9 Tips for Hosting a Hashtag Game (#AuthorToolbox)

Hello to all my followers and this week’s #AuthorToolbox drop-ins! Maybe it’s a New Year’s Resolution thing, but in the past few weeks, I’ve had about a dozen people ask me to promote their new hashtag game. It’s my “job” to do this, but it’s starting to get tiring. Everyone and their BFF seems to think they can host a game, and with the Twitter writing scene fast becoming flooded with these things (there were over TEN daily games in December alone, not including the dozens of weeklies), I think it’s time I post my thoughts, both as a host and as a promoter.

What You Get

Let’s face it: you are considering hosting a game because you want some form of notoriety. You want to sell your book, or build a platform, or become a household name on Twitter (if you are doing it just for funsies then this article is not for you). The sad fact is that people aren’t going to buy your book or donate to your Patreon if you host a daily/weekly game. They come cheap. Everyone is doing it.

If you’ve been around a long time – think #authorconfession or #WIPJoy or #1linewed – then maybe you’ll generate some sales if you do a successful book launch alongside your established game. To summarize, you are going to have to become well-known over a long period of time in a flooded market if hosting a game is going to benefit you in the least.

Time Commitment

So you just post a theme word and let the game sail away into popularity, right? Haha, no. I envy your naivete. Roughly half the games and chats I promote – even from established Twitter personas – die out. The #1 reason? Time commitment. 

The market is so packed with games that you have to reach out and pluck players from the ether by sheer invitation. As a newbie, you have to respond and engage with every single early Tweet. Otherwise there is no way in heck that you are going to ever generate the kind of numbers that will benefit you monetarily… and those are high.


Do you make friends doing this? Definitely! This is where #FriDare has truly helped me. I’ve now got a nice little circle of friends that’s relatively tight-knit. This makes it worth it for me to run #FriDare: I have people I enjoy, who also enjoy me. However, it’s not like I’m swimming in new friends, and I could make just as many friends by selecting someone else’s game to play every week. And that would save me the time of setup and management. I keep running #FriDare because I learn from it and laugh from it and see the same faces there weekly… but not because it makes me money.


Want to attract more participants by giving stuff away? Good luck. You’d be blown away by how little people want to engage even when there’s free stuff on the line. This is especially true of digital freebies, but it’s still relatively true for gift cards and physical items. Sometimes offers of editing will get you somewhere, but that’s about it. You may have better luck with more followers or more credentials, however.

If You Still Want To Run a Game…

So you still want to run a hashtag game, eh? Here’s my personal advice on the hashtag game scene:

  1. Use a short, catchy hashtag. Seriously. Why tag your event #WIPforthewin when you can tag it #WIPftw? Why tag it #WIPftw (a random letter assortment) when you could do the catchy #WIPwin? Don’t make a game with the first tag you think of. When in doubt, come up with four short ones and make a poll.
  2. Be simple. The more complicated the game, the fewer participants you will have. (This will be fine if you want a more intimate community.)
  3. Be consistent. If your game runs every Tuesday, then post every Tuesday. Be clear about your post times and stick to your guns. If you skip a day, post to let people know.
  4. Do your research. My list of daily events will tell you how many games and chats happen each day. Spring for days with less competition. Some people start a game without knowing how many others exist.
  5. Have followers. You wouldn’t believe how many people with 120 followers think “I’m qualified to start a game.” You barely know how Twitter works. You have no starter base. You don’t know what a “handle” is. Learn the basics before tackling the big stuff.
  6. Post beforehand. Post your theme a day or more before the day of your game. If someone searches for your theme and can’t find it, they won’t participate. And some people schedule these posts ahead of time. On @writevent, I only promo events day-of when they have their themes down by 11pm the day before. Many don’t.
  7. Engage. Posting your theme image (or worse, your theme line of text) and then walking away isn’t going to work, especially at the outset. Reply, RT, Like, read.
  8. Limit the sexiness. If it’s an erotica game, be extra oblique, or you’ll get swarmed by porn. This was the fate of #ThrustyThursday. Even #FriDare gets porn sometimes because apparently “Dare” is sexual. Limit this by choosing an anti-sexual name.
  9. Tell people when you quit. This is common courtesy (especially the people promoting for you, hint hint smack). At the very least, post “#WIPwin had a good run, but we’re done. Thanks for participating!”


