The Single Most Effective Way For Authors To Use Social Media

Social MediaYesterday, at 8pm Eastern Time, I hit the 100,000 ‘followers’ mark on Twitter. While it’s true that numbers alone can be somewhat meaningless, this was still a significant social media milestone for me.

Unfortunately, any sense of euphoria evaporated quickly when I looked at the stream of Tweets flowing by.  What struck me is how many author friends still persist in using social media as a type of megaphone, billboard or advertising medium for their books, even though they should know better.

“Buy my Book! Buy My Book!”

Here’s an actual example of authors in action on Twitter yesterday – an unbroken stream of advertisements.

Author Tweets

Twitter rocks when used as a social media.  But there’s not the slightest hint of personal interaction in this group at all.

Seriously, I understand why they do this, I truly do.  They all want a magic ‘book-sales button’, and Twitter can be exactly that type of tool, but not in the way they think. You see, there’s nothing actually wrong with any of those Tweets.  The real issue is that they’re hawking their wares without any attempt at making a connection, which means they’ll be ignored for the most part.

Instead there’s a far more effective path they could take that would successfully attract attention to their books.  And it will work for any author:

The ‘Secret': Stop Presenting And Start Connecting

It pays to put the ‘social’ in your ‘media’.

The response I get on Twitter and Facebook always explodes if I say something personal. Not only that, but visitor traffic to my blog increases, as does my list of subscribers.  It’s always the strongly emotional approach that lights the fire, not an announcement, a pitch, or plea for a review.

Yesterday I put up two different ‘teaser’ Tweets about this very blog post you are reading to test this principle. One was an advertisement, the other more personal.

This self-focused, advertising style Tweet generated absolutely no response at all 

Pitch Tweet

But the following Tweet generated over 20 highly supportive responses because of its personal style.  (Some of the responses were downright comical.  Thank you Imelda Evans for your ‘Miley Cyrus’ contribution.)

Personal Tweet

It’s All About Growing Community

‘Your Net Worth Is Your Network’

There’s no question that readership is built by great writing, but it also built by growing a community of advocates at a deeply personal level – friends who will spread the word about your books.

Warm, supportive community isn’t built by making constant advertising pitches, but by making meaningful connections, in particular by asking questions, which is highly engaging.  Yes, you can pitch your books directly in social media, but this needs to be interspersed with engaging personal conversation for a single compelling reason:

Engagement Ignites The Word-Of-Mouth Fire

Word Of MouthWhen you encourage just one person who knows you to buy a book, and it has genuine appeal, they’re highly likely to recommend it to a friend, and so it goes.

And for the communications to successfully engage, they all need to be about them, them, them, not you, you, you.

Sales grow, reader by reader, book after book, one person telling another.  It’s word-of-mouth power, which is how all the great bestsellers blossom.

Furthermore, sales don’t just grow in a gentle curve either.  Sooner or later, serendipity can strike and accelerate the process.  Picture a member of your reader community recommending your book to a friend who is a journalist at a major news channel.  The journalist reads your book and decides to write about it.  Boom!

This applies to other types of supporters too. For example, if you genuinely get to know several book bloggers over time, they may well offer to review your books.  (See post on how to get reviews from book bloggers.)

But these serendipitous ‘breaks’ will never happen if your social media content is merely a stream of advertisements.  Instead it’s about interaction and community building.

The Book Selling Power Of ‘Social Ripples’

The bottom line is that a change of psychology is needed when using Twitter, or any social media.  Instead of ‘I need to sell my book’, think ‘I need to grow my readership and community’, because in the end it’s about your writing.   It’s always about your writing, because that alone has the power to grow community and generate Word-of-Mouth recommendation, reader to reader – which is the real force behind a successful book.

It’s this approach that I teach in my Twitter for Authors mini-course – engage and captivate your readers and supporters one by one, and if your book has appeal, the ripples will go out through them.  And that is when the selling magic really happens.

Are you growing your support community’?  Do you ‘socialize’ on Twitter and Facebook?  Is it working for you, or are you finding it hard to do?  Please do leave me a comment.

Jonathan Gunson

Article written by Jonathan Gunson

Author / Book Marketing Coach 


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  • August 29, 2013 at 7:53am

    Thanks for this, Jonathan – I needed to be reminded.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 7:56am

      You’re not alone Kaye. I fell off the horse and directly pitched ‘Twitter For Authors’ on Twitter a week or so ago. I’ve never done it before or since. It is of course a work of genius, but… nevertheless. :)

      • September 15, 2013 at 8:08pm

        Well it’s good to see even the mighty make mistakes. :)
        Community and relationships.. we all know better but it’s good to be reminded.
        Yeah, sometimes I notice my Twitter following staying neutral while other time exploding in growth, and you’re right.. it’s usually due to my level of interaction.
        Darlene :)

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          September 17, 2013 at 12:58am

          ‘Engage first sell second’.
          ‘Stop presenting start connecting’.
          ‘Build a core of ‘you-holics’ through writing and relationships’.
          There are many ways of saying this. All true.

      • November 15, 2013 at 4:05am

        While I agree with your main message, that it’s important to connect with readers and not just sell to them, I do think you can do an announcement tweet, especially at the time of a launch.

        It’s only the people who do nothing but sell, whether it’s their own book or someone else’s (some of them seem to do a reciprocity thing), that are so annoying. I ignore them.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          November 16, 2013 at 5:47am

          Perfect summation, and I agree re making announcements. This is an important tactic, provided you have spent time giving out info that’s of interest to the reader first.
          ~ Jonathan

    • August 29, 2013 at 9:47pm

      Great advice! I think I’m on track, but I agree that nothing makes me more nuts than following someone and finding that all they do is post sales pitches for their book. And it’s usually exactly the same wording, day after day. Boring! There’s got to be something personal there. What is really awful is that I mostly follow other authors, so my feed is just a minefield of self-promotion. Maybe it’s time to clean house a bit! I think I’ll go retweet your post about this right now!

      • Jonathan Gunson says:
        August 29, 2013 at 9:52pm

        Thanks Meg. Please do.
        ~ Jonathan

  • August 29, 2013 at 8:02am

    I make a real point of not putting many links on Twitter. I tire of seeing exactly what you’ve illustrated. Not so different on FB. But Twitter is supposed to be social interaction – funny snippets or useful comments or moans, pleasure about day to day things. I agree that if you don’t engage with people on a personal level, why should you expect them to click on a link and buy your book. Obviously, the odd link is fine. But not every post which is what I’m seeing more and more.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 8:16am

      They say there are no rules on Twitter. Maybe. But it’s quite clear what works and what doesn’t. I don’t have an issue with links as long as there’s something in it for the followers to be fascinated by. In the end you want to sell books, and so you CAN pitch on Twitter, but it needs to be mixed with other material that isn’t self-focused – just as you indicate.

      There’s similar (slightly amusing) post a while back that rants about this.

      The One Thing An Author Should Never Do On Social Media…


  • Margaret Taylor says:
    August 29, 2013 at 8:03am

    Oh Jonathon,

    I so love your posts, I really do! Always informative and engaging and helpful, so thanks for that.


    The problem I’ve found is having to choose one over the other. I mean, I have close to 2,000 followers on Twitter and Facebook respectfully. Not a 100k like you, but hey, I just started both, don’t judge, mkay?

    I used to interact on Twitter all the time – before the release of my first book. And it was fun. Yes, I was retweeting some but I had more fun commenting with other people.

    And, I do the same on Facebook. I rarely post on my Author Page – enough to keep my followers/fans interested but not spam of Buy my book, Buy my book. Most of the time I make posts directing to my blog, or a teaser for a WIP or sharing stuff from my network connections.

    Otherwise, I usually sit on the personal side of myself and comment, share, laugh, joke and so on with the various posts coming across my feed. I’ve made some friends, had some laughs and just had a good time with it and occasionally, as I said, post something on my Author’s page. And it works. To an extent.

    The problem with Twitter is, like you said, it’s a constant barrage of ads and when I do post something of any relevance – which is just as rare as it is on my FB page – it’s hardly ever retweeted, so it reaches very few people beyond those already following me.

    But, again, as we’ve discussed before, it’s having the time to be on both Twitter and Facebook and write and set up blog posts and clean the house and do the laundry…oh and let’s not forget the day job on top of that.

    Eventually, I made the choice, mostly out of necessity for my own sanity, to step back from Twitter save for the occasional, “Hey, new blog post is up…” or “Here’s a contest to enter…” sort of thing. I know that’s not the right way to go about it, but what else can you do? Sadly, there aren’t enough hours in the day to be on both for any length of time, so I’m at a loss…:(

    Suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Should I be on Twitter for an hour, just chatting with folks – which subsequently takes away time from everything else – or should I just keep my tweets to one or two a day – like everyone else – and while they may not be “Buy my book” and more personalized, is that enough?

    In other words oh great and wondrous guru of the social media universe…


    Margaret Taylor

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 8:10am

      Thing is, if what we say on Twitter offers such things as ‘new blog post for friends about THAT secret’ or some such, then that is personal, and there’s something in it for the followers to enjoy. Perfect. It’s not wise to spend too long at any Twitter session either. From time to time is just fine.

  • August 29, 2013 at 8:14am

    That’s one issue I have with being an aspiring author on Twitter. I’ve heard that you should try to make connections on Twitter but how can possibly do that with so many people you don’t even know?

