The Twitter Experiment: My First Day Adding Tweeps with the New Method

As promised in The Twitter Experiment: First Stages, I started following people on my Twitter account today, after screening a “source person” for appropriateness, using the method I outlined in that post.

I started out slowly because I’m just getting a feel for this. How long would it take me, for instance, to add 100 people a day? How long for 200?

I started by accessing my account on Tweepi.com, clicking on “Follow Tweeps”/”User’s Followers.” After inputting the source person’s @name, I clicked “Start Following” and the window with all this person’s followers came up.

My husband and I had talked in-depth about how to ascertain who on this list would be my target audience. I am writing a New Adult (NA) novelette with a female protagonist. The source person writes Young Adult and is female. Her followers should like YA or they wouldn’t be following her, and most people who like/read YA also like/read NA (the clean stuff, anyway).

Because my protagonist is female and I intend to continue writing female main characters, I targeted all the females on the list. Hubby suggested this. I could have stopped to read how long it’s been since they’ve tweeted or read their bio, but I just clicked, clicked, clicked, female, female, female.

What will happen with the ones who haven’t tweeted in a while or ones who aren’t good matches is this: the non-tweeters will be flushed later through Tweepi. Tweepi shows you the non-tweeters in one window and you can unfollow them all, click, click, click.

The ones who aren’t good matches won’t follow me back. I will unfollow them through Tweepi in about 2 weeks.

This person (a writer) had a following of about 350, and I followed 146 females from her followers list. It took me less than fifteen minutes to add them all. At the time of this writing, 6 hours later, 30 have followed me back.

Check back to this post and I will give you the latest statistics on followbacks. [The next day, Tuesday, by noon I had 20 more followbacks, for a total of 40. This is not quite a third of the amount I added the day before.]

There is one issue I ran into that I’m not sure how to handle. Some say to publicly tweet “thank yous” to everyone who follows back. I did that today. Everyone who followed me back I tweeted something like this:

TY @samanthareads @tanyaolsen @samlikescola for following me!

This is cool, but time-consuming. My quandary is–will this practice have a huge payoff for us all, or is it a waste of time?

What I’ve noticed is that many of those I shouted out to publicly thanked me in return, retweeted my shout out, or favorited the tweet. All positive responses which spread my name and their names to many like-minded followers.

So…I will have to wait and see. If it is productive to thank publicly, then I will have to keep the amount I add daily to a certain manageable amount time-wise. I’ll let you know what I decide and what I find works.

Okay, that’s it for today. I will be writing more on this either later in the week or next week. I’ll keep you updated!

If you want to start this series from the beginning and get the list of books I’m using for this method, go here to The Twitter Experiment: Can I Increase My Following on Twitter and Sell More Books Than I’ve Imagined?

(The John Locke book doesn’t cover this method, but does talk about how you handle your followers once you get them. Good!)

The Twitter Experiment: First Stages

In my last post, The Twitter Experiment: Can I Increase My Following on Twitter and Sell More Books Than I’ve Imagined, I shared about three books I’d put together to come up with a promotion method that would a) find my audience for my books and b) draw thousands of them to myself via Twitter.

What I didn’t share was the method. Like I said before, I’ve done a lot of work on this and all of you are free to buy these books (listed below) and see the method(s) yourself, but here is the method overview:

  • Register at Tweepi.com and open an account
  • Go to Twitter and select a person who writes or reads what you are writing–your target audience. (You surmise this from their Twitter bio.)
  • Go to Tweepi.com and click on “Follow Teeps,” then “User’s Followers.”
  • Put their @name in the window and click “Start Following.” Don’t worry, you won’t automatically follow them, it will just take you to the follower list.
  • There is a “follow” button beside each name. Decide which follower you want to follow and click accordingly.

Because Twitter allows you to follow up to 1,000 a day, the numbers can add up fast. The goal is not to follow a lot of people, but to get them to reciprocate and follow you!

If you get the Platinum version of Tweepi, you can see each person’s bio and can decide much faster who to follow. If you get the free version, you will have to pull up their profile on Twitter. It’s time-consuming, but it can be done.

The Platinum version allows you to search the list according to your specifications. I put in “new adult,” “SciFi” and “Mystery.” I also did another search for “Christian.”

Again, for details to this method I recommend reading the books I suggested in my previous post.

What I’ve done so far…

What I’ve done so far is make lists of people I either want to follow, want to glean from their followers list, or both. Soon I will input these people’s names into Tweepi and will start following up to 1,000 a day.

