Ode to my Tweeps

Social media platforms – they are unequivocally part of an author’s life nowadays. How you approach them is completely dependent on who you are and what you want to achieve through them.

I started my Twitter account with the wrong motivations at heart: Success. My reasoning was that if I could gather thousands of followers, my book once launched would automatically hit the bestseller’s list.

Only six weeks in and I’ve already learned I was wrong.

Thousands of anonymous followers who don’t know you as a person won’t amount to much in terms of book sales. They just won’t care. And why should they when you’ve given them nothing except for your empty follow?

Gathering followers can seem exciting at first. I thought I was on a great streak. One hundred new followers each week appeared to my clueless self a great achievement. My book was out for editing, I had free time on my hands and nothing better to do than throw metaphorical fishing lines at sea and hope that my fifty follows would turn up fifteen new followers each day. It seemed to be working.

Then by week four, the current reverted. No matter how many new people I followed, my numbers trickled down, the followers I lost exceeding the ones I gained. I grew impatient and frustrated. The time I spent on Twitter was time away from my novel and I had nothing to show for it. I almost dropped Twitter altogether.

Fortunately for me, I stumbled on a great article that restored my relationship to Twitter while making it healthier. It talked about creating a Twitter tribe and reminded me of what had made me enjoy Twitter so much at the beginning.

The chance to meet other authors, new or seasoned, is a gift. The first time I received a tweet from a published writer offering her help was a boost of confidence like I’d rarely experienced before. Feeling part of a writing community is priceless. With only 140 characters, Twitter allows you to make true connections, friends in the virtual sphere.

Writing can get lonely. Your Twitter tribe is there to lift the cloak of loneliness from your shoulders when it becomes too heavy to bear. They deserve your respect and help in return.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned in my six weeks tweeting career 🙂

1. Be polite: When you meet people in the street, you exchange a few words before asking for their help. Your Tweeps don’t expect anything else. Acknowledging their follow by saying hi can go a long way in forming bonds and keeping them from unfollowing you.

2. Figure out who your Twitter tribe is: You can’t keep tabs on thousands of people. It is materially impossible. Select a few people with whom you share a true connection, or whose tweets really interest you, and add them to a list you’ll check out everyday. Your list can expand as you form new relationships. Help out your tribe and they’ll want to help you in return.

3. Retweet: Help get your Tweeps’ message across. You’ll be thankful when they return the favor. Single out content that really interests you to retweet. It will most certainly interest your followers as well.

4. Sign up to your followers’ blogs: Chances are, if you enjoy their tweets, you’ll like their blogs even more and will get to know them better this way. It’s an opportunity to form bonds that transcend Twitter and will hopefully endure.

5. Enjoy your Tweeps’ company: Many times a day, I smile or laugh staring at my phone. Some tweets lift up my mood, others help me solve a writing crisis. My Twitter connections have become precious to me. I log in feeling like I’m meeting up with friends for coffee. Twitter has stopped looking like a self-promotion tool to me. It’s a treat.

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This is not a How to post. I’m way too much of a novice, as a Twitter fan and as a writer, to give any kind of advice. These are just a few things I’ve gathered so far – the inner ramblings of an aspiring author. Little things that have made my Twitter experience a thousand times more enjoyable than it was before.

By changing my outlook on Twitter, I’ve gained a lot more than the hope for success. I got myself a support system. A network of people – not numbers – ready to offer their help, tips and encouragements with a surprising generosity. I’m grateful for that.

 

Read all comments
  • I think many folks go through this journey – particularly people who may think they have ‘a pitch’ such as writers, artists, musicians and so on – not to mention the endless army of carbon copy (showing my age with that metaphor!) ‘marketeers’ out there ruining everyone’s day with their spam and encouraging equal numbers of of gullible writers to do the same (self-pubs mostly, others have wise agents to advise them better, or a conscience).

    You know, Twitter is a ‘social medium’ and really I think it’s best to forget about it as a marketing tool altogether. I mean really, totally don’t even think that ‘being real is the best way to use it as a marketing tool.’ Just get out of that mindset completely. Genuinely just use it to connect, to talk, to listen.

    All for its own sake.

    The only good marketing these days is the same as it ever was – word of mouth and having lots of good quality products for sale. We win our audience one reader at a time.

    So, ignore marketing. Live an interesting life, be kind and write, write, write and then, keep writing, and submitting or self-pubbing, whatever it is that you do.

    Let the rest take care of itself and let the sordid market guru spammers and their unfortunate followers reap the karma they sow.

    Anyway, now I’ve had a little rant – thanks for the space to do so, most cathartic it was, too! I’m enjoying your blog and I’m glad I *met* you on Twitter. 🙂

    Kind regards.

  • Ha! I think, you Astrid, and Austin have ‘hit the nail on the head’. I’ve also only been on Twitter for about 2 months and my mind boggles with the self-publicising that goes on! You are absolutely right that it’s the genuine ‘moments’ that you can take away from Twitter, and the connections that you make, that are the real gems. Like this connection right here. You’ve helped me to realise that I’m not alone with what I’m feeling and experiencing, as a writer and as a ‘Tweeter’, so thank you for that, I owe you one.
    JJ

  • Jean-Jacques you are too kind… I’m thrilled you can relate to my posts. Twitter can be overwhelming at first but it is true that it’s great value is bringing authors together. I cherish that 🙂

  • It is my genuine belief that there are two great gifts in life; first – to have a passion that fills your life with joy (even when it infuriates you!), and second – the family and friends that you gain along the way. My only hope is that I can make them proud :o) xx I barely know you, but I’m already glad that I do.
    JJ

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