Like it or not, indie authors have to be proactive on social media if they want potential readers to discover their books. Twitter is one of the most popular avenues for getting the word out. In this post I offer a few suggestions on how to manage your tweets and promote others at the same time.
First, a Few Words about Tweeting in General
Obviously, you want to tweet about your masterpiece and you hope that others will retweet for you. But your Twitter feed should not be all about you and your book. Tweet about stuff that interests you and might interest your followers as well – for example, writing tips (from someone else’s blog) or your reviews of someone else’s great book. Retweet others when they post interesting and relevant tweets. Reciprocate retweets whenever possible – think of it as a team effort.
Making a Tweet Roster
In Microsoft Word or Excel, create a Tweet roster that contains tweets that you are likely to reuse. You can organize them into categories (tweets about your book; tweets about friends’ books; great quotes; blogs to visit and tweet tips from, and so on).
For example, as a member a writer’s group that encourages cross-promotion, I try to make a point of retweeting something about a different member’s book every day. To this end, I started a list of simple tweets that include the name of the book, its genre, the twitter handle of the author, etc. and maybe even a short quote from a review/description. And, of course, a shortened or direct link to the book. I started with a list of 8 tweets; it has grown to almost 60. When I find I have some time on my hands, I create a few more. I then schedule the tweets on a rotating basis.
Scheduling Tweets with Future Tweets
If you’re anything like me, you can’t spend all day on Twitter. So I use software to schedule the tweets in my rosters for at least a week in advance. There are several different types of software available – most have both free and paid (upgraded) options.
I have found that using FutureTweets to schedule my twitter posts has been quite helpful. I use the free version. There does not seem to be a restriction on the number of tweets you can schedule or how far in advance. The only limitation I have encountered is that you cannot schedule the same exact tweet repeatedly. You can sign up at futuretweets.com.
UPDATE – Feb 16, 2016. After experiencing some problems with the availability of FutureTweets – although their webpage indicates that the problem have since been resolved. In the interim, I switched to using Tweet Deck, which also has a free version. It is a good product, however it has a more complex interface.
To schedule a tweet:
- Enter your tweet text, including hashtags in the textbox. The counter tells you how many characters you have left.
- In the Publish date field, set the date and time when you want the tweet to go out. Important: The info in this field is displayed in yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss format. The time is military time, meaning hour/minutes range from 0:00 to 23:59 (11:59 p.m.)
- Click Schedule. The tweet is added to your list of scheduled tweets. That’s it. Your tweet is scheduled and will go out at the designated time.
To edit a scheduled tweet:
Click the corresponding Edit [pencil] icon, edit the content, then click Save.
To delete a tweet:
Click the corresponding Delete [red circle w/slash] icon.
To reuse tweets:
You cannot schedule the same exact tweet repeatedly. This functionality is not allowed by Twitter. When the scheduled time rolls around, that identical tweet will not go out. My workaround for this is to copy my tweet content from the text box* and use it as basis for additional tweets by pasting it and making some tiny change in wording or in hashtags. Not ideal, but has the advantage of getting me to vary my use of hashtags and prompts – which is actually a good thing.
*If you copy the tweet content from the list of scheduled/sent tweets, the link won’t be there. Click Edit, copy the content, then click Schedule to get a new empty tweet text box.
So how do you schedule tweets?
Feel free to comment and share your ideas!