Author Twitter Tactics: Introducing Tweetdeck

Hello, author! Allow me to introduce you to Tweetdeck. Of all the tools out there, the primary reason I chose Tweetdeck is because it is Twitter-native — it is supported directly under the Twitter company umbrella. Many times, this means the tool will be more reliable and may even get preferred treatment in terms of functionality and compatibility with Twitter tech.

How does Tweetdeck help authors?

  • Schedule tweets for future posting. Maintain a presence on Twitter throughout the day or week without being distracted from writing to constantly post things.
  • Manage multiple accounts in one place. For example, you might have a personal Twitter account and an author Twitter account. Or a separate account for each book series or genre you write in. For example, I have an account for Teddi Deppner (@teddideppner) and for the #SpecFicCollective (@specficcollect).
  • Quickly research (and keep an eye on) hashtags. Find ones related to your post, see how it’s being used, and check whether your target audience is a part of that conversation.
  • Turn on alerts to keep up with emerging information. If you’re trying to ride the wave of trending topics, you need to know what’s happening.
  • Mute users or terms to eliminate unwanted noise without unfollowing people
  • Tweetdeck streams in real-time, so you don’t have to refresh the page to see the latest updates.

There are more features, but this list is already long and impressive. If you want to try it out, sign up for a free Tweetdeck account using your Twitter account.

A peek at the interface

Tweetdeck Infographic

The strength of Tweetdeck’s interface is the columns. Each column is like a window on the Twitter world. Choose from a variety of views: a stream of tweets from everyone you’ve followed, tweets from just the people on a custom list, notifications for certain accounts, tweets containing a hashtag, or tweets from a single user.

Here’s the complete list of column options:

Tweetdeck Column Options

Since your monitor has limited horizontal space, you may only fit 4-6 columns before they go off the edge of the screen to the right. But no worries. You can navigate as far along the stack as you like with a single click on the master list — the strip of icons on the left.

Tweetdeck Column Navigation

When you hover your mouse over the icons, you see which column it represents. Click it and the entire view slides horizontally to highlight your selected column.


Handling multiple accounts

One of my favorite parts is how easy it is to manage multiple Twitter accounts. When you have something to say, simply click on the icon of the account from which you want to tweet.

Choose account to tweet from

When you are favoriting (actually, it’s called “liking” now and has a heart instead of a star) something, you can do so from any of your accounts. When you retweet, you can select which account to retweet from — you can also select multiple accounts and retweet from all of them at once.

Choose account to retweet from

Easy peasy.

Why it matters

Tweetdeck can help you develop a presence on Twitter in the same places your readers are hanging out. Use it when you want to engage in real-time conversations with people, when you want to become part of the trending topics of conversation. It’s especially useful when targeting a younger demographic, though it’s also important that you’re available to keep talking if you engage them.

Tweetdeck is useful when you have articles and memes that you feel have the potential to go viral. Sharing is easy and quick on Twitter, and in the right hashtag at the right time, your post could reach hundreds (or thousands) overnight. Experimentation and consistency are key strategies, and the multi-column view of Tweetdeck saves you a ton of time if you decide to dive into the Twitterverse.

Finally, use Tweetdeck to research topics for online discussion. Wondering what to blog about? Find out what’s hot in your genre right now, what fans are talking about, and what people really think about certain books or movies. The insights gained into the minds of your target audience are priceless.

What about other tools?

There are plenty of social media management tools available to authors. This article is not an exhaustive review of what’s available, it’s an introduction to one of the tools that is free and feature-rich. If you want to check out the others, do a quick Google search for “twitter management tools” and you’ll find a solid handful of options. Some are free, some are not.

Share your experiences

If you’ve used a different tool and found good success, feel free to share about it in the comments. If you have questions about using Twitter or social media, tell us! The Collective is about sharing knowledge. Enrich the hive mind by leaving a comment below.

Author Twitter Tactics: Catch and hook eyeballs

Hook eyeballs? Ewww. That sounds like a horror movie, doesn’t it? Well, we are a #specfic crowd, which includes horror. So why not?

I’ll tell you why not! ‘Cause I’m not a horror fan, and googling “horror fishhooks eyeballs” led me to a picture of a guy named Frank full of hooks and chains in the 1987 movie Hellraiser. No, thank you. When it comes to horror, I stick with either sci-fi horror (a la the Alien franchise, District 9, or Monsters) or dark/urban fantasy (a la the Underworld series, I Am Legend, or Dracula Untold).

In fact, I need to wash my eyeballs right now. I need a vision of beauty.

The elf queen Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings

Ahhh, that’s refreshing.

Now, where were we? Ah, yes — catching the reader’s eye

In’s article on Twitter engagement stats, they say tweets with images average a 35% increase in retweets. And I know why. When I’m scanning through my Twitter feed (actually, I use TweetDeck to manage my Twitter interaction), it’s the pictures that catch my eye almost every time. Take a look at this screenshot:


Where does your eye go? To the pictures. And which pictures in this shot actually communicate something to you? Yep. The ones in the right column. I’ve noticed these tweets have a similar look. In fact, I’m pretty sure that either the same person is generating all of them or a group of authors are following the same template.

