Celebrating: fewer Twitter followers

Celebrating fewer Twitter followers? In an age when all the experts say that writers (and others) need more more more Twitter followers? When people send you private messages on Twitter claiming they can sell you more followers?

At first I collected followers— I followed everyone who followed me, I followed everyone Twitter suggested I follow, I followed the people that my Twitter friends followed…. and then I had a Twitter feed dominated by people who tweeted what seemed like ads for their books or blogs, sometimes tweeting such things every 30 seconds for nearly an hour.

What I got was a Twitter feed that seemed like a bunch of people shouting and never noticing that no one else was listening. No interactivity— and I doubted anyone would buy my book or even read my blog post if no one ever interacted with my Twitter posts.

So I stepped back and learned some lessons from a Twitter savvy friend, author Declan Finn. He did a lot of actual interacting on Twitter, having conversations there, informing all his writing friends on Facebook about a useful Twitter hashtag that was trending, making lists of followers….

Declan Finn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DeclanFinnBooks

The first thing I did was start unfollowing Twitter followers who spammed Twitter with what looked like ads, or who retweeted things I found appalling for one reason or another. Not out of spite, but because it was clear that we just didn’t have any interests in common that would foster actual interaction between us.

Then I started following the Twitter Golden Rule— for every one thing I tweeted/retweeted that was about ME, I retweeted 9 things about others. Particularly others who had interacted with me, or others that had some things in common with me. Since I’m a poet, I retweet a lot of haiku and other short poems posted on Twitter.

I also made a private Twitter list of friends I interact with regularly on Twitter. If you aren’t familiar with Twitter lists— you list some Twitter accounts that have something in common. For example, you could have one for people who Tweet about your favorite baseball team, or for writers of Christian science fiction and fantasy, or political accounts…. When you click on the list, you see JUST the recent Tweets of those on that list— so you can easily find worthy things to retweet, which will make the people you retweet feel more friendly toward you.

How to Create a Twitter List: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Twitter-List

I am by no means a Twitter expert— I’ll bet that there will be people who read this post who know loads of things about how to use Twitter more effectively. Whether you are a Twitter maven with good advice or a newbie with nothing but questions, I’d really cherish a comment from you. Particularly if you’d give the URL of your Twitter account so I can follow you.

Me, on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nissalovescats  If you visit my Twitter profile you will see a cute picture of a kitten in a boot.

This is a post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. Which was yesterday. 😦

 

11 Tips for writers entering the Twitterverse

twitterTwitter. A lot of my writer friends have tried it and feel it’s a waste of time. But others are regular users of Twitter and seem to feel it’s worthwhile. If you haven’t tried Twitter, are new to it, or haven’t managed to make it work for you, here are some tips. My own Twitter, by the way, is @nissalovescats

  1. Add your reading/writing friends to the people you follow on Twitter. Suggest that they follow you back. If you are an Aspie, perhaps you don’t have real-world friends. So go on Facebook if you are not there already and join a couple of groups, especially those for writers. Try to find specialized groups that relate to what you write. There are a number of Aspie/autism writers groups. I’ve listed a few on a page on this blog.
  2. Take a minute to compose a short profile for yourself on Twitter. It should mention that you are a writer or poet, and perhaps mention a thing or two that is part of your author brand. Mine mentions my ‘poet, Aspie & cat person’ tag.
  3. Put up a profile picture that is a picture of YOU. Your face— even if unattractive like mine— helps your followers see you as a person. Post it.
  4. Put up a cover picture to help your Twitter profile look complete. I used one of my best kitten photos— one of a kitten in a boot— because ‘cat person’ is part of my author tag. And since it’s a photo I took with a kitten I own, it’s a unique image to me. Well, others may have downloaded it but they probably don’t use it on their Twitter profile.
  5. Think about some things that are a part of your author brand. For example, I am a poet, a person who likes zombie fiction, a Catholic, a person with same-sex attraction, a cat person, a Star Trek fan…. What you do is you look for Twitter accounts that relate to the topics that touch your author brand, and follow them and retweet some of their stuff.
  6. Learn to use hashtags. You need to know some broad hashtags— #amwriting, #books #Catholic — and some very specific and narrow hashtags. Like #haiku, #micropoetry and #catsforTrump
  7. Click on hashtags that you use to see what other people are saying about your topics. Click ‘like’ on some things you like.  Retweet a few things. Some of the people you have liked and/or retweeted will become your followers.
  8. You will get notifications when people follow YOU. Most of the time it’s a good idea to follow back. Other people you shouldn’t. Such as accounts that have never tweeted but have a thousand followers, accounts selling ‘author services’ or Twitter followers, and accounts that aren’t compatible with your author brand. For example, Evangelical fiction authors won’t want to follow an erotica ‘writer.’ And I, as a conservative, never follow anyone with ‘social justice warrior’ in their profile. Or any progressive account, unless they are poets. Particularly sijo or haiku poets.
  9. Don’t have a service tweet for you. Someone I know used a service to tweet science fiction related things, and it ended up tweeting pictures of naked teenage girls under his name. And he’s an Evangelical Christian author.
  10. Do use free Twitter services that are helpful. Buffer allows you to compose Tweets that can be tweeted at a time you pick. So if you are at work during peak Twitter hours, you can still have Tweets going out then. I have another service that tweets a thanks-for-following to batches of my new followers. I used to have one that would help me unfollow accounts that don’t follow me back. I do unfollow some of those, unless they are the Pope.
  11. Try to get together with Twitter followers you can relate to. Don’t go after teen Twitter users just because they are teens and you write YA. Some teen Twitter accounts are rather appalling— teens who won’t read, have contempt for the 1%, and think that the words ‘but I’m an atheist’ are a logical argument to practically everything. Though they normally spell it ‘athiest’. YA authors, you need to connect with teens who read and think and don’t believe every stupid thing some atheist, progressive or social justice warrior has told them.
  12. Limit your twitter time. Set a timer and do a ‘Twitterdoro’— timed Twitter session— and when the timer goes off, go do something else.

