26 Responses to “10 things authors should know about Twitter”

  1. Nathan Carriker December 12, 2011 at 10:18 AM #

    Didn’t know about the thing about not starting a general tweet with @! Thanks!

  2. Dana Elmendorf December 12, 2011 at 10:45 AM #

    I didn’t realize #1 either. Thanks for letting us know. #9 I unfollow so many people because of THIS alone. I get the occasional bad day but ALL THE TIME, ugh. And a lot of people don’t realize #10, if you’re not into it, you will not be effective. Great post!

  3. Marianne Wheelaghan December 12, 2011 at 11:06 AM #

    A big thanks for this. Am on twitter and didn’t know some of these things.
    It’s also good to be reminded about the appropriate tweet-iquette, because i am not always sure – I think it’s the difference between letting people know what I am doing and shoving things in their face (*gulp*!)
    Chewers πŸ™‚

  4. @davidzampa December 12, 2011 at 11:18 AM #

    Excellent post! I’m relatively new to Twitter, though very internet savvy. I was relieved to see that I have thus far avoided the pitfalls you mentioned. At the risk of sounding a bit cynical toward folks who make those mistakes, I must say to me it comes down to having good professional judgment.

    It’s also enlightening to finally know how to limit tweets by beginning with the @ symbol. This is good for stubborn know-it-alls like me who don’t always bother to read a new toy’s directions.

    Lastly, thank you for mentioning the value of reaching out and engaging others. Etiquette is clearly important in any social medium, and I’ve been trying to let twitter’s sink in through osmosis. This post saved me some time.

  5. Lori Oster December 12, 2011 at 11:38 AM #

    This is great advice, thank you for sharing it. I’m new to Twitter and had no idea about #1, and needed a reminder to do more of #7.

  6. Mary Anne Benedetto December 12, 2011 at 12:23 PM #

    I recently began Tweeting, but honestly haven’t had time to sift through the do’s and don’ts. Thank you for a very informative post!!

  7. Shannon Stacey December 12, 2011 at 3:09 PM #

    The “just because you’re on Twitter doesn’t mean you’re working” thing is something a lot of people struggle with. I had somebody cop an attitude with me for not responding to what she thought was an urgent email within an hour when she KNEW I was online because she saw me on Twitter.

    Yeah. Sometimes I’m killing 45 seconds standing in line at Walmart or a couple of minutes in the bank drive-thru. Or I’m watching a show “with” Twitter during prime-time and I’m not working, or I got sick of the computer screen and shut my Macbook down. I also hate dealing with email while I’m mobile and rarely check it that way.

    In short, just because a person popped up on Twitter doesn’t mean they’re “in the office”, so to speak.

  8. Sharon Johnston December 12, 2011 at 3:28 PM #

    This is a fantastic post. A lot of people get onto Twitter and forget about professionalism and how their behaviour online can impact on their success with agents and editors.

  9. Gail Hart December 12, 2011 at 3:51 PM #

    #7 is a big issue with me. I just unfollowed someone because just about all her tweets were “Buy my book.”

  10. Kiersten December 12, 2011 at 4:40 PM #

    I was completely flummoxed when I learned #1. Realized much of what I’d been tweeting for several months had been to a limited audience.

    #10 is key. I repeat it to my friends/writing peeps whenever we talk about Twitter. So many authors feel pressured into using Twitter (because they reportedly are as their editors/agents apparently insist on it). The first and last thing I say is that if you don’t like it, then it’s not the right social medium for you. Me, I love it. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the great tips, Angela!

  11. Penny Zeller December 12, 2011 at 5:51 PM #

    Wow! These are great tips. I didn’t realize #1 either. I loved your advice given in #7. I recently joined several other authors and we all help to promote each other on Twitter and other social media. It is a great way to spread goodwill!

  12. Lynda the Guppy December 12, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

    Excellent advice for EVERYONE, not just authors.

  13. @PassionMuse December 12, 2011 at 8:37 PM #

    This is a nice list of tips. Another thing people may not realize is that Twitter has a bit of a mini-ceiling limit of 2000 followers, if you are follwing too many people. If the readers search for “Twitter 2000 follower limit” they should find plenty of info about it. It’s a following to follower ratio issue. Just be mindful of who you follow or you’ll have to dig through your followers pretty hard and thin them out in order to follow other people who perhaps interest you more. Just FYI.

    Thanks again for posting this!

  14. Harley December 12, 2011 at 9:37 PM #

    This is a great list! I am not a fan of the initial direct message that some people send asking you to check out their work. Try to have a conversation with me.

    I have to object to one tiny item in 9, respectfully:

    “Have an opinion about politics, religion, the news, something having in the publishing industry but don’t be surprised if someone takes exception to it!”

    I have made a point to treat twitter like a dinner party and avoid politics and religion. There have been some authors that tweet things so far right wing or left wing, I’ve unfollowed them. We’re all allowed different opinions. I am happy that we live in a country that gives us this right, but I don’t want you ramming your beliefs down my throat. Even if a person tweets something I agree with, I say, “Twitter is not the place for this.”

    If person says something negative about something I that is serious and that I love, I’d prefer not to read it.

  15. Donna Cummings December 12, 2011 at 10:41 PM #

    I avoided Twitter for a long time, since I didn’t realize how much fun it would be. Maybe I never should have found out! LOL I’ve “met” such great people, and we have a lot of fun conversations.

    The one thing I didn’t know about when I started was the @ mentions, so I accidentally ignored a lot of people because I didn’t realize there was a separate listing of tweets that were directed specifically to me. This happens a lot to new folks, so I don’t think anyone gets upset about it. And Twitter seems to be doing a lot of renovating lately, so it might be easy to overlook those @ mentions again when things get moved around. πŸ™‚

  16. Lily Graison December 13, 2011 at 1:25 AM #

    Great post! I had no idea starting a tweet with @ blocked it from the majority of my stream. Thanks for the heads-up.

  17. PW Creighton December 13, 2011 at 12:38 PM #

    Solid advice, far too many writers still make the same mistakes. Dumping promos into your stream 4x an hour doesn’t get you anywhere. Support your community and they support you.

  18. Justin Hampton December 13, 2011 at 3:53 PM #

    One thing I should mention about talking/hawking up other books: I’ve spent many years as a music journalist doing just that – well, other people’s music, but you get the point. And I also ran for a brief period a book blog. However, I feel the practice for me can veer closely into exploitation, especially if one is an aspiring author. No one should consciously offer themselves up as pawns in a marketing plan, unless they truly feel the work is worth it. You have to make sure the emphasis is on your own work and career, not someone else’s.

    Of course, any author should understand you owe anyone who would go out of their way to support you early on – particularly a stranger – is owed a great debt. Just finishing a book doesn’t make you a genius. This should be self-evident, but it’s often forgotten by most new authors empowered by the rise of self-publishing and the success stories we’ve seen in this field. So it’s good, although difficult, to find that balance between serving your audience and taking care of oneself. But you only have to see how the big boys/girls do it to realize it’s possible.

  19. angela ackerman December 13, 2011 at 4:13 PM #

    Lots to chew on here–great advice. I should talk more about books, and I didn’t realize that about the @ starting a tweet. Glad I found out!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  20. Kate Cornell December 16, 2011 at 1:00 PM #

    Great list!

    My favorite is #10. πŸ˜€

  21. Dicey Grenor December 16, 2011 at 1:21 PM #

    Awesome tips. Good to see I’m on the right track. On my way to rt it.

  22. Karen Coombs December 16, 2011 at 2:45 PM #

    Thanks! I needed quite a bit of that information, as I’ve recently begun wading into the waters of Twitter and sometimes I think the current is too swift!

  23. Harmony Ann Evans December 16, 2011 at 3:59 PM #

    I just sent out a tweet starting with @ just before I read this post, so #1 is golden. Thanks!

  24. Sherry James December 16, 2011 at 4:33 PM #

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing the knowledge. Appreciate it very much!

  25. Jo Carroll December 19, 2011 at 5:00 AM #

    Nicola Morgan has a great book out called ‘Tweet Write’ – it’s on KIndle as well as a print copy – she agrees with all of this.

  26. Richard L. Rose January 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM #

    Timely warnings for me as I begin to promote a series of ebooks. Thank you!

About Me

Angela James

There is nothing worse than writing a bio. And writing one for your blog sidebar? Blech. Maybe you landed here via Google, followed me from Twitter (does that make you a stalker?) or maybe we met at a conference or you clicked a link from a comment I made at a blog you visited. Hopefully whatever I said didn't make you so mad you came looking for a picture to throw darts at (yep, that's me up above, in my favorite cowboy hat) but instead drove you to find out more about the amazingly witty and intelligent person behind the amazingly witty and intelligent comment.

However you found me, who you found is Angela James, executive editor of Carina Press, Harlequin's new digital-first press. I'm passionate about digital publishing, my mission is to drag people to the digital dark side, one reader (and author) at a time. I'm also Brianna's mommy. At my blog you'll get an odd mix of personal and professional posts about parenting, publishing, books, cooking, sewing and life in general. Come back often, comment frequently and go green—buy ebooks!

Please note that this is my personal blog and my opinions are neither that of Harlequin, nor representative of their opinions.


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First, I blog once or twice a week at theCarina Press blog, talking about the job, the authors, the books and other things Carina Press. And, of course, you can always find me on Twitter. Or Facebook, if you prefer (mostly the same content, one feeds the other). I also run the Carina Press Twitter and Facebook accounts. Social media, it's where it's at (well, it's where I'm at, anyway).

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