So little time, so much to do, right? As an author, not only do you have to actually write your books, but you also need to promote your works to readers. This can be an incredible amount of work. While social media provides direct access to millions of potential readers, most authors fail to use platforms in way that effectively promotes their books. It's easy to waste a lot of time messing around on social media without getting results. So, why should authors be on Twitter?
Here are four reasons why I highly recommend authors that authors check out Twitter.
1. It's easy to find people on Twitter who have specific interests that align with your books.
This is also called "targeting' your market, which sounds like a mean thing to do but is actually very thoughtful. For example, if you write historical fiction set in the Pacific Northwest, you can identify readers who might be interested in your books by searching what they are tweeting and which accounts they are following. In this situation, you might search for people tweeting about other historical fiction books they've reviewed on Goodreads, or using a #historical hashtag, or retweeting the @Smithsonian magazine account.
2. You can scale quickly.
Scale matters. If you only have an audience of 100 people, those 100 people won't be able to provide enough support to promote or buys your books in quantities that will enable you to make a living (or break even!) as a writer. Simply by following people interested in topics related to your books, you can build a targeted, respectable following. (Here's help on how to do that.)
3. You can use tools to dramatically reduce the amount of time you actually spend on Twitter.
Would you believe that I spend less than an hour or so each week maintaining my Twitter accounts? It's true! This is possible with third-party tools that help you post content, manage your following and respond to mentions. Here's my magic formula:
Feedly - Used to find excellent content worth sharing
Hootsuite - Used to schedule content and monitor mentions, conversations and topics
Tweepi - Used to manage and grow my following
4. Twitter can drive a lot of traffic.
Most importantly, authors that manage to connect with a decent amount of likely readers can use the network to drive a lot of traffic to their website. Twitter (and all social media networks) are at the very tippy-top of the sales funnel. [ctt title="'Savvy authors understand that Twitter is where you make an introduction, not a sale.'" tweet="'Savvy authors understand that Twitter is where you make an introduction, not a sale.' http://ctt.ec/brdYN+ via @Kelsye #selfpub" coverup="brdYN"] Authors posting compelling blogs, offering awesome freebies or hosting online events may tweet links to turn Twitter acquaintances into website visitors, book readers and possibly, eventually, fans for life.
Twitter can help authors connect with potential readers, build a sizable following, save time on marketing and drive traffic home.