Twitter Attracting Readers

19502618_sTwo years ago when the opportunity to launch a website, and get my name out there as a writer presented itself, I thought half the battle had been won.  For someone aspiring like myself, yes, it is definitely beneficial to have an on-line presence.  Now understand, I will only speak of writers here, although I’m certain others may put together what I mean, and find it useful.  First, let me say, the more I look at the concept of Twitter, and writing, the more I’m left scratching my head.  What do I mean?  Think about this.  I want to draw your attention to your followers.  Of course, as writers, we follow other writers.  But, have you stopped to ask yourself why?  If you’re tweeting about your most recent book, wouldn’t it benefit the author to advertise to potential readers who – get this –  are probably not on Twitter.  I’m trying to understand how tweets to other writers, and  followers who also want to become known in their own right, will increase your readership.

Now, I realize having a Twitter account adds a bit of luster to your curriculum vitae (CV), but will it sell books to readers?  I fully understand there is a Big Brother/Big Sister somewhere keeping track, however, and when you’re in touch with an agent, or publisher the question surfaces – are you on Twitter?  But, has this in itself turned to a high-priced game of, oh I don’t know – chicken? (You know, if you’re not on Twitter, then you get hit by the car.)  This profession is a serious full-time job.  Now, add running a blog, working outside the home, and lastly marketing.  I would like to ask another question.  Do you write about everything, or only about craft?  If it is only on writing, why?  Don’t all these things eat away at your time as it is?  Who do you want reading your material; other writers, or everyone?  Maybe, once in a while to encourage, or to present a new issue, something you may have recently learned, but otherwise would  there be a need?

Wouldn’t you prefer to gather readers instead, allowing them a peek at your world versus what you know about writing?  How will that help the reader who is searching for, well….reading material.  Once you’ve grabbed their attention then, hopefully they’ll come again.  Trying to make one’s way through this world of publishing is a difficult task.  Thinking about this takes me back to square one – gather your readership before the contract is ever negotiated.  But, like I said, will you find them on Twitter?  Yes, there is the occasional reader/reviewer who signs on, and follows you, the writer.  Then, there are others who have subscribed to your blog.  Those are two categories of which you want more.

Lastly, I’d like to mention tweeting that book information.  Isn’t that like screaming in to a massive empty glass bubble?  Again, this doesn’t get the information out to potential readers.  Unlike owning a company where social medial can provide a channel of open dialogue between that company and the consumer, to name one thing.  But, this is a rule that does not apply to the writer.  I have never professed to know how, or which form of social media is best for this field, but I had to put the question out there.  I have heard authors talking of cutting their Twitter time way back, because they had not received the return they first thought.  What I’m getting at is, Twitter is a great platform for networking, but is anyone else out there with me when I say, it’s the person feverishly turning the pages who sky-rocket the numbers.  Isn’t putting your work in the hands of the “public at large” what you want versus it simply going to Wilhelmina Writer’s Twitter stream somewhere in Anywhereville, South Dakota.  To reiterate, for those who are aspiring, running a blog and tweeting that post is great advertisement, and will absolutely get you on the map.  But, a contract equals lock down time, which does not include Twitter.  For me, I guess I’ll hang on a bit longer, but once I sell something, I do believe my time will be cut way back as well on this planet called Twitter.  Please, give me your thoughts and/or change my opinion.

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

#FF – Follow Friday

What are Follow Fridays to you?  Last Friday I followed a link discussing just this matter.  On this particular blog, the familiar #FF everyone on Twitter is aware of received a new title – “white noise.”  Reading on, I understood this writer to look at tweets cluttered with names on top of more names as “spammy.”  In perusing this author’s opinions, it began to sink in, and made me want to take a closer look at my own #FF habits.  We all love the thrill of catching our names tweeted by an associate follower, whatever their field.  It gives the person mentioned, I think, a sense of belonging.  This, however, brings up another point.  As you watch tweet after tweet after tweet go by, is there anything in each one to motivate you into clicking and following the link to their profiles?

