Yesterday morning whilst writing my morning tweets I thought Twitter was having a funny blip when it gave me more than my usual 140 characters, but in my early morning (just got out of bed) mode, I didn’t think much of it until later in the day when my thoughts returned to social media.
Last evening I found an article which confirmed my suspicions…..read more here is this article by Ash Read
Main points are; @names in replies, media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) and quoted Tweets will no longer be counted against the valuable 140 characters that make up a tweet. Hooray! Let’s get Tweeting!
Wants more useful tips? Check out these Wednesday Wing Posts…
This week on Wednesday Wing we are looking at Hashtags from a different view.
Please welcome back our fountain of Twitter Knowledge @TerryTyler4
Hashtags: How to use them—and how not to
I’ve been using Twitter for so long that I sometimes forget that not everyone understands the purposes of hashtags—it’s easy to forget that every day new people arrive at the site and wonder what the hell they are, too—just like I did!
No, they’re not just random, and neither are they a magic secret that everyone knows about except you (which is what I thought at first….). They have seven basic uses, as far as I can see, which I will outline here:
Expanding the reach of your tweets
I’ve talked before about the blog share hashtags such as #SundayBlogShare and #TuesdayBookBlog. It’s not all about blogs, though; there’s also #FolkloreThursday, #MusicMonday, #MondayMotivation #FridayReads, #WordlessWednesday and so many more, which can be used for blog posts and other stuff, too. The idea is that you retweet others on the hashtag (just click on it, go to ‘Accounts’ and click on ‘Tweets’, and you see them all), and they retweet you, thus ever widening everyone’s Twitter ‘reach’. If you’re not using these, you should be!
Attracting those with interest in a certain topic
Say you’ve written a book that’s set in Cornwall, or you have a business that’s set there, or you’re posting a photograph that you took. If you hashtag #Cornwall in your tweet, it will be seen by anyone who puts #Cornwall in the search. Many cities, towns and counties have their special hour on Twitter, too; if you put, for instance, #NorthantsHour into the search, you will find the account for that hashtag, and, thus, find out when it is (Thursday 8-9 pm, actually, I just looked!). Then you can tweet during that time with the hashtag—and, as before, retweet others for maximum effect. These are used mostly for business advertising and events, but not exclusively.
For writers or tweets about writing and books, if you add #amwriting, #writers, #writetip, #amreading or #writerslifestyle to your tweet, you will get lots more retweets, as some people who used automated apps to run their accounts will set them to RT certain hashtags. I’m sure there are others, for writers and indeed for other subjects; it’s just a matter of doing a bit of research
Finding like-minded people to follow
You might want to up your following and don’t know how. Okay, say you’re interested in jazz. Put #jazz in the search, click on ‘Accounts’, and you’ll find everyone else who’s into it. If you add it to your tweets, this will gain new followers too, because others who put #jazz into the search will find YOU!
Some people do live Twitter chats or promotions, and decide on a hashtag for that particular event. #RosieAmberParty for instance (that’s not real, by the way, I just made it up!). Say a live chat lasts for two hours and you want to take part, you just put the hashtag on your tweet and it will appear in the stream with all the other participants, so you and they can talk to each other. The recent #BloggersBash was similar, to let people know the news about the event in London, and the blog award results.
Similarly, some people tweet about a particular TV/Radio programme, while it’s on: #TheArchers or #The Apprentice, for instance. Most popular programmes have their own hashtag, often started by the production company. Or about a news item: #Brexit, #VoteLeave, #VoteRemain, etc, or something current, like #Wimbledon or #WorldCup2014, #GayPride or whatever. Fans of a certain programme, celebrity or group (you will, no doubt, have seen many about teeny bopper crooners One Direction…) make various hashtags so like-minded Twitterers can join in.
