by Joanna D'Angelo

As many of you know I've been touting the benefits of joining twitter and facebook for a while now. As writers (and bloggers) we would prefer not to write in a vacuum (at least I don't). Getting published or selling a script is wonderful but not an end to itself. It's the biggest part of what we do but not the only part. We can't expect our publishers or agents to build our readership or audience. We have to do that ourselves. As fellow diva Sara Taney Humphreys said beautifully in her post last week Publicity, Promo and Pinot - many of us don't have the big bucks to launch our own ad campaigns. But we do have free resources available to us - including blogging, facebook and twitter.

For those of us who aren't Hollywood celebrities or spend 24 hrs a day online - building a following can be a challenge and a time commitment. Try devoting 15 min in the morning and at night to twitter/facebook. It's enough time to network but not so much that you feel guilty.

So once we're on facebook and twitter - how do we get friends and followers? I'm not talking about just anyone (we all know there are a lot of strange folks online and gazillions of spammers) but I'm referring to people who are like minded and are most likely to appreciate what YOU in particular have to offer. That's the key! So, if you're a romance writer (or any creative sort) who is looking to build your network on facebook and twitter here are some hints that I've found have helped me grow my "friends" and "followers" online:

1. Make sure you include a bio when you join. I can't tell you how many times I get a follower or friend request from someone who doesn't have a bio so I have no way of knowing if they're the real deal! Are they interested in making a true connection or just spamming me. If I have doubt then I block or reject them. Simple as that. A bio makes all the difference so have fun with your bio - be clever, creative, witty. Twitter bios have to be short as well. Check mine out.

2. Get out there and make your own friend requests! If you find people online that you'd like to be friends with don't be afraid to friend them. How do you find people? Well facebook is great at making friend suggestions. But you can also go onto a group page (ahem like my Love Romance Novels group) or fan pages (many authors have them) and check out what the members are saying. If you like what they say - friend them and include a message in your friend request telling them why. Guaranteed they'll be tickled pink and accept your friendship.

If you're on twitter find an author or organization that is related to what you do and follow some of the followers in their list. You'll probably recognize many of the names anyway. Many authors also provide links on their web sites inviting people to friend them on facebook and to follow them on twitter. So if you have a blog or web site make sure you add links to your facebook and twitter pages.

And the most basic one - is to search for people you'd like to follow - chances are they're on twitter already so follow them and tweet them to introduce yourself.

3. Tweet Tweet Tweet! Post/Tweet links of interesting articles you find, or updates from your web site or blog, or pictures from your recent book signing, or your gorgeous new book cover. Post an inspirational quote that you love, or a list of books you're reading, or a great joke you read or heard. Post a mini-review of the Harry Potter movie you just went to see. Or a picture of Gerard Butler picking his nose (I did that last week and got hilarious replies! Believe me GB's sex appeal is still er - firmly intact as far as the women who replied to my link are concerned). Post a link to a great recipe that you just made. The list is endless...

DO NOT post/tweet that you're bored or wondering what to make for dinner or watching TV or doing laundry. Nobody cares. Truly. You'll never get anywhere on facebook or twitter if you do that. Unless you're Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt or ahem Gerard Butler. GB isn't on twitter anyway. I checked. Twitter is all about communicating and engaging in 140 characters or less. It's also called "micro-blogging". Some people don't get that. They think all they have to do is post their "status" i.e. "Going out to see a movie tonight." And think that should be enough. Boring! No one is going to engage you if you do that.

4. RT (re-tweet). One of the ways you can spark a "connection" is by RTing or re-tweeting. Which simply means typing RT and copying and pasting someone's post into one of your own and sending it out to your followers. Make sure you include the person's address @name - as well otherwise they won't receive it. You don't have to do it for everyone - just the tweets that you find interesting and worthy of spreading around. When people comment on your post or if they RT (retweet) your post - thank them or acknowledge them! A lot of people don't do that but it's an important courtesy on facebook and twitter.

5. Join a facebook group. As I mentioned above, I manage a facebook group called Love Romance Novels. Over time and with hard work I've managed to grow the membership to 2,300 and counting. It's the largest romance fiction group on facebook. If you're a romance writer and you join a group that reflects what you do and what you want to promote then you've discovered a potential audience or potential readers. If you engage with the members of that group then you've quite possibly gained new readers.