Questions:
Do you use Twitter? Do you have any tips and tricks of your own that might help me (and others) get better at it?

Note: if learning to use Twitter better is something you are interested in, please say so in a comment. I have some friends who are good with Twitter that I could ask to do a guest post.

How to please the 2 main reader types on your FB author page

facebook-like-iconBig ‘news’ today about Facebook— it is leftist and doesn’t give a fair shake to conservative news stories on its ‘trending’ feature. I think that all conservative Facebook users other than a few people’s great-grandmothers knew that. But— back to our series about improving your Facebook author page.

To write posts that please your readers, you have to understand what kind of people are clicking ‘like’ on your author page. The two major groups are these:

  • People who have read one of your books and sought out your author page to find out more about you. These fans are your true fans— they really like one of your books and probably will buy another book from you.
  • Other authors with fan pages who ‘like’ your page because you are an author, too, and they want to network with you, or get you to ‘like’ their page, or get you to share some of the stories in their feed. And, oh, buy their books.

The first group is going to be easy to please so long as you keep writing books and giving them information on your upcoming books that other fans might not know. They want to feel that THEY are your friends, in an internet sort of way, and the best way to keep these fans buying your books is to treat them like friends.

The second group is more of a hard-sell. They are not interested in YOU or YOUR BOOK, they want to get you interested in buying their book. You have to win them over into being interested in your book. How?

First, ‘like’ all those author pages right back, with your personal account, ‘liking’ as your author page, or both. Then, check your news feed and when those authors have posted things about their writing life, post a short comment or at least click ‘like.’ Just doing that once to twice a month for each author actively posting on their author page can get you some attention.

Next, if one of these authors has really BIG news about their writing, particularly a new book coming out, consider sharing that big news on your own author page. DON’T do this at the peak time for your own original author page posts— you don’t want to compete with those posts that are most important on your page.

Instead, schedule the someone-else’s-news shares for a couple hours after your peak time. You can get in the habit of posting regularly at that time as well, sharing other author’s news or writing about what books you are reading.

Third, make sure your major posts— the ones aimed at your true fans— regularly give information about on what genre you write and what your books are about. Instead of saying ‘Bell Tower’ got several new reviews, say ‘my murder mystery ‘Bell Tower’, or perhaps give your book’s storyline (One sentence summary. ‘My book Bell Tower, a story about a ballroom-dancing hunchback who is framed for the murder of a mime, got several new reviews today.

So many writers don’t do this, they use their book title as if everyone knows about that book. Bad move. Most people don’t, and some of the ones that do may forget. To win new readers, you need to keep that basic information out there.

If you still aren’t getting attention from any of your fellow authors, go nuclear. Read their books. Many authors frequently announce on their author page when a book of theirs is temporarily free in ebook form. When such an announcement is made, and the book is in a genre you are willing to read, download it, read the first chapter, and then, as a comment on the post when the author announced the free ebook thing, announce that you downloaded it, read the first chapter, and say something positive about it.

