible. When you find and impress a person of this ilk, you’ve found yourself a true fan who might buy your books for the rest of your life.

However, not all fans are found; some are made. One of the ways to turn a casual reader into a fan is by letting him behind the scenes of your work. When you provide your readers with exclusive glimpses of your pre-finished work, it makes them feel a deeper connection and anticipation for the upcoming book.

Provide your list with exclusive excerpts from your unfinished work. Give them a peak at the cover before you reveal it to your social media accounts. Create dialogues between characters that can’t be found anywhere else.

At first, it may seem like these methods are only reaching a few people at a time. If you keep it up for months or years, however, you’ll find that more and more people will start to clamor for these “special features.” They’ll begin buying your book as soon as it hits the virtual shelves.

At the very least, seeing a few fans get excited about your upcoming book can help give you the motivation you need to finish it on time.

4. Books You Enjoy

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In this golden age of indie publishing, some of your superfans are likely reading the work of multiple authors at once. They do this partly out of necessity, as their voracious reading habits would never be satisfied by one book every three to four months. One of the best ways to keep your two-book-a-week readers happy is to give them recommendations of the books you love.

It’s a questionable sales practice to send readers away from your list and to the books and lists of others, but it’s a great way to form camaraderie. When you share your favorite books of the year or the ones that have shaped your career, you open the possibility of connecting with your readers over your mutual admiration.

There doesn’t have to be an iron wall between you and your fans. When you and a reader love the same book, you can encourage a deeper connection between the two of you. As you create a stronger bond with more readers, they’ll be more likely to read all of your emails and buy your books in the future. At the same time, you’ll be able to show your support for another author who’s likewise trying to link up with her own fans.

5. Gratitude

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Readers who are willing to hunt for and open your emails in the midst of spam, advertisements, and work correspondences deserve your thanks. While you should thank your fans in all of your emails, every so often, it’s important to devote an entire email to your gratitude.

Authors live in an amazing time where words that once sat on their hard drives can now be broadcast out into a world without gatekeepers. When a person is willing to read those words and request to read all the pages you’ll ever put out for the foreseeable future, you should give them a hearty thank you.

You can write about how gathering fans and connecting with them has made you feel. Once you’ve expressed your emotions, you can add some kind of gift to show how much you care.

Maintaining Your Vehicle

It’s exciting to see a reader agree to sign up to your list. It’s even more rewarding to give the fans what they want and let them become a deeper part of your writing life.

There’ll be bumps in the road and you’ll make occasional wrong turns, but if you commit to showing your readers who you really are, your true fans are bound to stick around for the ride.

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