Hashtag as description: indicating the subject matter of a book, film etc
If you’re tweeting about a book, it’s general practice to add the genre/location/subject, etc of the book so that people who might be interested in it will click the link: #YA #Fantasy #Steampunk #VictorianMurderMystery #Romance #Chicago #DomesticViolence, etc etc, or anthing that will tell people what the book is about. This is SO worth doing. I recently discovered a new favourite author (Ann Swinfen), simply because she’d put #17thCentury #The Fens on a tweet for one of her books. She’s since gained several sales and some wonderful reviews from me; this also illustrates the power of the retweet: I had never heard of her, but her tweet was RTd by someone I knew. Musicians might add #rock or #country—you get the general idea!
Hashtag games: I love them. You will have seen such things as #MakeAFilmSmaller or #FoodFilms. Many of them are all about clever plays on words; just click on the hashtag and you’ll see what’s going on. Another good way of finding people who would normally be outside your Twitter circle. Great fun, too!
Lots of people use hashtags for humorous asides. For instance, you might be tweeting something about your day:
‘Can’t get myself going today…. #StayingInBed’.
Or ‘When’s it going to stop raining? #FlamingJune’.
Or ‘Did anyone seeMichael McIntyre on #JonathanRoss last night? #WhatAnIdiot’.
This isn’t an ‘official’ use of the hashtag and there are no rules to it, it’s just something people do!
And finally—How NOT to use them
Hashtagging random words
‘My guest #post on how to make the #perfect cupcakes!‘
Pointless, and looks silly. If anything, hashtag the word #cupcakes.
Writing the title of your book as a hashtag
Unless stacks of people are likely to be tweeting or searching for information about it, there’s little point. If you want it to stand out, you’re better off typing it in capital letters.
Using too many
‘New #blog post: #Authors #Writers #HowTo increase your #blog traffic
Yes, it will hit all those hashtags and it’s clear what it’s about, but it looks as if it’s trying to cover all bases, and as if it’s a bit hard sell, rather than an interesting article you might want to look at.
Adding the hashtag when your tweet is nothing to do with its subject
For instance, tweeting about a jewellery product you’re trying to sell and adding the hashtag #TuesdayBookBlog. Or a tweet about your horror book with #MondayMotivation. People do this to try to attract more views, but it just makes them look idiotic/desperate/a bit cheeky. It’s known as hashtag abuse, and will probably get you blocked by the hashtag administrator (if there is one), or even reported to Twitter for spam.
This is when people use a hashtag like #SundayBlogShare and tweet every single blog post they’ve ever written, all at once. Will be more likely to get you blocked by people than have them read your posts.
I think I’ve covered every eventuality here! Using hashtags the right way can make so much difference to your Twitterly life; I hope it’s helped.
Writers/Reviewers: Guard against your Amazon reviews being removed.
Terry Tyler offers advice and thoughts on the matter.
There has been much blogged about lately on the subject of Amazon removing book reviews. I am no authority on this subject, but believe their principle is to counteract the growing number of fake reviews; writers who cannot get them any other way (I will not go into the reasons for this right now!) have perhaps made use of the various sites around the internet that sell five star reviews. The owners of such sites do not read the books, but just post reviews. I saw one that had posted around a hundred on the same day, all of which consisted of the five star rating and one word, ‘brillent’, which I imagine was supposed to say ‘brilliant’; I suspect many of these sites are run by scammers who do not boast English as a first language!
Amazon is also targeting writers’ family members: even if your account has a different name, your review will not be accepted if you are posting it from the same IP address. The cause of concern, though, is when Amazon removes reviews from ‘friends’ of the author. Whether or not a reviewer has a personal relationship with the author is determined by their connection over internet sites. Obviously this is not a satisfactory way of assessing relationship, as many writers have regular readers who become online friends simply because they like their books. I have some of these, and I, too, will communicate with a writer online if I love their work. Sometimes you and another writer become friends because of your mutual admiration for what the other does; the whole system is deeply flawed, as we know! However, my purpose is not to whinge on about the rights and wrongs (which is pointless), but to suggest one way by which Amazon’s computers detect a connection (I read it somewhere, can’t remember where), and offer a remedy; it seemed so logical once I’d read it that I couldn’t think why it hadn’t occurred to me before.