Since many of the authors who read your page are indie or small press authors concerned about their book sales, you will have won a friend, especially if you write a review on Amazon.com promptly after finishing.

The preceding seems like you will be spending more effort winning over other authors with Facebook pages than with pleasing your true fans. Effort-wise, that may be true, but your author page should look as if your main focus is pleasing the true fans. Because they are what your writing life is all about.


Stuff I read online:

Lifezette: Trump v. Clinton … and Bush by Laura Ingraham
Dave Dubrow: SJWs and Content Creators: Ideological Purity Required
GirlZombieAuthors: Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, The Reward

Get more visitors to your Facebook author page

facebook-like-iconSo, you have a Facebook author page. Your next task is to set about getting some visitors. Here are some ways to get started doing that.

  1.  Add original, quality wall posts daily/Mon-Fri. Original means stuff you wrote yourself, not shares of things from other people’s Facebook page. Quality? At minimum it should be correctly spelled, grammatical and understandable. Your blog posts, syndicated to your Facebook page, count. Other people’s blogs, memes, updates generally do not.
  2. If visitors comment, interact with them— comment back, at least with an emoticon or LOL, and ‘like.’ You want visitors to your page to feel like you are their friend.
  3. ‘Like’ other authors’ Facebook author pages AS YOUR PAGE. From time to time, share some of these pages on your wall with a comment or two about the author. You can also share them on Twitter. I have a list of FB author pages that you can use to get started. https://myantimatterlife.wordpress.com/facebook-author-pages/ More FB author pages will be added in time, so keep checking back.
  4. Interact with the Facebook author pages you have liked regularly. You can find the pages feed for your FB author page on the left side of the page under your profile pic, where it says ‘See Pages Feed.’ Read some of the pages, ‘like’ stuff, comment on stuff. Don’t overdo it by commenting on one page all the time, spread the love around.
  5. ‘Like’ and interact with other FB pages that relate to your genre, category or ‘brand.’ For example, a zombie fiction author might ‘like’ a few of the more active The Walking Dead fan pages, and interact there. If your fiction has a lot of conservative/libertarian political content, find a couple of related political FB pages and post some pithy comments there from time to time.
  6. Join some good FB writing groups. After you have interacted for a while, ask for the links to others’ FB author pages, suggesting that members can all ‘like’ one another’s pages. Be sure you do this on a day that you can keep checking back with the group so you can keep ‘liking’ pages.
  7. Be sure and ask your friends and family to ‘like’ your FB author page. That’s usually good for a few new ‘likes.’
  8. Be patient. Post original, quality content every day for a week and you may feel like no one notices. Do it for a month and your page may feel a little more interactive. Do it for a year, and who knows what might happen?

Don’t miss the next post in the series, ‘like’ my Facebook author page and be kept up-to-date. https://www.facebook.com/nissalovescats/

Why do writers need a Facebook fan page? #writing

NissaWnameWriters today are saddled with the task of promoting their own books and their own writing career. And most don’t know where to start. One excellent resource is something you may be using already: Facebook.

When you join Facebook, you get a personal FB page. This is not what I’m talking about. A Facebook fan page is what I’m talking about.

Why not just use your Facebook personal page to promote your writing? Personal pages are limiting. No one can see them without making the effort to become your Facebook friend. And you can only have 5000 friends. For a writer, that can be bad. [Facebook Fan Pages vs. Profile Pages: Which is Better for a Writer?]

For a FB fan page to work for you, you build it thoughtfully. This is how you do that:

  • Find a good name for your page. Stephen King, Writer or Stephen King, Author are better than just Stephen King until you get world-famous. You can’t change your page name after you get 100 likes for your page, so choose wisely. My page name is Nissa Annakindt, poet, Aspie and cat person— a little long, but it expresses my quirkiness and promises kitten pictures.
  • Your profile picture should be a decent author photo of you. Not your book cover. Your pic makes your fans feel like they know you, would recognize you if they saw you in Aldi’s or Walmart. My usual profile pic is above— it’s a selfie. I wore the cowboy hat to indicate my interest in the Western genre. Sometimes I change my profile pic to an old family photo of me at about age 4, wearing a cowboy hat also.
  • Your cover photo is where you can put one or more of your book covers, if you are published. Otherwise use a pic that says something about you as a writer. Perhaps a pic of you at your writing work area, at a library, on a zombie walk?
  • Facebook will ask you what kind of page it is. Choose ‘author.’ Even if you are not published yet.
  • Enter information into your ‘About’ section thoughtfully. (I haven’t finished filling out mine yet, must work on that.)

