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Behind the Twitter Curtain

September 26, 2010

When I first started on Twitter, less than a year ago really, I was admittedly a bit, um, lost. Twitter seemed like the territory of the young. I’m in my mid-30s. (Okay, 40s.) Would I look stupid? This place seemed to have its own culture. Where do I start?

It also seemed to have this strange lingo–what are the # signs for? What does hashtag mean? What’s a handle? What’s a gawker? Was I a gawker? Was that a bad thing? It sounded bad. It was bad, wasn’t it?

I did gawk (watch conversations) for a weeks, actually. I checked out the suggested users, the search feature, focusing on writers, editors, humor, and publishing. I interacted slowly, carefully, afraid to offend. I was terrified of the RT (retweet) button. I was thrilled whenever I got a response. My first RT was like someone handing me gold.

Pathetic, I know.

Don’t gloat too much. We’ve all been there (or some of you still are).

I knew I had to think not only as a writer but as a marketer: I was primarily there to make connections regarding my blog @RachelintheOC and to become more visible for my future book. Frustrated by the limitations of Facebook, I decided to jump in.

Newbies to have a lot to learn. Twitter is definitely not what it seems from the outside. It has its own culture, but one that you can easily learn and most importantly as a writer, use to your advantage.

I will now give you some shortcuts that I have learned to save you some time.

Come with me, behind the Twitter curtain.

1)      SEARCH

Follow people every day in your specific area of interest. For writers, that means writers, writing, editors, publishing, your genre, etc. Use those specific terms to search. There are several ways to go about this, the most obvious and time-consuming being the SEARCH bar. (@Mashable and @HuffPo also provide several lists of great writers on Twitter that you may admire.)

There are many easier ways to search. For specifics, plan on attending our first free social media workshop on October 11 from 4:30-5:30pm PST. DM us at @IndieBookIBC for details.

2)      LISTS

Most newbies are afraid of lists. To be honest, they don’t even notice them. (Top right, next to number of followers.) That number is the total number of lists you’ve been added to.

I’m here to tell you—lists are your friend if you want to grow.

Here’s why: lists are one of THE BEST WAYS to attract followers on Twitter. People love to be added to lists. It’s flattering. It’s ego-inflating. It feels good. Where else, in the course of one’s day, can you make someone feel so special without having to spend any money? Lists, baby.

Tips: be creative, be pithy, be exclusive (even if you really aren’t). Make people feel that they are so lucky to be on your list because they are AWESOME. (Some examples of my lists: awesome redheads, charming men, so cool they’re hot, etc.) Start slowly, be selective.

Creating lists are easy. Click on “new list” on the sidebar and follow the directions from there or hit the HELP button. Again, we will be reviewing lists in detail at our workshop so don’t fret if you have trouble. We’re here to help.

3)      THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS

Whatever your stage–WIP, ready to self-publish, or going the traditional publishing route–you must have a social media presence in today’s market. Publishing houses consider it a given that they will sign you with a fan base already in place, and indie booksellers figure you will get the word out on your own to pack your signings.

How do you achieve creating buzz (and selling your books!) prior to your book launch, or without the benefit of a book tour?

The solution is Twitter, your blog, and other social media. Your SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE is what will carry you. Want specifics?

At the very minimum, you must have at least 2,000 targeted, quality followers on Twitter to play with the big boys and girls. Your followers have value as part of your brand, especially when it comes to cross promotion. What do you as a writer (and marketer) bring to the table?

@IndieBookIBC has this all worked out. We can help you achieve this easily through the use of third-party applications that keep your tweeting and marketing time down and your writing time on track. I also want you to think of your Twitter stream as your personal TV channel with occasional writing commercials thrown in.

Sure you want to make friends. But don’t you want to sell books?

In my next article, I’ll discuss you as your “brand,” what branding your tweets means, and how you need to start looking at yourself as more than just a writer.

I’m a mom, a wife, and a recovering pharmaceuticals rep. It’s been a long process but I’m doing okay, thanks.  You should follow me here, on Twitter at @RachelintheOC, and on Facebook also.

***

Cruise by our website. Check us out. Join the collective and see you next week!

Our featured book this week is Plain Jane, a Patterson-style thriller. And don’t take our word on the chills this book delivers. Take Top 10 NYT Best Seller James Rollins’ (Altar of Eden and Sigma Series) word for it!

“Wickedly macabre and blisteringly paced, PLAIN JANE marks the debut of a thriller for the new millennium. Brash, funny, terrifying, and shocking, here is a story best enjoyed with all the lights on. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 12:05 pm

    What a great blog! I no longer feel like such as Twitter dweeb =)

    I’m looking forward to your next post.

    • Kait Nolan permalink
      September 30, 2010 12:25 pm

      I know! I felt the same way when I joined IBC. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. September 30, 2010 4:08 pm

    Thanks for the comments, tweeps 🙂

    I still learn cool new Twitter tips every day. It’s a whole new world out there.

  3. October 7, 2010 9:18 am

    I’m impressed by your Twitter skills (and all of the IBC members) and I’m really trying to “learn the lingo” but, boy, it sure sounds (and looks) like a foreign language to me.

    • Kait Nolan permalink
      October 7, 2010 9:47 am

      I promise, it gets easier! It helped me to think of it as a giant IM conversation. And then there’s branding…but you should check out our next post for that!

  4. darcel bishop permalink
    October 11, 2010 3:33 pm

    Hi. i just started joining twitter on 10/10/2010. im still nnew to this an all. i really want some tips. im sooo lost an confused. please help me. please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. November 2, 2010 1:12 am

    This is just how I feel about Twitter now. Thanks for the tips! Off to make lists….

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