9 Things Authors Should Never Do on Twitter

17 Sep


If you want to become popular on Twitter and have your tweets go viral, avoid these errors, and check out the small, but significant issues you might not be aware of, and change your Social Media approach for the better.

Having no Avatar – Instead an Image of your Pet
Who wants to talk with an egg, or a cat, child or your dog? OK, if you have a company, you can use the company logo, but for everyone else: get a great studio photo once in ten years and use it for all your marketing needs including your book cover or on your website. Would you send a potential employer a photo of your house pet, your book or a toddler’s image? No? Why then show these annoying images to your potential customers? Be professional! Sometimes I am inclined to publish a book with the worst avatars! Hope yours is not included. Use an attractive portrait or logo and stick with it everywhere, in order to have brand consistency.

Having no Bio or Real Name
Your name and @name, should be searchable on Twitter. It means people can type you into Twitter’s search engine and find you. Use your own name o try to get the actual name of your small publishing business on Twitter. Keep it as short as possible, to give tweeps more space to re-tweet your content or to communicate with you.

Choosing Other Writers as Followers (only)
Why would you not choose readers, reviewers or other interesting people to follow? If you are on Social Media to network, hang out with READERS! A no-brain-er … Use the search function to find like-minded Tweeps, e.g. type: reading, book lover, book worm, avid reader etc. You will want to get more readers, than other writers as Twitter followers, right?

Talking about Your Book (only)
Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book, buy my book – pretty boring, isn’t it?
Aim to send out entertaining, thoughtful, funny content or news, that are interesting for your fellow tweeps. You could for example improve these points:

  • Tweet the latest news
  • Pick the right time of day
  • Leave room for a retweet
  • Use top re-tweetable phrases
  • Write a tempting headline
  • Don’t make the tweet about you

Not Being Social – or Being too Social
In the process of choosing followers, one can sometimes scroll down their timeline for a whole week and don’t find a single re-tweet. Or the opposite: you want to re-tweet and cannot find anything the person ever tweeted … only re-tweets of others’ content.  Or they talk only with their friends, without ever turning to the rest of the Twitter-sphere.

Not Having at least 2,000 Followers – or Stuck With 2,000
Some books and blog articles advice to never follow anyone with less than 2,000 followers. Doesn’t sound fair, as everyone has to start somewhere. On the other hand some tweeps click on every name they see on Twitter to reach 2,000 followers very fast – and then stuck. For them, instead to un-follow successive those who do not follow, they just wait it out to get 2,000 people who follow them, in order to continue their growth. But this can take forever, as no one wants to to follow THEM – and then wait for months or even longer, until they reciprocate – or worse: never do.
Un-follow people who haven’t followed you back after a while. This is especially important to avoid “follow limits”.  If you have anything like these numbers – you are in trouble:  268 TWEETS – 2000 FOLLOWING – 345 FOLLOWERS

Barely Ever Re-tweeting Others, or Answering Them
Twitter is a SOCIAL network, don’t use it as a advertisement board only. Answer or re-tweet others – and they will return the favor. Stop your continuing posts, varying from three to six subjects, and this for pages and pages… What I found so far: 80% of these are male and/or are introvert writers or leadership business advisers.
Greeting new followers with FB likes promotion / Book promotion
You get a message in your mailbox: Someone mentioned you. Curious you check it, but no, you are only summoned to go to their Facebook account and LIKE their page. Or they send you the link to their books sales page. And that’s the greeting for following them… Do they sign up with Twitter only to advertise their wares? Same: Sending DM’s with advertisements. You open the Direct message and you are greeted with advertising. My reaction: UNFOLLOW. Thanks and nice to meet you...

Never, ever, use TrueTwit Validation Service
Author Sean Munger reminded me of this one. Almost forgot about it, as I am not able anymore to read every email / Direct message with ten-thousands of followers (can’t make Twitter a full-time job : ). Some are nice Welcome messages, but 90 per cent are spam (see #8). But I read them in the past, first I answered, telling them that I DO NOT use TrueTwit Validation Service, but then I gave up and just ignored the sender.
The irony is, that these people are often following me, and then when I want to follow them back, their message appears!  Why did they choose to follow me and then want ME to validate??? Read Sean Munger’s blog post, especially if you ever used this useless “service”. Sean’s most important message, to which I fully agree: “Most importantly for you, it means I will never buy your book. You just lost a reader, a customer, a potential fan, a potential reviewer”.

OK, enough said. Don’t want to go into further rants … : )  These are just a few of many issues that make it difficult to interact for others on Twitter – or prevents tweeps to click on FOLLOW you and for you to build social networks and your writer’s platform. To become successful and popular on Twitter do this:

Follow others, tweet something valuable for others and don’t use Twitter as a cheap way to advertise!  Create a nice mixture of your own, really interesting tweets and do some re-tweeting.
Choose a very short Twitter name.  Make it as easy and convenient as possible for your fellow tweeps to engage and interact with you.


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13 responses to “9 Things Authors Should Never Do on Twitter

  1. Bookwraiths

    September 17, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Reblogged this on Bookwraiths.

  2. seanmunger

    September 17, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Excellent, excellent article. This is very savvy advice.

    There’s one thing you left off the list that is important for authors, though: do not use TrueTwit “validation service.”

    Thanks for the tips!

  3. jodiwoody

    September 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Reblogged this on authorjodiwoody and commented:
    some good tips

    • ebooksinternational

      September 17, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks Jodi,
      hope our readers take them to heart : )
      Hope I did not rant too much : )


  4. Lisa Orchard

    September 17, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Great post!

  5. Colleen Moore

    September 17, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    These are great suggestions. I definitely follow many of them already as a matter of course. My twitter following has been steadily increasing recently. I try to tweet useful information or sometimes things I find funny. I also retweet/reply several times a day. If I do pm someone who follows me, the message simply says thank you. I don’t have 2k followers yet, but I am having fun connecting with people. @twitlit1000/Colleen Moore

  6. seanmunger

    September 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    This article from the Savvy Writers and E-books Online blog perfectly encapsulates my thoughts on how authors can best leverage their Twitter presence (and, specifically, how not to do it!) The only thing missing here is, of course, that authors should never use TrueTwit, and with that advice added this list makes an even 10! Great stuff.

  7. drewdog2060drewdog2060

    September 18, 2013 at 2:33 am

    Thanks for these helpful tips.

  8. angel7090695001

    September 26, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Follow all these. Very important tips.

  9. theromcomdiaries

    November 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I think this is really great advice, to be honest. I think trying to walk the line between marketing oneself/being self-involved is a very thin line and this list definitely helps me see the difference. Good job.

  10. Kathy Steinemann

    November 29, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I unfollow people who retweet the same info every few minutes–especially if they’re promoting their books. Give me some advice or insight or a personal point of view.

  11. Angela Kulig (@angelakulig)

    January 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Good list! The only thing I’d maybe add is mentioning the ratio of people you follow vs the people who follow you. When I see high numbers, but a person follows thousands more people than follow them I know it’s because they are running their numbers up by aggressive following. While building audience is important, and finding followers of authors in like genres can really add to sales–it’s good to remember that following, like everything else social media is about finding a balance.

  12. hookheathwebdesign

    April 22, 2014 at 6:31 am

    Your detailed blog is very attractive and useful. It really helps other to get such information. Keep doing work. Let me know any new and interesting stuff, will put a trackback to this post!


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