When you have your basic Facebook page set up, then it is time to work on a strategy for posting on the page. Perhaps write down some topics and themes that crop up again and again in your writing life, or in your reading life. For example, my writing, even my poems, very often has religious or political themes. So posting about political or faith-based things will attract the kind of readers I’m looking for.

Tell your writing friends about your FB page. Dont have any writing friends? Join a few good FB writers groups— ones that have actual discussions on them, not ones where the posts are just a series of author self-promos of their books. Interact with the other group members by liking and commenting on their posts. Do about 8-10 comments on other people’s stuff before posting something of your own.

Another trick with Facebook writing groups is to start a topic where everyone is invited to share one another’s Facebook author pages, so that group members can ‘like’ one another’s stuff.

Once you have even 5 or 10 ‘likes’ on your page, make sure you are posting things of interest regularly. In time, your page will grow.


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Kredu al la Sinjoro Jesuo, kaj vi estos savita.

Hints:
la = the
Sinjoro = mister, Lord
kaj = and

Finding an author tagline.

0117160840a‘Author branding.’ Oh, the horror! But we do need to do it. There are a lot of authors out there, from the famous to the not-yet-ready self-published. Author branding means we develop a distinctive ‘brand’ to be more memorable. To show how we are different from other authors, like Coke is different from Pepsi.

One way to do this is to have an author tagline, just the way books might have book taglines. Here are some real author taglines:

Cynthia Herron: Heartfelt, Homespun fiction.
Heather Thurmeier: Heart, Humor, and a Happily Ever After
Pat Ballard (Queen of Rubenesque Romances): Romance novels with big, beautiful heroines
Jami Gold: Where Normal Need Not Apply (paranormal romance author)

So far, the info I’ve found on author taglines has mostly been about romance fiction. But it doesn’t matter your genre or genres, any author can use one. You can use it on your blog and on other social media.

I happen to have a tagline myself, though I didn’t think of it that way when I composed it. It was when I was starting out with my author page. I didn’t want to call it ‘Nissa Annakindt, Author’ or ‘Nissa Annakindt,Writer’. That seemed too common. So I came up with ‘Nissa Annakindt, poet, Aspie and cat person.’

I used ‘poet’ because I’ve been a published poet since 1989, and have been published in a number of literary/little magazines. I have also been attempting novels since about 1990 or 1991, but I have as yet not been successful in becoming a published novelist. The complexities of writing have so far defeated me.

‘Aspie’ is a slang term for someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. Officially Asperger’s Syndrome is now just a part of ‘autism spectrum disorder’ which also includes people with low-functioning autism. Having this in my tagline makes me feel a little uneasy now. Like I’m playing the disability card. I honestly don’t believe in doing that. Having a disability shouldn’t mean you are making that disability your ‘special interest’, or, worse, that you are claiming special treatment as a member of a protected minority group, people with disabilities. I don’t believe in this protected minorities (Black people, gay people) versus despised minorities (traditional Christians, conservatives) way of looking at society that so many in the mainstream have. But— on the other hand being an Aspie explains some things about me, like my intense, obsessive interest in certain topics, my being utterly disorganized, my lack of ‘normal’ social skills, and my eccentricities.

I suppose the least useful part of my tagline is ‘cat person’. Though I have written a few poems about my cats. And it spawned a tagline to my tagline: ‘cat person? Well, when the moon is full….’  I’m not sure that’s a useful addition. But my cats are a big part of my life and my lifestyle. I live on 60 acres in a rural area, and so it is possible for me to have quite a number of barn cats, some of whom get to be house cats.

Before I had that tagline the best I had my ‘crazy cat lady’ bio that I wrote for my first poetry book. “I’m a crazy cat lady from upper Michigan. Want a kitten? No, you can’t have that one. No, not that one either. And don’t even think of that one there— the one that hisses and bites everybody. She’s my favorite.”

You can see therefore that I am not at all sure that my current author tagline is the best it can be. Though I am rather fond of it and I’m not sure I can change my Facebook author page to match a new tagline. But I’m thinking about changing if I can think of something better. (If you have suggestions, please mention them in a comment.)

It can be hard to come up with a good tagline because your writing work can change over the years. You can go from writing romance to writing mysteries or hard science fiction, for example. From genre fiction to literary fiction. From potboiler novels to serious poetry. You need to find things that are going to be always true about you and your work.

What about you? Do you have a tagline? If so, please share it in the comments. Are you working on a tagline? Or do you think the tagline idea isn’t right for you?


