Janalyn Voigt continues her series on Platform Building.
You’ve heard it before. You, as an author, should have a Twitter account. But, with all the expectations placed on a writer nowadays, how on earth will you ever find time to check all the items off your list, let alone Tweet about them?
I feel your pain. Yes, you need to guard your writing time, but don’t be too hasty in rejecting Twitter. It may just surprise you.
Twitter has been called “Facebook Light.” I like that title, because it sums up the quick interactions Twitter provides. Each “tweet,” or update, is limited to 140 characters: one or two sentences. Even if you “tweeted” 10 times a day, that would still be only 10-20 sentences.
That’s not too difficult, right? Well, the interruption posting these sentences poses can be intrusive. Some people thrive on the connectedness of returning to Twitter throughout the day. I do not. So, I use http://socialoomph.com/ and http://hootsuite.com to schedule my Tweets.
Another good application for scheduling tweets is http://tweetdeck.com. It’s possible to schedule all of your tweets for a week at one time if you want to. I prefer to schedule the next day’s tweets once a day when I’m finished with my other writing tasks. That way I can also spend a few minutes each day engaging with others on Twitter.
Many people prefer to update Facebook from Twitter because Twitter can be less of a time suck. Go here to activate the application in Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/twitter/ and follow the simple instructions to allow Twitter to update your Facebook status. Since, I tweet about my blog posts more than once on Twitter, I prefer not to import my Twitter feed to Facebook. I do it the other way around. I update Twitter from Facebook through http://twitterfeed.com/.
If you use an application like hootsuite that allows you to post updates to many social networks at once, you may not care about importing feeds. I do it because my blogs feed automatically to Facebook whenever they publish. From there, a link goes out to Twitter, which nets me more traffic. It’s possible to send a blog feed to your Twitter account directly, if you prefer. Make the feed at http://feedburner.com/ and use Twitter Feed to post to your Twitter account.
If your eyes are crossing, don’t worry about feeds but do become familiar with one of the sites for scheduling tweets.
A lot of my blog traffic comes from Twitter. I did have to put some time at first into building my following, but now that it’s going strong, I don’t have to work hard to gain followers. Building and maintaining a following is a subject for another post. Just be aware that there are desirable and undesirable followers on Twitter. Don’t make the mistake of building a following just for the sake of numbers.
Twitter offers advantages for writers. I’ve found new contacts, added to my friends on Facebook, driven traffic to my blogs and website, received advice from agents, publishers and successful writers, found valuable information online and identified potential purchasers of my books — all through Twitter. When author Holly Weiss had difficulty leaving a comment to enter a book giveaway drawing on my Book Readers Central blog, she tweeted me.
I posted the comment on her behalf, and she actually won the book! When she thanked me on Twitter, we discovered we had a lot in common and struck up a beautiful friendship. She now posts book reviews once a month on Book Readers Central. I’ve helped her get the word out about her book, and she intends to help me get the word out about mine. This is just one example of how Twitter can benefit writers.
I will go a little further into use of Twitter’s features and those available through some Twitter applications next time.
Consider giving Twitter a try. Upload a picture of yourself and make sure you input your bio information (including a link to your website or blog).
Follow me on Twitter at @janalynvoigt and, if you tell me you’re an NCWA writer, I’ll follow you back.
What’s your take on Twitter?
Janalyn Voigt writes novel books.
DAWNSINGER, book one of her TALES OF FAERAVEN trilogy, will release with Port Yonder press in Autumn 2011.
Other publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press and Pentecostal Evangel. Janalyn is affiliated with ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and has been a NCWA member since 2008. Visit her website.