    I can see if you’re a published author and the majority of your followers are people who enjoy your work or perhaps colleagues within the publishing industry, and of course you’ll have a good amount who mass follow for no particular reason at all, but still, when you’re just a writer per se on Twitter, what’s the point of following a bunch of people you don’t even know?

    I only follow people if they have something of value to offer me, be it advice or tweeting links to great writing websites, etc. I never could make sense of following a bunch of people just because.

    What happens when your book gets published? Will these people even care about your work? Probably not.

    I don’t have a large number of followers, at least not on Twitter, but the followers I do have offer great insight on the world of publishing or social media or I’ve actually made a friendly connection with on Twitter.

    I’d like to think that I followed a person because I’m actually interested in what they have to say on Twitter, and they followed me because they are interested in what I have to say on Twitter or maybe they found a post of mine elsewhere that was intriguing to them and because of that, they followed me.

    What I don’t like is feeling like another number of thousands of other people. What’s the point in that?

    I’m just very passionate about social media, and about participating in social media for the right reasons. Following just for the sake of following seems like a wrong way to go about establishing longlasting connections on Twitter.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 8:21am

      Agree. It’s the true connections that count, people with whom you can make a meaningful contact – usually for mutual advantage. That is the point I’m attempting to make. Shouting a title and doing nothing else will never achieve that.

      Plus, as I say the numbers themselves are virtually meaningless – can you imagine me communicating with 100,000 people? I only interact with the genuinely interested. But having said that, I don’t necessarily know who is going to become an interesting acquaintance, so I leave the door open to all.

      • August 29, 2013 at 12:51pm

        I’m just a beginner at twitter, but it seems to me that many people follow because they want to be followed back. I do follow them back, but when twitter encourages me to look at what they’ve tweeted, I find a lot of quotes from other people and lots of commercialism in general. I end up not responding as I have nothing to say. It seems easy to generate followers, but time consuming to find the right followers.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          August 29, 2013 at 9:53pm

          They’re all there Mark. Make it personal and they’ll appear.

    • September 2, 2013 at 12:31am

      The best way to make REAL connections, is NOT to be there with the purpose of pitching your work. What are YOU a fan of? If your book is about planes, follow #YayPlanes (or whatever topic you love). Have genuine interactions with fellow plane people, and talk naturally about what you do- writing-reading-etc. Perhaps they’ll buy your book, perhaps they’ll tell their friends, perhaps they’ll just be new friends who love what you love. Win/win.

      Personally, if I follow someone who follows me (and I do follow everyone), the very first time they Direct Message me with a pitch, I dump them. I also ignore every book pitch, unless it’s a book I already know and love. I re-tweet micro-poetry, great quotes, good advice, interesting blog posts. I favourite genuine connections. My blog automatically posts to Twitter, and my real connections follow the link, make comments on Twitter, and re-tweet/favorite themselves. It’s SOCIAL.

      It’s like mingling at a cocktail party: it’s fun with a short quip and a chuckle all around the room, moving from group to group, but you avoid the guy on the soap box in the corner…

      • Jonathan Gunson says:
        September 2, 2013 at 12:40am

        Perfect strategy. Unfortunately most authors have neither the patience to do this and build a proper career, or simply do not believe that such an relationship as you describe is needed. They are seduced by seeing advertising all around them and believe that is the path. Let me quote ‘Mary English’ (one of the other authors who leaves comments on this blog):

        “…I now have some VERY nice subscribers, who have been ‘with me’ all the way in my series, critiquing, giving quotes, proof reading, celebrating with me, having free PDF’s when my books are published and reader offers… and I treat them like friends, they’re truly lovely people…”

        I now am going to quote you as well from time to time if I may:

        “What are YOU a fan of? If your book is about planes, follow #YayPlanes (or whatever topic you love). Have genuine interactions with fellow plane people, and talk naturally about what you do- writing-reading-etc. Perhaps they’ll buy your book, perhaps they’ll tell their friends, perhaps they’ll just be new friends who love what you love. Win/win…”

        Exactly. i.e. ‘Engage First, Sell Second.’

        PS. Thing is I DO have a direct message for new followers that offers my free guide. But I follow up pretty quickly with something personal. I also never attempt to sell anything at that point. One needs to earn credibility and trust first.
        ~ Jonathan

        • September 2, 2013 at 4:01am

          Your free guide offer would be enough for me to dump you, I’m afraid. Until we’ve made real connections and I have come to know you as a person, I don’t want you to pitch anything, free or not. Social little extrovert that I am, I’m there for the fun of it, not to sell or be sold. I avoid used car salesmen, too. 😉

          • Jonathan Gunson says:
            September 2, 2013 at 4:51am

            Hmmm… my own approach is a little less immediately judgmental. There may be diamonds in the rough, so I take a moment to look beyond the initial appearance of every person who follows me on Twitter. The majority must be equally accommodating, because hardly anyone has unfollowed because of that pitch. This includes you, because every person who follows me on Twitter has received that offer. On the other hand, I’ll definitely attempt to hide my used car business. 😉

  • Cinthia says:
    August 29, 2013 at 8:20am

    Love this post, Jonathan. Sometimes I shudder while browsing Twitter. It feels as if everyone is yelling for me to buy from them or support them or do something for them, and I soon become resentful. There’s too much consumerism is our world as it is, I certainly don’t need it in my living room. But oh, how wonderful to come across a gem of feeling or truth or real voice!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 8:24am

      Yes, and yes. We gradually find the diamonds in the rough. I’ve met many authors on Twitter, and connected with them in the real world as a result. (And I get to indulge my coffee addiction!)

  • August 29, 2013 at 8:31am

    Yeah, that makes sense. Maybe I should leave my own door open for potential meaningful connections. However, I won’t be doing what I suspect many others do. That is, look at the “Who To Follow,” section of Twitter and just mass click. I’ll utilize certain tags to find writers who write the same stuff as I do or simply look around, check out their bio and website if they have one and then decide based upon what I find whether to follow them or not. Not sure if that’s the most efficient way of following people, but for me, it’s the right way.

    Good article, as always:)

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 8:55am

      Your approach is the same as mine -I always look for close or allied interests. I’ve been on Twitter for 5 years doing that, and only picked the real folks to follow or follow back. As result the mob there are largely aligned, and the feedback is amazing.

  • Rags Daniels says:
    August 29, 2013 at 8:32am

    Cheers, Jonathan,
    I enjoyed that.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 8:51am

      Thanks Rags. Book coming along OK?

  • August 29, 2013 at 8:41am

    Jonathan: You just got to me in time – I hope. Faced with posting a tweet to my followers – I froze. Announced that “Fearless Finn’s Murderous Adventure” was now on Amazon Kindle – that was it. As a fledgling advertising copywriter, I was faced with selecting 12/13 words to fit in the audio script to accompany a 5-second television advertising slide. No sweat. I knocked them out thirteen to the dozen. Posting on Twitter – I’m a creature stuck in the headlights. Commenting on or responding to other folks tweets, I enjoy.

    Maybe “Fearless Finn Flynn” – the hero of my novel, should take over and I’ll leave the connecting to him? Anyway, thanks for the considered advice.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 8:51am

      Mike. I can sympathize.
      Thing is you CAN post a pitch on Twitter just as you’d planned. Just need other communications as well. One really easy thing to do is be VERY ordinary, and pose easy, friendly questions to break the ice. e.g. “Anyone know a good tea that will wake up my muse?” or “What on earth shall I do now my novel is complete – suggestions?”
      Watch the response. Then go on from there. You’ll be good at it and find your own voice soon enough.

  • August 29, 2013 at 8:50am

    Hi Jonathan,
    Always a pleasure to read your posts and this time you are saying exactly what I’ve been trying to preach for a long time. :-) Glad to see more and more people saying it too, now if only more and more authors would do it …
    I retweet those who insist on their ads, but I always follow up on direct messages when they are meant to connect with me, because that is so much more fun and those who do have my attention and I might even take a look at what they are up to. Who knows? I might find a book I want to read.
    So there you have it, the proof that connecting works while just sending ads out is just like those ad breaks in movies, you zone out and go do something else.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 9:05am

      We’re ‘fire and brimstone preachers’ eh? I don’t think that authors are going to purgatory if they throw in promotions as long as they are interspersed with interesting material that grows interest first. It’s just the radio static of non-stop ads that causes me to tune out.

  • August 29, 2013 at 9:02am

    Thanks for that Jonathan,

    Very useful tip. Must try harder!

    All the best

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 9:08am

      You’re born in lovely Stoke on Trent, (‘ceramics to go’) so you get my vote :) And your book covers are stellar! Congratulations on your perseverance. Not many reach the ‘four books’ stage.

  • August 29, 2013 at 9:07am

    …thank you once again for this very apt blog!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 30, 2013 at 5:02am

      You’re welcome Shoji.

  • August 29, 2013 at 9:08am

    Congratulations on your 100K mark

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 9:24am

      The number is not THAT much of a focus. It’s the interactions that make the day.

  • August 29, 2013 at 9:18am

    Thank you, I needed reminding….

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 9:22am

      Siobhan. Me too.
      PS. Can you explain ‘Books for film’ ?

      • August 29, 2013 at 10:58am

        Books for Film = I write thriller novels, then liaise with Producers/Screenwriters to adapt them to film/TV. I worked for years in the music for film production industry, so have a passion for film. Everything I write is with film in mind… Thank you for asking. :-)

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          August 29, 2013 at 12:38pm

          Got it. That’s in fact the way I work too.
          My current project is designed for books, multimedia, iPad apps and a movie…. heavily weighted on the music side.
          We are vicarious soul mates it would seem.

