Twitter: Big Hats are Only for Cowboys

There are better ways to grow a following than the”big hat- no cattle” method. Hundreds of thousands of followers count less than an audience of followers who are interested in what you have to offer, so  5,000 interested beats out the 50,000 random. Most already are joining the huge amount of very cool information swapping on this microblog social network.  When you tweet/share great information that people care about, they retweet/share your information with their network. Even better, people also retweet/share your content with their networks with your name associated with it.

Sharing others’ content is great, but a far better option is for authors to generate your own original content. The most effective way to use the Twitter social network is as a pointer to your own articles, blogs, newsletters or appearances. When people share your content that you write in your own voice, then you’re raised to a higher level of visibility to influence others,  and your network of interested readers becomes multiplied by all the additional networks of those genuine followers. Authors who use Twitter this way accelerate increase in audience by multiples, and riding on others’ networks boosts top visibility, findability and as a final result, more books sold and more future books because readers will be looking for more from you.

One of the main changes brought about by the digital landscape is that the marketing model itself has changed. The challenge has become magnetizing interest in you and what you do, effectively, efficiently and with a plan instead of hard selling. As a literary agent, I’ve been working with successful and tech-savvy author clients for decades, to find their interested audience and increase visibility and sales. Now we’re sharing the platform steps and strategies used by top authors in our book, more info at

If you’ve arrived here at The Platform blog through Twitter, welcome!  Please leave your Twitter handle here or on Twitter @cjelen  so we all can connect, and please share/ reply below with your biggest challenges on Twitter.


Carole Jelen

Literary agent, content provider, author, corporate consultant to book and online publishing. Connecting authors to publishers in all top series such as the branded “For Dummies” line. Building author careers with single and series titles.

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Posted in Book Marketing, The Author Platform, Writer Platform
17 comments on “Twitter: Big Hats are Only for Cowboys
  1. Excellent post! So refreshing to gain new, valuable direction. – Julie

    • Carole Jelen Carole Jelen says:

      Thank you Julie, your feedback makes it worth the (huge) effort to write a book and teach what we’ve learned that will help authors. Appreciate.

  2. Shelley Burbank says:

    Okay. Posting Twitter comment here. I’m especially interested in learning more about how to use Twitter effectively. I am mystified. Every tweet feels like a minute speck being sifted into a big pile of similar minute specks.

    • Shelley,
      Twitter can seem like one gigantic haystack, where you’re the needle people keep looking for. But as with most anything else online, your task isn’t to connect with millions (though that’s always nice).

      When you’re getting started, you just want to connect with the subset of folks interested in the same things you are. One way to do that is to use the Twitter Search box (or Trending Topics) to find people talking about that topic.

      As you scroll down the list of posts, you’ll find people whose tweets are interesting, have useful links to websites and articles related to that topic, or just plain witty. Those people are the ones to follow, and you can retweet (or favorite) their posts.

      If all goes well, other people will begin to follow you for the same reasons (interesting/useful/witty). All the while, you’re sharing your online activity along with other interesting things in your niche. There’s a reason so many sites have those sharing buttons with the bluebird icon (like the one a few inches above these words).

      Hashtags started spontaneously as a way to organize tweets by topic, and now have been formalized to the point where every ad you see has a hashtag in the corner of the frame, and every conference you attend has its “official hashtag” so participants (and other interested parties) can follow along.

      Choosing the right stuff to share (and not just every piece of linkbait that crosses your eyes) enhances your own credibility as a source of good information, and grows that audience.

      In the process, feel free to display a little personality in your Twitter feed too. Unlike your blog, you’re allowed to be “off topic” when it seems right. See something noteworthy while you’re out and about? Snap a pick and tweet it! Think of some brilliant turn of phrase that may not fit in your current writing project, but deserves to see the light of day? Twitter will not only share that one-liner with the world now, but store it indefinitely!

      (Obligatory self-promotion) We’ve got some other ideas to use Twitter effectively in the book. Hope this helps in the interim.

  3. Karen Brees says:

    Enjoyed the post and enjoyed finding you on Twitter.

  4. Carole Jelen Carole Jelen says:

    Thank you Karen and Shelley – Twitter is a great place to e-meet you, and likely I would not have come in contact with otherwise. It’s a springboard for me to take notice of you and then look at your other locations, so please leave your handle and Facebook fan page url for me and others to find you for more info. As a literary agent, I also use Twitter as a fantastic place to find authors for new projects that editors have asked me to find talent to fill. Thanks for great post Mike!

  5. Kim Hotzon says:

    I have recently completed a women’s fiction novel inspired by my humanitarian trip to Rwanda in 2012. After having my manuscript professionally edited, I am seeking a literary agent interested in this genre. My twitter name is @kimhotzon.
    Kim Hotzon

  6. Hi

    What an excellent website, and informative blog- just what I was searching for re Twitter and how to use it to its best advantage.


  7. I found you via purchasing your book this past weekend. It looks great and I can’t wait to dig into it. And your website looks just as wonderful. My biggest challenge, besides time, is what I think a lot of people say–content. I’m not as active on Twitter as I’d like to be but when I am, even though I rarely promo myself and do occasionally retweet, I’ve tried to post useful content but I must not be because I’m rarely retweeted. I’m @cassielknight

    • Carole Jelen Carole Jelen says:

      Thank you for the great comments Cassie,and much appreciated! Thanks too for leaving your Twitter handle too, to look you up easily.Related blog posts and articles that your readers enjoy like this one on POV- – may get the re-tweets, like using “nosedive” in your tweet from that first blog post line.If you try this one, let me know — I’ll retweet it!

  8. Constance says:

    Right now it appears like Expression Engine is
    the top blogging platform out there right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

    • Carole Jelen Carole Jelen says:

      We recommend using WordPress for your author web site — it’s optimum to own your blog by keeping it as a part of your web site.

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Carole Jelen provides much-needed clarity to the fast-evolving, confusing topic of author platform.
Kenzi Sugihara, Publisher, SelectBooks, Inc., former VP/Publisher at Bantam/Doubleday/Dell and Random House

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