Tweet-stories. What the hell are they and do they work?

TwitterWhat’s a tweet-story? Well it’s a phrase I coined myself. It may have been used somewhere else, or it may actually have a name, but if it has, I’m not aware, which to my thinking means I can coin whatever phrase I want.

But what actually is it?

It’s a story told in chunks of 140 characters or less, usually less if you want a hashtag or two in there as well.

I’ve been tweeting out sections of several stories over the past few months, usually as tasters of a larger work, the aim beginning to generate retweets, mentions, and ultimately drive readers towards this website. For me, my ultimate aim is to have people read what I’ve written, as I’m sure, is yours if you are an author who possibly has books to sell. For me, the buzz is having people read what I’ve written, and this is just one of the ways I have been approaching this.

So far, I seem to have a small group of people that regularly retweet sections of the stories, and I’ve come up with a series of points that have helped me in this long (laborious) process. It may be that there are tools out there that allow you to load up a bunch of Tweets and auto schedule them all in one go. It may be something that can done, by purchasing the ‘Pro’ versions of existing free software, but as it stands at the moment, I am still endeavouring to do this for free – I’m not making money from writing (which is fine), but I certainly can’t afford to be out of pocket! If you are aware of tools that can do what I am suggesting, either paid or free, leave a comment that might help me and others looking to do something similar.

So, onto my process. To manage my social media, I use Hootsuite. It’s a social media management tool that allows you to control, keep track of and update your relevant social media – Twitter, Facebook, Google plus, and do on. It also allows you to schedule posts so you can be tweeting or updating your followers throughout the day to keep them updated.

  • I find a section of a story that has a bit of ‘meat’ in it – something that isn’t back story, something with some action (not necessarily car chases!).
  • I copy whole sentences to another blank Word document – It may be more than one sentence, but I am obviously aware of Twitter’s character restrictions. For me, it equates to about one and a half lines of text, but it will depend on font/size used. You will soon be able to judge what works, length-wise, just by sight.
  • I also get a selection of shortened URLs that point towards the whole story, a page on my site, or a blog post – whatever works for you. I have these all lined up at the top of the page, and anywhere that a Tweet looks short enough, I will tack one of them on to the end.
  • I also choose a couple of hashtags that seem appropriate – I tend to use one word to identify the story, and possibly #amwriting.
  • If sentences absolutely must run across 2 tweets, I use a dash, ‘-‘, at the end of one and the beginning of the next.
  • At various points I link to the whole story, or at least the story so far.
  • Once the sentences are all there, with any short URL’s and a hashtag or two, I simply copy and paste them in to Hootsuite and let autoschedule sort out the best times to post. With this method, I can forget about this aspect of Twitter for day or weeks at a time. There seems to be a limit how many ahead you can schedule, but coming back in a few days and repeating the process with the rest of the tweets can sort that.

Well, that’s my process, and it has certainly generated some interest, with my site showing spikes of activity during periods of Tweet-story activity. Is tweeting a story something you ever considered?























3 thoughts on “Tweet-stories. What the hell are they and do they work?

  1. Hi there, Steve!
    What an interesting idea! I’ve come across Wattpad which might suit your style – as I understand it, you can post chapters at a time on there, get reviews and such. Sounds good for those who want to experiment with a new style or test out the waters with some new work.
    I’ve recently been wondering about Hootsuite so now you’ve mentioned it, I might finally check it out.
    Glad to see you’ve been getting some interest on your website. Must give your approach a go some time.


    1. Thanks Alannah.
      I have tried Wattpad, but not for a while. I’ve also come across Scriggler, which also seems to lend itself to episodic story-telling. It seems to fit in well with my life at the moment, having limited time to write.
      Let me know if you have any success!


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