If you are on a social networking site or email, and copy and paste the link to your book from Amazon, (for a tweet, for instance, or to send to someone in an email), it might look something like this:
Now, all the characters after the ASIN number (B016WNEEQO) are not just a random jumble, but the online trail that leads back to your computer. If you post this full link on a tweet it may be shortened by Twitter, but all those characters still remain in the site’s memory. Thus, if someone else clicks on that link and buys your book, then goes to review it, it could look as though the review has come via your computer, or at the very least that the person writing it knows you, has some connection with you, or was sent the link by you—so the review may be disallowed.
The way to get over this is to always delete all the characters after the ASIN number, before you post a link to your book, anywhere.
Also, be careful about the wording of any review you post; this morning, a reliable book blogger told me that she’d had a review disallowed because, she was told, it was too similar to another one submitted for that book. I’ve never come across this before, but it’s worth bearing in mind—a good reason to always make your reviews as original as you can, and don’t use review clichés or copy passages from the blurb into a review; if you’re giving a précis of the plot, make sure it’s in your own words. I don’t know how Amazon works, no one does, but it stands to reason that its computers flag up certain words; perhaps if one review has 50% similar words/groups of words to another, it is assumed to be a duplicate review, or a fake. I can’t say for sure; I’m just telling you what happened to a book blogger I know (who neither copies others nor uses review clichés!) so that you may be warned!
I know, I know, it’s so infuriating when many fakes still remain and genuine reviews are disallowed or taken down, but there seems to be little we can do about it, and emailing them just gains a standard reply about evidence of a personal relationship with the reviewer, or other reasons; perhaps damage limitation is a better idea.
If you want to post a review and find you can’t (there are a couple of writers with whom I am online friends whose books I can’t review on Amazon.com), you could try asking a friend to post it from their account. I haven’t done this, it’s just an idea. Okay, they haven’t read the book, but you have and you want to review it, so this seems like a fairly reasonable way of getting round it. If you find this unethical, you could always write a line at the top saying ‘T Tyler posting review from J Bloggs’ account’, or something; I saw one like that the other day. After all, there are some writers who get everyone they know to post a 5* saying that the book is the best thing they’ve ever read; many of these remain, so using a friend’s account in order to post a genuine review seems fair enough! Yes, I know, the review would not show ‘verified purchase’, but neither do those for which you’ve received or sent an ARC – OR that you download via Kindle Unlimited. I download most of my books via KU, so the majority of the reviews I post don’t show ‘verified purchase’ anyway.
I hope this helps. I’ve had about 6 reviews for my own books removed in the last month, and only yesterday I noticed that a review on a friend’s book that I posted two years ago has been taken off, too, so I know how annoying it is!
Last week Julia chatted about what a proofreader was and why you need one. Today we continue with ways to choose the right proofreader for you. Read Part 1 post here http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-99t
Making your book as error-free as possible before publication is essential in today’s flooded market. New writers with no experience in the industry may not know exactly what a proofreader does, or how to find a good one. Today I’ve asked one of the UK’s top proofreaders, Julia Gibbs (@ProofreadJulia on Twitter) to help writers through this stage of the publishing process.
Even more helpful, concise hints about proofreading.
How much should writers expect to pay?
I would say, look around, get an idea of the range of prices being charged. See what you feel comfortable with. By the way, I charge per thousand words, and not by the hour; this is because I reckon it’s my responsibility how much time I take to do the job, not that of the client, and charging per thousand words means that the client knows exactly how much the fee will be.
How can a writer find a proofreader who will do a good job?
Firstly, ask the prospective proofreader if they will work on a small sample for you, without obligation and free of charge. No bona fide proofreader will object to providing this service.
Secondly – ask for references! And make sure that they are recommendations from real people whom you can contact, not just a quote such as, ‘Very pleased – Mrs A. of Aberystwyth’!
I’ve been followed on Twitter by lots of new companies that promise perfect proofreading at knockdown prices. How would a new writer know if they are any good?
