Ever consider doing a live Twitter chat? It’s a great way for your fans to connect with you. If you don’t yet have fans, it’s a great way to get some!
If you have a large following, you can probably do a one-hour Twitter chat all by yourself. Most of us are not so lucky and need to enlist the help of our author friends.
SETTING IT UP
Ask four or five author friends to join you.
Choose a day that is not a holiday or a sporting event day.
Choose an hour to do the chat. When promoting, always include the time zone (example: 4-5pm Eastern).
Choose an appropriate hashtag for the event. Hint: If including the live chat with a book tour, perhaps use the name of your book. If you’re considering doing a monthly or weekly chat, use something that you’ll be chatting about. If your monthly topic is about you and your friends who are all indie authors, maybe something like #indieswrite would work. Make it short and specifically on topic.
Choose a name for your chat. “Indies Go Global” “You Too Can Write” “Thrillers for Chickens” “Cute Boys who Write” Your choice!
Now, go to Tweetchat.com and register your time, day, name, and hashtag. It sometimes takes them two weeks to register your chat and put it on their calendar, so plan in advance. If you’re doing a recurring chat, they will put that on the calendar also.
Tweetchat.com is a live Twitter feed that only shows the hashtag you are following at that moment. You won’t have to wade through a million posts to follow the conversation. Tweetchat also automatically includes your hashtag in your comments, so you don’t have to remember to do so with each comment.
Keep in mind, Twitter only allows 140-character comments, so you should plan your comments in advance.
Pre-write a welcome to your guests in Word, so you can simply copy and paste.
Offer your author friends a chance to introduce themselves, their genres, their titles. Even if the chat is about your book, guests still like to see that you have a lot of cool author friends. Ask each other questions about books or writing process. You can also plan these in advance.
At the end of the chat, offer your author friends a chance to post where guests can find more information about them.
The most important part is: Plan specific questions for you and your author friends. Email them to your author friends and give them ample time to create 140-character answers. After everyone answers a question at the chat, discuss the topic among yourselves. Your guests will start chiming in. Leave your answers open-ended. “Don’t you think a hatchet is scarier than an ax?”
Include your guests in the conversation.
Don’t be afraid to re-tweet comments. This will bring in other guests from Twitter who didn’t know the event was happening. If everyone tweets enough, you may even “trend” on the front page of Twitter and attract an even larger audience. Cool!
If none of your guests enter the conversation, that’s okay. They’re still watching, so keep it lively for them.
Promote the event on Twitter, your blog, your website, Facebook, everywhere.
Create an event on Facebook and invite all your friends. (On the left side of your Facebook newsfeed is a button that says “Create Event.” Use it. On the top of the pop-up box, you can change the event from Private to Public. )
Tell people the day, time (with time zone), hashtag, and topic. Invite them to join you on Tweetchat.com. Create a link. Don’t make them go looking for it. Explain that Tweetchat is a live Twitter feed that only includes the hashtag you’re currently following.
If you’re using the chat as part of a book tour, do the chat toward the end of the tour. That gives you plenty of time to promote that hashtag at every stop!
Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.