Wednesday, February 5, 2014

IWSG: Ask PZM - Feb 2014 - Twitter

It's that wonderful time again, the time for Insecure Writer's Support Group day, compliments of our very own fierce and noble Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you think this group sounds like a good place and you'd like to join, click here



Do please check out Alex's blog. He always has nifty things to say. 


It's a simple process: 


"Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post." 


Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Alex's awesome co-hosts for today are Sheena-kay Graham, Julie Musil, Jamie Ayres, and Mike Swift! Please stop by and thank them for their generous time and effort. 

Thanks!

Please help us spread the word about the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!


Ask PZM:  February 2014 

How can authors use Twitter effectively to create relationships with potential fans?

This is an excellent question because it asks about creating relationships and NOT about selling books by using Twitter.

Twitter is a free social media site in which people send out tweets with a maximum of 140 characters, and people on Twitter can follow anyone without asking permission (except for the few people who lock their tweets, which as authors we do not want to do).



As authors we want to be public on Twitter, sharing information about ourselves, other authors, topics related to our nonfiction or fiction books, and other well-worded tweets (no vulgarities, please) that might encourage people to be interested in us and, by extension, our books.



(The headshot photo and header image upload fields that we are about to discuss are under PROFILE in SETTINGS, which you can get to by clicking on the tiny dial at the top of the Twitter screen when you are signed into your account.)



Your headshot photo:

Yes, some authors on Twitter do use a book cover as their headshot, but I would not recommend this.  First, because you want people to connect with you as a person, not as a book cover.  Second, because as more of your books are traditionally published or self-published, which book do you choose?  And third, there are other ways to share your books covers on Twitter.

Your header image:


You can put a montage image of book covers behind your name in the header (recommended dimensions of 1252×626 and maximum file size of 5MB).

I tried using a montage image but I found that the book cover titles were too hard to read behind the automatically displayed bio information.  Plus the montage image interfered with the clarity of the bio information (mandatory white font).  I removed the book cover montage and chose a solid background for the header.


Your Twitter background:

If in SETTINGS you click on DESIGN and then scroll down to “Customize your own,” you can upload a background photo.  And this is an excellent option for displaying a montage of your book covers or a single book cover.

Decide whether you want this background image to repeat across the background.  If so, click on the “Tile background” option.  (I test out different image sizes for the book cover I’m displaying in order to see which size looks best when tiled).

If you want a single image, decide whether you want it left, center or right.


If you do not tile your photo, you will need to choose a background color.  Make sure this background color does not overwhelm your book cover image.



And everyone needs to choose a link color that can be seen clearly in your tweets. 

Tip: I change my background image from time to time.  For example, if I have a book available for free on Kindle for a few days, I try to remember to put that book’s cover as my Twitter background.  I switch other covers for their time in the spotlight depending on other factors.

If you go to my Twitter account at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller it may NOT appear that the Amazon link is a hot link, but if you hover over it you will see that it is.

Also, any hashtag you use in your Twitter bio, such as #sot (supportourtroops) in my Twitter bio, is a hot link to the search results for that hashtag on Twitter.  And using hashtags can be a quick way of demonstrating your interest in certain topics.




In conclusion, instead of now going on to how to create relationships on Twitter, I’m going to leave that topic for the March 2014 Ask PZM.  Even for authors already on Twitter, there is info here against which to check your own Twitter profile for maximum effectiveness.  (For example, can people easily see the links in your tweets?  If not, change the link color.)

Next month, when everyone reading this column has reviewed her or his Twitter profile, we’ll move on to effectively using Twitter to create relationships with our potential book fans.





Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books on Amazon.  Her fiction books on Amazon can be found at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller and her nonfiction books at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller

She is also a digital marketer who blogs on book topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and you can download a free copy of her YA short story PINKY SWEAR at http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/keep-in-touch/