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Hashtag 101 for Writers and Authors

When did a hashtag become a hashtag?

There really was a first moment when someone essentially said, ‘hey, let’s use a hashtag as a way of organizing things!’

That someone was Chris Messina and on August 23, 2007 he posted the following:



What is a # hashtag?

A hashtag is what many of us know as the pound sign (found at shft+3 on most keyboards).

When the pound sign is placed before a specific word or phrase – with no spaces or other characters – that’s a hashtag.

How do hashtags work?

Hashtags are used as a way to group together information so that people can easily find the information they are seeking.

Just as the index in a book groups together mentions of a certain word so you can easily find that for which you are searching, hashtags group together mentions of keywords or key phrases.

When you want to find something in a book, you turn to the index.

When you want to find something online, you turn to the search bar.

To find items that have been posted in social media, you search with the pound sign before the word.

It’s a common misconception that # hashtags are only used in Twitter!  Today almost every form of social media is using hashtags to organize content.

In this example I will use Google Plus – by the way, I know a lot of people have heard of G+ but are not sure how to use it.

If you’d like to attend a free webinar to learn about the basics of Google Plus, simply click here:  http://leighstjohn.com/webinar-googleplus101/

Searching for hashtags

For this example of searching for hashtags, let’s look at volunteering:


…and this is the result…


As you can see, my hashtag search not only gave me info on volunteering and various volunteering organizations on Google Plus, it also provided me with a list of other suggested hashtags I might like to try.

Hashtags for Writers and Authors

Here are just a few to get you started…


Writing can be an isolating experience, and Twitter is a great way of connecting with other writers – after all, it’s us and a keyboard that is usually connected to the Internet, yes?  #amwriting is a hashtag started by Johanna Harness as a way of supporting writers and developing a sense of community.

For instance, here’s a tweet that I just made using that hashtag:


Not only that, but within a few minutes my tweet had been favorited by someone obviously interested in the topic of my book:


This gives me the perfect opportunity to connect with that person (a potential purchaser and reader of my book!):



Friday Reads has become a good way of promoting your books if you can persuade your friends to include you in their #fridayreads!

Ideally, include the Twitter @username of the author and if the book has a hashtag use it as well, and a link to where they can buy the book. If you have an Amazon Associates account, you will even earn money if people click the link and buy the book!

And if someone else gives a shoutout to one of your books, make sure that you retweet it on your own Twitter account, and add it to your ‘Favorite’ tweets.


Running a book giveaway on Twitter? Use #bookgiveaway to help people discover it.

Here are some more to keep you going…


Connect With Other Writers and Authors

  • #AmEditing
  • #AmWriting
  • #BookMarket
  • #IndieAuthors
  • #LitChat
  • #MemoirChat
  • #PoetTues
  • #ScriptChat (Screenwriters)
  • #WordCount
  • #WriteChat
  • #WritersLife
  • #WriterWednesday
  • #WritingParty
  • #YALitChat
  • #ZineChat


General Writing Information

  • #AskAgent
  • #AskAuthor
  • #AskEditor
  • #BookMarket
  • #BookMarketing
  • #BookMarketing
  • #EBooks
  • #GetPublished
  • #IndiePub
  • #PromoTip
  • #Publishing
  • #PubTip
  • #SelfPub
  • #SelfPublishing
  • #WriteTip
  • #WritingTip


Inspiring Creativity & Productivity

  • #1K1H (write one thousand words in one hour)
  • #Creativity
  • #StoryStarter
  • #WIP (work in progress)
  • #WordAThon
  • #WritingPrompt


Connect With Readers

  • #BookGiveaway
  • #BookGiveaway
  • #FreeBook
  • #FreeDownload
  • #FridayReads
  • #Kindle
  • #LitChat
  • #MustRead
  • #MustRead
  • #Nook
  • #StoryFriday
  • #TeaserTues


Book Marketing

  • #99c (to offer or pick up an eBook bargain)
  • #AuthorRT
  • #BookGiveaway
  • #BookMarketing
  • #FollowFriday
  • #FreebieFriday
  • #FreeReads
  • #Novelines (to quote your own work)

If you’d like to attend a free webinar to learn more about the basics of hashtags, simply click here:  http://leighstjohn.com/webinar-hashtags/

You can purchase Leigh’s book, “Hashtag 101 – Hashtag Basics for Non-Geeks” on Kindle for only $0.99:  http://bit.ly/hashtag101book

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