Judging from questions I get in my inbox, many people don’t understand Twitter hashtags. Maybe they are just plain annoyed by them – but they can be useful in your book marketing.

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If you're looking for readership and engagement, finishing your book is the first step. These social media marketing tips can help you frame your approach to the process of promoting yourself and your work online.

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Authors who are promoting themselves online are often told that they need to be everywhere- all the time. But can you really be expected to manage an effective presence on every social network? Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Bebo, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn, MySpace, SumbleUpon, a hundred others, and Habbo Hotel—Exhausted yet?

For writers who are new to social networks and social marketing, I recommend you test the waters first; get in the shallow end and wade around for a while. Forget about being everywhere. Just concentrate on the basics. For all you social media gurus out there, this article ain’t for you. But if you want a brief overview of how to effectively share your books and promote your writing career online, here goes:

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For authors who want to use Twitter in order to promote your work, here's one very important tip that often gets overlooked: stick with it! 'Slow and Steady' Joins the Twitter Race.

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Here's how to create a custom URL for your Author Facebook Page if you have at least 25 fans instead of the gobbledygook they initially assigned.

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