  • August 29, 2013 at 9:24am

    Making sense, as ever, J! Glad you got a laugh from the silliness! Poor old Miley. I think she’s terribly misguided in some of her choices, but there were a lot of people involved in that broadcast other than her and I think it’s a terrible comment on the world that the youngest (and the girl) is taking all the flack. There, hows that for not talking about the book – or event he topic of the blog post! :) I think I should get back to the editing cave! 😉

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 9:46am


      I suspect Miley knew exactly what she was doing, and had decided with her advisors to break away from the sugary sweet Hannah Montana image. One heck of a way of doing it – notoriety for Africa.

      Donny Osmonde did that years ago – he had a theme song as a child ‘Puppy Love’. A generation of girls ADORED that song… and him too. Then as a late teen he trashed it. A long time fan confronted him in the ally leading off the stage and told him off “How DARE you ruin my childhood memories, how DARE you!” (I’m with her – but maybe I’m just a sentimental Peter Pan.)

      Donny never did it again and grew up. But I fear this will not be the case with Miley, coz these days it seems that ‘bad is GOOD’!


  • Maranna says:
    August 29, 2013 at 9:54am

    Hi Jonathan – I have often wondered if anyone ever reads or responds to blatant marketing on Twitter I certainly don’t. However, I HAVE been drawn to writers like yourself, who provide a punt up for struggling ‘would-be’ authors. Like you, I have found that when I post comments about say, achieving success, I tend to have a few new followers. Great article. Thanks again.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:16am

      You’re dead on target with your ‘motivational’ Tweets. Onwards

  • August 29, 2013 at 10:03am

    Well, they are called Social for a reason, otherwise they’d been Promoting Network.

    I never understood whether writers (I’m one) have ever checked the actual ‘return’ of their “buy me, please” desperate calls. They-do-not-work! Readers want to find the ‘person’ behind the twitter or FB account, not a bot telling the same message all over again: BUY ME.

    Besides, I’ve sold books with chatting with people, on FB or exchanging messages and conversations in twitter. Do converse, show the person and the readers will find a writer.

    Jonathan, cannot be more in agreement with you.


    Oh, almost forgot: “buy my book, please” LOL

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:19am


      “It’s Social”… Totally.
      “Readers want to find the ‘person’ behind the twitter or FB account…” Exactly.
      “Chatting sells”… True as the day.

      On we go.


  • August 29, 2013 at 10:06am

    Hi Jonathan,

    I totally agree with you. I see so many posts that consist of nothing but “buy my book” or “like my Facebook page” and I want to respond and just say “Why? You’ve offered me nothing interesting.” (I don’t respond like that because I believe in playing nice online.)

    I think successful Tweeters treat the platform as if they’re making conversation with someone at a small party. Those who fail seem to be closer to going to the mall, standing atop their table in the food court and loudly announcing what they’re having for lunch.

    I think that first version of the tweet was also hurt by the fact that it said “coming soon” and the link simply said “new post.” I don’t care if you have a new post coming soon, even though I look forward to reading your posts. I just want to know when it’s here and that first tweet raised some confusion on that point.

    Kind regards, Mark

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:22am

      Enjoyed your ‘picture story’ of standing on top of the cafe table and shouting. (I’ll try to restrain myself when next in the food court.)

  • August 29, 2013 at 10:08am

    Yet again, another good article Jonathan, thank you. We all need reminding now and then. I try not to ‘promote’ my books, unless I am running a fee promo and I never read anyone’s tweets who just promote their own stuff over and over again. There are quite a few out there who do and it gets boring.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 12:06pm

      Running promos on Twitter for your book as you describe is great! But it will only work if you mix it up with chat and interaction too.

  • August 29, 2013 at 10:45am

    Hi Jonathan,

    A timely distraction from my current angst about the comp that finishes on Saturday. I hope I have struck the right balance in letting folk know, but not hassling anyone or sending repeated tweets etc. (Despite pressure from some sides to do so!)

    I keep referring back to your articles to remind me from time to time, and to encourage me that a slow, steady building of a genuine readership is by far the best way forward – it’s what sits most comfortably with my own character anyway – maybe just as well!

    You help to keep me grounded, so thank you,


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 12:43pm

      “…steady building of a genuine readership” That’s the spirit. And the approach you’re using on Social media sounds ideal. Best of luck with your ‘book happenings’ on Saturday
      ~ Jonathan

  • August 29, 2013 at 11:06am

    Hi Jonathan,
    I find I rarely use Twitter except to announce a new interview, or blog post every Friday. I use FB far more, but am concious of not shoving my books in the faces of the same people with requests to share. It can get very annoying if you’re on the receiving end! The trick is to break out of the immediate “friends” circle and promote to them. Easy to say, but hard to do!
    All the best

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 12:11pm

      Your approach appears to be along exactly the right lines. Better quality than quantity yes? And with regard to Facebook; it is far less immediate and more lasting in effect. Tweets are like leaves in a stream by comparison. Overall the balance you’ve discovered clearly works for you.
      P.S. You are working on a novel at the moment?

      • August 30, 2013 at 12:39pm

        Hi Jonathan,
        Yes. Leap of Faith is being launched by Crooked Cat Publishing in November and I’m in the final edit of Trouble With Swords, the second in the Temporal Detective Agency series, planned for publication in March / April next year. I’m a third of the way through the third in the series and have storyboards for the fourth and fifth books.
        All the best

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          September 30, 2013 at 5:04am

          ‘Leap of Faith’ has stayed with me. I think in part it has to do with the magical idea you have for the portal – all shimmering and violet – like blacklight.

  • August 29, 2013 at 11:18am

    great post . And I saw someone I unfollowed yesterday on your roundup there for just that reason. I also unfollowed them under their other penname which was blitzing the same book. I counted 50 tweets from each of them in a stream. There were 60 from each the day before and a stream of other tweet from what looked like accounts created for that purpose. Major piss off quite frankly. Your articles are always excellent. I shared this one on our yahoo author loop

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 12:02pm

      Thanks for the share Shehanne.

      The authors in the example are perfectly entitled to do as they please on Twitter. Spinning their wares constantly is not doing anything ‘wrong’ per se. The point is that they are simply wasting their time.


  • August 29, 2013 at 11:42am

    It is true, “we learn from our mistakes”. But repeating the “same” mistakes is unacceptable. Having said that, I have to admit that sometimes I get carried away, and “repeat” the same mistakes. This is when, I have to get back to your blog and read interesting articles like this one, to get back on track.


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 12:04pm

      Re ‘mistakes’… we’re all in the same boat. One misdirection of mine is that my posts were becoming longer and longer, with great delays between as a result. This one here took a fraction of the time because 1) it’s a personal view and 2) it makes just one point: Use Twitter and Facebook to chat and pitch your books, but weight the communications heavily in favor of personal interactions and being interesting to grow a reader support community.

  • August 29, 2013 at 12:40pm

    I started following you on Twitter several weeks ago and it has been an absolute pleasure. I’m saddened by all the authors I follow who do not heed your advice here. I’m disturbed to say it is a majority of authors. Thanks for writing about this issue!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 12:45pm

      Welcome aboard Ben. With regard to those who do not heed this way – all the more space for you I say! The book world will be your oyster Sir.

  • S L says:
    August 29, 2013 at 12:42pm

    I rather give my new neighbor a welcome pie than shout how great my lawn looks

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 12:46pm

      Perfect. :)

  • August 29, 2013 at 1:00pm

    I thank you for this blog. I think I purchased your ebook, educating me of this faux pas so I’ve never really done it. I’ve bragged about stages of development and such but thankfully, no Mega Shouts! My question is, since I’m a newbie in the author industry, how can I get my name to the public when I’m a nobody? I’ve had two book signings, where only one was great because of my interaction with the public. I have lots of questions, I handed out cards with my website address and such but I only sold 4 books between both signings. I’ve sold almost 30 books but most were purchased by my mom! LOL Help! My publishing company is making me do the majority of the work and I don’t understand that. I’m also supposed to have a commercial made (15 sec book ‘mercial) but I’m still not Out There! Thanks in advance.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 1:08pm

      Authoring is very long haul, especially the marketing part which is actually bigger than the writing part. Sales don’t start right out of the gate unless you have heavy weight promotion. Even then it will take time for your books to find their audience. Truth is most authors don’t hit their straps until the third book. So settle in and keep your spirits up!
      Here is an article which will help:
      There’s tons of marketing advice on this blog, so take a meander around and you’ll discover things that will aid your mission.

      PS. Very sharp looking website you have!

  • Hazel says:
    August 29, 2013 at 1:17pm

    Hi Jonathan
    Another great post! I keep avoiding twitter because I don’t want to post banal comments or just advertise my book. Think I’ve got twitter phobia.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 1:22pm

      Re Twitter: A easy path is to ask questions / answer questions, and place links to interesting relevant things you find online. Help out… you have a ready wit so should be successful.

  • August 29, 2013 at 1:36pm

    These are good tips, Jonathan. Sometimes I feel an awful lot of pressure to connect on social media and do it more out of obligation. I’ve made the decision not to be on FB, but I do enjoy connecting with other authors, librarians, ect on Twitter. I write middle grade novels, so I’ve found some of my best connections by sharing in the mglitchat that takes place once a week.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 9:56pm

      mglitchat is a great way to use Twitter. There’s so much to be had from peers – beyond selling books.

