1. The the important thing is to prominently display a way for others to follow you. Having cute icon buttons like this on your blog makes it easy for people to follow you. One click and you've gained a follower.
2. Another important, but sometimes overlooked item, is to make sure your twitter bio gives a potential follower a sense of who you are, whether it is merely informative or fun and quirky. My bio is the informative kind:
Science fiction/fantasy writer. I write with co-author David W Small. Blog at Two Ends of the Pen about writing, publishing, author interviews & book reviews.
First, it lets people know that I'm an author and then it informs people that I also have a blog. This bio works for me and I've been lucky enough to gain over 700 followers.
3. Once you establish a twitter account, you're all set to enter the twitter universe. Where to start? I started by searching and finding some fellow authors and following them. Then I looked at their followers and started following some of those folks too. Now you have a stream of tweets to look at. You can also look at some of the trending topics and follow any of those that interest you. You'll see lots of people tweeting and you can choose to follow some of them as well.
4. It's exciting to send out your first tweet to the world. How about sending out a nice friendly hello and then follow it up with some basic info about your yourself or "What's up for today?" kind of tweet. People love to interact and have conversations with others. Only being able to type 140 characters or less keeps your tweets from rambling.
One thing you don't want to be is a spammer. What I mean is that not every tweet should be "buy my book!" These kind of tweets are largely ignored. Think about it. Would you be inclined to buy a book from an annoying twitterer who did nothing but bombard you with the same message? Probably not, but if you spend some time nurturing some relationships with fellow tweeps, you'll meet some really interesting people. I've had a good time meeting so many new people. By the time you do send out a message about your book, they may be more inclined to buy it or if you're really lucky many will RT (re-tweet) your message to their followers. And the snowball effect begins.
That's about it. Go out there and have fun, meet new people and hopefully, sell some books! I'm meeting new people everyday and loving it and I'll bet you will too!
And, of course, don't forget to follow me! My twitter button is in the sidebar of the blog, just scroll down, you'll find my little bird or just click here: http://twitter.com/#!/dlmartin6