When I first discovered Twitter I couldn’t imagine myself ever using it.
I dismissed it as one of those newfangled things that young people did and felt I was too old to learn it and keep up with it. Kristen Lamb showed me otherwise. Her first words of wisdom; Give up regular Twitter. Her advice to familiarize myself with Tweetdeck and Hootsuite changed my understanding of Twitter forever. And resulted in me having not less than 23 columns and counting. Tweetdeck has helped me build my community on Twitter and find my niche which is why I’ll be starting my own Twitter community later this month.
[bctt tweet=”Without the advice of @Kristenlambtexas, I’d never have found my niche. #socialmedia #indieauthor“ username=”annwshannon“]
Welcome, I’m Ann Shannon the Manic Writer.
I write romance, erotic romance and sometimes a short story or two. I also do book reviews and anything else that grabs my attention. If you aren’t a subscriber to the mania, you should be! You’ll be first in line for great indie book reviews, meet the indie authors I host here and be eligible to win free indie books each month. Drop your email in that subscribe box to the right if you skipped the pop up. If you’re worried about being deluged, I get it. I post less than ten articles a month and a newsletter. If you just want the newsletter that’s cool too! Drop me a note and I’ll add you to my exclusive newsletter only list.
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This week and next week I’m going to plug a book that I’ve learned so much from as I’ve built my Author Platform. Rise of the Machine by Kristen Lamb has been an invaluable tool and resource for me. She covers so much in her book that I’ve gone back several times and reread portions of it. I own the Kindle copy and I’ve seriously considered investing in the paperback so I can flag pages and highlight passages. (Disclaimer- I have no affiliation with Kristen, and I don’t make any profit from recommending her book. I didn’t even use an affiliate link for this one!)
Kristen does an excellent job of explaining the pro’s and con’s of the Indie market and the traditional market from an author’s perspective. But the part of her book that has affected me the most is the section on social media. Kristen has made social media her life. And she’s an expert on social media for authors, especially Indie authors, whom she loves.
Kristen taught me about Tweetdeck which has made Twitter manageable for my crazy mind. It’s enabled me to be an active member of several communities and helped me make some great friends. I currently participate in the #5amwritersclub, #authorconfessions, #amwriting, and I’m going to start up my own community specifically aimed at Indie authors.
Watch for an exciting announcement later this month.
So how does Twitter help me?
By participating in the games and communities I meet other authors; share their wisdom, camaraderie and they are often willing to speak up when I have something to say. I write from 5am to 8 am every day, then I have to be a Mom for a while before I write again. It’s an immense encouragement to know that I am not alone at that 5am hour when I’m shivering in my home office and trying to form coherent sentences that someone would be willing to pay money for. That’s how I found the #5amwritersclub.
Twitter gives me an opportunity to reach out to a vast number of people with a question. Some even respond with an answer!
Do I have a huge Twitter following? Not really. I have just under 3000 followers as I write this, but because I’m active in posting, and following others I add about 100 followers a week which for a nobody unpublished author isn’t bad. The more people I connect with on Twitter the stronger my author platform is. The stronger my author platform is the more I can help other Indie’s spread the word about their books as well.
You didn’t think I was doing this all for me, did you?
Well, stepping out of my comfort zone was surely what I did when I reached out on Twitter to make friends. I have crippling social anxiety. I thought for sure no one wanted to hear what I had to say.
I was wrong.
Okay, let’s end with some actions you can take today to make your twitter come alive!
I’ll discuss these in more depth in my next article. Most of these points can also be found in Kristen’s book for a deeper explanation.
- Make a twitter handle. If you don’t have one that identifies your brand then this is the time to make one. I’m @annwshannon because that’s my brand. See Kristen’s book for more on this.
- Go to Tweetdeck.com and log in. Then make columns for your favorite hashtags. Don’t forget to join me in the #authorconfession and the #5amwritersclub if you’re up that early and writing!
- Follow, follow, follow. First start with whatever communities you are already active in. For me it was a Facebook writers group. Ask for their Twitter handles, find them and follow. Twitter will recommend people based on them and you can follow those people too. I’m careful if someone doesn’t have a clear description on their profile. Feel free to check out what they tweet about. If it has value to you then follow.
- Search Twitter for your favorite people; be it real life friends, actors, authors, whatever and follow them. Reach out to them. I reached out to an author who’s books I loved and we’ve become friends. She encourages me and even reads a chapter here and there to let me know what she thinks.
- Participate in Twitter. Find hashtag games, such as #1lineweds, or #todaystypo and play along. Read, like and retweet. Follow if you find people who make you smile, or groan, or pay attention! Then interact with them. For instance, in the #5amwritersclub when someone says they’re tired then I find a pic of a steaming cup of coffee and send it to them. They appreciate it, and offer me the same on my rough mornings.
- Use gifs. Twitter is a lot of scrolling and a little stopping to read. A gif makes the scroller stop and look, especially if it’s compelling, or intriguing.
- Find articles, read them and then share them with a snippet of what you learned from it. Curating can be as little or as much as you choose. I share fellow Indie Authors blog posts, (ahem, when I remember), and I also seek out and read blog posts on improving myself as an author.
- Tweet memes that make you laugh. I always promise I’m really #amwriting.
- Find and follow compelling people whose tweets inspire you and line up with your platform. I follow the Dalai Llama. When he tweets, I retweet. He’s led an amazing life and his tweets are wise and healing. I try to be encouraging on my platform and his tweets fit in with that.
Do these things regularly and you will watch your Twitter platform grow.
Twitter is a community of followers, and in this case it’s a good thing. Follow them and they’ll follow you back.
One final note.
Tweetdeck and Hootsuite both provide you the opportunity to schedule your tweets. Kristen Lamb recommends against doing this and so do I. Check out her book for more on this. But if you feel you must schedule, then schedule carefully. The only automated tweeting I do is when my WordPress blog posts a scheduled post to my Twitter feed and my Facebook author page. Otherwise, if I am tweeting, I am live. I can’t interact with you if I’m not there. That doesn’t always mean I catch every tweet when it happens but the majority of responses happen quickly and I catch those.
Read the next installment of this series here- Twitter What’s in a name?
Thank you for stopping by today for the first post of my new column! I have more posts planned for this column, including how I’m failing on my Facebook Author page, finding critique partners, beta reading and my favorite author resources. Subscribe on the sidebar, or follow with WordPress so you don’t miss a moment of the Mania!
Want to see what’s on my TBR pile? Check me out at Goodreads! Want to know what I do with my days? Follow me on Twitter or Facebook and drop me a note. On Twitter I’m active in the #5amwritersclub, #authorconfessions and other Twitter hashtag games. If you don’t know what a hashtag game is watch for my upcoming post where I’ll explain them.
Don’t forget that I’m publishing a novella called Divorced White Female (not erotica) for free on the web. When it’s fully published I’ll be releasing it as an E-book, free to my subscribers at the release. Follow the link to sign up for updates on the novella and sign up here for updates on the e-book release.