This simple template is winning Twitter


When you see a number of these graphics in one place (like those on the right), you can see the pattern.

  • Size: 525 x 250 pixels
  • A solid background color (a muted, dark tone)
  • An author headshot (remember, people want to connect with other people!) and name/handle
  • A quote or teaser/hook
  • Font large enough to read when the image is shrunk into a Twitter feed (for the teaser text)
  • A call to action (“Read the blog post”)
  • Many of them specify their genre (“Mystery author” or “Science fiction author”)

Be strategic

Honestly, not everyone needs to do this. And even if you do it, not every tweet needs to have a graphic like this.

This is a good strategy when you are ready to build your fanbase. Use it when you have something of interest to offer to potential readers. Some posts will lend themselves to this sort of fanfare. Others, not so much. Over time, you will figure it out.

Tip: If you already have an archive of blog posts (and if you have traffic stats you can examine), then find the posts that get the most hits or which have the most comments and create graphics like this for those posts. They have already proven themselves to be of interest, and this sort of promotion is likely to bring in more traffic.

Bonus tip: If you are making an effort to bring more traffic to your website, MAKE SURE YOU ARE PROMPTING VISITORS TO SIGN UP FOR YOUR EMAIL LIST. Oh, sorry. Caps lock got stuck there. But seriously, you need to capture those potential readers if you can. My favorite (free!) WordPress plugin for gathering email addresses: SumoMe. Fantastic plugin. Install now!

You can do this. Yes you can.

Feeling graphics-challenged? You don’t have to own Photoshop or learn any fancy graphics software. There are websites out there to help you do this sort of simple graphic directly through your browser. Check out PicMonkey and Canva for starters.

If necessary, hire a high school or college student on the cheap to put something like this together for you. Ask a relative or a friend whom you know has graphics-savvy.

Future posts may include step-by-step tutorials on creating graphics like these. Or I might do a quick video tutorial. Would any of you be interested in something like that? If so, leave a comment below!


Which YA #specfic author is dominating Twitter? It’s not who you think…

Welcome to our first Author Branding Spotlight. These posts will highlight authors who are doing something right. These are the authors we’ve discovered and enjoy, not always the obvious ones at the top of Google’s list of “most successful”. Nobody is perfect, and numbers are not the only indicator of “success”. Dear author, do not compare yourself with these lovely people. They are your comrades. Not your idols, to be put on pedestals. Not your enemies, at whom to throw darts. They are colleagues. Fellow travelers on the writing road. And without further ado…


Maggie Stiefvater published her first novel, Lament, in 2008 (per Wikipedia). She’s what I call new blood: authors who were first published after 2005. Twitter launched in 2006, just to offer some context.

I first encountered Maggie when someone recommended her YA werewolf novel Shiver. It was good. So good. In fact, Shiver spent more than 40 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. But we’re not here to celebrate Maggie’s traditional publishing creds. We’re here because…

Her tweets make us smile

When asked why certain pages in one of her books were misnumbered (“The pages skip from 186 to 219 and then 230 to 219. Can you explain this?”), Maggie replied:

And then there’s the time her car died at night and she was waiting for a tow truck…

Or when she revealed that she actually had a fireproof racing suit (note the flip-flops on her feet).

And she proceeded to race with it!

That special moment when you fall in love (with an author, I mean!)

But the tweet that made me fall head over heels for her was when she shared this YouTube video, answering the question that had been on my mind since I first “met” her (yeah, haven’t actually met her, folks, it’s the illusion of closeness that social media provides):

Personality, folks. It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

And yes, I mean even your personality. Admittedly, some of us need professional help to discover what elements of our mundane lives might have this kind of potential (that’s why folks like Lisa England exist). But think about this for a moment: Maggie doesn’t just have ONE thing that stands out. She’s a mishmash of fascinating things.

She plays musical instruments (including bagpipes!) and writes songs to go with her books. She’s an artist. She has a thing for cars, or at least this one car. And fans LOVE IT ALL. If you click through her tweets, you’ll see people engaging with her all the time.

She might not have the highest numbers, but she’s dominating

Do you know another author that makes you smile whenever you see their tweets or Facebook posts? Share about them in the comments below. Maggie isn’t the only one, and so far as numbers go, I’m sure she’s not the “top”. That’s why I said in the title of this post, “It’s not who you think.” She’s top in my book, because she’s one of MY favorites. So who are yours?


In researching this post, I came across a couple of lists of YA authors who are rocking social media: The Best Children’s and YA Authors for Teachers to Follow on Twitter, Facebook and Beyond (not just for teachers!) and 15 YA AUTHORS YOU NEED TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER. Check them out and see how they’re doing it.

Photo credit: Our new Author Branding Spotlight graphic incorporates a photo by Mark Fischer