  • August 29, 2013 at 2:12pm

    Great post! A few weeks ago I decided to only do tweets that have some kind of value. Like interesting posts, my art, etc. I just started using G+ as well. I am finding that enjoyable and a nice break from FB. Sometimes we authors spend so much time trying to be social that it takes time away from the writing!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 9:59pm

      Sounds highly productive. I have a G+ account, though barely use it. I seem to have attracted more followers there than on FB, but I find it far less effective. Good for SEO results though because Google pays attention to who is using its network. Post for you:

  • August 29, 2013 at 2:18pm

    Thank you for the post, Jonathan, you make a great point as ever. I must admit in the beginning I did the ‘buy me’ thing, then I realised that I was personally more likely to click on the links that were attached to quotes, or retweet other people’s quotes. So I started picking out quotes from my books and tweeting those. I found they were retweeted and favourited far more often, and people would reply to them too. Not sure it had a massive impact on my sales, but hopefully they occasionally brightened up people’s days. The most retweeted quote, interestingly enough, was: “The aliens are coming!”

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 9:59pm

      “The aliens are coming!” Love it!

  • August 29, 2013 at 2:33pm

    The only time I go on Twitter lately is to tweet new blog posts I’ve written. I find so little of value on my feed that it’s a waste of time. I know people are looking for more than “buy my book” because hits to my web site spike when I tweet my new posts. Since I rarely get retweeted and no one leaves a comment, I guess I should try harder to connect, but dang, where are the people who have something to say?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:02pm

      The people are all there, you can be sure of it. But they’ll only appear if there’s something to react to such as you asking a question that’s intriguing. Very easy to do, and builds community over time. Twitter works best not as a machine for generating sales but for building a life long network.

  • August 29, 2013 at 2:34pm

    Okay, here’s a personal question for ya. 😉
    Does Twitter work for someone who does not have a smartphone, and doesn’t live at the computer all day?

    My take so far has been “No”.
    It’s like it’s designed to be a place for water-cooler type conversations, with fast snippets and quick, witty responses… and watching a taped conversation at the water cooler won’t give you the “thrill of the moment” feel, nor trying to reply to that delayed feed give you access to the “personal connection” of the conversation.
    Twitter is a powder-room-gossip feed, not a studious, letter writing forum. So: delay in responses takes the fun & spontaneity out of it. And then it’s not fun for everybody else.

    Is my assessment wrong?

    Looking forward to what others think!
    Elizabeth Kaiser

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:20pm


      The point is that Twitter is not an instant response mechanism with regard to sales.

      It’s about community building for your career. This doesn’t happen on Twitter alone and nowhere else, Twitter is just the ‘ignition’ point. To keep this post brief I’ve only covered one point here – the ‘opening communications’ part of social media marketing for authors. The idea is to bring people back to your blog, and collect people permanently on a mailing list so you not only never lose them, but can send them a message at any time you choose.

      See comment by Mary English

      “…I now have some VERY nice subscribers, who have been ‘with me’ all the way in my series, critiquing, giving quotes, proof reading, celebrating with me, having free PDF’s when my books are published and reader offers… and I treat them like friends, they’re truly lovely people…”

      Most of them came from Twitter originally. I’ll blog more about this soon


  • August 29, 2013 at 2:58pm

    Hello Jonathan,
    good to hear from you again. Just to let you know that I had FOUR appointments for book reviews with newspapers this week alone. The details were taken down by journalists, my photograph was taken and the book reviews also showing book covers will be in these papers soon, the first two this week. You can see the book I WANT TO LIVE, on both paperback and kindle on

    One publishing firm has six newspapers plus one in New York, a total of nine newspapers in all. I would like to ask you a personal and confidential question Jonathan, but not in public. Have you got an e – mail address that I can contact you with? This is very, very important. Cheers Jonathan, Patrick.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:27pm

      Your astounding progress continues. ‘Carpe Diem’ has certainly worked in your case, and I’ll continue to follow as the story unfolds. Great work Sir. You can contact me using the ‘contact’ link you’ll find in the ‘navigation bar at the top of this blog – just under my mug shot.

  • Jeevan Jacob John says:
    August 29, 2013 at 3:36pm

    Hey Jonathan,

    First time on your blog and I already feel bad for not coming by earlier 😀

    Anyways, great tips. I agree, as writers, as bloggers, we should focus on building those relationships (which over time can convert into loyal customers).

    I like the idea of teaser tweets, I have tried it in the past, but didn’t work out well for me (I like to brainstorm, write and publish at once, instead of planning ahead and writing).

    I just got back to blogging after an year of inactivity (It feels great; I have more ideas to write about then I ever had). But, before that, I used to socialize on twitter via Twitter chats. Twitter chats are great for meeting new bloggers and building relationships.

    Asking questions/sharing tips (without any links or any promotional stuff) has also worked out well for me :)

    Anyways, thank you for sharing your insights on social media marketing :)

    And, congrats on the Twitter achievement (like you said, numbers are meaningless, but they can help to increase your exposure, and meet new people :D).

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:28pm

      You’re a bundle of energy!

  • August 29, 2013 at 3:52pm

    Just So Jonathan, the ‘megaphone’ effect is dreadful. I never use links as I want to SAY something INTERESTING and talk to people. I have started a number of eclectic discussions by tossing back original replies to other’s efforts to tease discussion. Blog Building now so out on the hunt for Bloggers soon as I have a great deal of original content to ‘sell’ Many thanks for Twitter for Authors. Margaret Montrose

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:32pm

      Standing by for your blog.

  • August 29, 2013 at 4:15pm

    You’re right and today I got it right. I tweeted this: Please keep your children reading. Maybe one day they’ll support authors by writing reviews and learn something along the way. Then a school teacher, living in the Cayman Islands told me this: ” I think having students write book reviews is a great empowering tool !” I tweeted back that she was absolutely right. She then later told me this: “Congrats on this Amazing #Picture Book!” Followed by this: ” I am getting a group of cildren’s authors together to start a review group for children!” Wow! By simply responded to a follower, and that’s what happened.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:35pm

      Fantastic result.
      “…Please keep your children reading. Maybe one day they’ll support authors by writing reviews and learn something along the way…”
      Excellent connection builder.
      P.S. Remind me where I can see your picture book – I write and illustrate children’s books too.

  • Patricia Dowdy (@DowdyPatricia) says:
    August 29, 2013 at 4:45pm

    Jonathan, you throw a reader back on herself for growing social marketing skills. Thanks, keep posting. and I’ll keep reading,

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:52pm

      That’s the spirit! Box on.

  • August 29, 2013 at 5:45pm

    I completely endorse your system of social networking to market books. You give valuable advice free of charge and offer even more on your website at affordable prices. Thank you for opening my eyes and changing my use of social network marketing strategies. I like the thoughtful to the point posts and blogs that remind me to stay on track. You the go-to man-what can I say!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:54pm

      Starting with this post, I’ve decided to stick to one point in each post from now on, and also take more of a personal viewpoint. SO much easier to write. Hopefully easier to read as well.

  • August 29, 2013 at 6:01pm

    Ah, everyone is selling something, but no one wants to be sold. Underneath all that garbage there are possibilities for real human connections. They’re messy, they take courage (what if they don’t like me?), they take work (I have plenty of time to be superficial, but no time to go deeper). Or as Jim Carey said in “The Grinch: “But what will I wear? What if there’s a cash bar?”

    Love your message Jonathan. Twitter is not only a micro-blogging platform, but also a microcosm of life.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:57pm

      Re ‘Real human connection.’
      “… They’re messy, they take courage (what if they don’t like me?), they take work (I have plenty of time to be superficial, but no time to go deeper)… ”

      You’ve hit it square on the nail.

  • August 29, 2013 at 8:00pm

    Jonathan, congratulations on your 100,000 followers! I know in the end it’s not a numbers game, but as I see my own numbers grow I connect with more interesting folks, have more quirky interactions, and get more clickthrus on my links. I’m sure you get the same, exponentially:) I’m one who tweets a lot of links, but often they’re not my own, but something I’ve found interesting, intriguing, or informative. I’m one of those who love Twitter, although I too can get daunted by the endless streams of less than creative tweets. I do think the time & energy wading through the sometimes clogged streams & learning how to master Twitter (which I can’t claim yet!) is totally worth it. When I think of the folks I’ve connected with all over the world through Twitter it’s mind boggling. I’d never have met them otherwise! Maybe we’re not best friends, but we get to know each other, and it makes my world bigger. I purchased your Blogging for Authors course and have been studying it for the past month. I published my first book in August of last year and was pretty clueless about marketing etc. It’s all taken a lot of experimentation… tweeting, blogging, and finally adding Facebook a few months ago. Using the insights you shared in your course, I’m going to use this second year to fine-tune things, I’m very excited. Thank you for all your help, Heidi

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 11:04pm

      Pleased to hear its working out for you. By reading what you say here, it’s clear that you’re well on the road with your ‘Social Interaction’. One day you suddenly realize you have an understanding, and away it goes. I suspect you’re well past that point now :)

  • August 29, 2013 at 8:49pm

    Thank you for another great post Jonathan. May I add that I got your Twitter for Authors and it was an excellent investment. I recommended it to my fellow authors who all struggle with the same issue – marketing and sales. I’m now aiming for quality, rather than quantity!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 10:47pm

      You’re on the right track. Sustained quality pays off in the long run. The ‘Tortoise and Hare’ syndrome.

  • August 29, 2013 at 10:30pm

    Great reminder, Jonathon. Helping others promote their books is another way to make friends and do yourself a favor. I’m just getting rolling on twitter and I really appreciate your advice.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 11:05pm

      The simple strategy of promoting others – that you outline here – is a killer way to gain support – brilliant in fact. Well done.

