This post first ran in 2009 - much still remains relevant. I've changed a few things in red.

At the Blog Book Tours class (which I no longer teach) , the next assignments for the month focus on the social marketing groups we all know... and maybe hate. These include Facebook, MySpace, Goodreads, and Twitter.

We're starting with Twitter because it's the fastest, easiest, and most powerful for marketing your other websites. It's also less of a time-suck than the more complex social forums. There are other added benefits about Twitter networking that I'll point out later.

In a nutshell, Twitter is a micro-blogging site that allows snappy posts of 140 (now 280 + photos, videos, and GIFS - use them!)characters. To participate, you follow other Twitter users and this allows you to see their updates.

You, in turn, are followed by others and those people can read what you have to say. Keep this scenario in mind, because it's the key to how Twitter works, or how it doesn't if you don't "get it". Believe me, many people don't, and consequently feel it's a waste of time.

Let me repeat:

You must follow people to see their updates.
Only your followers can see your updates.

It's crucial you understand this. If you are enthusiastically following thousands of people, but only a fraction are following you back, then only that small fraction sees what you write. Therefore, it's important you spend your efforts offering information that is of value to others, so they will want to follow and read you.

Now, to get started, and before the following and socializing begins, you need a few things upfront:

  1. An email account that is acceptable on Twitter like yahoo or hotmail

  2. A name that coordinates with your other website efforts if possible - I use blogbooktours everywhere I can
  3. A small photo for your homepage and post icon

  4. A well-written short bio

  5. The website link you will send readers to for more information
Now you're ready to set up your Twitter account. Go to and follow the directions, plugging in the information above.
Once you've gotten this far, you're ready to practice entering some updates. Introduce yourself in one, leave a blog link in another, tell us what you're doing today in a third. Do this several times more, perhaps throughout the day, to get Twitter into your conciousness and just to practice writing concise but meaningful messages. Be sure to bookmark your Twitter page to make it one of your regular stops several times during the day, much like checking your email.

Now you're ready to start following people and have them follow you back. We'll talk about how to do that in the next post.
And then you can follow me @twitter!
Tomorrow I'll also post helpful links picked up at Twitter to help you even more. One of my favorites is TwiTip for ongoing updates and tips.


Blogging Tip #1

It's easier for your readers if your blog title is the same as your URL. So Blog Book Tours is easy to find at without too much need to memorize anything. Make it easy for your fans!


Clickable Links in Comments

It's important for bloggers to visit other blogs, and leave the occasional comment, especially if they like the blog and see it as a potential host for a blog tour. It's also a good idea to leave a nice little clickable link back to your blog at the bottom of your comment post. You've seen those, right? How did the commenter do that, you may have wondered?

First type this:

But replace with your blog URL.

Then replace Blog Book Tours with your name or your blog's name.

My link will look like this when I publish the comment:

Blog Book Tours

Even though I pasted in the entire string in the red box above. And it's clickable, isn't it?

Now copy and save this tip for future use. Paste the entire string as your signature in a comment window and you should get a live clickable link when it publishes.

Go try it in the comment section of your own blog to make sure it works for you! It may sound a bit confusing, but it's really not.


The Ever-Popular Thank You Note

Do any of us ever tire of getting a thank you? I don't. This one just landed in my e-mailbox for my participation in a blog book tour, and it's the final step in a successful one.

Hello all,

I just wanted to reach out one more time and thank you all so much for your wonderful posts for last week's blog book tour for Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food. The book is off to a great start, thanks in no small part to your efforts. Each one of you took the time to put together a thoughtful and interesting post, and all together this added up to seven days of unique insights, original approaches, and interesting comments.

Those of you who hosted a giveaway, remember to send me the name and email address of the winner, so we can give them a gift of the book.

Again, you were great to work with. I appreciate the time and effort you dedicated to making this tour a great success.

Thank you


Doesn't reading a thoughtful note like that  make you feel good? When was the last time you got a really great thank you note from someone? When was the last time you wrote one? Please 'fess up in the comments!


Promoting a Blog Book Tour with Social Media

When I'm promoting a blog book tour for myself or another author, my social media procedure goes like this. It's  basically what I teach to my blog book tours classes:

1. First thing in the AM, go to the host blog and leave a comment
2. Click G +1
3. Share on your FB and Twitter (usually there are share buttons right at the blog)
4. Pin to Pinterest (I have the pin bookmarklet on my dash)
5. Go to the host's Twitter account and retweet other relevant tweets
6. At mid-day go to the Twitter account and retweet more
7. Go to host's Facebook account and share the book promotion
8. Rinse and repeat in the evening (by then, you should have a shortened URL from somewhere which is handy)
9. Share on any other social networks you use

A good blog will make this easy for you and you'll notice most of the share buttons I mention in the photo below:

I try to do this at least three times a day because as you know, with as many followers as some of us have, the scrolls roll pretty fast and posts can be easily missed. 

This procedure works very well for anything you're promoting, not just books. The important consideration is frequency over a long period of time - don't post everywhere twelve times in ten minutes! 

End your day by saying thank you to your host blogger! Everyone loves a little appreciation.


Tip of the Day

Turn off blog moderation and word verification, often known as CAPTCHA code, during a daily blogging challenge or blog book tour. I don't find either to be very useful since I monitor my posts daily, and far more often during a busy project. Having these kinds of hurdles in place mostly just keeps people from commenting. Your goal is to get comments! Make it easy for your readers.

Happy weekend, everyone!


How Often Should I Tweet?

It's a common misconception that people on Twitter will think you are spamming them if you tweet about your new book all day long. But let's look at how repeated messages play out.

I'm promoting my other blog, the Blood-Red Pencil, like crazy today because I'm hosting a blog book tour stop over there. I'm interviewing Jodi Carmichael about her first chapter book published by Little Pickle Press.

So to promote Spaghetti Is NOT a Finger Food, the book in question, makes my Twitter page look something like this:

But it's important to remember that my posts won't run sequentially like this on YOUR Twitter page. They'll be interspersed in your Twitter stream among all the other folks you're following and who are tweeting, and the more you have, the less likely you'll see my tweets sequentially. In fact, if you have thousands of tweeps you're following, you may never see my tweets. So don't worry about looking like a spammer when you promote anything. Does that make sense?

Of course, I also like to mix it up by re-tweeting other unrelated information, adding some thoughts and quotes, just being a normal, sharing person along with promoting. The more value I add to my Twitter stream, the more people will like me.

Having said all that, keep in mind that Twitter doesn't like you to re-tweet the exact same thing more than once, so you do have to mix up your words a bit. That can be as simple as posting the same promotion, but with a different hashtag reaching out to various groups. You'll noticed I've used #kidlit as well as #Aspergers.

Tomorrow I'll talk a bit about HootSuite, which I use to queue up a bunch of posts to release on Twitter when I'm busy doing something else and can't tweet live. It's a handy tool.

And, yes, this re-tweet is absolutely true today:

RT : Get "Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food" for today on !