by Cynthia Ruchti
The writer in me once rebelled against the idea of abiding by the constrictions of Tweet-length posts when communicating with the public. It felt like moving from a four-bedroom house to a pop-up camper, with about as much writerly elbow room.
I have no qualms admitting I’m no Twitter expert. But I now understand the impact a well-constructed tweet or a carefully developed Twitter community can have for an author or aspiring author. Social network, yes. But I’m awed by the speed with which we can now disseminate information to a wide audience. And I’m energized by two challenges: using Twitter without becoming obnoxious in the amount or content of tweets, and reducing communication to the fewest possible-but strongest possible-words.
The editor in me cringes at writers who harm their relationship with their audience with tweets that are less than their best.
• Typos or misspelled words
Grate author even at Living Life bookstore at Centerpoint Maul Sat Aug 4
#Author definately knows her subject. Read blog hear:
If the author definitely doesn’t know how to spell either definitely or here, she’s lost my attention before I even click on the link. Tweets can be created quickly, but they demand quality to be effective. A gourmet one-bite of excellence.
A typo that requires a follow-up tweet to correct inaccurate information is like a second-day retraction in the newspaper. Everyone remembers the inaccuracy. Few read the retraction. And if they do, their first thought isn’t, “Oh, good to know,” but “Mistake, huh?”
SOLUTION: Proofread and spell-check before hitting send.
• Long tweets that don’t communicate enough in the first few words to lure the reader to read more.
Do you have a problem with http://www.myblogaboutproblems.com
Compare that to:
Writer’s block woes? http://www.myblogaboutproblems.com
Which will get the most click-throughs?
SOLUTION: Trim away the excess. Get to the point quickly. Tweet with the reader in mind. What will grab him or her and compel a closer look?
The marketer in me watches for quicksand in any social networking venture. Volume doesn’t necessarily equal significance in marketing. Did the flurry of campaign ads increase your appreciation of the candidates in the days before the election? Did the endless stream of phone calls trying to sway your vote make you feel warm and informed?
• Too frequent tweets
I don’t believe I’m alone in skimming over tweets that arrive by the dozens from the same person. Somewhere in the brain it registers that every minute spent tweeting is a minute not spent writing novels or engaged in other productivity. Some tweets are purposeful. Some seem like procrastinating what we really should be doing. Some seem as if the writer is killing time. Thou shalt not murder applies to time, too.
• Meaningless tweets
A recipe for pumpkin cream puffs might be meaningful if it either 1.) relates to your novel or 2.) relates to your particular readership. If your readers are hospitality mavens who are always looking for unique desserts to serve their guests or their book club, the recipe might have meaning.
A joke of the day might relate if the books you write or your author personality fit those jokes, and vice versa.
But tweets that don’t help you build your brand, build your name recognition, increase your audience, encourage your audience, or that don’t match your personal life goals and God’s goals for you might be better left untweeted.
SOLUTION: Look both ways before you cross the tweet.
• Self-serving tweets
Buy my book. Mama needs a new pair of shoes.
Need a book to say thank you to your pastor’s wife? (link)
The first focuses on the author and making money. The second focuses on reader need.
It’s easier than it might first appear to convert an announcement about a book’s release or a book on sale to a tweet that reaches out to the heart of the reader and his/her needs.
Whoo hoo! My book hits top ten list for infertile women!
Where is God when the cradle is empty? Top ten book takes a look. (link)
SOLUTION: Market with an eye for need-meeting. Jesus always did.
There’s an art to masterful use of Twitter. Carefully and prayerfully choosing our words, our timing, and our intentions will help us grow in the art and create more art appreciators who in turn will connect with us as authors and buy our books.
In what ways have you grown as a Twitter artist? What kind of posts do you most appreciate? What kind have you grown tired of and skip over? What one point from this blog made you nod your head in agreement?
Cynthia Ruchti speaks for women’s events and writer workshops. She is the author of five novels, novellas, or devotionals with a full-length novel and a major non-fiction project releasing in 2013. Her current release is Cedar Creek Seasons novella collection (Barbour). She tweets sporadically but writing this blog has spurred her to be more intentional. Cynthia serves as ACFW’s professional relations liaison. You can connect with her at www.cynthiaruchti.com, http://www.Facebook.com/CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage, or http://www.Twitter.com/cynthiaruchti.