Monday, October 20, 2014

Twitter Talk

If you're an author, chances are you belong to the Twitter world. Now if you've come here for some sage advice on mastering the world of tweets, I will warn you, you are going to be sadly disappointed. I don't have the answers. This is a world that has a life of its own, and the recommendations on how to have a successful Twitter feed are as varied as the people who use it.

I've read a lot of different articles, downloaded books, and I still haven't a clue. I've tried different formulas. To me, IMHO, it all comes down to being true to yourself and the amount of time you have to devote to this mysterious world.

A while back when I found myself getting lost for hours on end as I happily tweeted along, I found I was enjoying the human interaction, but losing valuable writing time. I knew I couldn't sustain that if I ever wanted to get my next book out. So I decided to implement a plan. I would devote one whole day to interacting with my friends and followers each week. I called it Thankful Thursdays. The idea was to give shout-outs to my followers and enjoy a good old-fashioned gab fest. Only I discovered it was a major fail for two reasons:

  • First, one day wasn't enough. I missed the daily interaction, and whereas my followers didn't decrease, they stopped increasing at the same rate as before. This proved one thing to me: my followers needed the interaction just as much as I did. I am now back to tweeting daily, although I try to limit myself.
  • Secondly, my all-day shout-out list proved to be annoying to some followers. They appreciated the mention, but the continual list was a bit too much. Being grateful and saying thank you to my followers is important to me, however. Therefore, I now send out a small daily batch of "Grateful 4:" to express my appreciation and litter my posts throughout the week.
Then of course there is the whole topic of WHAT to tweet about. Do we keep it strictly personal or is it okay to promote our books? Again, the advice offered is extremely varied. As writers, we all want to introduce ourselves to new individuals and expand our reader base. Although I do believe it is important to do so in a genuine manner so as not to be obnoxious about it, and sometimes, it can be difficult to know when we are being obnoxious as it is difficult to "read" our friends and followers in the cyber world. What is too much? I really enjoyed the explanation put forth on this topic by Benjamin Wallace, the author of Giving the Bird: The Indie Author's Guide to Twitter, as he describes a scenario of a man at a party.  (You'll have to buy the book to find out what he says...)

What is my "tweet formula?" Honestly, I don't have one. It is ever-changing as I find what works for me and what doesn't. Not to confuse you any more than what you might already be on the subject, here is what I currently tweet in the twitter world:

  • I post socially just because I enjoy it. I love interacting with my friends and those I've met online. We can act like big kids. Is it always professional? No, but it's fun and it is genuine. Being true to yourself and who you are has to be at the forefront of everything you do. The key is honesty. Let others see the real you. You can be both the consummate writer and the goofball joking with your friends. 
  • Quotes are one of my favorites. The wisdom that can be found within a few short words can touch the soul. 
  • Projects my friends are working on. I am one of those individuals that believe in promoting the success of others. We all win when one of us succeeds. You cannot be afraid to support others in their goals. 
  • Words. I love posting a "word of the day" when a good one comes along. 
  • My blog postings. Where my tweets can sometimes show the silly side of me, my blog shows my heart. I talk about all kinds of things from children's literacy to cherished memories, and even my experiences as a writer. 
  • Book reviews I've posted. I'm always looking for quality children's literature to recommend to my readers and nieces and nephew. 
  • Interesting articles. Although one of the books I read said this was a definite no-no as you shouldn't direct traffic away from your site. However, the "helpful" side of me wants to share interesting articles when I find them so I doubt that is going to change. 
  • Snippets from my books and links. Yes, I do send out the dreaded promotional tweets. It is always in the hope my followers will forgive this transgression and even take a peek! 
As I said in the beginning, what people tweet about is as varied as they are themselves. I don't know if there will ever be any "set formula" as things are forever changing, expanding, and going in new directions. All any of us can do is hope to wade through all the advice and find a solution that works best for us as individuals.  

Wishing you all success,

K. Lamb

1 comment:

  1. And this is the thing, Kristen, will there ever be a "set formula" in an age where technology is constantly changing and growing? I don't think so=(
    This is why I literally cringe sometimes when I can't keep up with Twitter. I tried everything, even what you have done with "Thankful Thursdays" and it still isn't enough. I feel bad if I have gone for days without connecting with anyone. But I've learned we have to do what is best for our writing and the journey of our success.
    Twitter is great for making new connections but as far as sales go, I have learned it can be a hit or miss. "Free" usually gets our books out there but then we must go back to selling them, no want wants to click on our links.
    So I agree with you, we must tweet out other content other than links to our books. Tweeting book reviews and other vital author information helps to extend our knowledge and gain more followers and respect.
    But alas, I still miss the quietness of reading and writing. I feel like Twitter is a great way to meet others but other than that, it just takes away from our writing. And I've been doing this for 2 years now, ugh!