We all know the success of a book depends largely on its social media presence. There isn’t a debate. That’s how it is now. As society and cultures evolve and morph, so do the marketing methods. The younger generations raised in these new marketing methods learn them like they learn language. It’s second nature to craft a tweet, edit, post aesthetically-pleasing pictures, and know when they’re posting too much or too little. But older generations haven’t had the luxury of growing up in this world. It really is as difficult as learning a completely new language—and not everyone has the ability to take the time to learn it.
It’s hard enough writing a book. And then you get a book deal and you suddenly have edits upon edits. And then the marketing team is asking you to spend hours per day on social media. But wait—you don’t have any social media accounts. You don’t market—you just write books. So what do you do?
You hire a ghostwriter for social media.
The market right now for publicists and ghost tweeters is large. Half the authors out there may be well-versed in social media, but many are understandably not. Some of those may have some idea of how to use social media, but with book edits and life events and everything else in between, they just don’t have the time to work on marketing.
Ghost tweeting is a special craft. There is something artistic about any form of ghostwriting. You are allowed into a person’s life and you get to imagine yourself in their shoes, in their voice, and create work that would come out of their brains. The thing that makes or breaks your success as a ghost tweeter is how well you are able to capture the voice of that author. So how do you do this?
Here are a few best practices I’ve found from my experiences ghost tweeting.
1. Read some of their book.
You don’t have to read all of the book. But certainly read some of it. Get a feel for the tone and line-level writing. What is the cadence of their writing? What kind of punctuation do they prefer? The more you do this, the easier it will be to understand their writing.
2. Read their blog.
Most authors have a blog. It’s a fairly common practice in the writing community, and it’s almost required by most publishers for adult genre authors. Blogs are much more casual and will get you closer to what their voice would come across as on Twitter. It’s how they write for the internet—and that’s exactly what you’re trying to do for them.
Sometimes I’ve even paraphrased things directly from author’s blogs. It not only gives you a great sense of voice, but it also provides ideas for content. You are taking something they’ve already said and writing it in the language of Twitter. It’s what they hired you for.
3. Talk to them. A lot.
The best way to get a sense for someone’s personality is to talk to them. This seems obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in basic correspondence as a professional rather than a person. Talk to them on the phone. Get comfortable with them. Let your emails ease into a more casual realm. Make them comfortable and watch how they respond. Plus, I always recommend befriending the person who is trusting you to pretend to be them on the internet.
Getting hired as a ghost tweeter is a huge form of trust. As millennials, we’re privileged to have grown up in this language. Do not take this lightly. Get to know your author. They’re trusting you to be them on social media.