Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and reading resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Twitter Guide For Authors & Illustrators > Promotion and Marketing > My new book is launching! How can I tell my followers about it without spamming them?

Index of topics: Main Twitter Guide For Writers & Illustrators page. To go back to my blog for kidlit/YA writers and illustrators, see Inkygirl. You can find me on Twitter at @inkyelbows (focus: writing and illustrating children's books) and @DebbieOhi (livetweets, chat, photos, personal ramblings). Also see my list of Other Useful Twitter Guides For Authors And Illustrators and Twitter Lists of: agents who represent kidlit/YAkidlit/YA editors, children's book art/creative directors and K-12/teen librarians on Twitter.

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My new book is launching! How can I tell my followers about it without spamming them?

Start mentioning your book LONG before your book actually launches. One of the biggest mistakes I see writers make is to ignore Twitter until their book launches and THEN start promoting it. The problem: because they haven't made any attempt to connect with their followers, it's pretty clear that the only reason they're suddenly posting is because they have something to sell.

My advice:

Connect with your followers NOW. Even if you don't have a book to promote. ESPECIALLY if you don't have a book to promote, because your followers can see that you aren't trying to get them to buy anything.

If you do have a book to promote, do not inundate your followers with "buy my book!!" tweets. That's a sure way to turn people off. 

What I do/did:

When I didn't have a book to promote, I generally stuck to about 80% useful info for other writers and 20% self-promo (blog posts, comics, etc.). In the latter case, I always tried to make it clear in my tweets that the link was pointing to something useful or fun. Advice: NEVER EVER just post bare links or "check this out" links.

When I got my illustration book contract for I'M BORED, I started tweeting about the process. I made it personal, not hiding the fact that I was super-excited about my first children's book, how it happened, what I was learning, etc. BUT I was also careful to keep on posting other content as well: the industry & market news, useful resources for writers, promotion of other writers, etc. 

Then when I'M BORED actually launched, I started tweeting much more about I'M BORED. :-) I figured that my followers would give me leeway since I had been keeping them in the loop about the project all along and they knew how supermegaexcited I was!

Now that I'M BORED has been out for a few months (I'm writing this particular post on November 30, 2012), I'm trying to gradually ease back on the promo and mix in more of the other types of content. I don't want my followers to get bored of I'M BORED, after all.

There's no one right way to promote on Twitter - you have to find what works for you and your followers.

What if I waited too long before joining Twitter? My book launches next week! Any advice?

Do whatever you can to avoid directly asking your followers to buy your book. Or at least try to avoid the word "buy." Your goal should be to make your followers aware that your book exists in the first place, and that it's available. 

Point to online interviews or reviews that mention your book.

Write a blog post related to your book (the process, how you sold the book, something you learned, the bookstore hosting your launch, etc.) and then tweet about that blog post. Interview people who were involved in helping make your book.

Even if your book has just launched or is just about to launch, avoid having every single tweet being about you and your book -- it'll turn off followers. Intersperse other types of tweets that aren't promotional.

Giveaways appeal to a lot of people, but I've seen people go overboard, pushing their giveaways in pretty much every tweet.

Make a habit of regularly scanning the first page of tweets on your page. If you were someone who had never heard of you or your book, would you be intrigued enough to follow your feed? Or would feed come across as spammy? 

Don't post the same tweet over and over again. If I have a tweet that I really want people to see on a particular day and I know that they have missed an earlier occurrence, I try to repeat it only once later in the day...and then I always try to reword.

Include some occasional personal info or tweets that have nothing to do with your book promotion. Avoid the "I'm eating a ham sandwich right now" type of info but rather something that shows some personality or gives a glimpse into your non-work interests or quirks. Don't try to portray yourself as someone you're not, though -- unless you KNOW that you are clever/funny, don't try posting clever/funny tweets, else it could come across as lame instead. Find your niche.

 Also see:

Is there anything wrong with my Twitter feed being solely about me and my books?

Last updated on January 8, 2013 by Debbie Ridpath Ohi