Poem of the Day

Today’s featured poem was written by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). He was some guy married to the lady who wrote Frankenstein. I like Frankenstein. And his Monster.

Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert…Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

My cat Umberto is expecting kittens soon, and I may name one Ozymandias. It may or may not be a boy kitty. Update: I now have a cat named Ozymandias. The mail lady found a half-starved three-legged cat on her route and she knew exactly where to deliver THAT package. He’s a friendly cat and has already hopped in my lap. Also tried to help me eat my lunch.

If you write poetry, you might like the Facebook group ‘Red Explosions Poetry Group.’ It welcomes poets from beginners to published poets.

Facebook for Writers: Personal Page or Fan Page

Facebook

 

If you are a writer or future writer, you need to build a platform. Having some degree of popularity on social media can help. But it can be confusing to figure out what to spend your time on.

Blogging is essential, I believe— your blog can double as your author page and you don’t have to pay for it. A writer should try to write a blog post every week.

But the next most important social media is Facebook. People’s grandmothers are on Facebook. It’s a big place. And there is more real social interaction than on Twitter, which so far for me has had next to no social interaction at all except for the friends that I have from Facebook.

But there are two kinds of Facebook pages you need to be aware of. Many writers have BOTH. But if you only have time to put your effort into ONE, which should you choose.

I don’t actually have the final answer on this one, not even for myself. But here are some probably-rambling thoughts I’ve had about the two types of pages.

1. Your Personal Page

When you start a Facebook account, what you get is a personal page. Facebook wants you to use your real name, inform them about which schools you went to, what your job is, what movies you watch, and so on. To interact with a personal page, you must send a friend request.

Some writers use their everyday, regular Facebook personal page to interact with readers. Readers can send friend requests to them, or they can ‘follow’ the account. There is a 5000 person limit on ‘friends’ but you can have more followers than that.

If your name is John Smith, readers will have a dickens of a time figuring out which John Smith to send a friend request to. So some authors have a second Facebook page with a ‘name’ something like John Smith Author or Mary Jones Writer. These pages still have the same friend limit as any other personal page.

You can find MY personal Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/nissa.amas.katoj     I accept friend requests from blog readers and fans of my poetry books, and I update about my writing life— you are welcome to make a friend request. It’s also the Facebook page my mom, brother, nieces and cousins use to interact with me. I also have an old FB personal account that was under a pen name I thought of using, but I decided not to use it so that account is for playing Facebook games.

2. A Facebook Fan Page

The second kind of Facebook page authors use is a Fan Page. You don’t send a friend request to these pages, you ‘like’ them. The advantage of these pages is that there is no friend limit. And also, for a reader to click ‘like’ is less of a commitment than to send a friend request. Facebook doesn’t like it when you send out too many friend requests and some people have been restricted.

There are some things you can do if you start a Facebook fan page. You can go out and ‘like’ as many pages related to your genre, writing in general, and also topics that are of interest to YOU. For me that’s conservative-libertarian politics, prolife and pro-marriage pages, Star Trek and Doctor Who, and the Catholic stuff. When you like pages as your page, you have a news feed that is specific to your fan page. If you visit the pages in your feed and comment on stuff, you might get people who like your comments to decide to like your page.

I have two different writing related fan pages. One is ‘Nissa Annakindt, poet, Aspie & cat person‘. This is about my personal writing and it does tend to get neglected. I’m trying to post more there. Please like the page?

The other fan page is a group effort together with other writers. It’s called Sci-Fi, Fantasy and the Christian Faith, and it’s a Christian (Catholic, Evangelical, other) look at the Sci-fi/fantasy world. One of my co-admins, author Declan Finn, actually does most of the posting on this page, at least right now. I REALLY want you to like this page. And share it with all your Facebook buddies. Cause this page is not just about me.

The hard thing about working on the Fan pages is that both as yet are small, and so I get more of a reaction to what I post on my personal page. I need to work harder on those pages.

 

For either type of Facebook pages, posting in the morning (US Eastern Time morning) tends to get more response to posts. But there is only one morning and mine should be filled with me, writing. So I am trying to go on Facebook in the evenings and schedule some good posts for the morning ahead. In fact, I should have done that last night.

Comments welcome!

What kinds of Facebook pages do you use in for your writing? Please include links to them in your comment so I can ‘like’ them. (Or ‘friend/follow’ them.)

Do you have any good tips for using Facebook as a writer or wannabe writer? Or do you have any questions that I or another reader might have the answer to? We’d love to hear from you.

A request.

I am trying to get an audience for this blog, so if you would like, perhaps you can share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, or some other place. Thank you.