Monday, 23 August 2010

TWITTER FOR AUTHORS - PART 1: WHY?

My blog posts about Twitter are now best covered in the ebook, Tweet Right. 
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I have removed the content of this blog post because the free sample of Tweet Right covers the ground. Download it here.

26 comments:

Thomas Taylor said...

This is going to be an interesting series of posts.

I don't use Twitter, and my main worry is not so much that it'll be a time sink, but more that it will keep me chained to my computer, waiting for the stream of material just in case something interesting is happening. The thing I like about Facebook is that way it doesn't seem to matter if you go offline for a few days.

Dan Holloway said...

I'd emphasise that point from Sheila - twitter is a great shortcut way of finding out what's what - a simple way of getting updates from Guardian Books Blog for example, but also of getting new from BBC Breaking News, even looking at "trending" topics from time to time is a good way to get a cultural snapshot - and surpringly useful for finding out who's died - I found out about Salinger because he was trending on twitter, for example

HelenMHunt said...

Brilliant post. I look forward to meeting more of your #edbookfest newbies.

Leila said...

This is really interesting, Nicola. Thanks for posting. I wonder, though - what exactly do you post on Twitter? I mean, do you write something like 'I'll be signing books in X bookshop tomorrow at 3 pm', or is it more stuff about daily life with no reference to writing, or is it stuff that's about your WIP - I don't know, something like 'Written 300 words on my new book this morning, really pleased with that'. I mean, how much do you identify yourself as a writer, on Twitter.

Sally Zigmond said...

Half of me remains determined not to get involved and the other half wants to try again but I must be a very strange person because I only understood 10% of what you were saying and the rest scared me rigid! I prefer to meet people face to face and although I am more than willing to 'chat' to people throughout the world I wouldn't ever call them friends unless I'd got to know them over the years. Friends to me are not the same as 'contacts', 'colleagues', 'like-minded people or 'acquaintances.' I know loads of people but I can count my friends on the fingers of one hand.

Okay, okay. I'm a strange person.

Keren David said...

I LOVE twitter,for all the reasons you give and many more - it enhances the pleasure of watching television so much,if you watch people's twitter comments too; it's a great meeting place and you learn and share a lot there.
I'd also say that for a new author with a new book it's a chance to build your brand. If your book has a distinctive cover,you can show it to your target market,just by following them. Most will follow you back. Some may read your tweets about reviews etc. Gradually, gradually awareness grows of who you are and what you do. It might just make someone pick up your book in a bookshop. And of course there are lots of booksellers, librarians and other writers on twitter too.

goonerjamie said...

I started using twitter about 18 months ago just to see what all the fuss was about. I had never written a thing before then, but it seemed that trying to get my thoughts across in 140 characters somehow opened up the writing side of my brain. I now regularly write for a Dad’s website as well as my own blog, and with any luck may go even further. I will certainly be following this blog with interest, you make some great points.
@goonerjamie

TOM J VOWLER said...

Brilliant, as always. Thanks, Nicola.

Spider Griffin said...

Excellent post, Nicola! :-)

Nicola Morgan said...

Sally - as i say, everyone's different and I hope no one would judge you "strange" just because you don't like something that you admit you either don't understand or are scared of! (Your description.) however, I completely don't understand how you can not understand 90% of what I said in that post. There were a few things that i said I'd be coming to later, one thing that I said was only aimed at those already familiart with twitter, but I'm sorry I just don't get how the rest was literally unintelligible.

But I'm not here to convert you - why would I want to? As I say, I don't think negatively of anyone who chooses not to do it.

As to how I define a friend, I suppose i define a friend - bearing in mind that within that some will be MUCH closer than others - as someone who I care what happens to and who cares what happens to me. As an individual not as a general part of humanity. I like to think that if I was hit by a bus tomorrow, there are quite a few people I haven't physically met who would be upset for a little while. Robin Dunbar defined it for scientific purposes as people who, if you met them in a foreign airport, you'd stop to talk to and maybe have a coffee with. Well, I'm not going to say how many people I hope I know in that category I have but I will say that it's more than "Dunbar's Number." I just like meeting and getting to know people and finding things in common. Call me strange!

Anyway, I'll be tackling all queries soon - though, Dan, I'm not going to cover the different platforms that I think you mentioned in the previous post, because I don't know the pros and cons of any except the one I use. Sorry!

Leila - I will come to that as it's something I hadn't thought of as a problem. The short answer is that it's a similar question to asking what sort of thing you should say when you arrive in a new office or at a party with people you don't know - ie, a variety of things, starting by feeling your way and maybe replying to something someon else said.

Keren - indeed! And it's worth adding, folks, that Keren and I, who chat to each other on Twitter, will be meeting for the first time this week, along with several others.

Goonerjamie - am I am now following you!

Others - thanks, and will answer your comments in future post(s).

Any other questions gratefully accepted.

Katherine Roberts said...

Thanks for this timely post, Nicola - I am like Sally (half of me wants to, half of me is terrified!) But since you are generously explaining this step-by-step, I might sign up and see what happens...

Leila R said...

I am in fact signed onto Twitter already, have been for ages, but never use it. It's not how to use it that I find difficult, more how to use it in a way that seems worthwhile to me. Looking forward to reading more posts and hearing more points of view here!

