Almost every writer out there thinks there is some sort of trick that will magically transform their manuscript into money and a six-figure movie deal.
The truth is: there’s no such method, and that method will lead to your madness.
However, what I’ve seen a lot of since I started showcasing my writing back in 2012, is that most writers/authors think they have the solution. And that solution is Twitter. Well, some choose Facebook, a miniscule amount have Instagram and LinkedIn, none of them choose Snapchat—but almost all of them choose Twitter.
If you’re a writer or author, you’ll be friends with those who enjoy the written word and showcase it well, and others who are just—what’s the word?—not real.
That’s the funny thing about social media. Many people see it as the magical step in the tech generation to solve the problem writers before them couldn’t solve. Back in the day, writers would have marketed actively—book signings, sending out letters for reviews, word-of-mouth. Of course these are still applicable today, but they don’t hold as much gravity as the supposed eureka known as social media marketing.
There are whole teams of strategists, companies who write tweets for writers and many more. There’s even Twitter for Business. Other forms of social media, like I mentioned before, will have this, but it’s not really to the same extent. Facebook is overshadowed by your old school-friend’s engagement party, or your third cousin fifty times removed who is travelling to Aruba. Most people only care about their personal life. While Facebook is more about cultivating that fake personal life, Twitter is about cultivating that fake professional life.
You know the types:
- The inspirational guru who quotes Gandhi and Carl Sagan like they’re going out of style
- That writer who’s never experienced writer’s block or a complete mental block a day in their lives. #amwriting is their closest ally.
- That writer who’s never experienced a day of Twitter in their life. They’ve outsourced their Twitter so they can write—or procrastinate—to their heart’s content. The telltale signs are the constant repetition of the same tweet for months on end, or the “contributed by” tweet.
- The writer who is actually on Twitter but doesn’t do anything besides promoting their book, and they tell you upwards of fifty times a day.
- The writer who asks you for the money to write their book, and guilt-trips you if you don’t.
- The indie writer who only exists to say how bad the gatekeepers are. They usually only retweet someone who uses #indiewriter or agrees with them
- The writer who can’t write but writes anyway. Telltale signs are obvious spelling mistakes in their promo tweets.
The first thing you have to ask is if you’re one of these people. Sure, there may be nothing inherently wrong with these types of tweets, but they don’t realise they’re being largely ignored. It’s brain-spam. Seeing these people is like looking in your email’s junk folder: it’s a waste of space, and it usually doesn’t work except when your audience is gullible.
So is there a special method to making Twitter work? I certainly don’t have all the answers, and if you’ve ever looked at the most popular Twitter accounts—they’re not writers. They’re celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber. Apparently the secret to being a great writer is being famous.
That’s not necessarily true. Being a writer on Twitter may not get you 22.2 million active followers, but there are ways to try and get yourself noticed. Most of all, being one of the aforementioned writers types may get you the followers, but they won’t be active follows —just fellow writers trying to build their own fanbase. You want to have active follows; well, the best tip I can give you is that you need to start acting like a human being.
If you want to have a potentially bigger audience, you can’t just outsource your tweeting to some company on the other side of the country (or world, or galaxy). Many others have said this before: you have to build relationships with other writers (both indie and traditional), you have to be relevant and interesting, and you have to provide something different; something your audience can’t get really anywhere else. Stop trying too hard.
Twitter was created as a way to connect with others without a lot of words. This blog post clearly wouldn’t fit in one tweet. Get back to basics, and you’ll connect with a wider audience; many of whom will be future fans of your books.