Buyer beware. I’ve noticed a lot of companies and individuals, relatively new to Twitter, who are offering proofreading services. There has recently been an absolute avalanche of companies who seem to think there is money to be made from self-published authors. My advice would be the same as for the previous question. One thing I would warn strongly against is companies that advertise ‘proofreading software’. There is no substitute for the human eye and brain. Click here, and I try to explain why: https://juliaproofreader.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/why-proofreading-is-the-new-rock-n-roll/
Some companies provide packages of editing, proofreading, cover art, translation, formatting and many other services. Is it a good idea to go with one of these, or seek out individuals who specialise in one particular area?
I would look for individual specialists. You really don’t know, with companies such as these, who they are farming the work out to. Naturally they have a reputation to maintain, but what if you like the editor they provide but not the proofreader or the cover artist? Recommendations and references, that is the key.
As a reviewer, I come across many books with a lot of errors. Sometimes, the writer will tell me that they have already been proofread—which means, basically, that they’ve been ripped off. Are there any other warning signs writers should look for, on proofreading sites?
Naturally, make sure there are no errors on their web page! I recently looked at a proofreader’s website, and was astounded to see 3 incorrect uses of the apostrophe. If you’re not sure about punctuation or spelling, ask another person or particularly an author whom you trust to have a look, just to see what they think.
What if a writer is submitting the book to a publisher? They will have their own proofreaders who correct mistakes before publishing, won’t they? Or would the writer be expected to get it proofread first?
If your book is being traditionally published, then you’d reasonably assume that the proofreading provided for your book will be satisfactory (although we’ve all seen errors in traditionally published books, have we not). Again, there is no guarantee that editors or proofreaders attached to an independent or small publisher work to a high standard. In short, if a publisher has accepted your book, you can expect them to proofread it for you. But you might want to get your book proofread before you submit it in order to increase your chance of publication. One of my clients is a successful, traditionally published US crime writer – he asked me to proofread his book before he submitted it to his publisher because he felt that he’d rushed it, and they might reject it on the grounds of too many errors.
What is a Proofreader? Why you need one, and how to choose one – Part 1
Making your book as error-free as possible before publication is essential in today’s flooded market. New writers with no experience in the industry may not know exactly what a proofreader does, or how to find a good one. Today I’ve asked one of the UK’s top proofreaders, Julia Gibbs (@ProofreadJulia on Twitter) to help writers through this stage of the publishing process.
What is a proofreader? Why you need one, and how to choose one, Part 1.
First of all, can you explain the difference between content editing, copy editing and proofreading? I know a lot of new writers wonder about this.
Certainly! An Editor will look at the book as a whole, and make suggestions such as: let’s make this character more prominent in the plot; how about inserting a short chapter with a bit of back story; this plot thread isn’t fully explained; you might consider writing this character in 1st person PoV (point of view) etc. It’s not an editor’s job to correct typos, although they may spot a few.
A Copy Editor will look at the actual text more closely as a whole, and will point out for example: overuse of a certain word in a paragraph; factual errors; a word that isn’t quite right, and will suggest an alternative. The function of a copy editor is to look at each page/paragraph/line and pick up inconsistencies or repetitions, or just quirks that could put off a reader.
A Proofreader will correct your spelling, punctuation and grammar. The content of your work does not concern a proofreader, but they are the final person to work on your book and make it as error-free as possible before it is published.
Do all writers use editors? Should they all use a proofreader?
Most writers need an editor, but there is a small percentage who are capable of editing their own work. You may be one of those people. However, and it’s a big however, about 98% of authors need a proofreader. Make that 99%. I say this from experience. In the work of the most educated and assiduous of writers, I find between 300 and 800 corrections to make. Often they’re surprised! Why is this? Well, it’s because you can’t proofread your own work. Your mind reads what it expects to see. I recently contacted a blogger to point out a glaring error in the first line of a book review; she said she’d read over the piece about 8 times, and not spotted it. QED, I say!
At what stage of the pre-publication process should the proofreading take place?
It’s essential to ensure that you’ve finished editing your book before you pass it to the proofreader. No matter how tempted you might be, please don’t rewrite anything after the proofreader sends it back, as you might (will) insert more tiny errors. I recently worked on a very good book, whose author subsequently inserted a few more paragraphs – thus throwing up around 40 new errors! And we all know what that means – reviewers pointing out typos, which spoils our good work.