Yes, it did take me some time to figure out why all the hullabaloo on Friday.  But, once I caught on I too joined the race.  Through my writing organization, one of the members decided to put together an activity for Friday, with the thought that each member joining would have the chance to increase their followers.  I have to say, the first few months, I did notice exponential growth – I mean, there were some Fridays when I walked away with up to twenty new followers.  Each time that winning sense came over me, akin to when you leave Atlantic City or Las Vegas as a winner.  But, as I said before, I needed to take a step in reverse for a minute.  I thought back to when I first signed up for a Twitter account.  As I watched the Friday happenings, many people would begin their mentions with a little blurb as to why you should follow a particular person.  I have noticed over time, many have gotten away from even that routine.

So, in my stepping backward, I wanted to take a hard look at what I could do to spice up, if you will, my Friday Follows.  Now, I haven’t called in any wrecking equipment, and I also realize that from time to time, even what I’ve done will need refreshing.  Now, you do have to understand this has made for more tweets, simply because of the 140 character rule.  But, I think it’s worth it to show someone who you actually took the time.  However, when you think about it, the person reading the tweet can know what the person mentioned does, and make an educated guess as to whether they want to go further by clicking their way to their profile.  But, just little things should make a world of difference, and cut down on what is quickly, and unknowingly becoming recognized by many as “white noise.”  Examples:

  • Interested in (insert writing group name or whatever group you are promoting) – then list members;
  • Here are some women fiction writers I follow from (region);
  • These fine folk help with art/promos.

You get my drift.

I’ve been on most of these social networking sites for a little over a year, and not only are new ones cropping up every week, but there is also, always something new to learn.  And, all in the name of promotion.  I don’t believe twitter will get you that publishing contract so many of us are searching for – if it ever has, please tell me about it – but, it appears a necessary part of this promo game.  When you think about it, it’s kind of like we’re feeding some giant god’s voracious appetite.  But, regardless, if this will assist in endorsements, then, I guess, I’ll hang around.  Any thoughts?

Vector courtesy of 123rf.com

Applications or Invasions

Recently a sister writer asked me about Klout, since I had gone there and given her a rating, which I then, sent as a tweet.  What is Klout, you ask? And, yes, there are still some of us who are unaware of these….oh, let’s call them on-line tracking services, but I guess you could also consider them applications.  According to Wikipedia, the definition for Klout is, “…. company that provides social media analytics to measure a user’s influence across his or her social network.”  I remember when I first found out about this automatic trap, I’ll call it.  I went on-line and Googled my name.  I got a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach when I found me tied to this entrapment.  But, as I searched further, Klout didn’t appear as the only connection.  Here is a short list of what I found:

  • Retweet Rank – Measures and tracks your retweets;
  • Tweet Meme – Aggregates all the popular links on Twitter to determine which links are popular;
  • Moby Picture – Directly shares your photos, videos and audio friends on favorite social sites like facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube, and more.  (This one took me by total surprise, since it’s dressed up as a photo sharer.  I only needed to post a picture on Twitter);
  • Topsy – A realtime search engine powered by the social Web;
  • Favstar – An online service which tracks twitter and Twitter usage;
  • Twello – A search directory of people by area of expertise, profession or other attribute listed  in personal profiles on twitter.  This one I did sign up for;
  • Twply – This app if fairly new, but it supposedly sends your twitter replies to your e-mail inbox.  The good thing here is that you are given a choice; you can allow it to post to your e-mails or you can just say no thank you.

Now, like I said this is a short list, but these go on and on.  Go to any one, and simply type in your name – it will come up. It outraged me somewhat, but if you want to be in this social networking game, you really do need to pick your battles.  As I’m writing this, I’m recalling another writer who refused to join one of these social giants, but is on twitter. Did they not join that particular networking tool because of a privacy issue? If that is the reason, then, huh, they need to think again.  You’ve heard me mention before, that I kicked and screamed for quite awhile, since I too am a very private person.  Well, I hate to bring this to light, but I think I would have done just fine as long as I stayed away from twitter – maybe.  Has anyone noticed that is the key social device in this article.  Everywhere I look, everything I read is tied to it.  So, what?  Would that mean, get yourself a facebook page, a facebook fan page, a website, a blog, but under any circumstances, stay away from twitter?

