top of page

Indie Publishing: Engaging on TwiXtter

As an aspiring author, it’s tempting to build your network as fast as possible so you can become an overnight influencer who sells ten million copies of your debut novel. If you haven’t figured it out yet, there are important reasons to build your network on Twitter/X, and most have nothing to do with sales.

Self-Publishing: Engaging on TwiXtter

Before reading on, let’s agree to start this post in a place of reason and measure. No mention of Elon & how X messed things up.



MY EXPERIENCE

The main reason to be on Xitter is to interact with other authors and readers in meaningful ways. I’ve tried a bunch of other social platforms and always come back to TwitteX. I’ve said no to Blue.sky, Threads, Discord, Facebook, Insta, and Reddit. Should I go on? Yes? Twitch, Quora, Tumblr, and Hive. More you ask? Mastodon, LinkedIn. Alright. I’m out of platforms…unless you go back to MySpace. 🤣


Hint: There are reasons I didn’t try TikTok and several others.



IT’S THE COMMUNITY

The other corners of Twitter/X may be infested with rock dwellers, but the bookish corner is amazing because of the wonderful people. If you’re into books, TiX is where you’ll find some of the nicest, most caring people who also love books. This community is why I haven’t digitally hermited.


If you’re an avid reader, love chatting about books, appreciate a solid recommendation, want to meet people interested in a particular genre, or just think books look pretty on shelves, then the writing community is there for you.


Hint: Slip the occasional book promotion in with the other posts. Overdoing it will get you unfollowed or blocked.


SUPPORT

Writing and all the writing-related activities are hard. Nobody in the history of writing has done everything all on their own without any help or advice from anyone. Here are a few ways we help each other.

  • Encouragement

  • Software Suggestions

  • Comradery

  • Querying Tips

  • Success Stories

  • Cross Promotion

  • ARC & Beta Readers


Hint: Pay it forward. Give support freely. Other people will do the same for you.



LEARNING

I’ve learned more about being an author from Xitt than from any set of books, videos, blogs, or podcasts. Probably more than all of them combined. This is because the authors on X include traditional and indie-published authors who have been through every phase of what you are going to go through. Whether we’re 40-book veterans to first-draft bootstrappers, we’re all there, ready to help each other.


We can learn about every aspect of being an author, from how to interact with editors to the subtle art of Amazon Ads. Our community shares it all. The good, the bad, and the fantastically outrageously spectacular truth seen through a thousand different perspectives.


Hint: Ask your questions. We’ll answer even if we have answered it for others a thousand times before.



LEAD WITH KINDNESS

Be generous with readers and authors and they will reciprocate. Be a jerk and they will block your ass faster than you can say, “Sorry.” Your responses will be judged. Make sure they reflect the person you want to be. We all mess up from time to time. Words can be taken out of context. Sarcasm might not translate. A mistake or two won’t ruin you. Step over the line a lot and you might find yourself isolated in your own bubble of none.


Hint: Listen to your mom. "If you don’t have anything nice to say…"



PSYCHOLOGY

As authors, it’s our job to infiltrate the minds of our readers and infest their thoughts with new prose, creative worlds, and complex character motivations. Basically, we’re psychologists in reverse. The best in our craft get feedback about their work’s ability to take over a reader’s brain. Tixxer is full of eager people awaiting your psychology experiments. You can set up your experiment any way you want. Genre-specific readers. Critical readers. Cheerleaders.


Your fellow Tixett authors/readers will give you better feedback than your friends.


Hint: Follow and interact with lots of people who might fit your ideal reader. Most don’t have time or energy to pick up your words. A few will.



TWITER PROFILE(S)

The book-corner of Twitter works best if you have a professional profile. Whether you like it or not, this profile is your brand. Authors and readers will judge your profile like they would a cover and book description.


Hint: Create other profiles to keep your author feeds focused. For example, I have an account for funny news stories and another for news about chronic illness.


Profile Picture: Use a professional-looking photo or author logo for your profile picture. Do NOT use a selfie. Many authors ask a friend to take their pictures. Use the one others like best because you are your worst critic. This pic should also be used on your books, website, and places like Goodreads so readers can connect you to your books.


Hint: People are attracted to eyes. Seeing them helps potential followers/compatriots/readers trust you.


Username: Choose a Twitter handle that is identifiable, easy to remember, and relates to your author's name. If possible, use the same handle on all online platforms. Here are some tips:

  • Include your (pen) name

  • Don’t use numbers

  • Keep it short

  • Take your time

  • You can change it later


Profile Name: You can call yourself anything you want. Many people add all sorts of symbols to draw attention. I prefer concise ones with just your name and profession, like “Kristin Houlihan, Writer”.


