My Ed Reardon moment

The Wrong Bookshop


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Madeleine Conway

I'm sharing this with lovely Litopians because I suspect you will enjoy it and hopefully, no one in my immediate vicinity will hear about it. ;)

This morning, I did a creative writing workshop with a group of adults. It's an established group and the regular writer who does it is away this week, so she asked for volunteers to replace her. There were 15 participants, really lovely people, ranging from a very sweet old lady in lemon-yellow who said she didn't actually do any writing but she liked the company, to a couple trying to break into story-books for the 5-8 year old market. There was also a lady who is a prolific self-publisher, producing Regency romances, fantasy, fairy tales and some steamier stuff.

We did a character-based writing exercise, and the group were terrific, some really memorable and interesting pieces coming out of it, and they also asked me many questions about my own publishing history and self-publishing versus traditional model, promotion etc. I said that however one published, nowadays, writers have to be up for the self-promotion stuff, and confessed that I'd only recently joined Twitter, started tweeting etc etc. Prolific Author Lady at the end came up to me and said, "How many followers have you got on Twitter?" and I said, quite honestly, about 150. She preened visibly and said, "Amateur. I've got 6000"

I am so owned. Lol. :p

PS if you do not know Ed Reardon's Week, a half-hour comedy series about a struggling author on Radio 4, it is well worth downloading if you can find podcasts.
I don't have a twitter account, well, I do, I just 'tweet' once every 2 years or so. I have 10 followers, I don't know who they are, and I don't' really know how to use twitter. Can anyone suggest a reasonable one-page introduction? I think I might take it up? I assume you 'tweet' things like....'Today I wrote 2000 words ..yippee' .
I actually just did a blog post series (3 short parts) on an introduction to Twitter specifically for authors. :)

Twitter for Authors, Part 1: Why Should I Care?
(links to the other two parts are in the top of this first post)
I'm going to have to read this. I finally gave up waiting for twitter to be a passing fad and signed up because people told me that, as a writer, I had to or I'd never sell many books. I have about 50 followers and no idea why I'm there, because I've never seen anything on my feed that made me want to read someone's book
I think it is all about community - it's good to just build up your internet presence. I follow writers I really like in the YA field, like Patrick Ness, Philip Reeve and Katherine Woodfine, just because it is nice to see what they are up to in their public spheres, it's like a short sharp news burst about people I find interesting, but I don't quite understand the feed algorithm, because people I like to follow but followed ages ago will suddenly pop up and then disappear. So, one of the first people I followed was Caitlin Moran, but now I hardly see anything from her twitter feed, yet I get regular updates from her husband Pete Paphides. Weird.
I follow a lot of interesting people on Twitter. My rule of thumb: only follow people you think you will find interesting and unfollow anyone who proves not to be. A lot of people follow and follow-back for the purpose of networking but I don't. I self-promote on Twitter but I'm there primarily because I enjoy using the social network to talk to interesting people and other writers.
Prolific lady author goes in for meaningless pissing contests. She didn't 'own' you, Madeleine :) 6000 followers? Unless she's been on there a long time and tweeted 5-10 times that same amount of tweets, in which case she's got too much time on her hands, or she's already famous, or she stalked a gazillion people, following them first in order to elicit a follow back, she bought some. Which is cheating, not to mention pointless. Of course you don't have many followers when you start, not unless you 'buy' them. And you'll certainly get followed by plenty of spammers wanting you to buy followers.

I use Twitter to find live, fresh information as much as to share it. For market research, sourcing writing news and submission opportunities, find twitter accounts to follow. Use hashtags eg #writing #literary #agents #submissions. Follow a variety of publishers whose releases interest you.

I tweet out Litopia Radio shows when they are released. It all helps keep the ship afloat including this 'Colony'. Sometimes people re-tweet my Tarot related stuff. It's an interactive window...I've so far found 4 really great guests for Litopia After Dark, starting with Twitter.
You are on Twitter, Marc. Right now. So is this post. New posts are tweeted from here, everyone, and your Structo post, Marc, is out there too, in the Twitter ether. Maybe no-one's actually read them as these have not been re-tweeted. But they are there, theoretically visible to all Twitterati.

Proceed with care.
I can see it, and it scares me! Thanks for telling me about this -- I shall be extra cautious from now on.
If a writer wants to build a "brand" for themselves it is almost a sine qua non (clever me?) :) that you have a Twitter account and really work on it.
Have a look at @RayneHall.
Nicole, thank you for those terrific blog entries.
I can't say I'm a big Twitter fan, but it has its uses. What I find works well for me is when there is news story which is relevant to the stories I write. I add an opinion and tweet it with a link back to a more extensive opinion piece or newsy item on my blog. I don't actually track the results except to notice that I usually pick up a few followers, with some in interesting places - eg US Senate (if I believe their profile, but their tweets tend to confirm). It's just another tool to build presence. I average maybe 2-3 tweets a month. I also put some time into G+, not a lot, but there is some good 'stuff' on there.

One other thing - the consensus is that adding an image to a tweet improves response significantly.
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The Wrong Bookshop


From a grateful Litopian