books with Athena

books with Athena

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Twitter For Shy Persons—Secrets of Stress-free Tweeting

Twitter terrifies me. Seriously. It’s been described as the world’s biggest cocktail party and that sounds about right: cacophonous, shallow, time-consuming Hell for shy, writerly persons.

But many experts say authors who are serious about publication MUST be on Twitter.

So a year or so ago I steeled myself and crashed the soirée. I now have 850+ followers and a Klout rating of 49. (Not Twitterific, but respectable.) And it’s where I get most of my blog traffic. Ten times more readers find this blog through Twitter than click through Google.

BUT I HAVE NEVER ONCE TWEETED WHAT I HAD FOR LUNCH. And I only spend about 5 minutes a day on the site.  

So how did I do it?

After making a lot of mistakes (and probably pissing off a lot of people—sorry if I stepped on cybertoes) I finally realized that since it’s like a Hollywood party, I had to follow the rules of the classic Hollywood schmooze:

  • Smile a lot
  • Be helpful and/or funny
  • Never look desperate or needy
  • Accept there is a caste system, and you will never be a Brahmin
  • Remember you can’t go wrong with, “kiss, kiss—love your work!”

Here are my shy-person secrets for Twitter-schmoozing:

1)     Get a good head shot. Nobody follows an egg, so you gotta get a picture up there right away. Actually, it doesn’t have to be of you. I used my Mad Men caricature for six months. But a fun, smiley picture of yourself is best. Skip the glamour shots or you may be taken for a porn spammer.

2)     Inform, amuse, but never offer TMI A profile like: “Retail slave, romance writer, seeker of chocolate” is better than “I’m an English major and overweight single mom who has been a greeter at Walmart for 20 years.” But do let people know something about you that makes you worth following. N.B.: If you write, ALWAYS put “writer” in there, even if you’ve never published a thing, so you’ll be tagged as part of the writing community.

3)     Use your @ownname. This is about building platform, remember? So unless you’re writing books under the pseudonym @shysuzi, you’re wasting your Twitter time if you don't use your name. If it's long, shorten it, since you want to get retweeted, and you’re limited to 140 characters.

4)     Remember paranoia is creepy. I have no idea why people “protect their tweets.” It’s like going to a party in a burka. It doesn’t make you invisible; it makes you weird. If you don’t want people to read what you write, just stay in your cave and keep pounding out those 350K word literary neo-Nazi thriller/chick lit/westerns. When you want twittering, you can get a cuckoo clock.

5)     Don’t just stand there; say something. Trying to get followers with 0 tweets can make you look like a spammer, so tweet before you follow. Not about your 2 for $20 lunch special at Applebees, though. Say something cute and helpless like “Hi there, Twitterverse. I have no idea what I’m doing.” People love to help newbies as long as they’re humble and not selling anything.

Now you’re ready to party

6)     Start by following people you know. Like me. I enjoy following people who only have one follower. If I’m 50% of your audience, I feel special.

7)     Then follow some you don’t know. Like agents, The New Yorker, and Twitter deities like Nathan Bransford and Jane Friedman They will NOT follow you back. But now that you have a couple of followers, that won’t hurt your feelings, right? You’ll learn a lot from their god-like tweets. I like to follow the news agencies like Reuters, too—that way I get breaking news. Not important for platform, but it makes me feel like I’m not wasting my time entirely. But don’t choose too many. Following 500 with only 2 followers makes you look wallflowery.

8)     Whenever you open your home page, check for @messages and REPLY. Old Twitter did not have an obvious @message button, so I didn’t see any of my messages for, oh, probably a year. People must have thought I was the most awful snot. Don’t do this. And be sure to send your reply through the “reply” window, not a direct message. Direct messages should be sent sparingly. They sort of infringe on personal space.

9)     You don’t have to thank somebody for a follow. And if you must, do NOT ask them to visit your blog or buy your book. It looks spammy.

10) Follow people back. I follow pretty much everybody who follows me unless they’re obviously trying to rack up follower numbers. These are the people who’ve been on Twitter for 8 hours and follow 500,000 people. I also tend to avoid anybody with no tweets or profiles; people who tweet random nonsense phrases; car dealerships on other continents, Super! Enthusiastic! Salespeople! and writers with no tweets except “buy my book.”