Hint: Strange fonts and characters don't help. They hide the most important information, your name and your profession.


Bio: Craft a concise bio that tells potential followers who you are. X only gives you 160 characters, which can be a monumental task. Use individual words to describe yourself. Here are a few examples: Author, Reader, Sci-F, Nerd, Married, Best Seller. If you are published, list 1 to 3 book titles. If you have room, add something about yourself: Avid Baker, Six Cats, Hiker, Rubix Cube Pro.


Hint: Exclude hot topics unless you want to invite trolls into your feed. They will search for these terms and circle like sharks.


Details: You can include other details like where you live, your birthday, and a link to your author page. It’s completely a personal choice about what you are comfortable sharing online.


Pinned Tweet: The pinned tweet on your profile is your main advertising space. This is where you want a high-quality colorful image of your work(s) and a link to where readers can find your top seller. A short, compelling blurb will aid in sales.


Hint: If you haven’t published yet, create a mood board and build interest in your upcoming release.



FOLLOWING OTHERS


To start building your author network, you need to follow and engage with accounts that are relevant to your writing niche and the broader community.


Communities: Various hashtags can be useful, however they become spammy as soon they gain popularity. In the beginning, these can be helpful for gaining followers but the content is often lacking. (I block these ones: #WritingCommunity, #WritersOfTwitter, #WritersLift)


Hint: If you're a newbie, these more spammy communities can help you get your initial followers. Tell people you just joined and something about yourself to show them you aren't a bot.

Here are a few categories of people to follow.


Fellow Authors: Interact with them on their posts and write posts they may be interested in. (Some amazing authors: Dylan West, A.J. Calvin, Rob)


Agents and Publishers: If you're considering traditional publishing, follow literary agents and publishers to see what they say. They sometimes drop amazing nuggets of wisdom. (Some amazing agents: Jennifer Azantian, Eric Smith, Ann Rose)


Note: They rarely follow you back.


Reviewers: Engage book reviewers who focus on your genre. If you engage them honestly, they might one day get through their list to one of your books. They’re usually genre-specific, so I won’t list them.


Writing Resources: Follow accounts that share writing tips, resources, and prompts. You'll find a wealth of information to improve your craft. Be leery of people trying to sell you services.



ENGAGE AUTHENTICALLY

Building a network on Twitter is not just about numbers; it's about meaningful connections. Here's how to engage authentically:


Tweet Regularly: Consistency is key on Twitter. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder. Post creative content, not just what you see others posting. Try lines from your work in progress or tell people how your writing is going. Maybe highlight your current read. I write a question every morning.


Reply and Retweet: Retweet and comment on tweets from your network to show your support and that you are a real human with real thoughts. When someone engages with your tweets, respond promptly and honestly. Block trolls.


Hashtags: This is tricky. Hashtags can expand your post’s reach, but also reduce people’s interaction with it because it seems more spammy. I haven’t mastered the art of coming across authentically while including hashtags. If you figure it out, let me know.


Conversations: Join discussions and conversations within the writing community. Even if you comment that you’re watching the thread, that lets people know you’re there.


Direct Messaging: As a rule of thumb, don’t DM anyone unless they say it’s okay in their profile or in a response to you. Unsolicited messages are a fast way to get blocked. We get too many trolls, naked pics, and sales crap this way.



SUPPORTIVE & GRATEFUL

Building a network on Twitter is a two-way street. Use the manners your mom told you about, and it will help. Show genuine appreciation and you can turn strangers into friends and advocates.


Thank Them: If someone complements your post or book, say thanks. It shows you actually care and that you’re not just treating them like a number.


Support Them: Retweet, like, and comment on your followers' and peers' tweets. Offer advice and recommendations. Encourage them. Let them know they aren’t alone.


Build Them Up: Celebrate their successes. It’s too easy to tear each other down. Share in their victories because they’ll support you on your highs and lows. 



TROLLS & ASSHATS

The internet is like crack for jerks and sleazes. The best way to deal with them is to block them. If you engage, they get what they want while you get riled up. What’s worse is that they will use their ten other accounts to keep hounding you.


Hint: Only allow people you follow to direct message you. Otherwise, the harassment won’t stop. Here’s how.



Twitter/X changes all the time, so it's important to stay informed about platform updates and trends. Keep an eye on what's working for other authors and adjust your strategy accordingly.


 

As always, I appreciate your support of indie authors. In the name of putting myself out there, here are a few of my works.



Recent Posts

See All

Comentários


bottom of page