Twitter for Writers: 7 Tips

When was the last time you reviewed your Twitter profile? Do you even have a tweeting strategy?

While Facebook is a great place to hang out with friends and family, Twitter is the best place to find information and make new connections. Like any social platform, you want your Twitter account to be professional and show your personality. You can meet new people, engage followers, ask and answer questions, and perhaps pick up some new readers and/or clients.

Here are 7 things you can do to make the most out of Twitter.

1. Post a recent profile picture. Others will be more likely to engage with and follow you, if they can identify you as a real person, rather than a logo. One exception: if you are a caricaturist or someone who draws self-portraits, an artistic rendering of you will serve to showcase your abilities. 

2. Upload a branded header photo. You want the colors and tone of your website to match all of your socials. That way, people can identify you from a mere glance. Put your logo, as well as an info you want to call out - like your most recent book - in your header.

3. Write a concise bio. You have 160 characters to show who you are. You're a writer. You can do it!

4. Fill out the rest of your profile. Be sure to include location and website. Also, if you are so inclined, add emoji's to your profile name. It will really help you stand out. Note: I use Gold Stars in my @TheDEBMethod, @GoalChat, and @WriteOnOnline profiles.

5. Follow People. Obviously you want to follow and support your friends, but also use Twitter to make new ones. Follow your favorite authors, magazines, writers, news sources, etc. Connect with anyone you believe you would benefit from following and those you believe would benefit from following you. You don't want to follow too many people in one day, tho. It will look like you are spamming and Twitter may give you a time out.

6. And Create Twitter Lists. Create public and private lists of the people you follow. Organizing your feed in this way makes it easy to find tweets from the people you want, when you want them. For instance, create a list of podcasters or interviewers who pose questions to people with your expertise. Or if you have a local blog, create a list of places where you live. That way you can see what's going on, retweet valuable information to your followers, and reply if there's an area-specific question.

To create a list, go to your profile, click on lists, and select, Create new list. Name it, describe it, and decide if you want it to be public or private. Then add people. Hint: Keep most of your lists public. The only reason to create a private list is if you want to keep an eye on your competition's tweets.

7. Tweet. You now have 280 characters, as opposed to the original 140, so make them count. Feel free to add pictures to make your tweets stand out. You can add videos and GIFs too. Tweet your articles and other information related to your expertise. Reply to requests for information, ask people when you need things, and participate in Twitter chats. You can promote yourself, as long as you don't do it all the time. Remember, value first.

Twitter is a valuable too. Use your profile to highlight who you are and use your Tweets to share what you know. Share information and have conversations with your followers and friends. You never know where a tweet may lead.

Do you use Twitter? What's your handle? In what ways do you use Twitter for your personal or professional life?

* * *

Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat. Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Extending Life of Authors' Fave Reviews - Free Resource

Sometimes a review so good comes along that authors are loathe to let it die. They might include it in their media kit or add it to their websites. But then they run out of ideas for it.

But wait! Its life can be extended with new Nonfiction Authors Association’s member Carolyn Howard-Johnson's blog.

The New Book Review is a review blog that doesn't judge a book by its cover or by the press used to print it. If one reviewer loved a book, that qualifies it for more coverage. If a book is so new the author may submit a synopsis. Authors, publicists, and reviewers are asked to follow the guidelines given in the left column of the blog and, in return, are asked only to let their fans and the media know it is there through their networking channels. That helps expose every review on the blog (a cross-promotion of sorts) and gives authors an opportunity to reach the reading public.

Many authors who submit include author bios and information on their reviewers. In turn, authors use information in each review as a resource—the names of reviewers, review sites, publicists and more. A search engine helps visitors to find past reviews using keywords.

The blogger, Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. She is dedicated to helping other writers with free services like The New Book Review as well as the the books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers which have won multiple awards.

Check out the author's  Back to Literature column for

Children’s Writing and Information Dump

As a ghostwriter and editor, occasionally I get clients who give me a draft of a story that has information dump within the first few spreads of a picture book.

This is a no-no.

Information dump is when an author literally dumps a chunk of information for the reader to absorb.

Granted most new writers may not realize they’re hitting the reader with these big chunks of information. Or, the author may want to tell the reader what she thinks the reader should know, but doesn’t know how to weave the information into the story.

I think the problem is the ‘author’ wants to make sure the reader understands what’s going on. For example:

Billy and Joe had been best friends since Kindergarten. They played together every day and even had sleep overs. They were also on the same football team. Then Billy insulted Joe last year. After that, Joe didn’t want to be friends with Billy anymore. Now, it’s a new school year.

While this example isn’t too long, there are some info dumps that are paragraphs long, pages long, or in the case of picture books, spreads long.

Another possible reason for information dumping.

Another possibility is that the ‘author’ is writing the story for himself. He’s writing to see what he wants to see in the book. He’s not thinking about what a seven year old or a 10 year old will want . . . even expect in a book.

Whatever the reason, information dump at the beginning of a story leads to a very boring beginning. And, it delays the initial problem that the protagonist must overcome.