I’m not sure if that is the correct answer of the day, but it does make one think.  What seriously outrages me is that I only signed up for one of these things.  The key is once you send that first tweet, you’re on the radar.  And, I think the only way around it is to drop out of sight.  But, remember in that case you cannot use Google either.  Do you know what they store in their computer banks?  I do hope you know that every single time you use that search engine, it goes in to some giant filing system.  And, lastly, I almost forgot.  The other day, I noticed a tweet in my “mention” column from someone I don’t even follow, and I’m actually still doing research on this, so I can’t define it at the moment.  In any event, the title read “Authors and Readers Digest is out – top stories today via @mauied92,” (my Twitter username) and one other person.  What!? of course this piqued my curiosity, so I went there.  I had to search a bit, but there, right under something I tweeted, my picture.  I don’t remember what it involved, and now I can’t find it any longer.  But, it appears as some type of on-line catch all newspaper run by an “anybody,” then, building it, promoting it, and publishing it on-line.  There is, at the very bottom of the link to Authors and Readers Digest an option to “stop mentions.”  You gotta know I’ve already done so.

Would the act of catching tweets and using them as news in an on-line publication be a compliment to a writer or a true invasion?   Wouldn’t the person running the publication have to ask me if I wanted my tweet picked up as a story?  And, yes, I found some of my twitter followers on this long list as well.  Have you checked your @mention column?  I’m sorry, I don’t find this complimentary.  In the old days, before all these computer applications; when the publisher/agent did all the promoting, a person had some sense of privacy still.  But, today, is this the price we have to pay for popularity?  It definitely is making me give it all a second thought.  What do you think?

A New Millennium

It took me the longest time to warm up to the social networking craze. Who remembers the old days when most of an author’s promotions, were done by their publisher?  I don’t know when all this happened, it took place so rapidly, but being more active in self-promotion is key to staying in the game these days. Along with self-publishing that has sprung forth, a person’s participation in advertising is crucial.  Then, out of nowhere entered Facebook and Twitter. I recall watching hosts of television shows, and listening to radio announcers close with: Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.  I also recall talking to myself about all the meetings and workshops I know I missed on the subjects. But, my response to all of it remained the same, “Well, I’m not gonna.” My uppermost desire two years ago simply involved acquiring a website. I wanted that more than anything else.

Then, suddenly, that door opened and I became catapulted, literally into cyberspace. At that time I still held true to my first instincts. I did not want private/personal information floating around the Internet. But, everywhere I turned, even though I heard my own complaints echoed from others, a force continued to pull me in.  So, here I am, two years down the road with a website, a Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook Fan Page account.  At the time I had no idea the kicking and screaming worked as a harness, so to speak-holding me back from all that I could be, as well as, limiting the exposure of my name to my immediate circle of family and friends.  If one desires a career in writing, a ton of  directions are already out there. The person hoping for this must jump on the road, and follow the signs – they are clearly posted. Now, some may ask what is it that I’m promoting on a Fan Page, since I am not yet published. I look at it this way, if I’m not out there, no one will ever know who I am. If I want a career in writing, I’ve got to hustle. Besides, when that “call” does come, I’ll already have been frolicking in the pool, which means my daily routine shouldn’t be upset that drastically. In addition, the cheering section will already be in place, don’t you think?

If someone wants to do this, it will take some time. I remember doing a little each day; adding one feature, and then another.  When I got that down, I moved on. This way, you don’t become overwhelmed, because it does engulf every aspect of your thoughts. Let me preface what I’m about to say with, I am not patting myself on the back at all – my computer skills are strictly limited to word processing, and that is all.  But, I have surprised even me. I set up my website, Twitter, and Facebook account, all on my own. My Fan Page, however, did require some assistance.  But then, the other day, I surprised myself again by adding a  Fan Page “Like” button to my website. What I’m getting at is, if I can do this anyone can. Then, the other day, a sister writer sent a tweet about how she liked Twitter much more than Facebook. I said to myself – “self…I’ve been saying that since the beginning.”  I responded to her tweet, “Does that mean you’re less social if you like Twitter better?” Her answer, “No, you’re more social.” I must say, all of this has taken me, by complete surprise.

To sum up all I’ve been saying is, we have come, somehow into another new millennium, and if you “wanna be” anything, but are not yet involved in any of this social networking, then you’re standing on the outside peering through the window, watching the smoke. Don’t you think you should get on board, and strap in – otherwise you may get left behind choking and gagging on the space dust.