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6 Twitter rules for authors, from Twitter (beginner edition)

July 9, 2012 |  2:29 pm

TwitterbirdI admit, I'm a chronic early adopter. When my friend Gwenda Bond (@Gwenda) insisted I try Twitter, I signed up. That was back in 2008. I didn't get it at first -- it seemed like so much chatter -- but now I truly enjoy the bookish conversation that can be found there.

But not everyone is like me (be glad: that means you don't sleep with your iPhone next to the bed). And so for those writers who are just girding themselves to jump in, Twitter has posted a list of six Twitter rules for authors. Who could be more authoritative about how to use Twitter than Twitter? Here's an abridged edition of their list:

1. Be authentic, be yourself. Twitter offers a direct, instant connection between you and your readers — they want to know what you’re up to.

2. Share your process. Twitter is a place where fans get a deeper connection to artists, performers, scholars ... and authors. Your readers are interested in your process. Tweet a bit about how your work. Invite your followers to a local book signing.

3. Engage with your readers. Twitter is also a place where your fans can directly engage with you, however much you want (it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time). You can see messages from other users in the “Connect” tab on your Twitter homepage. Is there a question in there for you? Answer it.

4. Find influencers. Twitter allows you to send a public message (via the @reply) to anyone else using Twitter. Just use the Search section on Twitter’s homepage to find other users. An idea: Who is your favorite living author? See if they’re on Twitter and tweet a "hello" to them.

5. Search Twitter. Just type what you’re looking for into the search tab to see what people are tweeting about right now. An idea: Is anyone tweeting about a book you wrote? Type the title into Search and find out.

6. Above all, have fun. Twitter is an exceptionally flexible platform that is ripe for creative use. Play around with it. You can live-tweet an event as it happens, or live-tweet a fictional world. You can interview another author or create a completely fictional account based on a character you dream up.

It's true, Twitter can be fun. It's the kind of place where on a lazy summer weekend, people all over might just start altering book titles so they read like drinks. Yesterday #bookdrink titles were so popular that they were a trending topic across the network; some popular fake book titles were "James and the Giant Peach Schnapps," "Tequila Mockingbird" and "Beer and Loathing In Las Vegas."

RELATED:

The New Yorker tries Twitter fiction with Jennifer Egan

The birth of a Twitter trend: #replacebooktitleswithbacon

Twitter is full of readers: 'Why I Read' makes trending topic

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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