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.
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.