Twitter: The Author's LinkedIn

Image - iStockphoto: LDProd
Image – iStockphoto: LDProd

Make Sure Your Visibility Isn’t Compromised in the Tweeterie

If I could turn back the clock and get into the room when Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass were putting together their ideas for Twitter, the first thing I’d say is, “Don’t call it Twitter!” With more than 1 billion registered users and more than 300 million of those active, the tweeterie is a lot more serious a medium than its flighty name suggests—especially in our business.

The publishing industry uses Twitter as two things, an in-house messaging service and a kind of LinkedIn-lite: a listing of everyone. As a point of interest, I find that UK publishing executives are likelier to have Twitter handles and engage on the platform than are US publishing executives. So much for that fabled British reserve, right? But many of our colleagues, in many parts of the world, monitor tweetly doings, even if they don’t make themselves visible there.

I’ve come to know that Twitter’s secondary function in publishing—as a directory, a roster in which you need to be discoverable—is being overlooked by too many writers.

If I hear of an interesting book coming out, the first place I check for information on its author is Twitter. Why? Because I want to know if that author is engaged with readers and colleagues. If I tweet about that author’s book, will the tweet carry the amplification boost of an author’s Twitter handle?

One statistic, from 2013, indicates that in that year, there were an average 1.6 billion searches made on Twitter daily. You want someone interested in finding you to be able to spot you, easily and without a lot of guesswork.

Oddly, even high-profile authors sometimes make it difficult to spot them on Twitter. If you run a name search there and get, say, 10 people with that author’s name—and not one of them can be confirmed as the right person, the author you’re looking for—that writer’s visibility is being compromised.

As an author who wants to be found by readers and industry players, you want to consider some tips to help “surface” your presence on Twitter.

Be sure your Twitter name is as close to your own name as possible. And just your name. Not “author” or “writer” attached to it. If you’re having trouble getting it, try an underline in the middle (as in my handle @Porter_Anderson).

Be sure your picture is (a) professionally made—not that party shot from three years ago with your husband’s disembodied arm around your shoulder; and (b) your picture: not your cat, your children, your favorite vacation spot, nor your book cover. Especially not your book cover. Twitter is one of the social media. They’re social because they’re person-to-person. Ever shaken hands at a party with a book? Of course not. Be yourself, not your titles.

There’s more: Read the full story at IngramSpark, exclusive sponsor of The Hot Sheet from Jane Friedman and me.

By Porter Ander­son

Originally published at IngramSpark


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