There are generally two thoughts when it comes to Twitter.

Either you love it or hate it.

The majority of authors I know hate twitter for two reasons. They don’t know how to use it and hate getting spammed. The majority of readers I know hate twitter for one reason. They hate getting spammed.

See the connection?

Source

I logged onto twitter today when I needed a break from my current story and searched for a conversation I could join, a tweet that would catch my attention or something newsworthy. Essentially – I went to twitter for a break. But what I got was a whole lotta spam filled tweets. I think authors have got the message about not putting out tweets saying “buy my book” but instead of really getting the message, they just changed their wording. “If you liked xyz, then you’ll love my new zyx – link”, or “verb, verb, verb, you’ve never read anything like it – link”.

Have you thought about using Twitter just a tad bit different then the rest of the million writers out there trying to find readers for their books? You should. You might be surprised at the outcome.

Instead of using twitter to shout out about your book all.the.time – use it as a conversational method and post about your book once.in.a.while. Think of twitter as a viable means to find a million or more potential readers. Talk, ask questions, join conversations…make yourself personable. Nine times out of ten I will check out a person’s profile and follow the links to their website or books AFTER I’ve had a conversation with them – about something other than their books.

I’m not perfect at this. Trust me. But I know enough of what ‘not to do’ that hopefully I’m not considered a Twitter Abuser. I don’t send an automatic message to those who follow me with links to my books. Actually – I don’t send an automatic message at all. I’d rather give a shout out and start a conversation. I don’t post links to my books ALL.THE.TIME. If I post links – it’s once or twice a day if that.

But I do…thank readers when they tweet that they’ve read or are reading my book. I get into discussions. I ask questions. I try to RT things that interest me and might interest others. I get involved in twitter chats with other authors when our goal is to find new readers – not by posting links to our books but by talking about things that affect us as writers.

But what if my goal IS to sell my book?

Okay – so let’s talk about twitter book sales. You’ll hear statistics all over the place saying how people can attribute % of their sales to twitter. I don’t doubt those statistics. I’ve seen sales from twitter. I use bitly when I post links to my books and I can see how many clicks I get…so I know it works. But again – I’m not always shouting at people to buy my book by changing the wording of my tweets.

So what do I do? 

Same as what I mentioned above. I get involved in twitter chats. Like the one I’m doing this Thursday with my agency – The Knight Agency. We’re going to talk about writer/my journey/my books. There will be links to my website, we’ll talk about my new release coming out and then we’ll talk about writing as a hybrid author. I’ll RT tweets from readers who give shout outs to my books, I’ll post a review or two thanking people for their kind words.

There’s a lot that an author can do to get their book out there on Twitter without it being a ‘shout fest’ about their book. Have you ever been accused of spamming on Twitter? I have. I’m not perfect and I’m still learning how to ‘use and not abuse’ (like not filling up my twitter stream on Friday by participating in #FF (Follow Friday).

What do you do?

How do you use Twitter as an author?

What keys have you found that have helped you or not helped you?