Twitter for Authors by Beth Barany


A new user of Twitter needs to learn two things: how to tweet and what to tweet. The former can be learned in about five minutes by looking at any internet tutorial, and Barany wisely doesn’t cover it in TWITTER FOR AUTHORS. The latter is more subtle, and is the topic of Barany’s book.

However, very little of her advice will help authors increase their Twitter followers or engagement. For example, Barany tells authors to tweet about other people’s books just so they’ll tweet about yours and to follow book reviewers so they’ll follow you. However, savvy twitter users see right through such fakery. Far better to follow people you find truly interesting and to be interesting yourself so that others will naturally want to follow you.

The chapters in TWITTER FOR AUTHORS don’t flow logically from one to another and much of the information is repeated in several places. The book has completely awful navigation with no hyperlinked table of contents, making it impossible to find anything. It’s also full of things that are supposed to be links to Twitter bios, but the links aren’t live. This seems like nitpicking, and perhaps it is, but it’s also a symptom of a larger problem: the book itself is not well organized and shows very little depth of thought.

Barany claims that Twitter can help an author sell more books but never explains exactly how. She is very interested in helping writers craft their online persona, but I’ve found that being my genuine self on Twitter works much better. I’m there to make friends, not sales. And what do you know? If you relax and have fun on Twitter, the sales take care of themselves.


rating: 2 stars


I recommend How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie and Brent Cole or The Author’s Marketing Handbook by Claire Ryan instead of this book.

5 thoughts on “Twitter for Authors by Beth Barany

  1. How I envy your capacity for honesty in review. Might be hard for the reviewed at times, but there’s always nuggets of good stuff which can improve the product if they take notice.

    That this writer, offering advice for writers, didn’t organize the information or get the links working in *THIS* age is rather telling.

    As always, good stuff.


    • Thank you, Brendan!

      Writing 2-star reviews is HARD. I feel for the writer, I truly do, but my obligation is always to my readers first. I have to give my honest opinion the way I see it otherwise my blog is good for nothin’.

      Thanks for letting me know my reviews are useful. Helps me keep on keeping on.

  2. You are one of the brightest lights in my Twitter-verse. You are genuine, friendly, and take an interest in the people who follow you. To reiterate what you said in the review: making friends will sell more of your books than an armada of annoying tweets requesting your “friends” buy something. I am only one data point, hence statistically insignificant, but I made my first purchase of one of your books after a particularly nice Twitter exchange. I return to buy more of your books because you tell good stories that are well-written. It takes a lot more effort to build relationships than it does to blast soundbites, but your approach works.


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