Clare said...

I've "met" some lovely people on Twitter today thanks to your post (though I didn't realise I should have taken choclate with me!) but I'm not sure about the Tweetdeck? I have registered but I'm clueless as to what I have registered for. Are you going to cover this in another post or am I just being dense?

Clair Humphries said...

For me, the real benefit of Twitter has been meeting other writers and having chats in a non-competitive way. Writing site forums and peer review site forums are great but there is often an undercurrent of one-upmanship & competition among some members(though not all!) Twitter seems to be more of a level playing field & I've been surprised to get replies from well-known authors who I admire.

Plus I do enjoy eavesdropping on the latest exploits of Big Dave ;)

LadyGenette said...

I got on Twitter a week ago and I've already seen the benefits. Unfortunately, Twitter also caters to my rather unhealthy NASCAR obsession.

For me, it's a win-win. For everyone else in my life, it's more of an, "Oh, geez."

OSMWylie said...

Having signed up yesterday, I'm already having a lot of fun with twitter. It's like chatting with plenty of people at once and seems to be a good laugh too.

It's strange, I can be a little shy but once I start talking, I'm not likely to stop. XD Twitter is already just sort of letting, me ramble (this may or may not be a good thing... I may spam folk with details on what I had for lunch)!

I also find it a useful way to find blogs on subjects I'm interested in, since I'm connecting with people with similar interests, and for the most part they blog too! So that's another plus, since I've
always found that a little difficult.

behlerblog said...

All right, Morgan, I've been avoiding this whole tweetie thing forever, and I've just signed up... @behlerpub...so this better not be hard to do. Otherwise, I'll have to sic the beagle on you.

Rebecca Brown said...

Brilliant post, which I will probably be forwarding on to my Mum. She monitors Twitter to see what I'm up to but doesn't 'get' it. This post is a brilliant how-to and obviously much-needed.

Thanks!

Debs said...

Great post. I missed the #NicolaTwitterWorkshop, but it's good to find out more about Twitter.

Jill said...

Not authors, but as a review site, we (@thebookbag) *do* use Twitter as a broadcast tool - oops! We tend to treat it as an extension of our newsletter and post links to reviews of the best books we cover (4 stars and above on our scale). The intention isn't to be tarty so much as to provide a feed of books worth reading that people might like to keep up with. Honest! For that reason, we chat idly less than a lot of other people do.

We make it onto a good number of lists, so we think - hope! - it's probably beneficial and not seen as naked touting. We follow bookish people almost exclusively, and we find the feed generated exceedingly helpful in terms of keeping up to speed with things - it certainly means we can filter blog posts we want to read.

I think the best thing about Twitter, as others have said, is that isn't an evil time-stealer as, say, Facebook is.

Lucy Coats said...

Blimey--can I steal some bits of this for my SCBWI talk in November (she asks shamelessly!)? You say it all so well and so much better than I could *judiciously applies flattery*. Mind, I think you should beware of promoting @hprw and Big Dave's antics. People might have heart conditions and delicate sensibilities, you know :-)

Sally Zigmond said...

Nicola, I understood your post in that I could follow what you were saying but some of the phrasing you and others used seemed bizarre to me. First of all I was a little shocked and bemused when you wrote (I paraphrase) that if you're not interested in people you won't like it. Well, I am interested, indeed fascinated by people but to me online witty chat in less than 140 characters is not to me about being interested in people. For one thing Twitter people are not representative of all people of all ages and backgrounds. The internet has its advantages but it doesn't get to the heart of what makes people tick. I don't reveal everything about myself when I'm online and nor, I believe, do most people. It's a front.

Then there's the jargon. I mean, what the heck does 'Tweetdeck' mean? Then you say: "Or if you already have something other than Tweetdeck, fine, carry on - but my instructions will be slightly harder to follow." What is that 'something other than Tweetdeck'? Ice-cream? Shoe-laces? Oxygen?

Somebody you quote referred to it as a way of 'meeting' people. How is it meeting someone when you're only typing on keyboards thousands of miles apart? Someone else refers to 'Bieber fans'. Total blank for me and how do you have a 'virtual' party? How do I pour you another glass of warm plonk online and get giggly drunk?

Okay, okay. I'm far too cranky and old and maybe living in a remote village where I talk face-to-face to all sorts of real people every day about all sorts of things has finally got to me.

Charlotte said...

Thanks, Nicola. Very timeous for me! I'm going to follow instructions and get going.

Nicola Morgan said...

Sally - I'm going to email you, if that's ok. Nx

Gail said...

Sorry I'm so late getting in on this discussion, but let me just say what I hate about Twitter: Quotes! I get so tired of all the people who post quote after quote after quote - other people's, of course - just to get their posting numbers up. I thought it was about communicating. To me, throwing a pile of quotes across my path is NOT communicating. Okay, I'm done. I pretty much like the rest.

Michele Helene (Verilion) said...

Hi Nicola, I signed up for Twitter yesterday, so that I could connect and discuss with writers. I followed all the instructions and thought to myself: now what? I haven't read part 2 and 3, but already you've answered questions and this post is extremely clear and straightforward. Exactly what I needed. Thank you.