Article

How to be conversational with readers on Twitter

4 min How-To

Bookworms come to Twitter to hear directly from their favorite authors.

 

Twitter is a great place for avid readers to share TBR lists, discuss their favorite new releases, and learn the latest from authors and novelists. It’s also a great space for authors to crowdsource and glean information from their most perceptive audience.

Whether it’s book tour location suggestions from your supporters or sharing advice from fellow writers, Twitter can be an exciting and conversation-stoking platform for any author. Here are some quick tips on creating the conversational equivalent of a best seller on Twitter.

Use a specific hashtag when Tweeting about your book.

By consistently using one hashtag — perhaps the title of your book, or a key messaging point — you’re helping your fans connect within a larger discussion.

Hashtag best practices:

  1. Make it easy to remember
  2. Ensure it is easy to spell
  3. Research how it’s being used already
  4. Avoid using all caps
  5. Don’t include contractions

Encourage readers to share in your excitement.

Inspire followers to Tweet along with you when something new and exciting is happening, or motivate fans to Tweet when they start or finish reading your latest book.

Creative idea:

Prompt followers to share a photo from the audience after they’ve attended one of your speaking events. Ask them to mention the handle of the bookstore where the event took place, to help support a local business.

Share your opinion on a trending hashtag.

Participate in topical conversations you or your readers might care about by using the appropriate trending hashtag. You can find trending topics listed under the Trends section of the Explore tab when you’re using Twitter on a mobile app. If you’re on a desktop or laptop computer, trends are listed in many places, including the Home timeline, Notifications, search results, and profile pages.

The benefit of including a trending hashtag in your Tweet is that it will be discoverable by people other than your followers.

Creative idea:

Join in on eventized reading-related hashtags like #BookLoversDay on August 9 and #ReadABookDay on September 6.

Hashtag

Ask for tour location suggestions.

During the planning stages of your book tour, crowdsource for popular locations or venues. Asking questions like this gives fans the opportunity to be heard and gets them excited about your tour before you’ve even stepped on the plane.

Creative idea:

Once you have a few locations picked out, create a poll as an interactive way for fans to pick their favorite venue.

Raise a question.

Twitter is an excellent place to ask for suggestions and recommendations, and tapping into the #BookTwitter community could elicit responses from fans, fellow writers, or publishers.

Creative idea:

Ask your fans where they are currently reading your book. Whether it’s in a cafe, their home, or a library, it’s interesting to see their point of view and get a better understanding of how your book is being enjoyed.

Be honest with your followers.

Your fans could be avid readers but may not know the ins and outs of the publishing industry. They respect your opinion and want to support your work, so share your thoughts on Twitter. Your readers will see a clearer picture of things that can help you (and other authors) in the long run.

Ask for advice.

There’s nothing worse than writer’s block or lack of focus, so why not brainstorm with other experienced authors on Twitter and share your crowdsourced knowledge with new writers? Developing a community on Twitter is a great way to connect with authors from around the world, and across different writing genres.

Creative idea:

Ask the author community where they go for inspiration, what tools they use to keep track of information, or what music they listen to to help them focus.

Conversations

Surprise fans with a response.

Devoted readers will be elated when they get a message directly from you. It’s not always possible to reply to every comment, but keep an eye on your Notifications tab and respond to, Retweet, or like a Tweet when you can.

Creative idea:

Use TweetDeck to see your mentions the day after a big announcement. When you see congratulatory Tweets from fans, validate them with a response.

Host a recurring Q&A session.

Create a regular or semi-regular Q&A series using a dedicated hashtag. These can be weekly, monthly, or when you’re on various legs of a book tour. Recurring Q&A sessions present a great way to connect with fans on a regular basis, make them feel included, and generate conversation.

Creative idea:

Try hosting a monthly Q&A session where you answer questions from aspiring writers.

Go live.

Looking for feedback on an upcoming idea, character attribute, or portion of a chapter? Want to connect with fans in real time? Go live on Twitter to create an interactive experience. Don’t forget to ask for their thoughts or questions during the broadcast, and try to reply back once the broadcast is over with a “thank you” Tweet to any questions you didn’t have time to answer live.

Creative idea:

Go live and surprise fans by reading the first few paragraphs of a yet-to-be published book.