  • August 29, 2013 at 11:00pm

    Another great post, Jonathan. THANKS!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 29, 2013 at 11:07pm

      Welcome back Bette. I hope the authoring goes well.
      Here’s a terrific video for you: Ray Bradbury: Story of a Writer – Historic documentary [Video] Worth every second.

  • August 30, 2013 at 12:16am

    Hi Jonathon,
    I’ve been madly using ‘the read my book please’ type tweets with little return for the huge effort this has entailed. I’m going to try to put more “me” into my tweets. See, I actually wrote down your tweet, the one that drew 20 responses. Thanks for the advice.
    Best wishes,
    Ann Massey

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 1:27am

      Feel free to use the Tweet.
      Plus 2 other ideas: Offer to promote other’s books and blog posts. (Ask if they ‘mind’ first, which will draw a response.) And ask ‘Intriguing’ questions too. People love to help (or more cynically) love to show their knowledge.

  • August 30, 2013 at 1:03am

    Jonathan, I always read your tweets with interest, and this post is great. What I like best is that you are not doggedly ‘my way is the only way’ in your opinions; you agree above that there is no ‘right way’ for authors to tweet, but perhaps some ways which are more helpful to their careers than others.

    I tweet my own book links, and others’ praise, and see nothing ‘wrong’ in that. But I try hard to keep to a two thirds rule: two thirds chat and interaction with others, RTs of others’ tweets etc, and one third promotional tweets. And I try hard to change the wording that accompanies my book links, and make it amusing if I can. Quirky, even.

    This week I have a new book out, so have been RTing praise and my own links more than usual. But I don’t see how it’s possible to avoid heavier promo around book publication time. Possibly writers who are very established could do so, but lesser mortals do need to mention their books if they want people to find them easily.

    So it’s good to see your mellow approach, not making writers feel guilty for mentioning their books. My own view of those who constantly tweet their book links is, hmmm, okay, but it would be good to see some actual ‘chat’ occasionally and know you’re a human, not Tweetdeck on a timer.

    But it doesn’t irritate me. If I didn’t want to see it, I could just unfollow. Simple!

    ‘Tweet and let tweet’ is my view, in other words. But there are definitely writers out there who are strangely obstinate in their refusal to do anything but post links. Thankfully, I’m not one of them! Vx

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 1:31am

      Quoting you. (I couldn’t have put it any more clearly myself.)

      “I try hard to keep to a two thirds rule: two thirds chat and interaction with others, RTs of others’ tweets etc, and one third promotional tweets. And I try hard to change the wording that accompanies my book links, and make it amusing if I can. Quirky, even.”

      This is ideal I’d say. It’s a little different for every person but it seems you’ve found your groove.

  • August 30, 2013 at 1:49am

    Very true. I try to mix it up and add a touch of humor for the personal connection. I’ve also started video the blogs instead of just typing. People want to know who they’re supporting.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 1:53am

      Humor. Yes indeed thank you! Yet another rich seam to mine.

  • August 30, 2013 at 2:15am

    Hi Jonathan,

    I found this blog post to be very informative. I am a new indie author (published for just over a month now) and the minefield of marketing information is keeping me (and my wife aka my book marketing manager) very busy. This blog post has opened my eyes up to what is important in marketing and that is connections. We have been guilty of posting and tweeting ‘buy my book’ way too much. This was because we really didn’t have any idea. I have purchased your books (haven’t had a chance to read them yet) but plan on reading them this weekend.

    I think changing the mindset from ‘I have to sell my books’ to ‘I want to connect to people and build a network of authors, reviewers and readers’ is what is important here.

    Thank you so much for opening my eyes.

    Onwards and Upwards.


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 3:36am

      There’s no problem with Tweeting your book promos per se, but doing that and doing nothing else at all is when the trouble starts. It’s a matter of balance. The greater part of the communications needs to be interactive, otherwise followers will tune out.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 3:42am

      A further thought.
      The good news is that you don’t need to have sales success right out of the gate, because thanks to Amazon’s Phoenix Effect’ there’s no limited shelf life. Your books have time to find their audience. See post:
      ~ Jonathan

      • September 6, 2013 at 7:24am

        Thanks Jonathan, I read that blog straight after this one. I have found your blogs to be very informative and helpful. I am in the process of reading Twitter for Authors (only on the quick start guide) and really enjoying it.

        By the way, hello fellow Kiwi. I grew up in Auckland, now live in Queensland with my kiwi partner. Love connecting with other kiwi authors.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          September 6, 2013 at 8:39am

          All the best with ‘The Shard Chronicles”.

  • August 30, 2013 at 3:18am

    Great read. More and more this seems to be the way that Social Media is going. Back to how it started “Hey people,let’s have internet chat sessions and expand on the ancient IRC format of meeting people you likely may never meet!” idea.

    Unsurprisingly I have fallen into this trap completely of getting too “Commercial” with my Twittering. I try to avoid it, I really do – but often when time starts getting tight and I know “Crap, I need to make a post today to keep my sputtering brand relevant” and end up with some blathering “Read Cowboy Ending for only $2.99 on Kindle / Smashwords….” type of thing.

    It’s a fine line indeed.

    Keep up the great insight, Mr. Gunson. I’m glad I’m on your mailing list.


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 3:38am

      ‘Internet chat sessions’… now there’s a novel idea!

  • August 30, 2013 at 3:52am

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for a very thought-provoking post–as usual! 😉 I agree that most of the “promotion” posts just slip on by me, as I’ve almost become immune to them. I do admit that I utilize Hootsuite to a point, but I still like to jump on Twitter and engage. I really do have fun talking back and forth with people, and finding fun tweets to retweet.

    A lot of people find it very exhausting, but when you figure out how to utilize it properly, you can make some really great online friends, and when the time comes that you need their help, they are there for you with the tweets, retweets, mentions, etc.

    We should remember the “Chicken Little” story of old. The sky is falling, the sky is falling. When it came time that he really needed friends to listen, they had closed their ears.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 7:19am

      If there is a’secret’ to promotion, then connecting to build up a mutually supportive group has to be it. Quoting you: “…When the time comes that you need their help, they are there for you with the tweets, retweets, mentions, etc…”
      Says it all.

  • August 30, 2013 at 4:11am

    Another informative article laced with a genuine desire to help people use twitter to their best advantage. Well done, and thank you!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 7:30am

      Enjoyed your blog, particularly this:
      “I thought – no brainer. Kids are gone by 8:00. I’ll dabble online, finish a few little things, work on a short story, then lunch, then edit for 3 solid hours. That did not happen.”
      I know this syndrome well, and I don’t even have the excuse of children underfoot – they’re long grown.

  • Jen Yates says:
    August 30, 2013 at 6:21am

    Thanks Jonathan, Now I think I understand why I am so averse to Twitter and can’t see the point. It’s because so many are just shouting about what they are trying to sell. Got it! Maybe I will now try harder to share a little of myself on there!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 7:25am

      Once you start connecting with interested parties one by one, real relationships form. Some think this is not possible on such an abbreviated platform as Twitter, but no, they truly are REAL relationships.

  • August 30, 2013 at 8:21am

    Thanks Jonathan! I used to enjoy using twitter, but backed off because of streams exactly like the one you show, and DM’s saying ‘Hi, here’s my book.’ I will return – inspired!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 9:34am

      The real people who will support you and your work are there all the time. They become visible when you start interacting.

  • August 30, 2013 at 9:49am

    Dear Jonathan, the real problem is managing to have a REAL discussion with anyone – at a proper intellectual level – I have tossed more ‘interest’ into other’s tweets that I care to think about – straight into a vacuum as so few have the ability of DISCUSS . See the sort of stuff they are offering as ‘books’ – Mmmm.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 12:08pm

      There’s no need for it ALL to take place on Twitter. Conversations can easily go ‘off Twitter’ for a far longer interchange in any media you choose. Twitter is a brilliant ice breaker, the place to make the initial connection, with brief moments of ongoing ‘keeping in touch’ with brief flashes of communication – just like txt messages.

  • August 30, 2013 at 10:48am

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Jonathan! I’m so weary of checking out new followers on Twitter to see if I’d like to follow back, only to see a stream of:
    • Buy My Book!
    • My Latest 5-star Review!
    • Yet Another Pre-scheduled Snippet From My Book!
    • Where I’m Blogging Today! And Tomorrow! And Next Week!
    • Read my ReTweets or shares of everyone else’s content!
    • How Fabulous IS My Book?!
    • Did I Mention You Should Buy My Book?!

    …day in, day out. To be blunt, it’s tedious and yawn-worthy. I don’t follow back because it’s just not interesting to me — either as an author, or an avid reader of around 15-20 books per month. Sorry. But it’s not.

    Social media is about being social, and forming genuine connections. I’m not saying don’t promote, but when you are promoting, ask yourself this: who are you promoting to? Often it’s primarily other authors… who aren’t truly your target readership. (At least they shouldn’t be!)

    Interesting thing I’ve noticed from Facebook stats (I have a personal profile, 2 pages and a group page, and I try to keep them all separate, i.e. the pages are of a more professional nature, and there’s very rarely promo on the personal profile). It’s the posts that provide a little bit of insight into who I am, or where I’m currently at with my current wip, or something of that vein, that garner the most interest. Straight out promo posts? Significantly less interest.