6. Take part in twitter events. Well, this is something rather new on twitter and I believe it began in the writing community (but don't quote me on this). A group of literary agents got together and did an agent query day which I though was amazing! They continue to do it as well. I got a lot of valuable advice. And it gave me an idea to do something similar with romance authors. I checked out several author twitter pages and noticed that many of them had very few followers and were also following very few people. Given how big twitter has become (and it doesn't look like it's slowing down any time soon). I asked the organizational whiz woman Kim Castillo and personal assistant to the stars of romance novels to help me organize and promote a twitter chat with romance writers and fans. It's called #askromancewriter Day and it's taking place all day tomorrow Aug. 5th on Twitter. We have many authors signed up for this event, including some of the authors who write for this blog! I know that many more will show up tomorrow who aren't on the list - and that's fine too. The idea is to network - engage with each other and with readers and fans. If a reader follows you - it's a good idea to follow them back. I think readers and fans appreciate that authors care about what they have to say.

A lot of people on twitter don't "autofollow" that is they don't follow automatically when someone follows them. I have a slightly different approach. If someone follows me I will check out their page. If I like their bio and what they tweet about then I'll follow them back. They don't all have to be writer types. I've followed back chefs (I like to cook) and jewelry makers (because they seem really cool). So it's a great way to expand your network as well.

I hope we get a great turn out on #askromancewriter day. For more info you can check out the event page on facebook.

So what are your twitter or facebook tips?

The list of authors who'll be taking part in #askromancewriter Day includes the following:

Candace Black

Leah Braemal

Opal Carew

Kathy Carmichael

Dakota Cassidy

Joelle Charbonneau

Tiffany Clare

Tessa Dare

K.M. Daughters (sister writing team)

Diana Duncan

Lorhainne Eckhart

Judi Fennell

Lori Foster

Eva Gordon

Jennette Green

Karen Hawkins

Elizabeth Hoyt

Madeline Hunter

Sascha Illyvich

Eloisa James

Julie James

Skylar Kade

Vanessa Kelly

Julie Kenner

Sara Lindsey

Julie Ann Long

CJ Lyons

Cate Masters

Melissa Mayhue

Toni McGee Causey

Teresa Medeiros

Courtney Milan

Margaret Moore

Debra Mullins

Patti O'Shea

Leslie Parris

Kayla Perrin

Carly Phillips

Christy Reece

Laurie Viera Rigler
Historical/Contemporary/Time Travel

Maggie Robinson

Karen Rose

JoAnn Ross

Jeannie Ruesch

Marie-Nicole Ryan,

Kandy Shepherd

Kathryn Smith

Kim Smith

Kay Thomas.

Renee Vincent

Tawny Weber

Terisa Wilcox

A.J. Wilde

Stefanie Worth

Nicole Zoltack

Kellyann Zuzulo

Gerard Butler picture courtesy TMZ
Facebook logo courtesy
Twitter logo courtesy


  1. This was a great blog. (And yes, I'm already following you on Twitter, and ran right over to join the group on FB.) Hope to see you at some point tomorrow for #askromancewriter --sounds like a very cool idea. #writechat on Sunday afternoons from 3-6 is also great for all kinds of writers.

  2. Looking forward to tomorrow, Jo!
    So Gerard Butler is human?! Slightly less romantic after seeing that pic. I'll pretend it's someone else. :)
    Great post!

  3. Hi Deborah! Thanks so much! Glad you like the post. And I love #writechat! How cool is that. I'll stop by for sure ;D Looking forward to your tweets tomorrow :D

  4. Hi Cate: Yes - GB is only human - I speculated earlier that perhaps he did it on purpose to try to keep the hordes of women away. That was an episode on Seinfeld years ago. George tried the same thing after Jerry's girlfriend broke up with them when she caught him "in a pick" at a red light. LOL! Thanks! looking forward to your tweets tomorrow ;D

  5. Joanna - I'm a rabid Gerry fan and this pick-ture only made me laugh with delight! I personally think he couldn't give a (insert bleep word here) what anyone thinks, which is why he's so marvellous.

    See you over at #askromancewriter.

  6. Thank you Jojo,

    for this wonderful and informative post. It was truly worth waiting for my dear!!

    And I know have become a Twitter addict - officially became addicted this morning! - after reading your instructions which have made it sooo much fun!!

  7. What a wonderful and comprehensive post! I didn't get to join in on the FIRST Twitter-fest and I wanted to extend a hearty (and admiring) congrats on the launch of yet another amazing venture.

    Jo, you are my hero. *bows* You constantly stretch beyond those boundaries and do such amazing things.

    Thanks for being YOU.



Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you but hope you are a real person and not a spammer. :)

Popular Posts