11) Make lists. This is another place I messed up. It’s really hard to sort and list 800+ people, so I suggest you make lists now and add people as you follow them. Listing is good because: 1) people might list you, too (It looks best to have your list number at least 10% of your followers.) 2) Once you start gathering followers, you don’t have to wade through every single boring tweet to find the important ones.

12) RETWEET, RETWEET, RETWEET. Every time you click on a link to a great blog or read something inspiring, click the retweet button. Also tweet links to articles or posts of interest to your followers (there’s almost always a “t” button somewhere on the page.) This makes you a fountain of knowledge and inspiration. And everybody’s grateful for a retweet. They’ll often thank you and give you a follow.

13) Skip the personal stuff. Social media gurus will probably have me twit-canned for saying this, but you don’t really have to tweet personal stuff at all. I don’t—unless you count my daily tweet about my blog. I learned this from mystery author Elizabeth Spann Craig. She reads 100s of publishing blogs and tweets links to her favorite posts. (Alas, she doesn’t follow me, so I’m not often a favorite, but I love her links anyway.) And: I’ve never seen her tweet anything personal. But she has nearly 9000 followers and a Klout rating of 66. (Nathan Bransford’s is 68 and Jane Friedman’s is 71.)

14) Use #hashtags. You’re much more likely to get read if your Tweets are targeted. (It took me way too long to learn this.) If you want to Tweet your blogpost about editing, leave space for the 10 characters in #amediting, and people who are currently editing their WIPs will be able to seek you out. Other popular writing categories are #amwriting #writequote #writingtips #pubtip #indie #bookmarket, and #writegoal. And there are many more. Look around to see how tweets that interest you are tagged.

15) Spread the love. I don’t actually do this, but I adore people who do. If you have favorite tweeters, give them a mention on #WW, (which means something Wednesdayish) or #FF Follow Friday.

No lunch menus. No sobbing about rejections. Just be helpful. 

And maybe someday you will reach my personal Tweetdom best and have somebody tweet #FalseFacts about you. Like this wonderful tweet from @WendySparrow last Friday.  

#False Friday “Catwoman from the Batman comics is based on @annerallen 's real life story... only less leather was involved."

Not true of course. There was LOTS of leather.

I’m not going to lie to you. Twitter isn’t always fun for non-party persons. And it’s full of ruthless corporate types who are only there to use and manipulate you. People will follow you, then unfollow the minute you reciprocate. (Although an app called Tweepi can help you weed those out.) Others will spam you unmercifully. Or tweet inanities every two minutes. The A-listers will never respond to your messages, even if you’re congratulating them on a recent triumph.

But, like a huge Hollywood party, it provides a chance to meet interesting people who are useful to know. They’re probably not celebrities, and are more likely to be carrying trays of canapés than flashing bling and touting their latest project. But they may visit your blog later and you might even become friends.

Friends are good. Even if you never do publish that book.

How about you, fellow scriveners, do you tweet? Are you a shy person? What DID you have for lunch?

Coming Soon—in two weeks, I’ll have another guest post from a bestselling author: Ruth Harris. Ruth has not only had several books at the top of the NYT Bestseller list, but she also worked as an editor at several Big Six Publishers, so she has all the inside skinny. She’ll blog about REJECTION, and what it really means. May 22. Watch this space!

60 comments:

  1. I've heard lots about Twitter, but still not sure what it is. Do you have to have a smart phone for that? I mean, how do you get the "tweets"?

    Yes, I'm a shy person, but I never seem to have problems when I'm not looking at the person face to face. That's when there's a problem!

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  2. Anne,

    Once again a very helpful post. Twitter is very new to me, and I'm always uncertain what I should say or not say. I feel like I should be blabbing away, but I'm shy and don't feel like I have anything interesting to contribute. I do want to promote my soon-to-be released first ebook, so I need to learn the do's and don't's. Your guide has helped me with this. I do try to say something occasionally funny, but I'm not sure how successful I am. Very few followers actually respond to things I say. But I'll keep going and eventually get more comfortable and (hopefully) learn the rules as I go. Thanks for helping me along the learning curve. Oh, and I had chicken parmesan for lunch. #AmEating

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  3. Stacy--you don't need a phone. It's a social networking site like Facebook. You sign up, set up a profile--which takes about 30 seconds--and type your tweets into a window. You're limited to 140 characters, so sometimes people use TXT SPK instead of real words, but you don't have to. (And people like me will thank U.)