Some writers are on a limited budget, and might get a friend whose English is very good, to proofread. Is this a sensible option?
It’s not a bad idea, but not a great one. Your friend will not read the book with the same mindset as a proofreader who doesn’t know you. They may skip bits without meaning to, they may wish not to offend you by finding too many errors, and they may not work to your timetable! A case in point; one of my clients said that his fiancée had proofread his 40k-word novella, and I found over 300 typos in it. Look at it this way; if your friend doesn’t spot, say, a particular 45 typos in your book, you can’t really reprimand them. But you would not expect a proofreader whom you are paying to miss those 45 typos.
Here are links to all our useful Wednesday Wing Posts
Are you catching all tweets relevant to you? Do you wish you could change your Twitter Handle?
Alison Williams explains how an easy to find name, set up correctly, REALLY is useful.
Changing your Twitter username – easy steps
When I first braved Twitter I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Social media in all its various forms has been a huge learning curve for me. And as time has gone on, I’ve realised that I got some things wrong.
One mistake I made when I set up my Twitter account was with choosing my twitter username/handle. I wanted to use my actual name and unfortunately I have a really common name, so Alison Williams wasn’t available, and neither were any variations using numbers that weren’t far too complicated to use. So I decided to use a capital ‘i’ in place of one of the ‘L’s in Williams. Sorted.
Problems arose however when I was tagged in a tweet. For example, a book reviewer reviewed my novel and posted the review on her blog. She tweeted the review and included my username in the tweet. But she assumed that my twitter username was @AlisonWilliams. Of course, it actually wasn’t. So I didn’t see that tweet and therefore couldn’t retweet it. This means I lost out on sharing that review with a lot of people. The same thing happened when an editing client tweeted how pleased she was with the work I did for her – she asked me a few days later why I hadn’t retweeted. I lost out on some free advertising there.
I realised that I needed to change my username to something that, first of all, people could spell correctly, and secondly that would lead people to me on Twitter. So I decided to change my username to @AlisonW_Editor
This means that people tend to copy and paste the username when including me in a tweet, meaning that it can’t be spelled incorrectly. It also means that anyone looking for an editor on Twitter is more likely to find me.
Changing your username is really simple to do. Just go to your Twitter profile, use the drop down menu to select ‘settings’, and change the username listed in the username field. Click ‘save changes’ and you’re done. It doesn’t affect anything on your account; you keep all your followers, and all your past tweets, favourites and lists are still there.
The only issue I had was with my WordPress blog. My account is set up so that when I publish a new post, a tweet is instantly generated. Despite me disconnecting and then reconnecting my Twitter account, the old username refused to budge. It was time to call in some extra help – my twenty-year-old son! Who worked it out in a couple of minutes.
As with a lot of things on WordPress, the simple things are often the hardest to find. So if you have a WordPress blog and want to connect your Twitter handle or have changed your Twitter username, here’s what you need to do:
Go to WP Admin
On the left hand side under ‘Settings’ you’ll see ‘sharing’ – click this
Scroll down until you see: ‘Twitter username to include in tweets when people share using the Twitter button’
In the box alongside this enter your new Twitter username.
And you’re ready to go.
Tip: Make your Twitter Handle as close to your “Author” name (or Business Name) as possible so fans can easily follow you.
Wednesday Wing brings you useful tips to help with ALL things Books
Today Editor Alison Williams joins us to talk about Publishing an e-book
Publishing an eBook
There’s absolutely no doubt that self-publishing has opened the doors to many new authors and many are tempted by the idea that they can write a book, upload it to Amazon and wait for the money to roll in. But of course it isn’t as simple as that. Aside from the issues around quality, you also need to prepare your manuscript for publishing.
There are freelancers and companies that will do this for you, but of course they will charge you. So, although formatting can be quite a tricky business, it is worth learning how to do this as once you have the skills you will then be able to format and self-publish in future without incurring any costs (aside of course from other aspects like editing and cover design). It can be time consuming, but it is certainly possible. If you are only publishing a kindle version, then formatting is far simpler than publishing a paperback copy.
