Tricks of the Trade: Three Questions for Sarah Milstein

On August 13 from 1-2pm ET, our first SHE WRITES webinar, Twitter for Writers, will be led by Sarah Milstein, a speaker, writer and consultant specializing in Twitter for business and careers. She's co-author, with Tim O'Reilly, of The Twitter Book. Here's Sarah!

DS: What is the single most important thing you think book authors should know—but often don’t—about using Twitter?

SM: At first blush, Twitter may look like it's about broadcasting what kind of yogurt you had for breakfast. Which sounds mundane at best, narcissistic at worst. But for a lot of people, Twitter turns out to be a conversational medium--a place where you can exchange not just breakfast details, but also links to things you're reading and writing, along with ideas and responses to news or events. Once you start thinking about it as a two-way channel, it can be a great way to connect with readers, other authors and people in publishing. (Incidentally, I had that Greek Face yogurt this morning.)

DS: How do you use Twitter, as an author, yourself?

SM: I use it a few ways. First, as a person who writes about Twitter, I maintain an account, @TweetReport, where I post tips and links to Twitter resources. It's fun, it helps people recognize me as an expert on the topic, and it gives me a natural place to stay in touch with readers interested in Twitter. Second, on my personal account,
@SarahM, I get additional feedback and tips from readers. Third, through Twitter search, I keep an eye on what people are saying about my book. Ninety-five percent of the time, I send a message from @SarahM (via Twitter's public @replies) to the person who posted, and more often than not, they're delighted to hear directly from the
author of the book they're reading. Finally, I post information about where I'll be speaking or links to book-related things, like the fact that the we just released an iPhone app version of the book.

DS: Do you ever use multiple Twitter accounts for different subjects, different professional identities? What are the pros and cons?

SM: I use two Twitter accounts, the personal account and the All-Things-Twitter account; every so often on the personal account, I note that I twitter about Twitter elsewhere. I would, however recommend using multiple accounts only if you're planning to post heavily on a specialized topic. For instance, if you like to twitter about gardening, tween fiction and motocross, you can easily do it all from one account. People will get a more rounded sense of you, and they'll simply skip the messages they don't care about (each post is just a sentence, after all). But if you want to live-twitter every motocross event,link multi-daily to race news and connect regularly with other believers, you're probably better off establishing a separate account just for your rabid fandom.

Got more questions for Sarah you're eager to ask? Post them in comments, and she'll try to address them in the August 13 webinar! (Details on how to register coming by tomorrow, we promise.)

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Tags: #social media, Sarah Milstein

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Comment by C. Lee McKenzie on August 12, 2009 at 8:42am
What do you consider the biggest no no on Twitter? One thing that causes me to stop following people is their constant harping on their product or their book.
Comment by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel on July 28, 2009 at 12:37pm
Very helpful! Great ideas. Glad to know I only really need one Twitter account! Thanks!
Comment by Janet Cargill on July 28, 2009 at 11:22am
very useful information, I have a twitter accoint but seldom post..I never thought about using it to let poeple know about my book, DUH!

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