in Indie Publishing

Making the Most Out of 140 Characters

  • Buffer

As many of you probably know, Wise Ink is a BIG fan of Twitter.


It is perhaps the most valuable tool in social media for an indie author (or any writer, really) to market their book without losing followers. It’s also the easiest way to engage with other writers and find help and support for issues you’re having. It doesn’t require hours of your time, it’s simple to revamp, and the 140-character platform enables you to scroll quickly through lists and feeds to find new people to follow and engage with.


Twitter also makes you, a writer, accessible. Your fans can engage directly with you, get to know you personally, and recommend both you and your book to others instantly.


However, the greatest thing about Twitter, the brevity required for each tweet, has the potential to detract from your media presence if not used correctly. Squishing lots of thoughts into a few words is tough, and just like writing a book, there are good ways to go about this and bad ways.


Twitter is, like most of social media, a casual forum, but that doesn’t mean it’s unprofessional, and this should be reflected in how you tweet!


Just like your writing style helps define your book, how you style a tweet helps defines your author platform and public image.


In the constant struggle between content and length, there are some key strategies to help you say as much as you can in 140 characters that maintain your image as an expert without alienating your followers:


  • Avoid text speak: r u sure bout tht? Y is tht a prob?

Yes, we are! Think about it this way: would you send an email like this to your boss? How about to a coworker? Twitter is full of people that could help you and work with you, and writing like you’re a preteen isn’t very professional.

You want people of all ages to see your tweet and not have to work to decipher it. Abbreviations like this are essentially code, and social media should be easy to consume!



  • Embrace the symbol: How many times have you composed a tweet and realized it’s too long? It happens to us all the time!

Remember that there are some keyboard shortcuts that can cut down on character count. For example:

—Use an ampersand (&) instead of “and”

—Go here to learn how to make an ellipsis (…) one character instead of three


  • Learn publishing abbreviations for when you want to talk shop: there are tons of these, but below are a few of the most common ones.

YA (Young Adult)

sf/f (science fiction/fantasy)

MS (manuscript)

CP (critique partner)

WIP (work-in-progress)


  • #hashtag within the tweet instead of adding at the end. This will save you space while still making your tweets searchable.

For example: I #amwriting #YA today! Anyone else interested in doing a sprint?


  • Respond to your own tweet if you can’t fit it into 140 characters. But use sparingly, and only to avoid cutting down a sentence so much that it becomes unintelligible.

Remember: multiple tweets conveying a single thought can get lost and jumbled in the feed. Responding to the first tweet will raise the chances of it being kept together, but doesn’t guarantee it.


Another note for Twitter users: if you’re linking to a website with a URL, Twitter will automatically shorten it to 22 characters. This is ALSO true for links with less that 22 characters.

There are places online where you can take an ugly, unwieldy URL and shorten it to something just a few characters long. While this has no effect on your available characters for a tweet, it is more aesthetically pleasing for your reader, so you should shorten URLs whenever possible to make your tweets easier to read.


What other tips do you have that gives you more space in a tweet?

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  1. Love this article! As I am in month number 21 of writing my manuscript, I am trying to learn as much as I can about writing and marketing my work (once I get to that point). So, your blog is choc-full of ..well ..wise words.

    Great resource from two writing/publishing pros!

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