    The tweets from people who follow you will appear on your page.

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  4. Lenny--Chicken Parmesan sounds great. Hmmm. Time for my lunch break.

    You don't have to tweet anything funny, because people probably won't respond. But if you RETWEET something funny, the person who first tweeted it might thank you. I don't worry about composing tweets at all. I just look for good stuff to retweet.

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  5. I try and try but honestly, I just hate it. *sigh*. FB is much more personal to me, Twitter is so...gah. The most frustrating thing is people (including industry professionals) who tweet twenty times in a row and push everybody else off the edge unless you scroll way down. How is that polite? It feels like spam.

    Thanks for the tips. I for one can't even look on #FF or my eyeballs threaten to fall out. Just too much.

    ~bru

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  6. Kristen Lamb rabbits on so much about how life as an author is simply impossible without a twitter account that I finally signed up a week or so ago.

    It frightens the hell out of me, so when I saw your blog and that long list of secrets about to be revealed I just knew this was my lucky day.

    Twitterverse, here I come!

    Except now I'm even more confused. Klout ratings? @messages? Make lists? #WW?

    D'ya think I could sue Kristen for stress? She said it was easy and would make me a best-seller!

    Since I've fot an account I guess I'm going to click on your little blue bird button and maybe work out how to follow you.

    Bizarrely I've already got about ten followers and am following twenty, but I haven't a clue how it happened!

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  7. Thank you for this. Twitter for Dummies (moi). I've been stumbling & bumbling around but this is very helpful. How do you accomplish all this in 5 mins per day? Do you use anything like hootsuite?

    Also thanks for the Coming Attraction but be warned: No pearls of wisdom from reality-based me. Just observations based on years in the pub trenches.

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  8. Bru--I'm so with you on the people who send 20 tweets and take up the whole thread. I usually unfollow. And I can't read the #FF's either. I appreciate when I get mentioned, but I don't think I've ever followed somebody from an #FF, so I don't do it.

    Mark--It looks as if maybe I should have done a Twitter basics post first. Maybe I'll do that next time. FYI, I just followed you, and added you to my cleverly-named "Writers" list. So on your home page you will see you now are on one list.

    Underneath the window where you compose "what's happening" there are four headings: @mentions,Retweets,searches, and lists. Hit lists, and you will see you're on my list. That's also where you make your own.

    @Mentions are when somebody has mentioned you or tweeted a message to you. If you check your @Mentions, you should find a message from me.

    Hope that gets you started. (Except you need a head shot. Or something less ovoid.)

    That mention of Klout should be a live link, so it will take you to Klout. It's a system that rates your "importance" in social media. "Importance" being a relative term. Justin Beiber has a 99, but the US President only has an 84.

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  9. Ruth--I'm still stumble-bumbling myself. Hootsuite seems to publish your tweets everywhere, including LinkedIN, which seems spammy to me.

    Mark--I LIED!! I just visited and your home page does NOT have an @mentions tab like mine. You have "favorites" instead. NO idea why. Or how you're expected to find messages or mentions. Maybe Twitter is just too creepy-strange for anybody to learn.

    Anybody out there have any idea why some people get certain buttons but others don't? Is it related to your choice of designs?

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  10. Mark--Duh. I was looking at your profile page, not your home page. Profile has "favorites"; Home page has @Mentions.

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  11. As someone who has kept thinking, "So what's all this twittering about? Do we have a problem with an overpopulation of birds?" this blog post is very helpful. Thank you. A friend of mine who isn't a writer said to me, just last week, because of the way Twitter works it's going to be one of the best methods of promotion for me. I might actually make joining Twitter one of my next tasks.

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  12. Given my black and white complexion, I might try to get a better photo first, as suggested.

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  13. Oh God, now you've gone and done it. You've made me a convert. Sort of. You make it sound so easy. But I'm shy too and can't for the life of me figure out how to be amusing.

    You think if I wait long enough for Monster Child to grow up, she can do it for me?

