Although Help Me Self Publish has only been in business since September 1st 2011, in a few short months I’ve had a crash course in the best ways to utilize Twitter. I fumbled around a lot in the beginning, but the following tools have substantially increased our followers and visits to the HMSP site.
- Buffer: Buffer has given me freedom. Before discovering it, I was tied to my Twitter account, sending out tweets, reading, sharing, and retweeting throughout the day. It was exhausting and worse, I was bombarding our followers with several tweets at one time. Buffer has solved this problem. My tweets can be scheduled during the most opportune times of the day when our followers tend to be online, too. And best of all, I can schedule my own time more wisely.
- Twitter Lists: Okay, I’m not currently following 1000’s of people, but I’m thinking and planning ahead as I expect to. Creating lists has made it so much easier to follow the people I frequent the most, as well as categorize the content Help Me Self Publish represents: Writing/Publishing, Marketing, and Inspiration for Authors.
- Triberr: When Mary first told me about Triberr a few weeks ago, and how she had met these amazingly supportive people and btw, her blog stats shot through the roof; I was a bit skeptical. But, then I was invited to join and it was everything she described. The people are wonderful, with lots of wisdom to share on blogging and writing, and our stat numbers immediately increased 3-fold bringing with it additional readership and exposure for HMSP. Triberr will help us achieve our goals at a much faster rate, as if we hit warp drive. (Hopefully, our dilithium crystals will hold out.)
- Write and Share Quality Information: Of course, no matter what tips and tricks you follow, none of them will do any good if you’re not writing posts people are interested in reading. Since my main goal is to sift through the noise for our followers, I don't worry about how many tweets I’m sending out, I try to insure that each one I’m passing along is something I enjoyed reading myself.
- Retweet, too: It’s a Karma thing. I tend to retweet over copying and pasting when my Buffer que is filled and/or the tweet is in a category I tend to tweet about less frequently, but was interesting to me none-the-less.
- Be courteous: Thank followers, retweeters, and make sure promotions don’t make up the bulk of your tweets.
Do you use any of the above tools? If so, what was your experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
"You know, it's a funny thing about writers. Most people don't stop to think of books being written by people much like themselves. They think that writers are all dead long ago - they don't expect to meet them in the street or out shopping. They know their stories but not their names, and certainly not their faces. And most writers like it that way - " Inkhheart
That was then...this is now.
Before I read the above quote last week, I knew the names of many famous authors, and the faces of only a few.
I would not have recognized Edgar Allen Poe had I strolled into that bar room in Baltimore, or J.R.R. Tolkein, unless I was privileged enough to take one of his classes at Oxford University, but I know their work as intimately as I know my husband.
There were only three authors whose faces I knew as well as their names. One is J.K. Rowling, and well...if you need an explanation, please get up from your friend's wireless laptop, chip away at your ice block front door, harness up your sled dogs and join us in civilization. The other two are J.A. Konrath (at least in profile with sunglasses) and Joanna Penn.
I think as a group, that Inkheart quote is correct - most writers are solitary creatures, and most readers know the words that moved them, not the author who imagined and wrote those words.
In the 21st Century, however this scenario has changed drastically for every writer who wants to publish her work and have it read, AND for every lover of the written word who wants to know more about her favorite writer. With the sudden ease of self publishing and the ability of indie authors to broadcast exactly what they want to say, unfiltered by publishers, we now have an amazing amount of electronically published works to devour. This basic, yet amazing change in publishing has made that Inkheart quote obsolete. If an author, indie or not, wants her books to be read, she must show her readers who she is - literally!
Monday, January 23, 2012 saw this change for me. I now know the names and faces, and have devoured the delicious work of 35 incredible writers (and counting), who have changed my blogging and writing life forever. In the hope that you can do the same, here is the cause of this wonderful transformation.
It's called Triberr.
Belonging to a tribe is a basic human need. Triberr fills that need for writers, and it allows us to help each other. I don't look at another author as a competitor, like another maternity company is a competitor for MommyLoves. So having other authors read, comment and promote my work is the most amazing thing that could happen for my message and my books.
If you are an author, and you want your work read, promote others whose work you admire, and karma will take care of the rest...no really karma is a basic function of Triberr!
Here's to a new world for authors, and once you have edited and formatted your manuscript, send it out into the world by joining the tribe!
Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom
"Facebook is where you lie to your friends. Twitter is where you’re honest with complete strangers." Scott Levy /FuelInternetMarketing and @FuelOnline "Social Media" is the generalized term used for all online chat/messaging/video communication, but not everyone is social in the same way. Facebook and Twitter are amazing communication tools for building a tribe for entrepreneurial authors, and each platform has a unique language and set of tools for success.
