Sunday, 22 August 2010


To all those who came to my networking/blogging/Twitter workshop/talk at the Edinburgh Book Festival today, and to those who couldn't get tickets - I plan to blog coherently and properly about each of the aspects of the topic over the next couple of weeks. It was impossible to cover everything in the time, and I'm sure lots of you went away wanting to know more about how to apply what I said to your own very varied situations. So, please hang around, and join in when the posts come.

Meanwhile, what DO you want to know about how authors can use FB, blogs and Twitter? Add your specific questions below!


TOM VOWLER said...

Hi Nicola

Am new to Twitter (tom_vowler), so anything you mention on getting followers, becoming involved in groups/discussions/lists would be great.

Oh, and can I have your new address some time to send you that little something I didn't get around to before you moved :)

Jo Treggiari said...

Just wondering in general how much social networking means in terms of actual book sales. My editor believes not much, even with the wealth of YA book blogs and enthusiastic teen bloggers out there.
Personally I view it (Twitter, my own blog and those by other authors) as a more of a support system. Since writing is such a solitary affair I am consoled by knowing there are other people out there tapping away at a keyboard.

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

Quite often I use my @rupertbu or @dxblit, depending on site content, to post comments.

Twitter id is becoming increasingly acceptable, through the likes of disqus etc.

Simon Kewin said...


Jo makes a good point there. I suppose some most social networking is aimed at fellow writers. At some point (hopefully!) the target shifts to readers, who will presumably be interested in different things. How to reconcile the two?

And, of course, how best to succeed in the eternal quest for more followers.

And also, how to cope with Twitter stress. I follow lots of great and interesting people but it's impossible to keep on top of the Twitterstream at all times. I dip in and out and just accept I'm missing lots of good stuff a lot of the time. I suppose we all do that?

Charlotte said...

What Tom said. Am poised to join Twitter and would like to avoid newbie errors. I've blogged for four years and been on Facebook for two, so Twitter is the last one left.

Sally Zigmond said...

I love blogging because I can write at length about things that matter to me. I hate Facebook and the adolescent glee of 'making friends.'I have plenty of real friends. I don't want hundreds of virtual ones.

But the point of Twitter total eludes me. It's like peering in through the half-open door in on a jolly chummy, cliquey party to which I haven't been invited and don't follow the joke. When I do comment, nobody responds so I feel cold-shouldered. Maybe I was doing it all wrong but I've stopped bothering and I am relieved.

And whilst it might keep me in touch with other writers and industry professionals (Does it? I dunno.) I can't see potential readers wanting to read what I had for breakfast or that my car broke down on the Armley Gyratory Who cares?

Nicola Morgan said...

Tom - I have DMd you. Will blog re this soon.

Jo - my feeling is that the desire to increase booksales should always be buried. Yes, it can increase booksales (I know it has for me, because I have the emails to prove it - but i can't / have no desire to measure it.) It definitely widens and increases potential readership and the number of people who have heard of you, though. Definitely.

Rupert - people having 2 twitter IDs is so damned confusing!! I know you as @rupertbu and didn't realise that dxblit was you too...

Simon - will blog re that as for Tom, but I wouldn't get hung up on numbers. Twitterstress - good point!

charlotte - will do. My best advice though is to hang around watching what people do. It's a whole new lingo and takes a while to get used to it. Follow some people, watch how they interact, and join in when you feel ready.

Main advice to everyone: never get angry on twitter and never react to anyone else's anger. If you only follow people who seem warm and nice and interesting, you'll be fine, but, as I say, if you're angry at all, keep it off twitter. If someone makes you angry, just "unfollow" them and then you won't see their silliness.

Nicola Morgan said...

Sally - i'm sorry you didn't enjoy your twitter experience. But... you didn't do it for long enough - that meant that because you stopped before you had enough followers, people didn't see what you said. (I followed you but I never saw any of your tweets, not one - remember that people only see the most recent teweets of ALL their followers together, so if someone follows a lot of people they may easily miss yours if you don't tweet often. If you tweet once a day and have a few followers, it's quite unlikely that anyone will see. ) If they don't see it, they can't respond. It really does need patience and perseverance - but if you don't want to, there's no reason why you should.

