New to Twitter as a Self Publisher? Here’s How to Get Started

A few weeks back we covered all the steps you need to create a Facebook brand page for your book. Now we’d like to show you how to get the most out of a Twitter account for your book or personal brand.

Signing Up

First go to — here’s what you’ll see:

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If you look at the bottom of the right box, you’ll see a “Sign up for Twitter” link. Click on that and you’ll be taken to a site like this:

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As you can see, you can only have one Twitter account per email address — this is to keep those dreaded spam accounts that you’ve probably heard so much about at bay. If this is your first account, that shouldn’t be a problem, of course! However, if you want to put together a separate account for your book and for your personal use, you’ll want to have separate email addresses for them. Later, we’ll also show you programs that can manage all your Twitter accounts at once, so you won’t have to worry about getting them confused.

Once you’ve signed up and chosen a Twitter handle (which you can change at any time), you’re ready to start tweeting and following other Twitter users!

Customizing your Twitter

If this is going to be your professional account, it might be worth customizing every part of your Twitter profile for a sleeker look. To do that, first go to the gear button on the top right of the page and select “settings” from the drop-down menu.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.48.45 PMNext, go to the left box and select “Design” first. You’ll be taken here:

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To the right are a number of pre-made themes that have special backgrounds and colors. Of course, if you don’t like any of them, you can also customize your theme by scrolling down until you get to this:

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Here you can upload your own background image or change it to a single solid color, like the red that we use. You can also customize the color of the links on your Twitter as well.

Once you’re done with that, we’re going to check out the “Profile” button on the right — it’s just above the “Design” button!

You’ll be taken here:

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 11.02.53 PMHere’s you’ll be able to change your profile picture, given name, location, website, and bio. You also have the option of using a “header” picture, which is much like the cover image on Facebook pages. We don’t use one on BookWorks, but they can be good for catching someone’s attention!

Following Twitter Users

Now that you’ve set up your account, how do you go about following users? That’s actually the easiest part. First, think about the type of accounts you want to follow. Are you going to use Twitter to get news, or to connect with like-minded individuals — or are you going to do both?

Whether or not you’re looking for specific accounts or exploring Twitter to share common interests, you’ll be using searchbar on the top right. For the latter, try searching for a specific “hashtag” — that’s a key word or phrase with a # in front of it. As an example, let’s search for #SelfPub:

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After hitting Enter, we get this:

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This is a collection of everyone who has ever used #SelfPub in a tweet, so it’s a list that’s sure to be full of people who are interested in self-publishing. Click on their Twitter handles to go to their page, check out the rest of their tweets, and potentially follow them.

But what if you’re looking for a specific account? That’s much easier, as individual Twitters show up separately in the search bar. Here’s another example:

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 11.09.55 PMClicking on the account you want in the search bar takes you directly to their Twitter page, where all you have to do is click the “follow” button on the bottom right of their user information.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 11.07.36 PMAfter you click it, it will show up blue and will say “following,” just like in the above image.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, next week we’ll delve deeper into the strategy of using your Twitter account most effectively. Be sure to check back for more!