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Answering your questions about writing, publishing, and marketing books

By Sarka-Jonae Miller

September 8, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - I'd like to dedicate this week's column to my fur baby, Katie. She passed away suddenly on September 2. She was a beautiful American Eskimo and a never-ending source of joy.

What tips do you have that you would like to share with writers marketing on Twitter? I have a website and I put fresh posts on it daily with pictures. It targets the topic of my book, which is child abuse, and I share the latest information on new court cases and people who are battling this issue and suffering PTSD, relationship problems resulting from their past trauma currently. I also share my own experiences at intervals.  – M.J. Payne

Twitter marketing and author websites are two different things, but Twitter is a great way to directly market both your books and your website or blog. The most important thing to remember is not to use Twitter as a hard sales tool. “Buy my book” or “check out my website” tweets get ignored. Would you click on them? Probably not.

Yet, Twitter is still a viable marketing tool. The trick is to sprinkle book-related tweets in with a range of non-promotional tweets. If your book and website deal with child abuse, tweet relevant news stories, resources, and information. It sounds like you're already writing informative posts on your website, so tweet the links with the post titles and attach a photo.

However, if all you tweet are your own posts you're less likely to increase your following and ultimately send traffic to your website that might lead to sales conversions. I would recommend two to four tweets that don't lead to your website to every one that does, and at most one book-related tweet to every 10 non-promotional tweets. There is no reason you cannot schedule tweets to go out once every hour or two.

It's also important to interact with people on Twitter, not just send out tweets or do the occasional retweet. Many Twitter chats go on daily about certain types of books and other topics, such as child abuse prevention or legislature. Join these chats with the goal of giving and receiving information. Do not mention you are selling a book, but make sure your book is mentioned in your profile with a link so that people can find it on their own.

Always respond to legitimate questions on Twitter but ignore people asking for your opinion about their book or website. Those tweets are thinly veiled attempts to get sales or traffic from people who have no intention of networking or sharing info. Authors should also ignore public requests for review swaps or other “I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine” suggestions. Always protect your reputation.

For when you do tweet about our book, a useful list of hashtags for authors can be found here. Hashtags help people find your tweets in search results, but never use more than three hashtags per tweet. Some people say to tweet during high traffic times, such as 5-7PM EST. I do not understand this advice since your Twitter followers reside all over the world and most often people will click on your tweet because it came up in a search or was RTed, not because they saw the original in their feed.

To save time building your following, I recommend the Twitter management service ManageFlitter. I've found the free version to be easy to use and quick with results. Hootsuite is great for scheduling tweets and finding relevant content to tweet. There is a free version and an inexpensive paid version that lets you manage multiple accounts.

SJ's Favorite Freebies: The thriller Rise of The Iron Eagle by Roy A. Teel Jr. is free through September 12. The science fiction hit eMOTION: Forced Pair by C. Ryan Bymaster is free through September 11. If you're in the mood for something more whimsical, the fantasy novel Koalaland by David Bolton is free through December 31.

Got questions?

Send them to Sarka-Jonae Miller through Twitter @sarkajonae, Facebook, or via her author website. Alternatively, talk to her in person Saturday, September 26 at 11AM at the Santee Library.  Additional events can be found on SJ's events page.

About Sarka-Jonae Miller

SJ is a local author, book marketing manager, publicist, and columnist who writes chick lit and steamy romance based in San Diego and Los Angeles. Her novels include the Between Boyfriends series and the All for You series. SJ also writes health and fitness articles for The Best Years in Life and Natural News.

Check out her Between Boyfriends blog for book reviews, author interviews, TV episode synopses, and giveaways. Follow @sarkajonae and @sjpublicity9 on Twitter for more writing tips, book recommendations, and industry news. Get health and exercise articles from @sjnews9.


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Sorry for Your Loss

I know from personal experience how hard it is to lose a loved companion like your Fur Baby and I wanted to express my condolences! I've written a paranormal-romance series with all titles starting with "Immortal Relations" and the first and third books have parts about how I feel that dogs are God's gift to mankind to teach us about love and loyalty. Of course we can argue that mankind doesn't learn either lesson very well. I have my main characters rescuing dogs in both the first and third books, and Be warned, book #1 has what I call "Explicit Togetherness" (very adult material), book 2 & 3 have very little such content.

Thank you for your comment.

Thank you for your comment. The loss of a dog is profound because they provide such unconditional love and constant attention. Katie would follow me everywhere, thus I'm in the habit of constantly being aware of where she is so I don't step on her or trip over her. Of course, I haven't broken this habit yet, so my heart breaks each time I realize what I'm doing is no longer necessary.