While this has touched on the beginning of a story so far, it’s not a good idea to dump clumps of information elsewhere within the story either.

Why information dumping isn’t a good idea.
Children, even adults, have short attention spans. Being told what went on is boring for the reader. She wants to see or hear what’s going on through action and dialogue. Information or backstory must be weaved into the story here and there.

For example, going back to Billy and Joe. Instead of telling the reader flat out in the beginning of the story why they’re not friends, bring it in through dialogue.

It was the first day of the new school year. Joe walked past Billy in the yard without looking at him or saying a word.

“Okay, enough already. I insulted you last year. Get over it already,” chided Billy.

This lets the reader know what’s happening without knocking him over the head or dumping clumps of information. It brings the reader into the action and conversation. It’s effective writing.

While you may not be able to get every bit of information into the story that you think should be there, it doesn’t matter. Your reader will read between the lines. .

So, think twice before dumping that information on your reader.

This article was originally published at:

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author. She runs a successful children’s ghostwriting and rewriting business and welcomes working with new clients.

For tips on writing for children OR if you need help with your project, contact her at Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

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Writing - Are You an Outliner?

16 Reasons Why You Should Publish a Book

Deep Point of View

Tips on Author Interviews

"Hurry it up. We're burnin' daylight." John Wayne

Preparing for my first author interview, as part of my marketing plan in my quest to launch my first book, has been challenging and, yes, fun. The only catch? No one has asked me for an interview yet!

No worries! It’s all part of my plan: to be prepared. Your quest for interviews comes in three parts: How to seek interviews with fellow authors; how to breeze through your own interviews, and for live interviews, what kind of technology you will need. Today we will take a look at how to conduct a standard text interview.

So, you Want to Interview an Author

Once you’ve chosen the author you’d like to interview, send an email or letter with your request. In the body, include:

  • An offer of a time that is convenient for her
  • Explain where the interview will appear and the date it will appear
  • Offer to send her a link and a copy
  • Request a photo
  • Send her the questions ahead of time.

Questions to ask authors abound. The best advice I found was not to make your questions boring:

  • Where do you get your ideas?
  • What is your writing process like?
  • What advice do you have for writers?

First up: Read the author’s book. Become acquainted with other books the author has written and what people are saying about them. Visit the author’s website/blog/online marketing pages, etc. Once you are thoroughly familiar with the author’s books, life, goals, etc., you will have an excellent framework for you to ask the best possible questions.

Here is a sample of questions found through a simple Google search. Please browse through the website addresses at the end of this post for more question suggestions, and excellent advice.

  • What is the first book that made you cry?
  • What are common traps for aspiring writers?
  • Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym?
  • Do you try to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
  • What’s the best way to market your books?

Ingrid Sundberg, one of my favorite author/bloggers, begins her interview with a big welcome, and, “Happy to have you here. Please introduce yourself and your books to my readership.” In an interview with YA fantasy writer Christopher D. Morgan, she delves into his writing process: asks if he's a plotter or punster, and in building a fantasy world, a difficult process, she asks, “What are your secrets to world building? And how do you keep all your worlds straight?”

At the end of Ingrid's thorough interviews, I especially like what she calls a “Lightning Round,” in which she shoots for quick answers.

  • Most influential author on you and your work.
  • If you could time travel, when/where would you go?
  • What are you going to dress up as for Halloween?
  • If you were a super hero, what color would your hair be?
  • Favorite word.
  • Least favorite word.
  • Biggest fear.

Hands down, my favorite interviewer is, Tah-dah!, Middle Grade Ninja himself, author and top blogger, Rob Kent. Ninja asks the same 7 Questions to each author and displays his interviews in the same way for each author.

Oh my, it’s good.

In the column on the left you will find links to the extensive list of authors he has interviewed, including Bruce Coville, Dan Gutman, and M.T. Anderson, to name a few. Please visit Ninja’s site to learn what his 7 Questions are. And take note: Each interview begins with a terrific photo of the author, then come the 7 Questions, and at the end, a video.

Important: After the interview, be sure to send a thank you to your authors. Some interviewers even send them a gift—a signed copy of your book, or swag.

Get your Ducks in a Row
Now it’s your turn. How can you prepare for your first interview?

  • Start a file with the questions you expect to be asked. Take the time to type out your answers. When the inevitable interviewer comes knocking (or emailing, as the case may be), your subconscious will have your answers at the ready.

  • If you haven’t already, have professional publicity photos taken to use as your head shots. And better, recognize photo ops when they occur, and make sure you keep the photos in your files for more informal occasions. Check out the cool informal shots on Ninja’s blog. They show the zaniness of the authors, in spades.

  • Prepare a video and again, watch some Ninja videos. They’re lively, fun, wacky—not boring!

Next up: Live Author Interviews

Coming soon!

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. Her first book, Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, a mystery/ghost story for children 7-11 years old, is hot off the press and will be available soon. Currently, she is hard at work on The Ghost of Janey Brown, Book Two in the series. Follow Linda at