As for not being invited - EVERYONE is invited on Twitter and it is SO not cliquey! I often tweeted your name on #followfridays but the thing is that if you weren't on Twitter much, you wouldn't have seen. Most of us will always help a newbie and I'm upset to hear that you felt left out. I always help if I know someone is new to twitte. I did try, honest.

But as for growing readers - it's nothing to do with readers liking your tweets. They won't buy your book because your tweets are interesting but they might hear of you, inverstigate your book and then like the sound of your book. But it's so important to realise that this is NOT for promotion - it's for fun. Some people don't like certain sorts of gatherings - for example, i'm not good at loud parties, but I love Twitter.

Anyway, it's not for everyone but most people will benefit from it given time. But of course I don't recommend it for anyone who really doesn't fancy it. Everyone's different.

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Thank you so much for the workshop today, Nicola - it was great. Facebook and Twitter have been complete mysteries up until now, but, after today, I may well give them a go.

Jan said...

Looking forward to the promised posts. It's been very frustrating for those of us living south of Birmingham to watch the fun in Edinburgh from afar ...

David John Griffin said...

Hi Nicola, I've occasionally wondered if there's a way to be labelled on Twitter. By that I mean Twitter now supplies a Who to follow list, who are all to do with the writing world, as I would want.

But how have they labelled themselves to be in that list (as writer, author,or publisher, etc); and how would I do the same?

Any help there appreciated, thank you!

Sally Zigmond said...

Another question, Nicola. How do you find the time for all this social networking, speaking at festivals and schools etc AND write? Do you ever sleep?

Julia Crouch said...

Nicola - I was intending to come to the meet up today, but had festival collapse (3am finish, 8am start, dead by 11am in anticipation of 3pm show, needed sleep, you know the sort of thing). But I am, in the words of the Americans that are currently peopling our Edinburgh base, 'bummed' that I missed you. Will you be around after the make the most of your writing workshop?

I have been using twitter a bit, but I still don't entirely see the point, when compared with – or more specifically, combined with – facebook. I think my main problem is that I am not using it in a conversational enough way - But it does feel a bit like butting in when you are new. I do like seeing the conversations that happen though. I'm just sort of hovering on the margins of the party.

catdownunder said...

My problem with Twitter is that most of it happens while I am having my nightly catnap. In the morning I discover a long list of cat hairs that it is too late to play with. I know I could get more local but I want to talk to people in Upover as well as Downunder.
I feel it is a 'getting to know you' tool - shoes, cats, cake etc as well as useful links to useful things I need to know about.
As long as you do not let it take over your life it is a purrfect purrlace to purrlay! :-)

Dan holloway said...

What we really want to know is how much of the hashtag chat you were following real time and when you went bright red and turned the screen off.

I write a regular column "What Not to Tweet" for Words With Jam mag, and have found the most helpful analogy for newbie twitterers is to think of it like going to university, with all the various #chats like the groups at Freshers Fair etc.

One thing it would be really good for you to blog about is the specific pitfalls on twitter - for example, there are lots of apps and things out there, some of which are more trustworthy than others, and if you sign into the wrong one you can end up asking all your followers to be your gangster moll, which is sure to lose you a lot of friends. likewise, a list of the best chats for writers to hang out in, with a bit about each - like #litchat #writechat #scifichat #followreader - you could canvas your readers and build up a mini directory.

Also, a real minefield in etiquette terms is following people back.

sheilamcperry said...

I've been trying out Twitter for a couple of weeks, and to my surprise the way I'm using it has turned out to be a time saver and not a black hole that sucks time into it. I am not really interested in people following me at the moment, instead I follow mostly news feeds that interest me, and it seems to be quite good for filtering the news so that I only have to read the bits I'm interested in and not wade through the whole BBC News or Guardian or Independent online.
In our web-dependent household it's also quite a good way of sending a message to my son upstairs in his room!!
As far as writing goes, I've followed some related things such as Publishers Weekly, Penguin Books and Writers Digest to see if it helps me keep up with what's going on. At least it helps me feel like a writer even if it isn't getting me an audience!! I particularly like the #edbookfest tweets that are about at the moment. I suppose this is a very passive way of using it - I wonder if it will naturally evolve into something more active or do I have to hurry it along?