Ten Tweet-worthy Ideas for Authors

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by Christa Kinde

When I meet writers who struggle with social media, it’s usually for lack of courage, consistency, or creativity. Fear not! You can do this. After all, writers are creative people.

Twitter is my happy place–because I like to keep things short and sweet–so I thought I’d offer practical suggestions on what authors can tweet about. I’ve included samples from the Twitter account for a kids’ fantasy series I publish under my maiden name–C.J. Milbrandt.
Up the Mountain by C. J. Milbrandt ii
1. Introduce yourself. Create a mini-bio that leaves room for a link to your profile page. This is a great place to use your authorial tagline and link to your website, Facebook page, or GoodReads profile.

CJ’s family-friendly stories mingle humor and whimsy with a dash of danger and a touch of magic. CJMilbrandt.com

2. Book covers. Tweets with images really stand out, so use your cover.

Wanna mix it up? Show the back cover, line up the spines in a series or take snapshots of your books “in the wild.” Include a short statement and appropriate hashtags.

The #Byways brothers have a long road ahead. #kidlit #fantasy

3. Taglines. You crafted the perfect sentence in order to pitch your story idea. Whether it’s for one book or a whole series, put it to work on Twitter.

Ewan, Zane, Ganix–three brothers take sibling rivalry to new lengths as they race each other across their homeland.

4. First lines. They’re a simple and effective thing to tweet.

“A race? Against your own brothers?” asked a chatty woman in a fuzzy green coat. –ABOARD THE TRAIN #Byways Bk2 #FirstLine

5. Character introductions. Is there a line in your book that serves as the perfect introduction for your character? Tweet it!

As the eagle landed on the Eyrie’s tower, he turned into a tall man with a beaky nose and long, silver hair. –Bk1 ON YOUR MARKS #IanJohns

6. Book quotes. Why not borrow some of your own lines?

“Boys? What’s the meaning of…!” Ian was interrupted when a full-grown elk minced past with a young raccoon dangling from his antlers.

7. Blog links. I link back to blog posts that won’t grow old–character introductions, Q&A sessions, outtakes, etc.

Meet Ganix–youngest brother, ladybug lucky, quick witted, scamp of all trades.

8. Fun facts. Give readers a peek at what went on behind-the-scenes. Give them pieces of the story behind your story.

Fun Facts: The Byways brothers have personalities inspired by the line “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” #Ewan #Zane #Ganix

9. Hooks and teasers. You used them to pique the interest of agents and editors. Add them to your tweeting repertoire.

Every #Byways book is linked to a state. Sharp-eyed readers will spot cities… towns… icons… firsts… claims to fame. #50States #GeographyQuest

10. Games. Ask trivia questions. Snap “guess where I am” pictures in interesting locations. One thing I post weekly is a close-up of something on one of my book covers.

Let’s play a game! Do you know which of CJ’s book covers this comes from?

Whenever I have a new book coming out, I write batches of tweets like these and add them to the current rotation. This routine may cost me half a day of brainstorming and hashtagging, but those tweets get put to good use for months. Even years.

But wait!

We all know it’s a huge no-no to clog our Twitter feed with self-promotion. And some of us aren’t published yet. What’s the pre-published author supposed to talk about? No problem! Let’s do a quick bonus round.

Ten Tweet-worthy Ideas for Almost-Authors

1. Writers read. GoodReads isn’t the only place to track your books; tell the twitterverse. Use hashtags like #amreading and #FridayReads. Bonus points if you include snapshots of your library haul, your coffee shop read, or the To Be Read stack on the bedside table.

2. Six word stories. Crafting and posting a six word story with the #6WordStory or #sixwordstory hashtags is fun and attention-grabbing.

3. Quizzes and challenges. Some of the dictionaries I follow tweet word games, quizzes, and challenges, like using their Word of the Day in a sentence.

4. Book quotes. Quote the classics. Quote your favorites. Quote the book you’re reading now. If you include the author’s @username, they’ll not only notice and thank you, they’ll probably retweet you.

5. Answer questions. GoodReads will often post questions that are fun to answer. What book will you be reading this weekend? If you could vacation in any story universe, where would you go? Answer them for your followers and challenge them to respond as well.

6. Word sprints. Having trouble staying on task? There’s a buddy system for that. Type fast along with other tweeters for a 15-minute burst or join a group doing #1k1hr.

7. WIP love. Creators of all kinds–artists, writers, designers–give followers a peek at what they’re working on right now. Share a line from your latest story. #WIPWed #WIPwednesday #onelinewed

8. Curate your era. Follow everything you can find that relates to the era in which you write, then retweet interesting facts and photos that relate to your book’s setting.

9. Retweet authors. Help them spread the word about book sales. Celebrate their release days. Answer their questions and let them know when their tweets inspired a smile.

10. Encourage other writers. The lion’s share of what @ChristaKinde tweets comes with the #amwriting hashtag. Quotes by writers for writers about writing are both encouraging and motivational.

Make tweeting (and retweeting) a part of your daily routine, or schedule them so you’re tweeting at regular intervals–with courage, consistency, and creativity.

Christa Kinde 2016 glasses iiChrista Kinde writes studies, stories, and devotionals that bring truth into focus and give faith a practical spin. And she leads a dual existence as C.J. Milbrandt, whose Byways series medaled in the 2016 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for “Best Book Series — Chapter Books.” She tweets as @ChristaKinde, @Elymnifoquent, and @BywaysBooks.

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