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  14. Oooh, I'd love someone to tweet a #FalseFact about me. Something like 'The new JKR or Meyers only with less blood and no vampires@Pruebatten'.
    Instead of the truth which is 'Struggling #writer who failed as #Jackrussellterrier trainer! @Pruebatten'

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  15. I'm another shy writer-type who just doesn't 'get' Twitter and loves facebook. Thanks for the advice. I joined Twitter a few weeks ago and have only tweeted my blog posts so far. I just haven't been able to think what else might be interesting. I keep hearing about 'conversations' on Twitter but have no idea how to get into them without spending hours staring at the screen. (FB is enough of a distraction/procrastination!) So I REALLY like the idea of just retweeting other people's wise comments. (standby for a retweet of this post! - if I can figure out how to do it...)

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  16. Thanks for the extra tips, Anne.

    What really worries me is how much time it takes, but guess once it becomes second nature that won't be such an issue.

    Prue (mesmered, above) took twitter to a whole new realm when she was involved (with many others) in writing a Jane Austen style novel using tweets. Apparently successfully!

    Prue has a feature on my MWi blog next weekend where she explains more.

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  17. I love Twitter! Don't know why I wasn't following you before now. :P I don't follow people back (auto-follow). I used to, when I first got on, but people wouldn't talk, or didn't sound interested in talking, or like you stated, only pushed their blog or work. That's a big turn-off for me.

    I used to #WW amd #FF too, until I saw someone say 'Because @Darke_Conteur told me to follow you'. That bothered me. What if this person didn't like the person he/she decided to follow? Would they have a lower opinion of me because I suggested them? I don't know, maybe it's me. I'd rather find people myself using the #amwriting #amediting hastages, and if I do suggest a follow, it's for a darn good reason.

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  18. I've just tweeted this (isn't it sad that I never coped the little retweet button till you mentioned it?

    I find twitter extremely lonely place, and generally don't tweet that much but love looking at others lol. I just can't seem to get the hang of it, but find all your points excellent

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  20. Anne, thanks for a wonderful and informative post. As I am not on Twitter, this post with its tips was great way to get Twitter Acquainted. I like all the #hash tags you provided. When and If I take the plunge into Twitter, I will refer to this post again.

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  21. M.J.--Your photo's fine. Better than mine in thumbnail. It's daunting at first, but if you don't try to do anything fancy and just do the retweet thing for a while, it will get easier fast

    Not Nessie--Thanks!

    Anne--If you use my method, you don't have to be amusing. You just have to retweet people who are.

    Mesmered--You're the Jane Austen Tweeter! I gotta check that out.

    Ellen--I'm actually more scared of FB, because there it's the MANAGEMENT that's out to get you (and your address book) The best way to tweet a blog you like is with the little twitter icon in the right column. On this blog, the word "share" is up there with fb, twitter and Google icons. Right above the subscribe window. If you run your mouse over it, icons appear for LinkedIn, Stumbleupon and a whole bunch of others.

    Mark--Seriously, I only spend about 5 minutes a day. I look forward to Pru's post!

    Darke--Thanks so much for saying that about the #ww and #ff things. They're kind of useless, except in letting the people you've listed know you care. But yes, #amwriting is a much better source of names to follow.

    Emily--Thanks for the tweet! Yeah, Twitter is kind of lonely, but every so often you get a @Mention and it makes you feel so grateful.

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  22. Congrats on your Twitter success, and what a great list! I joined Twitter last fall and had no idea what I'm doing. I figured out most of your tips on the fly, and feel I'm doing okay on both follows and Klout (I didn't discover the latter for about three months!).

    I didn't know I should use my own name, instead I chose @on_creativity. But just last week I started a Facebook page and I did a combination, calling it Patrick Ross On Creativity.

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  23. I've really enjoyed your blog--feel like a kindred spirit in many ways.

    Two things: one, re: protecting blogs. For a writer, it makes no sense, 'natch. But for others, like my 2 teenagers, it's a must. I don't want strangers to be able to track their movements and their minds (nor do I want to, particularly).
    Secondly, I just read some other writer-blogger who said that selling books via Twitter is the equivalent of standing around outside a bookstore wearing a sandwich board all day. You might make a few sales, but it is not worth the time and effort (and I would add, the humiliation). If you're just talking about networking w/ other writers, I suppose it makes sense. But if you really just want to tout your book, then you're better off just blogging, according to this "expert." Now I know you say you've gotten people to come to your blog via Twitter, but is it really that many? How can you tell?
    I know I said "two points," but let me add a third. I have a teensie weensie little problem w/ Twitter: I think it is sucking up a lot of human beings' valuable time and interrupting their focus and concentration and appreciation of other things (like reading books). My daughter used to have upturned paperbacks all over the house but now she carries around her cell and responds to every idiotic tweet, from Conan to Obama to her friends. Her actual important reading has gone way down since Twitter. You say you spend 5 min's a day on Twitter, so I'm wondering, don't you read anyone else's? Are you only referring to the time you spend composing your own tweets?

