Saturday, October 29, 2011

Marketing Tips: Have fun with Twitter by Stephanie Burkhart

Social networking can be a challenge for many who are just starting out in the writing world. Social networking is a necessary tool that the author can use to promote their book. I thought I'd take a look at how you can maximize your time on Twitter. Twitter is a forum that allows for a "tweet" of approx 120 characters so you have to keep your "tweet" short.

The Pros of Twitter:
It's cheap (i.e. free)
It's fun (once you get the hang of it)

The Cons of Twitter:
It is intimidating
It is confusing

At some point, you have to get your feet wet and join. Whatever your role in the writing world – author, illustrator, marketing, etc., these tips can prove very helpful.

For me, the main goal of Twitter is to increase my followers. The more followers you have, the more people you reach out to.

Goal stated, let's get into the tips:

Tip #1 – You don't want to spend more than 10-15 mins on Twitter at any given time. Trust me. You have other things to do and social networking should not consume your day. Make it a point to check your Tweets 10-15 mins a day. The "optimum" goal should be once in the morning, and once at night, but if you can't do twice a day, strive to be on Twitter at least once a day.

#2 – Friend 5 people a day
I use the recommendations on the side, but I also follow my favorites which include Anne Rice, The New England Patriots, other 911 dispatchers, and even Chum Lee from Pawn Stars.

#3 – Retweet 5 posts a day
(this shows others you are supportive by retweeting their posts. In turn, fellow tweeters are generally inclined to retweet your posts)

#4 – Tweet 5 posts a day
These can be anything. For example:
Quotes from your favorite writers or authors. I like to quote HG Wells, Emily Dickinson and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Share YouTube links – this can be your book trailers or some of your favorite videos on you tube.
Amazon links to your books. If your book is on sale, mention it.
Places were you want fans to follow you like Good Reads, LinkedIn,, etc.
Links to reviews for your books.
Links to book reviews you've done.
Announcements for what's on your blog.
Announcement if you're visiting someone else's blog.
Announcements on any contests or giveaway you're doing.
Gush and give shout outs to your favorites: movies, authors, books, music, etc. I usually give a shout out to coffee and chocolate during the week. It's okay to be a little cheeky and show off your personality. Readers like to see a little bit of your fun side.

You may not feel an immediate effect, but you'll see difference by the end of the week and even a bigger difference by the end of the month. Remember, it's all about growing your followers.

Tip #5 - #hashtags
These are "quick" tags that highlight popular posts. If you post "Check out my book on Kindle" (with the link) use #kindle at the end of the post. If other people are on twitter and check out the popular posts highlighted on the side, they should pull up a majority of post with the hashtags. If you have your post marked with a hashtag, it should, in theory, pull up.

Tip #6 - @ sign

If you talk about someone, let them know. They'll appreciate it and usually reciprocate. For example. Me: Just finished reading @StephBurkhart's book. Two thumbs up.

If anyone has any other tips, please feel free to share.
Go out there and tweet. And have fun with it.

PS: Follow me on Twitter at:

Short Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. Her children's book, "The Giving Meadow" was published with 4RV Publishing. She's a native of New Hampshire but now lives in California with her husband, 9 year old son, Andrew, and 5 year old son, Joe. Joe likes the following 4RV Books: Colors and Spider in Our Mailbox.


  1. Hi Steph, or should I say @StephBurkhart? I'm a fledgling tweet or twirp or whatever the terminology is. I'll get the hang of this, usually right about when the next new thing comes along. I've found it handy to use Tweet Deck (some folks use Hoot Suite)to schedule posts throughout the day, that way I "seem" to have a bit more Twitter presence. I'm always at a loss as to what to retweet or reply to. I missed out on thanking a bunch of people for the #ff stuff. Live and learn!

    MURDER IN THE BUFF coming March 2012

  2. Maggie, great tip - especially if you don't have a lot of time. Tweet Deck is a great way to schedule those tweets. I haven't used it but a lot of people like it.

    Also, I got another tip - Try to manage it so you post a 3-5 non marketing tweets to 1 marketing tweet. You don't want to overwhelm on the marketing and you do want to show off a bit of your personality. Makes sense.

    PS...pass the coffee and chocolate.

  3. Being fairly new to Twitter, I'm always looking for tips. Thanks Steph! I like the 5-5-5 idea.

  4. Hi Steph
    I'm trying to build up courage to try Twitter. I know I have to but I'm baulking at the gate. your post definitely helped, tks

  5. Thanks for your post! I've found Twitter to be utterly confusing and this helped clarify a LOT! As I've started writing, I've been intimidated with how to promote in the future should my novels get picked up.

  6. I use Twitter a lot more than 10-15 minutes a day because I need to keep an eye out for new clients. I use TweetDeck and key words/phrases to tip me off when people mention hey are looking for an illustrator. It stays running in the background as I do other work and a little window pops up if one of my categories gets a tweet.

    Another tip, I don't just follow anybody, even if they follow me. I target specific audience: authors, publishers, editors, avid readers, etc.

    Great post.

  7. Thanks for your post. These tips come in handy.

  8. Twitter can get very indepth. I think Maggie and Aidana mentioned using Tweet Deck, but I'd wait until I was comfortable being on Twitter before venturing out and using Tweet Deck.

    Also, Aidana has a great tip - don't follow just anyone. Follow your interests, but I also target authors, readers, publishers, editors, etc. Makes no sense to target a guy who loves football who probably wouldn't buy your book.

    I'm glad my tips helped. If you ever have any questions about Twitter you can always drop me a line at

  9. Thanks for sharing all the tips. I have a Twitter account, but don't use it very much. I try to retweet anything I find interesting, because I like to be supportive of other writers. I do tweet about a lot of my blog posts, but not all of them. I just find it hard to keep up with all the tweets.

  10. Stephanie, Thanks for a great post. I use SocialOomph to schedule posts, but don't do it on a regular basis.

    These are such useful tips that are actually doable. I'll be linking to this post and C&P it form my own use.

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing