Sunday, July 1, 2012

July 2012: Making the Most of Using Twitter

Welcome to the July issue, the first issue posted exclusively on this new blog! If you've made the move with me from the private e-zine list to here, I'm so glad you made the move! If you just found us, welcome! Please feel free to invite your friends.

For 5 years I've published a monthly newsletter for writers (primarily, though not exclusively, Christian). In each monthly issue I've had many sidebars and columns, which you will now find in the two columns to the right or on the Pages  via the tabs at the top.

Each month the main article has been called the "Cover Story" which will now appear on the first of the month (hopefully) in this main column of the blog.

July 2012 Cover Story: Making the Most of Using Twitter: 

Twitter is one of those things I use and enjoy, and then I totally forget about it. Do you do that?

I recently came back to Twitter, and only then realized how long I'd been gone! I can't even tell you how long it had been since I'd Tweeted. And that's too bad, too, because as writers we need to use every avenue possible to reach our audience.

Now please don't think I just said that we need to join every social media that comes along. I don't think that's a good idea because there's just too much and it's impossible to keep up with. But I do think we need to join some of the biggest ones, and then use them as much as we can to promote our books as well as our print and online articles.

Most writers I know find it hard to do that kind of promotion. And it's no wonder why. Many people have told me it's "prideful" to promote and I've receive a lot of negative comments from certain people. No, it's not prideful. It's necessary. If we don't promote our writing, most people won't know it's out there.

It used to be our writing went to a print magazine with a certain subscriber list and they saw (or had the opportunity to see) what we wrote and that was that. End of story.

But today many of the print magazines have gone digital on the internet--whether in addition to the print edition or as the only edition. No longer is there a dedicated subscriber list only. Now we have the opportunity to let many more people read our work. But first they have to know it exists. Then they have to know where to find it.

If you're writing books, those same two things apply: first your readers hae to know your book exists. Then they need to know where to find it.

Letting people know these things is not "prideful," it's just good sense.

So how do you do that? Thank goodness for social Twitter!

3 Parts to a Great Tweet:

I think one of the reasons I stray way from Twitter and forget about it is because I haven't really known how to use it. But I took a workshop at the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference in May taught by Amanda Luedeke, a literary agent at MacGregor Literary, and she gave some great tips on using Twitter. I'm sharing a few points from my notes of her workshop with her permission. Here's what I learned:

Amanda said there are three parts to a great Twitter Tweet:
  1. Call to Action: The Tweet must ask the reader to DO something. Go somewhere. Visit a link. Buy a book.
  2. Hook: A Tweet must grab attention. It must never be boring!
  3. Link and/or Hashtag: A link gives your reader a place to go. If I understand what hashtags on Twitter do, a hashtag (#) marks a set of words for searches on Twitter and marks those words for trending. If a lot of people are using the same #words, it can show up in the Trending column. From my notes, Amanda said hashtags build credibility and broaden your reach. Amanda said to add a #followedbywordswithnospaces onto your Tweet. And if you see a #trendingissue that fits your topic, jump in on it.
Examples of all 3 Elements in Tweets:

I've taken note of the #topics on others' Tweets and I'm learning from them. For example I've seen #Kindle, and so now I add that on whenever I Tweet about my Dear America book that is now on Kindle. Like this:
Great for those who lost a loved one: Dear America on #Kindle
That Tweet has what I hope is a good hook. It has a link. And I could have put the hashtag at the end but I wanted to put the word Kindle in anyway so I just put the hashtag there.

Here's another try from me:

In an unplanned pregnancy? Discover Deliver Me at B&N #Pregnancy #Christian
I'm still learning lots about Twitter, but I hope this helps you improve your own Twitter activity for more promotion of your work and book sales.

How to Schedule Your Tweets:

Another thought I've had that I wish to learn about is how to schedule our Tweets, so that we can have them automatically go out and don't have to sit at our computers Tweeting all the time. I've found several free services by Googling. I haven't had time to check them out, but here are two I have my eye on:
  • HootSuite (The free account.)
  • Timely Which says it figures out when is the best time to schedule your Tweets to get the most exposure based on the content of your Tweets.
I hope this helps you with your Tweeting. If you have other suggestions for a great use of Twitter, or if you know of a great free service for scheduling our Tweets, please do share by leaving the info in a comment. Thanks!

Follow Me here:

For more info like this, follow Amanda Luedeke. And besides my original Twitter account, I have a new Twitter handle for my new book releasing in August. I'd love it if you'd follow me:
  • @AmandaLuedeke
  • @DianneEButts
  • @GParentObstacle

Next month for August:

Let's talk about and how you might use it with your Twitter account to get more exposure for your books and/or other writing or products.

Be sure to also see on this new blog:
  • Several new and exciting "Writing Opportunities." Now on a Page. Click the tab at the top.
  • My exciting news concerning the "Books of Hope" manuscript contest. See middle column at the top.
  • Also, I'm so pleased about my new book comng out, releasing in August. More info on that under the "Dianne's Books" heading in the middle column. I've also put a Page up with information on all my books.
  • I have a new 3-book nonfiction contract coming for my "Days of Hope" series. More info on "Dianne's Books" Page.
  • There's lots more to see so please poke around this new blog, invite your friends to stop by, and use the Share buttons at the bottom of this post to send it to your Twitter and Facebook contacts!