    Very curious, that's all--an interesting topic. I just published an ebook (YA/crossover) and I know I should get a blog going, but really can't imagine doing Twitter. So many people's tweets just make them look like twits, IMHO. :)

    Rebecca Burke

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  24. In answer to your question about why some people have buttons and others don't:

    Everyone has the same buttons when they're logged in as themselves. We all have the @mentions button second, BUT ONLY ON THE HOMEPAGE. When you go into your own profile, you will have the 'Favourites' button too. Twitter gives you the option to 'Favourite' tweets you like, so when you visit another person's profile, you can click on that to see the favourite tweets of the person whose profile you're on, but you can't see the @mentions of someone who isn't you. It's a privacy thing.

    Hope that helped!

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  25. p.s. Mistake in my earlier post: "re: protecting blogs."

    I meant to say "protecting tweets," of course.

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  26. Anne, all these points are excellent. I like to sum up these points by saying that Twitter is for engaging with others, above all. If you're not comfortable with engaging, it's okay. Twitter may not be for you (and there's nothing wrong with that). But you'll miss out on a lot of wonderful connections and information.

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  27. Fantastic tips here, Anne! I think I'll have to tweet this. :)

    I'm showing that I'm following you, but it might have *just* happened this past weekend when I did a massive follow update on my very backlogged list! I try to update each week, but then a week will go by...and another...and next thing I know I'm a month behind! Ack!

    I think Twitter is the best place online to get information on writing. It looks like you've made a lot of converts here!

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  28. Patrick--adding your own name to FB, blog, and even changing your twitter handle is worth it if you're building platform.

    Rebecca--Yes, that makes sense. I can see why you'd want to protect your kids' Tweets. But I assume they're not on Twitter for platform-building. But when somebody follows me and their "tweets are protected" I sure as heck don't follow them back.

    I agree that you can't sell books by just saying "buy my book" on Twitter. Twitter is just one leg of a platform. But according to my Google stats, I get 500-1000 blog hits a week via Twitter, so it's worth it for getting readers here. It's also great for promos like the contest Nathan Bransford is running today. He says he only spends a few minutes a day there, too. I just skim the thread and pick out a few good tweets and move on. (But then, we're not teenagers.)

    Molly--thanks. I did figure that out in my second comment to Mark there. Duh.

    Sierra--I know Twitter is SUPPOSED to be for people who have lots of time and energy to chat, so I'm being subversive here. I'm saying you can still use Twitter if you don't have that kind of personality.

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  29. Rachna--Thanks! I missed you up there. Your post must have come in when I was writing my comment. Yeah--I think it's worth it for driving blog traffic and keeping up with publishing news.

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  30. Another writer convinced me to sign up for twitter, and I found it semi-addictive initially, but haven't done much tweeting lately. (and certainly haven't done any of the more "advanced" things with twitter that you're talking about!) Trying to juggle the demands of blogging ... and now tweeting ... and God help me, I haven't even breached FB yet... sucks time away from the WIP. I'm in awe of those who can handle it all so easily, but I'm still waddling along behind the crowd, trying to learn how to keep up and adapt.

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  31. Great post! Even though I was nervous at first, I'm so glad I joined the party! Since I've gotten in touch with the writing community in a way I wouldn't have ever imagined, I've learned so much as I write my first novel and prepare it for publication. From there, I even developed the gumption to share my process and thoughts about it in my own blog!

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  32. Elizabeth--Thanks! And thanks for the follow. Yes. Twitter is the best place to get up to the minute writing and publishing info--especially from you!

    Everybody--follow @elizabethscraig! You'll have so much to RT!

    Susan--I don't know if you saw my post on FB. It's my least favorite social networking site, because the management lets spammers lure you into lots of dangerous stuff. It's useful for exchanging pictures, and it's good to be able to read other FB profiles, so I suggest a simple author "like" page if you do go there. But don't play any silly games. Half are scams anyway.

