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Twitter for authors: Six rules for more fun

I admit, I'm a chronic early adopter. When my friend Gwenda Bond insisted I try Twitter, I signed up. That was in 2008. I didn't get it at first — it seemed like so much chatter — but now I truly enjoy the bookish conversation that can be found there.

But not everyone is like me. And so for those writers who are just girding themselves to jump in, Twitter has posted a list of six Twitter rules for authors. Who could be more authoritative about how to use Twitter than Twitter? Here's an abridged edition of their list:

1. Be authentic, be yourself. Twitter offers a direct, instant connection between you and your readers — they want to know what you're up to.

2. Share your process. Twitter is a place where fans get a deeper connection to artists, performers, scholars ... and authors. Your readers are interested in your process. Tweet a bit about how your work. Invite your followers to a local book-signing.

3. Engage with your readers. Twitter is also a place where your fans can directly engage with you, however much you want (it doesn't have to take up a lot of your time). You can see messages from other users in the "Connect" tab on your Twitter homepage. Is there a question in there for you? Answer it.

4. Find influencers. Twitter allows you to send a public message (via the reply) to anyone else using Twitter. Just use the Search section on Twitter's homepage to find other users. An idea: Who is your favorite living author? See if they're on Twitter and tweet a "hello" to them.

5. Search Twitter. Just type what you're looking for into the search tab to see what people are tweeting about right now. An idea: Is anyone tweeting about a book you wrote? Type the title into Search and find out.

6. Above all, have fun. Twitter is an exceptionally flexible platform that is ripe for creative use. You can live-tweet an event as it happens, or live-tweet a fictional world. You can interview another author.

It's true, Twitter can be fun. It's the kind of place where on a lazy summer weekend, people all over might just start altering book titles so they read like drinks. The other day bookdrink titles were a trending topic across the network; some popular ones were "James and the Giant Peach Schnapps," "Tequila Mockingbird" and "Beer and Loathing in Las Vegas."