Rather than providing a step-by-step, once size fits all guide here, I thought it would be more useful to cover the basics and provide links to more detailed information – the process can feel overwhelming, and, if you’re anything like me, it can be better to find things out as you go along, dealing with one step at a time, rather than trying to learn everything at once.
Having said that, I have included some pretty detailed information about your cover illustration, as this was the most difficult part for me to get my head around when I published!
You will first need to have a cover designed. Once you have a cover illustration, then uploading is relatively straightforward. As long as your designer sends you the illustration in the correct format then it should be a case of simply uploading the file. If you’re using Amazon KDP, ask your illustrator to provide a file that is:
Has a height/width ratio of 1:6 so a minimum of 625 pixels on the shortest side and 1000 pixels on the longest side (although KDP recommends 2500 pixels on the longest side). If you decide to publish through Smashwords as well as KDP then the recommended file size is 1600 pixels wide by 2400 pixels tall – these dimensions work for KDP too so you can use the same image for both platforms.
The image must be less than 50MB and should have 72 dots per inch (dpi)
Tell the illustrator that Amazon uses RGB (Red, Green, Blue or True Color). The image must be saved without using colour separation.
If the illustrator bears all this in mind, and supplies the correctly formatted image, then it should simply be a case of uploading the cover. Most book cover designers will be aware of what is required to upload a cover successfully, so it shouldn’t be a problem to get an image to simply upload.
You can upload your manuscript directly as a Word document, as a PDF, HTML or TXT, although some cause more problems than others. You can find more advice here.
Once you have uploaded your file, there is an online previewer that makes it very easy to see if there are any issues with the formatting. You can go through the previewer, noting where there are errors to sort out, go back to your original document to correct them, and then upload again. Keep doing this until you are sure your manuscript is correct.
There is plenty of advice on the KDP website. It does quite a good job of walking you through each stage, and if you get stuck then there is a good forum where you can find lots of answers.
If you choose to use Smashwords, they have information on formatting your document ready to upload including a step by step guide. Again, it can take time and some aspects are fiddly, but I used their guide and I managed – and I know it’s a cliché but if I can do it then really anyone can. You should be able to use the same cover image as with KDP. You can find lots of information about Smashwords here. Please note – other free to publish platforms are available!
Today we bring you #TwitterTips part 4 – Tweeting with Style by @TerryTyler4
Part 4: Tweeting With Style
With millions of tweets floating about cyberspace every minute, how do you make yours worth a look, a smile, a retweet, a link click or a follow?
This is a huge subject with lots of sub-topics, but I’m keeping it brief here (I’m trying, Rosie!) with a few basic dos and don’ts to improve your Twittering.
Make it interesting ~ for instance, if you’re tweeting a book review, try giving more information than just ‘Review of Another Book by A.N. Author’ and the link. Say something like ‘I loved this book!’, or ‘Recommended for a light beach read’. Indicate the genre, or add a couple of hashtags: #NewYork #Murder, or whatever. With thousands and thousands of book reviews being tweeted every day, titles by unknown authors can so easily be passed by, unnoticed.
Add a photo ~ you can add up to 4. Illustrations catch the eye! You need to leave 24 characters to add a photo to a tweet—do so by clicking the camera at the bottom left hand corner. For a tweet about a book, you could use the book’s cover, then another picture to show the subject matter; for instance, a devastated landscape for a post apocalyptic thriller.
Go to town promoting your own book! See those 280 characters as a mini advert, and use them well – include a picture or two, maybe a review quote (not ‘I couldn’t put it down’, please!), or a brief, catchy phrase. I discovered a favourite author (Joel Hames) by a great tweeted tagline: ‘Not everyone will make it to drinks on Friday’. Or you can hashtag relevant words ~ I discovered another new favourite (Ann Swinfen) by her hashtags #Fenland #history #17thCentury. Just tweeting ‘Check out my book’ willguarantee that no one will.
….but don’t waste those 280 characters on pointless hashtags: ‘#FiveStarReviews’ or ‘#FiveStarRead’ mean very little; there’s scarcely a book on Amazon that doesn’t have five star reviews, even if it’s just a couple from the author’s pals. On the other hand, if it’s got 40 of them, that IS something to tweet about!
