Twitter for Authors: Make Reader Connections in 140 Characters or Less

Welcome to Twitter Tuesdays where I feature tips on how to use Twitter for authors by authors. This week we feature tips and advice from author and social media expert, Phyllis Zimbler Miller. She reveals what she wishes she’d known about marketing her novel before becoming a social media expert and how authors can learn from her mistakes and position themselves for success today.

Thanks Phyllis! You can follow her on Twitter here.


I’ve been on Twitter for over three years, and I continue to appreciate the ease of making connections for my books as well as my other interests.

And I’m going to share with you here what I wish I had known BEFORE I self-published my novel, Mrs. Lieutenant ( in April of 2008:

One reason I love Twitter is because there is no need to send friend requests as on Facebook or connection requests as on LinkedIn.  You can simply follow whoever looks interesting to you.  And many times you will then be followed back.

Let’s say I had just written a Middle Grade novel and wanted to connect on Twitter with book agents, publishers and other authors who are interested in Middle Grade novels.

First, I would make sure that I had a good Twitter profile: nice headshot (preferably with a smile), good username, my own name in the name field in settings, and an interesting bio.  Plus, if I didn’t have a website URL, then I would link to my LinkedIn profile or my profile on a book site.

Next, I’d make sure I had already tweeted interesting tweets, including ones directly connected to book writing but not only about my own book.

Now in the search box I would put various terms related to book writing, middle grade novels, publishers, etc.  Twitter would return results that showed tweets with the terms on which I searched.

I would read those tweets and then click on the usernames of those people whose tweets seemed particularly appropriate for me.

Next I would check out the Twitter profiles of these people, and then I would start following those who appear interested in what interests me.

Caution:  I do NOT repeatedly tweet “buy my book” and give my website link.  Instead I tweet about book-related subjects and occasionally mention my book.

If my tweets are interesting and my Twitter profile hot link goes to my book site, people will naturally check me (and my book) out.

Although I didn’t know this advice in April of 2008, when I did learn this, I connected with people on Twitter who are in my target audience: people interested in the role of military spouses.

Then in connection with my novel I also share information to support our troops, especially about getting help for PTSD.  I’m particularly active on Mondays, which are #milmon (military Monday) on Twitter.

In this way I connect with my target audience for the novel while tweeting about information that can help others rather than tweeting “buy my book.”

And now I have expanded that niche on Twitter by occasionally tweeting about the new novel Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders that I wrote with my husband.  In this case I tweet the links to the blog posts in which I write about current events that also figure in the novel (such as the hotly contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea).

Expanding my book brand into supporting our troops (#sot on Twitter) has connected me with wonderful people.  I am extremely grateful for meeting these terrific people plus I love the sharing mindset that Twitter fosters. And if you are on Twitter, do follow me at @ZimblerMiller

Phyllis Zimbler Miller has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic, LLC.  Learn about her fiction and nonfiction books and ebooks at

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  • Robin Moore says:

    Thanks for sharing this blog about Twitter, Phyllis and Beth. Have been wanting to know about Twitter.
    Hmmm, Phyllis, your mention of Spratly Islands in the South China Sea also intrigues me!

  • Robin —

    Thanks for leaving this comment — I appreciate it.

    And I’m looking for people who might like to read LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS and then write a review on Amazon and/or Smashwords.

    If this might interest you, I’d be happy to send you a coupon to Smashwords. You can email me at


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