    Tonya--Good for you that you jumped into Twitter. I think you approached it in just the right way--as a learning tool.

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  33. Thanks for writing this, Anne. I've been putting off joining Twitter. I really don't want to, but some nagging senese of guilt (or is that just common sense? lol) says I should. So sometime soon I'll be slapping a '#' before my name and joining the party.

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  34. Love the Twitter breakdown in your post and the Hollywood party analogy. So true. My Twitter goal o' the week is making groups and conquering tinyurl so I can tweet the love of cool posts - iike - hmm - let's say this one! Thanks, Anne.

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  35. Charlie Perryess sent me here and I have to say, these are GREAT Twitter tips, Anne! And hilariously presented.

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  36. Invaluable stuff; I think I've got all that covered!

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  37. Twitter scares me. But I find those on Twitter that constantly tweet are really annoying especially if they're tweeting junk. Great and helpful post.

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  38. These are great tips! I've been on Twitter for a while but I'm still figuring out how best to use it. I've done most of the things you've written about here, except for making lists. I see the benefit of it so I'll tackle that soon. :)

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  39. Ranae--It's not so scary if you follow my formula. But I should probably have given some Twitter basics first: @ranaerose would be your Twitter id, and #amwriting would be a good tag if you RT'd this post.

    Leslie--Thanks for the RT! And tinyurl/bit.ly are pretty easy. I downloaded a bit.ly icon that lives on my toolbar (just go to bit.ly.com) I just click it for a compressed url for whatever page I'm on.

    RL--Charlie is one of the best unsung YA writers out there. I hope he gets his big break soon.

    Simon--Thanks!

    Clarissa--Like everyplace else, Twitter is 99% junk. Think of it like a TV schedule.

    Ghenet--Lists scared me too. I'm not sure I'm really doing them right, and I don't have any cute names for them, but they help me sort people a bit.

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  40. I love it when a RT leads me to a blog that not only gives useful information but introduces me to a clever and engaging writer. That's the best way to find people to follow. Which I just did.
    This was such a great post I'm going to have to re-RT it just to draw attention to the conversation in the comments. Thank you, Anne!

    @novelpublicity offers great tips on how writers, aspiring and published, can use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media; her tweets link to her website. She also has a Facebook page. If you don't know her stuff, review it before you do a "basics" post.

    I'm one of those frequent posters, largely because I have too many interests, am getting to know the Twitterverse, and am a bit obsessive when I'm learning something new. My Klout score, if that really means anything, is also in the high 40s. TwitCleaner gives you the chance to see yourself as others see you, and so far they say I'm not being too annoying. Hope they are right.

    The strategy I'm using now involves hashtags devoted to particular areas of interest for particular days of the week, both to organize my time and so people can filter out areas they are not interested in. #writerWednesday, or #ww, #storytellerSaturday. #ww works well. Storytellers are for the most part still using woodburning computers. So it's an uphill battle.

    Paula @prnancarrow

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  41. Hi!! So I have a three-part twitter series on my blog that kind of like yours--more advanced than basic. I few people recently have asked me to point them towards something basic so if end up doing that MAKE SURE I know and I'll always refer newbies.

    I SO agree about not needing to thank people for following you. I wish people would stop doing that, or if they insist on it, then do it as an @reply and not a regular tweet that all their followers have to see. I also struggle with thanking people for RTs. I do it because it feels kind of rude not to, but I feel like we really thank each other in other ways like commenting on each others' blogs. You know what I mean? All the #FFs, #WWs, and thanking makes for a BORING Twitter stream to read. Sigh.

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  42. Paula--Thanks for all this valuable info! I'll check out @novelpublicity and TwitCleaner. I also tried to follow you, but Twitter has been giving me the Fail Whale for hours, so I'll have to check back in the AM and see if you're really on my list.

    Thanks to my 50+ new followers! I intend to follow you all back when the Whale gets it together.

    Nina--I should have given you a credit here. I learned a whole lot about Twitter from those posts of yours. Excellent advice. Let me know if you do a "basics" post. I need to remember there was a time when I did not know what a Fail Whale was.

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  43. lol. This must be the most honest post I ever read. Sometimes bloggers sugar coat their posts, but you kept it real.