Perusing Twitter for possible good matches (your target audience) is a good start. I’ll let you know what happens when I start adding these people as followers!

Stay tuned for more, and remember that these books have more details than what I’m giving you here, so it will help you to read them!

I’ll post on this next week in The Twitter Experiment: My First Day Adding Peeps with the New Method

The Twitter Experiment: Can I Increase My Following on Twitter and Sell More Books Than I’ve Imagined?

The marketing technique I’m about to share with you should apply to fiction or non-fiction, self- or traditionally published.

I have two works-in-progress (WIPs)–one fiction and one non-fiction.  They will be self-published, after being edited to high heaven and approved by beta readers.

But, I’m discouraged. The book-marketing experts tell us that our first books will not sell well because we haven’t developed a large-enough following. I say “large-enough” because even if we build a platform before we publish, it usually isn’t enough for a new author to sell many books.

What is supposed to happen, the experts say, is that our audience builds with each blog post, each speaking engagement, and each book. When we have a fat backlist, our newest book sells all the rest to new fans.

But, all this takes time!

I believe in building a platform. I don’t care if it takes time–except when it comes to my first few books. To think that my first few books won’t sell as well as they deserve because my audience is so small, makes me cry. And, it discourages me to finish them because I’m writing them so people can hear the message (and be entertained while receiving it, of course!).

Little audience; little impact.

I know there are Christians dying to tell me that it’s the Lord’s message and He will impact who He wants…blah blah blah. Yes, but I don’t want to hide my light under a bushel. So, I think there is some responsibility on my part to do what I can to increase my audience.

I am happy to say that after much whining, I have found three books that have given me hope. They all focus on the use of Twitter to boost your sales.  The choice is Twitter because Twitter’s limits for followers are HIGH. Facebook is effective for some, but they limit followers. Twitter does not, if you do it right.

Putting these three books together,  a two-step process emerges: 1) you increase your Twitter followers by thousands and then 2) you go about the relational business of Twitter: retweets, @replies, promoting other people’s work, and launching your book via Twitter.

Thing is, Step 2 is ineffective until you do Step 1. And yes, I said thousands.

The reason huge numbers are important is only a small percentage of your audience/followers will buy your book, even if they are like minded. In direct sales books, they tell you that a direct mailing, when sent out to the general public, will only garner a 1% positive response.

But what if you only send your mail piece to everyone in your city that LOVES the kind of thing you’re selling, and have bought things like that before? The response will be a whopping 10% percent! (Insert sarcasm mark here.)

Thus, pumping your numbers up high is important AND you need to make sure those numbers are people who would reasonably buy your book (have somehow demonstrated that they like what you’re selling.)

The three books that I used to cobble together this method are all ebooks, so if you really want to try this you’ll have to get yourself a Kindle or other ereader. I have mine on my Kindle. Here are the titles:

(The John Locke book doesn’t cover the quick-add method, but does talk about how you handle your followers once you get them. Good!)

For those of you who are thinking Cool, we get permission to spam, uh, NO. And for those of who who are thinking, Stay away from this, it’s spam, absolutely not!

This is not about spamming people. It’s about getting real followers who like what you like and may very well want to buy your book! The only thing I’ll be experimenting with is speeding up what before was a very slow process. Hallelujah, there’s hope!

In a couple days, I will post Part II of this and give an overview of the method I cobbled together from these three books and how it’s worked for me so far.  I will not give away every single detail, I’ve done some real work on this, but I will give you enough to get you started, and if you read the three books above (and maybe even more) you may find you can tweak my method to suit your own way of thinking and doing things.

Talk to you soon!

Just Do It: Make a Plan and Stick to It

I had an epiphany over the summer: I was tired of not finishing my projects, and I was lamenting my blogs that lay derelict along the roadside.

How could I change things?  I saw two things that I could do immediately that would revive my writing and make sure I finished my projects. Here they are:

Make a Plan

As soon as I realized my problem, I made an inventory of all my writing projects and blogs. There are a lot. I also had to add writing lessons for my writers group –at least one a month.

Whew. The list looked daunting, but before I caved to feeling overwhelmed, I saw one bright dot on the horizon–I could make a schedule.

Okay, for some people that’s a no-brainer, but I had gotten out of the habit of scheduling my time, and was letting life take over. I felt like I was just putting out fires.

Books, short stories, and blogs do not write themselves. You must plan them.

In order to make yourself feel like you can breathe, make sure you make a schedule that allows you to accomplish your goals for that day.  In other words, don’t over-pack your time. Give yourself realistic goals for each day.

