Friday, March 4, 2011

Twips for Tweeps

I'm the editor for my RWA chapter's newsletter, and this month I came across the following article by writer Lisa Hughey. Since I'm a proponent of sanity and self-restraint in social networking, I promptly followed her (@lisahughey), and she kindly gave me permission to share her words of wisdom here.

TEN DOs and DON'Ts
for using Twitter as a promotional tool

Twitter has grown from a little networking site to over 200 million users. There are many varied, creative uses for the social networking site. If you aren’t just using Twitter to connect with friends, shadow your favorite celebrities, or follow a particular cause or political party, but also to interact with your audience (readers) as a promotional tool, here are some general reminders of what you should and shouldn’t do.

1. Don’t openly diss agents, editors or other writers. No matter how much you think they have wronged you, an open forum like Twitter is not the place to voice your discontent. All you will do is torpedo your career.

2. Do retweet. If your friend, colleague, favorite author has good news, retweet. Share the love. Good news should be celebrated by everyone.

3. Do promote current blog posts. If you guest post on a website, let your followers know. If you’ve posted a new recipe on your own blog, let your followers know! Twitter is a promotional tool. Use it.

4. Don’t rant. If someone cuts you off in traffic, please don’t give followers a three or four tweet rant on it. If someone gives you a bad review or doesn’t choose your workshop to be included in a conference, don’t complain about it to your Twitter followers. Vent to your friends or vent to yourself but don’t, don’t vent to your readers.

5. Do share interesting articles or research tidbits. Especially if they relate to the business of publishing or promote your agent, publisher, or friends. Or if you find out some really fascinating information about how violets grow and your story is about a Violet Hunter, then share.

6. Don’t talk about religion or politics. Just as it holds true at dinner parties, your position on religion and your political affiliation are going to be controversial for someone. Discussing either subject leaves you open to arguments and rants from someone who follows you. Conversely, if you follow someone and they post something you feel is incendiary...unfollow them but don’t argue with them!

7. Do network with publishing professionals you don’t personally know. It’s okay to post responses to an author whose work you admire. It’s such a small business. You may even know some of the same people. But don’t DM them requesting they buy your book. You also want to follow people in the publishing industry. There are editors, publishing houses, and agents all on Twitter who sometimes run impromptu Tweet Chats. Lots of great information about what the editors/agents do and don’t want to see is available. But you need to follow them.

8. Do use organizational software. If the number of people you are following has gotten crazy large, use organizational software. Use TweetDeck, HootSuite, Echofon. There are many software tools out there to help you create group filters. Maybe you need separate filters for actors you follow, publishing industry professionals, chapter members, critique group members, close friends. Create filters for them all, that way you can get your tweets organized for more efficient reading.

9. Don’t over-share. No one needs to know that you are sick of your husband leaving his underwear on the bathroom floor, or that your son has the stomach flu and puked all over his bedroom. Instead, post something that alludes to your problems without going into specific agonizing detail. Make it clever, make it cute, make it suggestive, but don’t be graphic!

10. Do be professional. Twitter is a promotional platform. Every tweet puts you and your author brand out into the Twitterverse. Don’t post indiscriminately. Pause for three seconds and this something you want associated with your name? Then press send or delete the tweet.

Happy Tweeting!

P.S. One last personal Don’t: don’t post your children’s names (mine have nicknames which I use when I’m proud of them or want to strangle them) online. It’s just a good safety precaution.

Lisa Hughey is an avid romance reader and aspiring author. She has several projects under submission with publishers and spends her time on the web at and on Twitter @lisahughey. Come visit!


  1. Great post! Thanks, Meg and Lisa! I have 2 more....

    1) Don't use twitter only for promo announcements. It's rude.

    2) Don't include links w/ pics of naked people. My kids are often in the office with me when I am tweeting...and if I click on an obscene link, I will unfollow that person in a heartbeat. Uncool.

  2. Oh, I passionately second your first addendum, Pen! I've unfollowed many an author for that reason.