Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Is There Gold in Them There Hills? Part III

This is the third in a series of four to five posts about how to 
succeed in independent publishing on Kindle.  

If you have an interest in reading the previous posts, these are the links:

SEE AND BE SEEN by Connie Flynn

I've been a lot more gabby with my blogging lately and I had to reread part II to see where I left off.  With Twitter, of course. It's no secret that I love this media or that I fully understand why many people don't. After all, 140 characters and you have to count the spaces between words, too? Whose crazy dea was that?

If you agree with that question, you've told me that you're living the Twitter-land fantasy.

So what is the Twitter-land fantasy?

That Twitter is all about building relationships. 

Am I saying that it isn't? Oh, yes, I am. Think about it. Do you really care if a stranger is having a relaxing moment on his beautiful patio or that a woman just found a cool place to get a manicure or that a--  Nope you really don't, do you? If you want relationships you go to Facebook.

Twitter is a marketplace. It's about seeing and being seen, another reason why that photo is so important. Because people like to do business with people they like, but on Twitter they don't want to be your best friend. They just want to know you've been around a while and will probably stick around. They do this by seeing your tweets.

It's also about letting people know what you have to offer, so don't be shy. Just be willing to retweet and engage in conversations because that helps the other tweeter be seen. Trust me, they'll do the same for you.  Don't let your tweets devolve into personal matters. Some people do use Twitter entirely for personal reasons, but most of them won't stick around because they, unlike you, are not there to do business.

So what's this content tweet people are talking about? It's a tweet that gives back without asking for something in return. Content tweets are hard, which is why so many of them are a bit inane. Quotes are good, but if you can come up with something original that's even better. Personally, I like to promote other authors and author venues -- conferences, appearances, things like that. I occasionally talk about my tai chi classes, mostly because the positions have such intriguing names. I could never come up with White Swan Spreads its Wings on my own.

Sorry, got off track. But here's the deal about content tweets. There's some arbitrary rule about 4 content tweets for every sales pitch. Oh, come on! Is anyone paying attention to how the twitter stream works? It's a chronological listing of every tweet put out that somehow includes your address. Unfortunately, you have little control over what goes in that stream, other than that it will only contain tweets from people you follow and follow you.

So the deal is that if you tweet someone and they retweet, their tweet goes to their followers and many of them will be people who aren't following you.

One to two content tweets a day are enough. Then do at least ten marketing tweets. (Yes, I know, I know, that's totally against everything you've read but most of that advice came from Twitter-land).  And unless you're a tweet-a-holic, it's also a pain to have to go in ten times a day to tweet. That's why you need HootSuite. Its basic service is free and while I've been toying with subscribing to its upgraded service, so far basic HootSuite has filled my needs. The best thing it does is let you schedule your tweets. Launching a book? Schedule a tweet every hour for 24 hours (remember Twitter never sleeps) and see what happens.

(See my post on Imagination Gone Wild about my experiment with heavy tweeting.)

My point, however, is that most likely the same people will not see each tweet unless, of course, it is retweeted within your twitter stream. This is a good thing. An endorsement that comes from others. Respond in kind even if you haven't read their book. Remember, it's about seeing and being seen.

Are there behaviors that turn people off on Twitter?  Definitely, yes. The first is any attempt to sell when you respond to a mention or retweet and responding is something you should definitely always do. But never ask someone to buy your book or product. They know you're selling something, so let the tweet be a billboard and just include a link to buy. Mind your manners when you send out those 140 characters.

The other turn-off is ranting about a favorite pet peeve or even saying anything negative unless you're in a private list where everyone is doing the same, and probably not even then. Remember what happened to the politician who tweeted his photo while wearing only his whitey tighties.

Okay, so now you know the purpose and the perils, it's time to get your followers. Your first goal should be to have 1000 followers. It took me nearly a year and a half to do that because I didn't realize two things. Lots of people drop you if you don't follow back. And Twitter makes it  easy to follow. Just click on "followers," found in the upper left-hand box on the "Me" tab and go down and follow everyone who is listed as following you.

This is what works to build your followers.
  1. Follow everyone that Twitter recommends, which they continually do.
  2. At first, when people follow you reply with a thank you -- later you won't have time  -- and retweet them if appropriate because these are the people that will help you be seen.
  3. Do not weed out your list at this time
  4. Follow everyone who follows you.  
  5. Search out who follows your followers and follow some of them.
  6. Do this at least once a week
  7. When someone mentions you in their tweet, reply to thank them.*
*Mentions show up when you click the @connect tab at the top of your Twitter page. 
When I started doing these tasks, I increased my follow numbers by 300 in just a few weeks and hit and exceeded a thousand shortly thereafter. I fully expect to exceed two thousand by the end of the year. More followers mean more peeps to see and see you and a wider audience for your books or products.

For authors, proper use of Twitter has become essential.  Amazon has been clamping down on the prevalence of free books offers and recently tightened the rules of payment for Amazon Associates who run websites promoting free books.This may or may not be bad, but the major pitfall is that it will make it harder to drive the traffic on Amazon to push up your rank. It's becoming more up to us to drive that traffic. See my May post for my take on how this is going to shake out for indie authors.

In the meantime, explore Twitter. I only know a tenth of the ways to use this service so run searches to learn more. 

Website, http://connieflynn.com
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Blog: http://imaginationgonewild322.blogspot.com/
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Email: connieflynn@yahoo.com

I have been writing fiction for so long I can barely remember when I didn't. Sometimes people ask where I get my ideas and I can't comment too much on "ideas" either, since they come one at a time from different sources. THE DRAGON HOUR came from a suggestion that I set my story in Scotland, which to my mind was an overused setting. I wanted to spice things up so I threw in a dragon because my writing motto is never be boring. .I'm hoping I succeeded . THE DRAGON HOUR will be available on Kindle on April 10th.

A Scottish paradise lost in time is invaded by 21st century thugs

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