Before an author can use either effectively, the platform, message and purpose must be clearly established. If you write, publish and wish to promote your historical fiction novels, for example, you wouldn't tweet about the sci-fi mystery you just read. Similarly, if you write YA romance novels, you wouldn't post pictures of your trip to Washington D.C. with your in-laws on your Facebook page. The sci-fi mystery and Capital trip are best left to your personal social media accounts.
Whichever social media you use (preferably both) blatant self promotion will quickly get you "unfollow"ed! Stay true to your message and be consistent with your posts, and your subscribers and followers will know what to expect, and expect even more. Isn't that what every author wants...a ravenous audience for her work?!
- Facebook uses tags, photos, links and video to share "stories" with friends and subscribers. Status updates are called "stories," and should be thought of as such - short stories containing useful information for your subscribers. Two to three posts per day with anywhere from one sentence to two paragraphs each is an acceptable amount of interaction with subscribers to your page. The information should be in some way interactive with your audience. The more you ask your readers to interact, the more they will come back for more, and your list of fans and readers will build. You can even set up your facebook account to automatically feed to your twitter account, which brings your twitter followers back to your facebook page. Just remember the difference in tone between the two social media audiences, and be sure the first 140 characters of your facebook posts grab the reader to help them make the decision to click on the link.
- Twitter can be more difficult for many writers, because it forces them to edit themselves. No longer can we be verbose and completely descriptive. 140 characters wouldn't even contain most of the sentences in a fiction novel, but Twitter is probably the best preparation for anyone wishing to become an indie author in the digital age. No pictures or videos can be shared except through links, and mini links are preferred. Twitter will shorten full links in a post, but many savvy twitter users employ the help of services like Tinyurl.com to help them gain back some characters. Double or even triple the number of tweets over facebook posts are acceptable, and the wittier the better. Again interactive is better, but often tweeting the work, blogs and quotes of others is most popular amongst followers. Karma, people - what you put out comes back to you! Services like Buffer or TweetDeck help manage the stream of information available on this fast paced, busy social media platform.
Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom
Say Bump and Take a Left
If predictions for 2012 eBook sales come true, self published authors will need to ensure their books stand out as the diamonds amongst the electronic bookshelves full of cubic zirconia. In order to garner a good chunk of this ever growing electronic pie, authors could face an exhausting hourly grind to ensure their material is devoured by readers in the coming year.
Here are 5 keys to ensuring your diamonds shine brightly:
- Write a good book, have it edited, rewrite it, have it edited again...repeat...(and take these pieces of advice from Seth Godin to heart!)
- Use Review Blogs - Find a few in your chosen genre, then follow their submission requirements. Search for more review blogs, and repeat...
- Create your online Author Home - Blog, Website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. see our Helpful Hints for details and free information. Be sure to be yourself, because your readers will want to engage with you and buy from you if they connect with you!
- Use Social Media regularly and authentically! Here are some tips to help you "Tweet as you Speak", and another for finding quality followers. A future post will talk about the difference between Facebook and Twitter, and your need to change your communication style when connecting through each.
- Participate in the social media of the publishing company(ies) you chose. Kindle Direct Publishing, pubit, iBooks, Smashwords, etc., all have their own facebook, twitter and publishing communities with which you can engage possible readers and author/publisher networks. Don't forget Goodreads - an amazing community of readers and authors through which you can personally offer your work for sale and connect with your audience.
As you can see, this will require a major time investment for any author wishing to take on Self Publishing of their work. But, as Seth Godin says, "Writing a book is a tremendous experience. It pays off intellectually." Let's just hope we can make it pay off monetarily at least a little bit!Mary Kathryn JohnsonAuthor ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom
Say Bump and Take a Left
After reading a great article someone retweeted on Twitter, I felt compelled to pass it along, too. However, I noticed the original author’s name or Twitter account was not included in the tweet.
How did this happen?
Well, if the person tweeting isn't the original author, it can take a little extra time and effort to include the actual author's name, especially if you have to search Twitter for their account and then confirm it’s the right person. (Often times, several people have the same name.) And then, for certain blogs that host a multitude of writers, you may even have to search the page to figure out who wrote the article.
So, why do I go to so much trouble to include the author, not just who tweeted it?
One. This is the author that wrote the cool article worthy of sharing. It’s just a good habit to credit that person and good Karma; as hopefully, I’ll get mentioned for the posts I write.
Two. Mentioning that author is a great way to introduce yourself to them and their potential followers. If I enjoyed their post, then there’s a higher likelihood of a quality connection between us.
So, after including everyone, what happens if my tweet is more than 140 characters long? Instead of dropping someone, I’d rather play with the title and shorten it as much as possible, or write a compelling comment. It may take a little extra effort, but it’s been worth it, as I’ve found many people worth following (with a few returning the follow) or even initiating the connection, which has been exciting.
Note to authors: It’s helpful if you include your @Twitter name within your articles, so people can credit you, too.
How do you search for people to follow? Do you focus on quantity or quality? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.