    And the best promo? IMO it’s that unexpected boost because you’ve genuinely interested a follower and they’ve liked you and your books enough to give you a shout-out. Those are golden. Like today, I followed back a guy on Twitter because he had an interesting feed with plenty of personal interaction. Next thing I know he’s giving a shout-out to one of my YA books. It was totally out of the blue. I can’t remember the last time I mentioned that particular book on Twitter. (Though come to think of it, I have mentioned it in my profile, so that probably explains it.) But anyway, it was a lovely thing for him to do. And you’d better believe I thanked him *g*

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 12:12pm

      Your comment almost a post in its own right! Your experience and views mirrored by many.
      And re the person who promoted your book completely unsolicited – great to hear. What goes around comes around.

      • August 31, 2013 at 4:20am

        LOL! Why say it in a paragraph when 4 will do the job better, right 😉

        I gave a workshop on self-publishing at our annual RWNZ writers conference last weekend and ran out of time to touch on the social media aspect — much to my sorrow. But I included my take on it in the handouts, so hopefully the message will get through. And if it doesn’t, I’ll be directing people here to your post — a brilliant piece on a very hot-button subject. Thank you again!

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          August 31, 2013 at 5:01am

          Self-publishing (Kindle) is large part of the future, although I think *some* publishers will rebound and take up the online option, but will only succeed and be relevant if they offer authors PROMOTION and PUBLICITY. That will be the only point of difference between them and doing it yourself.

          • September 1, 2013 at 10:16am

            From your lips to God’s (or in this case, publishers!!!) ears, Jonathan. I look forward to seeing what the future will bring for savvy authors :)

          • Jonathan Gunson says:
            October 1, 2013 at 3:17am

            I’ll keep a watching brief to see how the ‘publishers’ evolve in this space.

  • August 30, 2013 at 11:46am

    Yes it is all about how we feel – no one wants to be sold to or used. I made that mistake…hangs head in shame….didn’t mean to of course, just got carried away with having a book to sell and wanting to shout about it….

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 12:14pm

      A little enthusiasm for one’s own work goes a long way, so in fact you’re not that far off the track. Thing to remember is that it’s OK to shout a bit, just not ALWAYS. (I might also add that your honesty is completely disarming!)
      PS. Love Dorset.

  • Sue Brown says:
    August 30, 2013 at 12:42pm

    I treat Twitter like a daily food intake. I post a little bit of everything. Yes, I talk (limited) personal stuff. Yes, I retweet for other people. Yes, I retweet issues that concern me. But, Twitter is still a promotional tool and I think it’s naive to suggest otherwise, so I tweet a little of that as well. Hopefully it’s an all round diet, and interesting enough to followers. I have followers for all those separate threads of my Twitter life.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 1:00pm

      Twitter most certainly is a promotional tool. (I’ve never suggested otherwise.)
      It’s HOW you use it to promote that’s the issue. Non-stop advertising causes people to tune out. But a balanced mix such as you suggest? Perfect.

      • Sue Brown says:
        August 30, 2013 at 1:10pm

        I should add that one of first pieces of advice I saw from you was on the subject of building your followers, and that was to do it slowly and with people who are interested in you. As we are constantly bombarded with promises of huge numbers of followers I’m glad I saw that advice, because whilst building numbers has been slow, I really appreciate and am interested in my followers, not just what they can do for me.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          August 31, 2013 at 5:09am

          Right you are. One by one the connections with value are made. (The Hare and the Tortoise principle was never so true.)

  • AC Townsend says:
    August 30, 2013 at 1:39pm

    Hi Jonathan,

    You’ve added another side dish on my Food For Thought menu. At a recent art show I met a fellow photographer who has published two very nice books of his work. We discussed how both of us enjoy talking about our work and representing it, but how neither of us enjoy talking about ourselves, though we agreed that in current society, like it or not, people want to know the photographer and the writer almost as much as they want to take home the book or the print.

    I’m almost ready to make my new FB page and my new web site – complete with my first blog post – public. (I’m stuck on cover art for my novel.) I’m still on the fence about Twitter, especially from the standpoint of making personal (as opposed to professional) connections. But you’ve given me a better understanding of how those personal connections might boost professional success. Thanks for another great post!

    ~ Angela

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 10:33pm

      It’s ALL personal Angela. Business is people.

  • August 30, 2013 at 2:29pm

    Perhaps it my age, but I have to say that I find it very difficult indeed to talk about my personal life on any social media. I have absolutely nothing to say which will interest anyone else, I am sure! If I am asked a question by someone, that’s a different matter, but unlike my kids who comment all the time on their social lives on Facebook, I have yet to see the benefit. Even I wonder who is interested that a certain cake is tasty or that the cat has caught another mouse as put on Facebook by my 40 year old daughter! The world does not need to know that! I have to say I am bemused by it all, and I am only on social media as an advertising platform for my books! I wouldn’t bother otherwise.

    Now, Jonathan, you have given me a rap over the knuckles, and you are right to do so. I am sure you are absolutely right. But I groan at having to do it.

    I am not the only one in my age group who thinks like this. None of my every day friends can understand why I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Goodreads at all. They think I must be mad to spend time on them. Sometimes I think I’m mad to spend time on them.

    Right, so now you’ve told us what to do, then we have to do it. (Kicking and complaining all the way!)

    Thanks Jonathan for the advice.


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 10:39pm


      Thing is, you do not have to talk about your personal life much at all if you don’t want to. Interacting and making meaningful connection is the key. You can do this instead by chatting about things that would be of common interest to both you and your potential readers. It can even be directly about fiction or the trials of a writer’s life. This attracts people to interact and discover more.


  • August 30, 2013 at 3:50pm

    Thanks for the advice.
    I am very new to all this ‘media thing’ but that’s not going to stop me.
    I’ve even managed to peswade my husband to buy an ipad and join facebook.
    Here we go kicking and screaming into the 21 century. Better late than never!


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 10:31pm

      Fantastic Christine. With that attitude you’re bound to succeed.

  • August 30, 2013 at 5:12pm

    Hi Jonathan

    This was a very insightful post and I’m so glad I spotted it.

    After 4 years on twitter, I finally only ‘got it’ about 2 weeks ago. I have to agree that it’s really about engagement and being interested in what people have to say. Once one is engaged (or as you say ‘Connected’) with the community you can then reap the biggest reward of being on Twitter – LEVERAGE.

    This post just re-enforced that Twitter (and I guess all social media for that matter) has to be a place where you connect and engage first, otherwise no one’s interested in what you have to say.

    Keep em coming!


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 30, 2013 at 10:40pm


      ‘Leverage’ is a good way to describe how Twitter works to advantage. It’s not direct response, but building a network that does it for you.

      Most people simply won’t trust this process, or are (sadly) blindly impatient. I had a boss once who did this. I was the marketing director. My advice and strategy was that our customers should be our advocates and evangelists, and to work closely with them and get them to do seminars about our products for their friends and associates. i.e. Let’s put the word out through them, because they already have the trusted relationships.

      But he refused, hammering on with: “Advertising – we need a tidal wave of advertising!” I moved on. Last month I caught sight of him in a TV interview. He sagely announced that marketing is all about making your customers your advocates.

      10 years to learn! I guess it’s better late than never.


  • August 31, 2013 at 12:49am

    We hear this all the time, but does it stick? Ha! Thanks for the reminder. I liked it enough to retweet it :)

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 31, 2013 at 12:58am

      Agree. Most authors say they ‘know this’ or ‘hear’ this. Actually remembering is another matter. But I have faith that most who read this will not ‘fall off the horse’ again.

  • August 31, 2013 at 1:50am

    I have told you this before: “You offer the best networking advice; that I have ever encountered.”
    Thank you….

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 31, 2013 at 2:06am

      That’s better than any old Oscar! I hope the book sales are going well, and you’re into your next Crime / Romance novel. It appears that the original intention for your work is paying off and coming true: “I want to be a beacon to independent Authors, that do not have access to resources, to write a book, that if I can do it from the ground floor up, then they can too. Suzanne Steele.”

  • D A says:
    August 31, 2013 at 2:34am

    Ur kind of a genius.

    I read alot of these comments and agree with a ton of them. I use my twitter to promote other writers and myself. I try to keep it mostly 4 to 1. A few people I really really really want to unfollow for overpromoting. Its painful because I actually like their work. But its oversaturation at best. And egotism at worst.
    A warning though: too much personal is also bad. I dont want to know about your ex or your breakup or your bad dream about your dog. If u have a professional account/persona, keep it such.

    You’re always insightful and thank you for what you do.
    ~ D A

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      August 31, 2013 at 4:57am

      Agree about avoiding producing a stream of boring personal stuff on Twitter. Having said that, a very small amount reveals a human being inhabiting the space.