  1. Limit the sexiness, oh my god, such a good tip. I never thought of that aspect before. And YES, these games keep popping up! Last year sometime, I started to put together a list of these games, and it was too much, because the hosts and games keep changing, new ones, etc. The market is too crammed with these at the moment, in my opinion. These are great tips for anyone who wants to take a stab at it though!

  2. Thanks for the advice. I must admit I was not very familiar with #hashtag games, but I’m old, so I miss a lot. I’ve become overwhelmed with the number of ineffective ways I’ve found to promote myself and my books over the years. Raimey is right. The market is saturated. I’ve found book promotion is like yelling at the refs at a football game. You might feel better, but no one notices you and nothing is changed.

  3. I had considered doing a hashtag game, as I do enjoy participating in them, but I saw, as you said, that they were popping up everywhere and decided it wouldn’t be worth the work. I have made many friends through the games I already participate in. I feel it’s just more beneficial to participate in the already well-established games.

    Also, thanks for the free writing events posts you do every day! They’re are so helpful!! 🙂

  4. You are so right. Twitter is flooded with these games. There’s so many that I just get overwhelmed. As a hashtag host myself, I get frustrated with the number of nonsense events that exist. It’s impossible to pick out the events actually worth participating in. I have no idea how you keep track of them all. (Your list amazes me.) Thanks for all you do.

  5. Great advice Mica! I never even considered running a game. Okay maybe for a millisecond before deciding it would be too time-consuming for me. Really great tips for those who want to jump in. I would never have thought dare would have negative repercussions. And once again I will say thank you so much for tracking all these games and chats. You are amazing!
    (Makes a note to try and participate in FriDare… ;D )

  6. Great post! The time commitment is real: I spend at least 2 hours a week running #sunscribbles. (Those graphics don’t make themselves xD) I do it for fun though, so I don’t mind. Seeing the brilliant lines other people come up with is a worthwhile reward 🙂

    I write a short story a week based on my prompts too. I share lines and the blog link under my hashtag on Twitter, and that attracts a few more visitors to the blog 😀

    Anyone starting a hashtag game shouldn’t be disheartened if participation is slow to start with. Took mine a few months to pick up!

    1. (Sorry for the late response, WordPress did not tell me I had comments… just found out.)

      Don’t feel bad. I, too, feel that Twitter is work. I think it’s a blessing to feel that way though. You’re less likely to lose all your writing time to it!

  7. Pingback: Author Toolbox Blog Hop: A Year in Review – E.M.A. Timar

    1. Cheryl Rick Klein

      I host @Cheerleadertagz a weekly Hashtag game on Twitter. It was my own creation when the Twitter app @HashtagRoundup invited me to join their app because I was a popular player and sub hosted many games that trended in the top 10 in the USA and in other countries. I also have over 40k followers on Twitter from my personal account @cherylt2000.
      Yes it is prestigious to be invited to have a solo Hashtag Game on a app, but I feel as a host of a weekly game that often trends in the Top 10 and thousands of people engage in the games and I see promoted tweets pop up from major companies during my games and yet I don’t get paid a dime from the @Hashroundup App. It is intend frustrating that so many talented Hashtag Game Hosts aredoing all the work, picking tags, doing promos and doing graphics etc for not a single cent. Having your own game is a job and the app doesn’t share the profits with the hosts like me. Totally not fair and somewhat illegal. Many prominent Game Hosts like myself are frustrated and lately a few major Hosts have left the app. It’s simply too much stress and work to do without pay while the app makes tons of ad revenue. In other words , i feel like a idiot wasting valuable time for no pay. Sorry , Hashtag Glory isn’t enough.

      1. This article is geared toward the hashtag games in the writer community. Most of these are very small games who don’t deal with this sort of issue, but this is good for my readers to know in case they are ever approached by Hashroundup or other apps. Thank you for posting.

  8. Another important thing to note with regards to posting themes ahead of time is time-zone differences. There are several events I can’t participate in on the correct day, because the theme isn’t posted yet due to time differences.

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