As a new author, I admit being slow to catch on to Twitter. As I watched TV and saw Twitter quoted on numerous occasions, all I could figure it was the same as telephone text messaging, but many (thousands) at once. With the help of an expensive publicist when my first book “Act of Redemption” came out in 2009, I had a Twitter account. With a complete misunderstanding of how it worked, I successfully “tweeted” myself for almost a year. Clueless doesn’t begin to describe my ignorance of what grade school youngsters perfect in minutes.
Then one day, the light bulb flashed. I can’t explain it, but after months of Twitter frustration, I learned what “tweets” mean. Not that I’m an expert; I'm learning something new about it every day. Some tweets give me a laugh, many are thought provoking, but for the new author, Twitter brings you to people like you and me…other writers and readers.
How does a new author build up Twitter? To start, you’ve got to follow some people; I started with friends on Goodreads that decided to tweet together. Pick up followers that share a similar interest. Most Tweeps have a blog so you can learn more about them, and I shy away from those that don’t. Most Tweeps want more followers, so they will follow back. I follow back Tweeps in the reading/writing/entertainment industry, and some that make me laugh. Caution for the new Tweeter: Some Tweeps don’t want people following them that they don’t know. In the beginning, I followed a guy because he was funny and featured a comic book that interested me. One day he slammed profanities at me for following! So much for that! Not everyone is looking for fans, obviously.
While I stay out of FB apps, some Twitter apps are useful, especially for the beginner. Many are out there; these are just the ones I found. I used Tweepi, so I could see who’s not following back, and ‘flush’ the non-followers. I didn’t do this out of spite, but I don’t want to follow Tweeps that don’t want me following. (once burned, you know) Tweepi also allows you to see Tweeps you’re not following back, so you can return the favor. Sometimes I use ‘who unfollowed me’ to see who’s dropping me. Most of the time, these are Tweeps I didn’t follow in the first place. While on the topic of Tweeps, I’ve been irked more than once for offensive tweetpics. Twitter will help you with this; while you cannot stop it all, you can block them from following. Think twice before opening a link tweeted to you by one you’re not following.
How to tweet? I don’t have a simple answer; but the best way to learn is read what people are tweeting. For new authors, this is important because the tweets lead you to blogs where information on writing techniques, publishing, and readers/reviewers that can make a lot of difference in your promotion of you work. I like to take time out and read what’s posted and sometimes, let the Tweep know if the article is helpful. Everyone likes positivity. Generally, people will treat you like they are being treated; with respect and encouragement.
So, again new authors go forth and tweet away!! The social experts are correct when it comes to Twitter. Remember, this is a public forum, so imagine your Tweets on the NYT front page. To me, it’s fun, informative, and is a great source for contacts that other sites don’t allow. Caution with the self-promo, yes, promote, just don’t promote only yourself. I’m “Gastarbooks” and hope to see you there, new authors!