  • August 31, 2013 at 12:44pm

    Hi Jonathan, and boy do I thank you for your excellent articles. My followers are still in just double numbers but slowly growing and few are leaving, all to the good methinks. I have done exactly as recommended on Twitter feed – tried being personal and retweeting stuff I find interesting funny and the like. Keeping the ‘buy’ stuff to a minimum. Still no more sales, but ho hum, I’m enjoying it at least. Sales may come eventually.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 1, 2013 at 2:05am

      Check out this article.
      Plus be sure that your book is in the best two categories on Amazon and that you have fully optimized your page too. (Use bullet points in the sales page description at the beginning to describe who the book is for, what the story is about, and main cliffhanger, crisis, or the main question mark that hangs over the story. Followed by a brief synopsis – it is all selling.)
      ~ Jonathan

  • Donna says:
    August 31, 2013 at 1:00pm

    Great article, great advice. I chose twitter as a site after recommendations to advertise my work, being new to writing as such but I have actually found I tend to tweet others work more and not just authors, I love the recent interactions has it showed the person on the other end was just that a human being. Hopefully over time this will continue to grow and a real balance will be achieved.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 1, 2013 at 2:10am

      You can pitch your book, as long as you’re also doing the other things you describe, because people with whom you’ve spent time developing a rapport will actually be surprised if you don’t! It’s a matter of balance. Sounds like you’re making great progress.
      ~ Jonathan

  • August 31, 2013 at 2:21pm

    Great article. I agree about being SOCIAL on social sites. One of the best tools I’ve found is the list tool on Twitter. Whenever I find someone actually interested in socializing, I add them to a list. I’m building a great network of actual friends…who are also helping me promote my books. I’ve also found several bloggers for whom I’m doing guest blogs and hosting author spotlights, as well as a couple book reviewers.

    Twitter is proving to be invaluable.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 1, 2013 at 1:59am

      Perfect approach. Agree Twitter being the best tool. Immediacy is a significant part of its advantage.

  • August 31, 2013 at 8:18pm

    Jonathan you Illustrate Children’s Books? – I have a ‘pair’ which are wildly different yet ‘classical’ you might be entertained to toss a pencil at them. ‘The Unreluctant Dragon’ and ‘The Queene of The Silver Sluice’. Margaret Montrose.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 1, 2013 at 1:31am

      Nice idea! But what I didn’t say is that I only illustrate my own books. That’s about all I have time for, because the weird reality is that even though the text is the most important part by far, it takes 10 times as long to illustrate as it does to write.
      ~ Jonathan

      • September 1, 2013 at 7:15pm

        Understand absolutely, better pics that way too. I have an artist but thought it might tempt! ‘Margaret’

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          October 1, 2013 at 9:39am

          All the best with ‘The Unreluctant Dragon’ and ‘The Queene of The Silver Sluice’.

  • September 1, 2013 at 12:21am

    A great and informative post. Information on how to optimise is so abundant but it is the same old top level spiel. It is great to see such detail and angles covered such as “how to word your messages” like in your post.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 30, 2013 at 5:13am

      It’s always an issue sorting the wheat from the chaff.

  • September 1, 2013 at 4:13am

    …Twitter continues to grow but it’s rather a ‘catch as catch can’ thing …facebook has hit over 5,000 on my 3 pages …lots of interest but that doesn’t mean sales of course …my blog is also growing …do you have any comments on the best way/how many times a month etc. to blog Jonathan? Thank you …you have been a great help.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 1, 2013 at 5:37am

      Blog as often as you have something interesting to say, although if you blog specifically every second Wednesday for example then it will build a habitual expectation with your readers.

      The best type of post in my view makes a single point – like this one does. (i.e ‘Engage with readers rather than constantly advertising’.) And that post can be quite brief.

      You don’t need to blog twice a week because unless it’s just a very brief note, that would be too much to write and also for readers to read. One a week is perfect in my view. Once a fortnight is OK. But if you blog less than once a month, people will begin to forget who you are.

      Most authors want their blogs to become a ‘book sales machine’ of sorts. I go into how to do that in my blogging course, but suffice to say that it’s far better to blog about things of fascinating, mutual interest for your readers rather than your books. Your books are of interest to you, but always not to them, so it’s best to mention them in context of something else, rather than make them the focus.

      Engage first, sell second.

      A more relevant point if you’ll allow: I’m permanently building an email list, which is about 50% of the purpose of this blog. It means that every time I write and publish a post, I can notify the list, which is one of the reasons there are so many comments. Plus, with a list, you can notify readers of your next book, and make your launch day a success. is my recommended list management system – free for the first 2000 subscribers.

      ~ Jonathan

  • Linda says:
    September 1, 2013 at 2:32pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I am more of a Twitter consumer. I’m unfocused and just learning my way around. I’m completely turned off by the “buy me” posts. I hate even more, the Tweets that look interesting till you click the provided link and land on a sales only web site. If there isn’t more to an author than sales, there’s also probably not much to their writing.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 1, 2013 at 9:52pm

      There are no real rules on twitter, only ‘what works’ I’ve discovered. And what works beautifully is to ask a few interesting questions – particularly of other authors about their work – i.e. a conversation.

  • Southpaw says:
    September 1, 2013 at 5:52pm

    Twitter can be so overwhelming! I started out ok, but have seriously drifted off. But I do write in my twitter profile that I suck at twitter.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 1, 2013 at 9:57pm

      It’s dead easy to fall into the trap of trying too hard with Twitter to draw attention to the work. Best interact and build rapport with one person at a time, and the ripples WILL go out. Others will join in. Hidden people appear. They’re all there… if we don’t try too hard.

      • Southpaw says:
        September 2, 2013 at 1:02pm

        One person at a time. I like that advice.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          October 1, 2013 at 12:38am

          Slow and steady wins the race. After a time all those ‘one persons’ go to work for your books.

  • September 1, 2013 at 7:21pm

    Jonathat am forging into your ‘hunt the followers’ game. 1 Select a suitable stream – I am starting with CleanIndieReads as nearest me. 2 Read each bio carefully to pick out the bits which can start either an intellectual stream, a ‘funny’ or a shared experience. 3 shoot conversationally addressing the recipient by their name personally. Anything else I deem an intrusion for ‘expecting’ without offering anything. I seem to be getting nearly 100% follows this way.. It takes time but the fun is considerable. I admit to having a very wide classical reading base and vicarious experience so can make each ‘reply’ a game. Trite I know but nothing worthwhile is free. Margaret Montrose

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 1, 2013 at 10:00pm

      With that approach you’ll definitely be building strong a base of support. Hope you’re building an email list too, because then YOU will own the users not Twitter, and you’ll also be able to contact them all at any given moment, especially when you’re launching a book.
      ~ Jonathan

      • September 3, 2013 at 9:58am

        Couldn’t work out from your masterwork EXACTLY how to ‘build an e-mail list Jonathan?.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          September 3, 2013 at 10:48pm


          Building a mailing list is 50% of the reason I run the Bestseller Labs blog. I have built up a good sized list after a just one year of blogging, mostly by bringing people across from Twitter by offering interesting / useful blog posts. Once at the blog people see my free eBook about publishing and sign up.

          I outline the professional list building process in detail in my ‘Blogging For Authors’ course, but essentially, the main idea is to put a sign-up form on your website that offers to give away for free something attractive in exchange for an email address. e.g. A PDF of a novel and maybe ongoing news about your fiction genre or other content that would be of interest to your subscribers, but not news about your books – that is not of interest to subscribers. Plus just putting ‘subscribe to my news’ will not attract many sign ups. This form can be easily put on a ‘paid for’ properly hosted blog. (The form can’t be put on a ‘free’ blog such as at or

 offers to manage the first 2000 subscribers for free. They supply the forms etc.


          • September 4, 2013 at 9:50am

            Most kind Jonathan – Blog being assembled AND it being inside the website (Joomla) it is ‘properly hosted’ Margaret Montrose

  • September 1, 2013 at 10:21pm

    Bravo! Ain’t this the truth!
    As an author and a weekly crime and justice columnist I’ve learned the hard way not to Tweet out a blatant “read my work” message. You’re so right that it never works. I always try to write something that acts as a tease so readers can’t resist clicking the link. I don’t always hit the mark, but most of the time.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 2, 2013 at 12:34am

      The ‘tease’ is pretty much the ‘secret’ of writing Tweets that bring people back to your blog or your books. It can be extended over many tweets or a conversation. But in the end real rapport and a long term relationship and a foundation of support needs to be built – no matter how clever the tease. This is a business just like any other. Being an author is a career, and takes time to build. It is not a get rich quick scheme.

  • September 2, 2013 at 4:00am

    Thanks, Jonathan, for another helpful and practical article. Until today, I hadn’t even looked at Twitter for quite a while. I usually feel like I don’t have anything to say that anyone else will find interesting, but I’m hoping to change that. We’ll see.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 2, 2013 at 4:49am

      Good to see you back Marty
      Look up some interesting folks on Twitter – ask them good questions they’ll enjoy replying to. You’ll be surprised where it leads. But … avoid spending all day there.

  • leo effi says:
    September 2, 2013 at 12:08pm

    first i want to thank you for the great post, you are indeed inspirational. i have two main problems which i think you can solve. i live in germany and i want to get an agent and publisher in the u.s. i have been told that it would be difficult for me fo that true or fals.secondly, i don’t have any idea on how to target my audience for my work which i have titled perseus: the awakening.pls your answer will be very appreciated

  • Jennifer says:
    September 4, 2013 at 4:21am

    Thanks for making this post.

    At the beginning I had been trying to incorporate personal and interesting tweets and posts along with occasional ones relating to my books, but most recently, these past few months, I have forgotten about these as lately I have been doing a lot of various physical events, giveaways, and other things meant to spread the word about my work.

    With all these going on I found that this is what the majority of my tweets and posts have been about so your post served well as a good reminder for me to make more of an effort to engage with my followers.

    Although there are a lot of times when I have posted or tweeted about something that has ended up sounding promotional even though I meant it to be just fun or interesting things about myself, such as when I posted about the news article that was recently written about me. I was posting it because of what the basic article was about which was basically about my overcoming a disorder in order to be able to be an author and go to events to promote, sell, and sign my books.

    I shared the link direct from the site and didn’t really think about the other side of the article-the side which promotes myself and my books so although I wanted it to be a personal post and not a promotional one it still ended up sounding promotional.

