I Tweet, therefore I Am

Portrait of Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin by Ilya RepinToday’s post begins a 5 part series on social media.

People have this idea that writing books is some sort of higher calling, that authors do some miraculous thing with words and bucks come rolling in.

‘Taint so, sadly. Books don’t sell themselves, no matter how great the cover is.

Even for those authors lucky enough to have a large, powerhouse company get behind their book, the actual work of getting their author name out there is a job they will have to do for themselves.   This is why, frequently, we see books by successful indies being snapped up by the likes of Doubleday (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Little, Brown and Company (Twilight).  The work has already been done – the book is deemed as having been edited properly, and the author has carved out the niche for their book. For the big publisher it’s a perfect deal.

I think there may be a trend there.

We know we have written the best book we are able. We’ve had it professionally edited, and we have commissioned a great cover. But our book has sold only 7 copies, and we don’t have any more friends we can coerce. No one knows our book is out there. No one knows we exist!

As you can see, my author name comes up on the first 10 pages of google. So, what do we do to make our author name come up on the first page of the google search engine?first page of google 3-18-2013

That’s easy.  First, for one week we spend one hour a day laying the groundwork for advancing our career through the various different social media that are proven to benefit authors.  After that, all we need to do is spend 5 minutes a day tweeting, and perhaps 15 minutes checking our various other social media venues. Also, authors need to blog. That can take as long or as short a time as you want it to.

What?  Yes, I said we had to ‘work’ at it.

Not only do we need to find time to write and get the book prepped for publication, we must use the readily available tools of social media to get our name out there.  Fortunately, there is a huge community of indie authors out there on the internet, and they are wonderful at sharing what works and what doesn’t work with us newer authors.

my twitter pageThe first thing they tell us is to make a Twitter account.  It is free, and not really too difficult. You begin with a blank slate, and they give you an ‘egg’ for a picture.

Choose your Twitter Handle (name) Wisely!  I went with @cjjasp because you only get 149 characters per tweet, including spaces.  Your handle takes up valuable real estate in your tweets, so make it reflect your author name and try to keep it short.

Don’t go with the ‘egg’ – upload a picture of your book, your dog or whatever, but ditch the ‘egg’ as it screams ‘NEWBIE’ when your tweets show up.

Twitter will give you the option of linking your blog or home-page to your twitter profile. If you don’t have one of these, don’t worry. By the end of this series you will have all those blanks filled in, and your twitter profile will direct people to your books.

Next, ‘follow’ some of your favorite celebrities.  They probably won’t follow you back, but celebs tweet all the time, and they often have funny things to say.  Especially  @GeorgeTakai  – he’s frequently hilarious.

Now follow some authors that you may know of.  They will have followers that READ BOOKS. Follow some of their followers.  Follow a few people every day at first, while you are getting the hang of it.  THEN – once you have an understanding of how Twitter works you can get down to the real business of growing your followers.  When a new person follows me I follow them back, unless they are a ‘bot’ and those are fairly obvious.  They are usually spammers and the like. If you get a creepy suspicious feeling from looking at their profile, don’t follow them.

Do something called RE TWEETING.  When one of my followers tweets something that catches my eye I retweet it to all of my followers.  It is a courtesy, but that is what social media is all about–courtesy and scratching each others backs.

As a side note – Don’t EVER click on these links that have been going around twitter for years, that go something like this: “I saw this video of you” or “3 people unfollowed you” or “People are saying bad things about you.” DON”T click on them no matter which trusted follower has sent them to you. THESE ARE VIRUSES, and soon your account will be hacked and you will be spreading this virus like poor Typhoid Mary.

At the end of your first week of building your social media platform you will have links to Twitter, LinkedIn, About.Me, WattPad, Pinterest, and of course, FaceBook.

Tomorrow, we will talk FaceBook.

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4 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, writing

4 responses to “I Tweet, therefore I Am

  1. The relevance of one’s name on the first page of a google search is amazing. If google’s on your side, you might as well pat yourself on the back because that’s a great asset. However, I attribute my google success to my parents – thank god they gave me a name that’s almost unique (save the other two Alexandra Davidoffs I see on google. Yep, only two, as far as I can find!) And as far as twitter goes, I think it’s not only a great social media site to further the reach of your fan base, but also a great tool to further your skill with language. When you really think about it, twitter makes us think a little differently. Random thoughts all of a sudden become important. At first a tweet might seem to be an inconsequential piece of creepy information, but on closer inspection it may be funny or thought provoking. Twitter condenses our writerly ideas, but gives us an opportunity to write something at least once an hour, and in doing so twitter never lets our writerly minds fully hibernate while we take on mundane priorities. Just 140 characters sometimes is enough to spark an idea that will eventually turn into a story.

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  2. On to the next, Connie. I continue to learn so much from you. Now if you can teach me to keep my a*s in this chair and write.

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  3. Pingback: Administrative Housekeeping | Hare's Tales

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