Bob Baker's Full-Time Author Blog

Smart Ways Authors Can Use Twitter for Books

You've no doubt heard of Twitter. It's a relatively new social networking site that allows users to send short, 140-character messages to mobile phones or instant message applications. You can also read these messages on the Twitter web site.

According to the site, Twitter exists to help its users answer that probing question, "What are you doing?" Users then inflict ... er, share their bite-size messages with whoever signs up to receive them. (I know, because a few months ago I started my own Twitter account.)

For better or worse, users have taken this Q&A theme to heart. Most people use Twitter to let other people know what they're doing -- EVERYTHING they're doing! Common messages report such meaningful activities as "Stopping to get gas and buy a pack of cigs" or "Running late for the photo shoot" or "It's raining outside and I'm bored."

You're bored? Try reading through this mountain of trivial Twitter updates! Then you'll know what true agony is.

There's got to be a better!

One restaurant in Buffalo, NY, twitters its daily special to everyone who subscribes to its feed. Now that's useful. Mashable sends a headline and link for each of its new blog posts. That's smart.

How could an independent author or book publisher make the best use of Twitter? Let's say you publish books on how to make pancakes. How about a ...
  • Pancake recipe of the day
  • Reader recipe of the week
  • Syrup review of the week
  • This day in pancake history
Authors should use Twitter to alert fans about live workshops and book signings, new chapter samples, new blog posts, media coverage, where their books can be purchased, and more.

This isn't spleen surgery. It's just making *smart* use of new technology. So give people tidbits of info they can use. Even at a mere 140 characters, wasting time is still wasting time.

Unless your fans really want to know how many times a day you go to the bathroom :-)

Here are a few other online musings on Twitter worth reading:

Twitter: Use it Productively

The Top 5 Ways Smart People Use Twitter

Eight Ways Twitter is Useful Professionally

Twitter: Marketing to the Masses


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  • Hey Bob

    Thanks for the link to my article. Twitter is cool in it's own way. I love how everything is integrating nicely into my Facebook profile.

    By Blogger Duane, At Wednesday, July 18, 2007  

  • Nice post Bob!
    I am working on (what I hope will be) an inclusive guide to using Twitter for online marketing.
    The last link (Twitter: Marketing to the Masses) no appears to work. Do you have info on that post?

    By Blogger nooozeguy, At Saturday, October 11, 2008  

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