    So, is there any specific way of saying things when I post something like this to Facebook and Twitter that would make things like this not sound promotional?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 4, 2013 at 12:04pm


      I could post a lengthy reply, but the in-depth information you need re your question is covered in my Twitter course. But suffice to say that Twitter does not work well as a ‘pitch machine’. The secret is to engage on subjects that are not about your books at all, but of common interest with your followers, such as news within your fiction genre. The opportunity to interact and discuss your work will then arise quite naturally.

      There is nothing wrong either with dropping in promo Tweets – as long as the majority of Tweets are about things of interest. If you constantly advertise instead of being interesting people will tune out – no matter how clever the pitch!

      Even more important is to get people off social media and hold the discussion elsewhere at a meaningful level.


  • R.V. Doon says:
    September 4, 2013 at 5:10am

    Great post! Reading your comment section is way better than a twitter feed. I’ll still watch for your Twitter comments to zoom past:)))

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 4, 2013 at 12:26pm

      Agree. Writers leave some highly insightful comments here. I read them all.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      October 1, 2013 at 1:44am

      PS. Yes, see you on Twitter. Conversation is all… as long as we talk about what THEY are interested in. Them, them, them.

  • September 7, 2013 at 1:09pm

    I attended a mini-course at a writers conference this summer that prompted me to start blogging. The key words “grow your readership” was used. But in comparison to your post, there wasn’t much guidance on how to do that except the need to get into social media. I think the “social” aspect of it is missing. I see that now in my own tweets or FB posts for my blog. This was excellent advice.

  • Jonathan Gunson says:
    September 7, 2013 at 11:36pm

    Agree. The high level stuff is all very well, but ‘how to’ detail is so often missing. Thing to beware of is spending too much time in ‘Social Media’. My formula is 70% writing, (staying away from the internet, Twitter, Facebook…) and 30% social media.
    Article for you on how to avoid crashing off the rails.
    ~ Jonathan

  • September 11, 2013 at 9:16pm

    Absolutely loved this article. A great confirmation for me. The secret to Twitter is to just make great friends. It is SOOO much more enjoyable as well. When I changed gears, it literally becomes an hour of chatting with friends. People often ask me, how do you sell books? …by not selling. It’s very Zen. :)
    Thanks again for the great article.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 11, 2013 at 11:16pm

      You’re onto it re ‘Zen’. It seems counterintuitive, but engage first sell second is the only effective path.

  • leo effi says:
    September 12, 2013 at 5:17pm

    hey jonathan
    I have a problem about blogging. when i read blogs like yours i envy it.but am scared about creating mine because first i dont really know much about blogging and mostly because am scared i will write something that may doom my writing career even to the afterlife.
    Do u think blogging can be done by everyone, and is fear a common thing when starting it.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 12, 2013 at 9:22pm

      One great way to start blogging is to sign up for a free blog at, and practice with that using a pseudoym first. Then start your real blog once confidence is built.

  • September 16, 2013 at 4:43pm

    Hello Jonathan,

    I love your concise and very helpful advices on how I can increase my readers, all keeping in mind of building a network community for my book. (I feel I am stuck and needing help here). Which all in return will help leading up to the sales. I am at a position of social media & local poster advertising marketing my upcoming self-published book “Living on Purpose with Love & Gratitude” (launched in late November) and rewriting to refine my message. As a writer/upcoming author in planning to be an International Best Seller, I would love to ask what is the fastest way from your personal author journey to becoming a Best Seller?

    Thank you & appreciate of your response.
    Natasha Dao

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 17, 2013 at 12:51am

      Re ‘fastest’ way to a bestseller: A bestseller is brought about through word-of-mouth promotion by readers. If your book has reader appeal, then it will gradually accelerate in sales. Your task is to ignite that process by the various means described on this blog. I might add that there is no get rich quick or short cut available. Instead, being a writer is a career process. See this great video by Ray Bradbury.

      • September 17, 2013 at 4:21pm

        Grateful of your response,

        Appreciate your reminder to the reality of “There is really no short cuts to becoming a Best Seller?” I feel my marketing is just currently appalling, especially through twitter. I don’t know how effectively to network with the right followers through this social medium. I use to tweet as often (daily), but now and for a while have once a week as did not see much response to my tweets and of new followers. Hence, thinking tweeting is not highly effective to personally promote (communicate) and create a buzz for my upcoming book or anything in association? I may be possibly doing this all wrong? Much appreciated if you are able to give me any feedback on my tweets? @NatashaDao1

        In reference to my questioning ‘fastest’ way to a bestseller, I would like to reiterate that to be “What is the SMARTEST way to becoming a bestseller”?

        Thank you for the link and highly appreciate of your expertise and responses as a successful Best Seller author.
        Natasha Dao

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          September 17, 2013 at 10:17pm


          Re ‘The smartest way’ to have a bestseller:

          It’s all about word-of-mouth promotion reader to reader. So your task is relationship building with potential supporters, which is also done one person at a time. That is done in just the same way as getting to know people as you normally would in the real world. The immediate advantage of ‘Twitter’ is that it makes it possible to find an endless stream of such people, plus enables making a meaningful connection with the right individuals in that stream. It also enables the continuity of those connections, because those people are almost always there at some stage of the day. (The detail of how to do this is covered in my Twitter For Authors course.)

          I’m talking about getting to know someone genuinely, and taking a real interest in them, not faux relationships. And it is easily done on Twitter, one reader at a time at the beginning.

          Let me quote ‘Mary English’ (one of the other authors who leaves comments on this blog): “…I now have some VERY nice subscribers, who have been ‘with me’ all the way in my series, critiquing, giving quotes, proof reading, celebrating with me, having free PDF’s when my books are published and reader offers… and I treat them like friends, they’re truly lovely people…”


  • Miranda says:
    September 19, 2013 at 5:33am

    Great advice Jonathan! Really loved this piece. I must confess I’m guilty as charged. Sad thing is, I didn’t begin with twitter this way. Definitely will be stop this habit.

    Great post.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 30, 2013 at 4:57am

      It’s not surprising that the first thing an author wants to do quite naturally is (without thinking) shout about their book… “OUT NOW!”
      We live and learn.
      ~ Jonathan

  • swiveltam says:
    September 29, 2013 at 3:42pm

    I loved this post. You high-lighted the exact mistakes I made when I first jumped on twitter, but I didn’t know. I didn’t even know blogs like this existed. It’s such a learning curve. It’s amazing how the world opens up when you share and give instead of look/ask for attention. You’re examples were spot on. Thank you :)

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      September 30, 2013 at 5:00am

      ‘Share’ is apt for sure.
      Welcome to the blog. It’s recently starting to have that ‘lived in’ feeling which is a good sign.

  • September 30, 2013 at 2:47am

    Great article – thanks

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      October 1, 2013 at 12:37am

      Social media is your thing Teddy – no surprise seeing you here.

  • October 3, 2013 at 3:37am

    Why don’t people get this? I’ve gotten into the habit of checking tweeters before following. I won’t follow if all they tweet is “buy my book! buy my book!” But connecting with other writers is only a part of the picture. I struggle to find the readers. I worked various #hashtags for the genre I write, but again, most of those are the “buy my book” folks.

    The response I get on Twitter and Facebook always explodes if I say something personal.
    I get mixed results with personal posts. Not so good on Twitter, better on FB, but it seems that on FB, I get more comments on photos.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      October 3, 2013 at 5:45am

      Hi Char
      Ha ha. Yes makes you wonder doesn’t it. Regarding getting personal, if you try running with the likes of “I had fries for lunch”, they’ll leave en masse. But talk about what THEY are interested in, not what you are interested in, and you’ll hit the mark / get interaction and interest. Them, them, them, them, them, them… That’s what I really mean by personal

  • October 6, 2013 at 5:58pm

    You’re right, Jonathan. Building relationships one person at a time is the foundation to building a successful online business. Putting ourselves out there isn’t always easy, but “connecting” with others is important. That it takes the time it’s going to take is a given. Still the tips you so generously pass along are so helpful. I look forward to tweaking not just my tweets with your wise advice, but all of the messages I put out on the social media platforms I use. Thanks a million for all that you give to the author community.

  • Elizbeth Patton says:
    January 5, 2014 at 5:38am

    I am late to this blog post, but I find I’m much better at FB. I think it has to do with the fact I can be more verbose whereas on Twitter, I have to be so concise. I’m a comedy writer, but it’s difficult for me to get that one liner just right, but on FB it’s easier to tell more of a little story. I would like to get better at Twitter, and have come to the realization that the reason why I’m not successful at it is because I’ve not allowed myself to be myself. Now the trick is to be myself and yet keep it about them…. hmm.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 6, 2014 at 10:08pm

      Facebook personal accounts are all about interacting at a slow pace with friends and family. FB fan pages are more about business and interacting at a slow pace with customers. Twitter is more about interacting rapidly with people who have a common interest or business activities.
      One way for you to to get started on Twitter and ‘talk about them while being you’, is to take in interest and comment on things that other people post there. (Start a brief conversation.) Making an isolated statement on Twitter is far less interesting to people than interacting.
      ~ Jonathan

  • Amy Daily says:
    August 4, 2014 at 5:19pm

    Hi Jonathan,
    I enjoyed this article. I totally agree with you. We garner genuine attention when we give genuine attention to others. The sales pitch approach is such a big turn off. It’s far better to connect with people then to see them as “consumers.”
    Take care,