    "the classic Hollywood schmooze" -> so true.

    p.s: I never tweeted my lunch either. I made that my first rule.

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  44. I really enjoyed reading this post. Your experience resonates with my own. There's still so much to learn from and about twitter but I do now that i'm making some good use out of it and that it's definitely worth the time I spend doing so (although it seems I spend far more time on twitter than you - I'm working on that).

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  45. Natalie--thanks a bunch. In my 25 years of acting, I learned an awful lot about bull***t.

    Sonya--Most people spend more time on Twitter than I do, and if you enjoy it, you don't have to limit yourself. (As long as it's not taking time from your writing!)

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  46. This is the most awesome post! I have it bookmarked in my favorites!

    I struggle with the social networking. Both Facebook and Twitter intimidate me. Facebook I get (kinda), but Twitter...

    Yet I know I need to learn to use it if I'm going to have any kind of success as a writer.

    Thanks so much for giving us the ins and outs of Tweeting - I really needed this!

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  47. What a great post! I've read many about why I should be tweeting, but that break it down like this. Thanks!

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  48. Roh--Glad I could help. I think Twitter and FB are probably essential for self-publishers.

    Rebecca--I hope my method works for you!

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  49. Anne - this is wonderful advice. The students in my social media class balked when I told them they needed to tweet every day. I think this post will alleviate some of their fears. I will forward it to them. And very much looking forward to the guest post by Ruth Harris!

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  50. Thanks Meghan! Your post on writers and depression is a must-read.

    Anybody who left a comment on Thursday or early Friday--Blogger had some kind of major breakdown. They were down for a while, and when they finally came back, all of Thursday had been erased. It doesn't seem to have returned. Gone to be one with the Great Thursday in the Sky apparently. So if you don't see your comment, it didn't get rejected, it got Bloggered. Do repost if you feel so inclined.

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  51. This was a gread post, Anne. I learned so much about Twitter. I'm afraid I haven't used it much. I go to Facebook and I blog regularly, and then I sort of forget about Twitter. But I'm starting to use it more lately, and your post was full of great tips. Have a nice day!

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  52. Elizabeth--Thanks. Unfortunately, this hasn't been the week for anybody to jump on the Twitter train. I haven't been able to get on it for more than a minute for two days now. It's all Fail-Whale, all the time. (That's the signal it's "over capacity.") I don't know what's up, but it seems to have caught whatever disease Blogger had.

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  53. Great post, I like the variety of tips in here. I tend to retweet quite often (especially with the handy retweet button) and would worry that I had to many retweets and not enough original tweets. Now I feel better about that.

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  54. Anne, I've been meaning to reply on here and not just on Twitter thanking you for the mention, but I've had the chaos of an extra child and a shaky internet since you first told me. GAH! (Also, as you've mentioned Blogger and Twitter have both been naughty.) Chaos! *runs in circles waving arms in a muppety fashion*

    Anyway, thank you for the mention and I agree one million percent with what you've said. Twitter can be a fantastic place to make friends and have fun... and it's addicting. So addicting.

    Thanks again. *hugs*

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  55. Claire--Thanks. Yeah--everybody loves a RT!

    Wendy--That was such a fun #False Fact. You made my Friday.

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  56. Awesome post! Really helpful for me! RT'ed this immediately!

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  57. I wanted to see what you've been up to, Anne, especially since you always post such excellent information that I can use (such as this awesome post which I'm going to print out for my own reference). I need this because my book launched yesterday, the print copy, and of course when we get a book published we need to promote; we all do this. But we need to do this the "correct" way. Twitter has always scared me a bit, as it scares others. Or maybe scare isn't the word. I just don't understand it completely. But I've been working at it, albeit a bit slowly. And now this post is helping me see more clearly what I've been trying to understand about Twitter. Thanks so much!
    Ann Best, Memoir Author

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  58. gargi--Thanks!

    Ann--CONGRATS!! Exciting time for you. Do keep in mind this is just my own "secret" way of using Twitter. Others use it for chat and all sorts of things. This is just a way for shrinking violets to step out there into the big, scary Twitterverse.

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  59. Great tips for Twitter! I was pretty afraid of it too when I first created my account a few months ago. Especially some of the short forms. I was like, "What is RT?" : P But you get used to it after some time.

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