Be bold but don’t get cheesy/make daft claims. No, the latest part of your vampire series is NOT ‘the sequel everyone’s been waiting for’, or ‘the book everyone’s talking about’, unless you’re a genuine best selling author (and by ‘best selling’ I don’t mean ‘reached #1 in an obscure genre chart two years ago!’).
Make sure your grammar and spelling are correct—and, if you’re a writer, your punctuation, too. Yes, even in a tweet.
If something funny or particularly profound/relevant pops into your head, tweet it! It’s good to tweet without links, sometimes…
Think up a great headline for your blog posts. Anything that starts off with ‘How to’ or ’10 tips for’ or asks a question is guaranteed to make people click the link.
Give credit ~ If you’re tweeting something via someone else (ie, reposting a particularly good blog post), don’t forget to add their @username.
Comment! If you like a picture that you see tweeted, if something makes you laugh, say so ~ everyone likes to know they’ve provoked a reaction.
And a few DON’TS…
Don’t only tweet promotional stuff about your own work. Twitter is a social networking site, not a free advertising forum.
Don’t get into public arguments. Yeah, I know, we’ve all done it sometimes….
Don’t start a tweet with a @username, unless it’s a reply or you only want that person and a few others to see it. If it’s a general tweet (something like ‘@rosieamber1 reviews Another Book by A. N. Author’), rephrase it so that the username isn’t at the beginning, or simply put a full stop before the username—that way, it will be included in the general feed for all to see.
Don’t confuse Twitter with Facebook. They’re very different sites; most of your Twitter followers don’t know you and it’s likely they won’t have seen the stuff you were talking about yesterday, or even half an hour before. Tweeting something like ‘Done itright this time! Here’s the second part’ will mean absolutely nothing to 99% of the people who see it.
Don’t be too cryptic. It’s good to tweet something that will make fellow tweeps think ‘I wonder what that’s about?’, but there’s a fine line between ‘intriguing’ and ‘incomprehensible’. Before you click the tweet button, make sure you haven’t crossed it.
Now go forth into the Twittersphere and tweet with style!
Last week we looked at how to get more followers, http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-90C and today I’d like to offer some ideas about how to expand the ‘reach’ of your tweets, and thus your blog, if you have one, too (my personal blog has had 336,778 views since I started it 4 years ago, and my book review blog 82,392 views since I started it 16 months ago; I daresay some get tons more than that but they’re quite respectable numbers, so I hope these tips help!). Please note that this post is orientated towards writers/bloggers, but the same principles apply whatever your area of the Twittersphere.
Say at the moment you’ve got about 3500 followers, and have built up a great community of writers, bloggers, book reviewers and some faithful readers. You’re all sharing and reading each others’ blog posts, taking up book recommendations, etc; it’s good. What may be happening, though, is that you all have a similar active following (bearing in mind that all followers are not active), so you all tend to see much the same posts going round and round, staying more or less in the same tiny corner of Twitter. If you’re happy with that, fine; many people are content to stay within the community they’ve made on social networking sites. But if you want to break out of that corner and step out into the wider world, how do you do it?
Try some of these ideas
If you’re a blogger or writer, you probably know about the blog sharing hashtag days, such as #MondayBlogs, #TuesdayBookBlog, #wwwblogs, #SundayBlogShare, #ArchiveDay, #FolkloreThursday, etc. You’ll already know that if you just click on the hashtag, you see posts from people you know, and a few from other familiar names; Twitter’s algorithms work to make you see the posts from the people with whom you have interaction. However, if you click on the hashtag and then on ‘Latest’, you will see all the other posts on the hashtag, from accounts with whom you’ve not yet had any connection. If you retweet/follow some of them, there is a good chance that they will retweet and follow you back, thus putting your posts in front of all their followers, too.
