"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tweedly-deedly deet, tweet, tweet!

In pursuit of readers, I try to be out on the social network, working it every day. Facebook, Twitter, Kindle Boards, Amazon discussions, Scribd, I'll go any where I can find people. The trick is, of course, to not look desperate. You don't get readers that way, any better than you catch a spouse.

So you talk about your personal life, and ask people about theirs. You recommend and encourage other writers. You post something interesting you saw somewhere else, or ask a dumb question. And every so often, you say, "hey, I got a book here you might like."

The tool I have the worst time with is Twitter. I spend some weeks with multiple daily Tweets, then I kind of fall off the map for awhile. It's been a hard groove to get into; however, I have learned some Twitter-Tips I'd like to pass along.

1. Don't over-tweet. If you're tweeting once an hour, I'm okay with that. Even a few times within a single hour is okay. But when I see multiple tweets in a row from the same person, I'm convinced they must have gone off their meds. If you do this, call your doctor immediately. I worry about you.

2. Say something interesting. I don't want to know that you just brushed your teeth, or that you hate your job, or you bought new shoes. I'd want to know if you bought new shoes for me. I also don't care what you just had for lunch, unless you say it in the most amusing way.

3. If you feel the need to tweet and can't think of anything interesting, find an interesting tweet from someone else and re-tweet that. In the Twitterverse, it's not plagiarism, it's a trend.

4. Don't just constantly tell me to buy your book or your product or sign up for your service. The only personality I get from you when you do this is that used car salesman with the plaid jacket and the slicked-back hair. It's like staring at frickin' billboard.

5. DON'T TWEET IN ALL CAPS. IT'S ANNOYING (see this for why - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vRiA91O14U&feature=related). I can read you perfectly clearly when you use lower case. If you use caps all the time, how am I supposed to tell when you're excited about something?

6. Reply to people's Tweets. If you just keep typing those tweets without any interaction, it's like, hmm, like that other activity people do alone that gives them intensely personal pleasure. You know - eating chocolate.

7. Follow folks. I mean, come on, Mr. Look-I-Tweet-But-I-Don't-Read Celebrity. If you want me to read your brilliance, have the decency to follow me back. It's not like I'm gonna stalk you. I've got a few more things on my to-do list first.

8. #Don't #put #a #hashtag #in #front #of #every #word #just #in #case #one #of #those #words #is #the #trend #for #the #day. Gah.

9. Don't put the hashtag trend word in every Tweet, even if the Tweet has nothing to do with the subject. That's needy.

10. Do give your followers a shout-out on #FollowFriday, #WriterWednesday, whatever #MM stands for, etc. 

Those are ten that came to mind pretty easily. Did I miss any? If I did, just Tweet me - http://www.twitter.com/GeeCarl 


Murr Brewster said...

I'm still standing on the outside of this issue, with no tweetability, and from here it looks insane. I already hit the facebook lever for the praise pellet too many times in a day, and now it's supposed to be continual?

Here's how outside I am: I have no cell phone. I must have the ability to walk away from the internet.

On the other hand, I'm real fond of indoor plumbing, and as a species we did without that for a lot longer than we did with it. Cheers!

Gayle Carline said...

Yeah, the Twitter-thing. I'm torn but trying it all. The thing is, I sort of had drinks with Lee Child at Bouchercon, if by "having drinks" you picture me sitting at a table while a stream of authors came and went, spewing wisdom in their wake. Anyway, Lee said, screw Facebook and Twitter and all that crap. Just write good books and be nice to people. Easy for him to say - he's got that cute English accent.

But the Internet... I wish I could quit you.

L. David Hesler said...

Great post, Gayle. I'm guilty of that lonesome tweeting activity you mention in the post. I have to use Twitter more proactively, for sure.

By the way, I sent you a message through your website... but I'm not sure if it got to you. It's in response to something you posted in my Showcase thread on Amazon! I'm up for the challenge. You can throw me an e-mail at ldhesler (at) hotmail (dot) come

Gayle Carline said...

Sorry, David - my Contact email form wasn't quite as tested as I should have when I re-hosted my website, so some of my emails went into the Great Void. I'll ship you an email!

jennymilch said...

Excellent advice--very helpful. I have a question--if someone follows you, is it Twitterquette to follow them back?

Gayle Carline said...

Jenny - when someone follows me on Twitter, I check out their Tweets. If they are selling in the most spammy way, or if they are advertising what I don't want, or if they are just plain boring (subjective, I know), I don't follow back. And I don't feel bad about it.

jennymilch said...

OMG, you met Lee, you met Lee, you met Lee!!

OK, thanks for that perspective. Again, all this is very helpful. Thing is I actually *like* Twitter, FB, et al. I'm just a little dumb about them.

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