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Nov 15

THE BUSINESS OF BOOKS: TWITTERQUETTE – Jane Cable’s personal foibles

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Twitter is looming large in my mind this week. Not just because the potential to be rude to each other has doubled with the letter count, but because Chindi Authors has launched its pre-Christmas social media campaign. Normally we have an event where we sell festive books but this year we’ve chosen to do the same thing online and of course we’re tweeting about it like crazy.

Twitter is a great forum for authors. It’s a place we meet each other, form into street teams and groups (both formal, like @RNATweets, and informal), link up with readers and bloggers, and generally share news about our books. We all have our own styles, but if I was making the rules they would go something like this.

  1. Be nice to each other. Social media can make it very easy for some people with bullying tendencies to be rude. It’s cowardly in the extreme. Don’t do it. I will block you. Twitter should ban you.
  2. Retweets should be reciprocal. While likes and thank yous are nice to have they aren’t the same. If I’m retweeting you the chances are that you’re an author so our followers are likely to be bookish people. They will be as interested in my tweet as my followers will be in yours.
  3. Use pinned tweets. For those lovely, lovely people who do retweet, please make it easy for me to return the favour. I’m not lazy but I’m time poor and I don’t have hours to scroll through pages and pages of your generous retweets looking for your own original content. So please pin it. And change your pinned tweet regularly.
  4. Use a picture. Just because tweets are more noticeable that way. If the picture tells your story, so much the better. That goes for page headers too. There are no excuses – even I can make them using Canva.
  5. Your profile includes a space for words. If you don’t tell me who you are, how can we connect?
  6. Don’t play follow back. This one’s going to be controversial but I only follow back for other RNA, SoA and Chindi members. Otherwise I will thank you for the follow in a personal way which I hope you’ll respond to. Then we can connect properly and share common ground.
  7. Don’t blitz me with the same tweet over and over again. I think we can all be a bit guilty of this but I’m more likely to click through to interesting content such as a blog you’ve written or a review. I’ve actually had to block some accounts which pre-programme the same tweets to fire like bullets. My publisher did it with Another You when it was on free offer and I was more embarrassed than pleased.

    Although these are my personal foibles my fellow @ChindiAuthors contributed to the debate. So thank you @carol_thomas2, @chirosie, @angela_petch, @julia76871430 & @michael_parker.