Use high traffic hashtags on your tweets:#NewRelease #BookReview, @UKBlog_RT (a profile that RTs for you), #bookbloggers, #bookworm, #writers, #writerslife, #selfpub, #amreading, #amwriting, #FridayReads. You can find more relevant hashtags for your particular area of Twitter simply by having a browse around. Don’t use more than a couple per tweet, though; tweets that are too hashtag-heavy get overlooked.
There’s a whole world out there! As well as using those high traffic hashtags, click on them, too, and retweet others who use them—yes, people you’ve never seen before! When you’re doing your following back (I click on my followers list every couple of days and follow back any new ones that interest me), make a note of any people whose bios particularly appeal to you. Go to their page, RT something by them, or just say hello.
Go onto the general feed now and again, and RT any random stuff that you think looks interesting—or comment. Everyone likes confirmation that their tweets have been read/enjoyed/laughed at for the right reasons (!), and there’s nothing like the personal touch on Twitter; it shows that not everyone just thumps out tweets via Hootsuite.
If you’re an author, don’t only tweet about books and writing. Share posts relevant to the rest of your world, too; you might want to make a general comment about a TV show you’re watching, or something in the news that interests you. If it’s a topic of current interest, hashtag any likely looking words. If the main purpose of your Twitter account is to promote your books, it’s worth remembering that if you only follow, talk to and retweet other writers, your posts will only be seen by writers – lovely for networking, but only a few will be the target market for your books.I hope that’s given you some ideas; next week I’ll be talking about RETWEETING ~ because the power of Twitter lies not just in the tweet, but in the retweet!
Here we pass on Tips and advice to the Book Community
Today Terry Tyler is bringing us Part 1 in a series of #TwitterTips follow Terry @TerryTyler4
Part 1: Getting more followers
Rosie @rosieamber1 asked me to write a few short guest posts about how to get the most out of Twitter, so I’m starting with the basics—getting followers.
Much of Twitter’s effectivity is down to how many eyes see your tweets—so whether you’re promoting your book or your blog, growing your business or just hoping to entertain people/get your voice heard, it makes sense to give that number a boost now and again.
At the time of writing I have 72.3K followers, with very little effort – and no, I didn’t buy them! Don’t ever be tempted to do that, as those for sale are not real profiles, but spam accounts. Yes, a proportion of my followers are accounts trying to get me to buy followers, or porn stuff, people who don’t speak English or general spamming, but I do get followed by many real and interesting people every day.
I’ve found that once you get to around 10K followers, and if you are active on the site (using it most days, retweeting others), your following grows automatically, because you appear on the ‘Who To Follow’ lists.
Here’s how to expand your following:
Follow others. Sounds obvious, but many don’t bother. Pro-active following will make you appear on ‘Who To Follow’ lists, too.
How to find the right people? Enter the subjects that interest you into ‘Search Twitter’ at the top right hand side of the screen. For instance, you might choose ‘bookworm’, ‘book bloggers’, ‘history’, ‘reading’ ‘traveller’, etc. Then click on ‘People’. This will give you a list of all the people with that word mentioned in their bio.
You can also put hashtags into the search, for instance #bookblogger #author #SciFiWriter #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreview, etc, and seek out People in the same way.
Just following 10 or 20 accounts every time you log on will soon get it all moving.
When you RT people on hashtag days such as #TuesdayBookBlog or #MondayBlogs, follow them, too, and follow anyone who RTs you. This helps to expand your reach out of your usual circles.
You’ve seen #FF, the Follow Friday hashtag? Use it! Click on any user names mentioned—any mentioned by others will be active Twitter users who interact, retweet and post interesting stuff.
Click on your ‘followers’ every day, and follow back anyone who looks useful/interesting. Don’t follow back spam or pointless profiles, or you’ll end up getting followed by more and more of them; it’s best to block them.
That should get it all moving! I started trying to grow mine about three years ago, just before I started a free promotion for a book; I was determined that as many people should see it as possible, so made it my aim to get to 10K followers. Just out of interest, I’d like to mention that my proofreading sister, @ProofreadJulia, has developed her whole successful business entirely through Twitter, from my original tuition about the site. Of course she is very good at what she does, and has a good business sense, but this just goes to show how powerful Twitter can be if used to its full potential.