In that vein, when you work your schedule, pay attention to what feels like too much. For instance, I found out that on several of my blogs, weekly blogging made me feel overextended, so I’ve reduced one blog  to twice a month and one to once a month. The main blog I will write for weekly.

So feel free to test your plan, but once it’s right, stick to it like tar on a roof.

Write First Thing in the Morning!

I read an article over the weekend about what successful people do first thing. First of all, statistically, successful people get up early. It’s just a fact. The next thing they do is exercise. And the next thing they do is…work. They start right away tackling their projects.

Now here’s an important detail–what successful people don’t do when they first get up is check their emails or Facebook or Twitter. They delay those tasks and instead they work on their projects!

I see why this makes people successful. Those other things are time suckers that take away the time we can be writing. And yet, when I make sure I write first and delay emails/Facebook until later, I somehow get my writing done and all the emails and Facebook tasks as well.

Just Do It!

Both the above points together say one thing: make your writing a priority. If you don’t, it won’t happen. As writers, we all need to combat the mystical force of Resistance, sit our butts in our chair, and quote Captain Jean-Luc Picard when he said, “Make it so!”

What is Modulated Dialogue?

Savvy Writer Article #1203
There are four main types of dialogue: Modulated, Directed, Misdirected, and Interpolated. Wow, that’s a mouthful! In this series, I will be sharing basic facts about each style. Today it is . . .

Modulated Dialogue

Modulated Dialogue uses narrative commentary and details to enhance the dialogue. I also call this meat and potatoes dialogue. It’s the most common dialogue type, and it has a beat, which I discussed in my Words for the Journey lesson How to Write Remarkable Dialogue, Part 1. This is dialogue that goes back and forth between what the characters say and narrative description. Good authors get a beat with this—a nice back and forth that gives the writing rhythm.

With modulated dialogue, each line of dialogue is also a place for narrative details. One character may talk about the past, and this sparks internal thoughts which the author describes. Or, a character comments about his or her surroundings, then the author adds scene details before continuing with more dialogue. Body language is often described.

The following is an example of modulated dialogue, starring one of my favorite characters, James Bond, in a scene I made up for this occasion:

“I was wondering when you might show me this,” Bond said, touching the tiny microphone lightly.
Q whipped his arm back, taking the microphone with it. “That isn’t ready yet. What I want to show you is this.” He slowly removed the Mylar blanket that had been covering a large something to Bond’s left.
Bond’s sharp intake of breath was louder than he expected. What had been hiding under the blanket, the lump he had so arrogantly leaned upon as if it were furniture, was the most beautiful automobile he’d seen in his life. Metallic red reflected the laboratory lights as if they were the sun, and the sleek, cat-like design gave the feel of a jungle predator, sure-footed and fast.
“May I?” Bond asked, pointing to the driver-side door and fighting an almost desperate tone in his voice.
Q blinked slowly in assent. “Of course. Just don’t drink, eat, or smoke in it, please.”
“I quit smoking long ago,” said Bond.

This is modulated, meat and potatoes, dialogue. It just goes back and forth between dialogue and description, dialogue and description. It moves the story along, sets the pace, and lets us know what the characters are thinking and feeling (often through body language) and what the environment looks like. As a writer, you should practice modulated dialogue first and get your rhythm. Rhythm is part of your style and voice. Learn it well.

Next time we talk about dialogue, we’ll cover Directed Dialogue. It’s used to emphasize the tension between two people in a scene.
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This post is a re-post of an article on the Words for the Journey Writers Guild blog, with the title The Four Types of Dialogue, Part 1: Modulated Dialogue.

The Power of the Verbal Business Card, Part 1

Savvy Writer Article #1202 by DENISE MILLER HOLMES

Wherever you go, as a writer you need to promote yourself. You will especially need to promote when you are  engaging editors and agents at conferences. ALWAYS be ready to tell people what you do as a writer–and keep it to thirty seconds or less.

A dynamite way to do this is with a verbal business card. It’s very much like the “elevator pitch” you practice for your books, but it’s about you.

When asked what they do, most writers say, “I am a writer,” or, “I write romance novels,” or “I write historical non-fiction,” etc.  This response is somewhat interesting, but it doesn’t  grab. Proponents of the verbal business card say that you need to hook the listener, much like you hook the reader at the beginning of a novel.

Here is what a VBC does–it discards bland verbs like “I write” or “I am” and uses exciting verbs instead such as build, craft, teach, inform, manage, design, construct, generate, train, guide, establish, mentor, regulate, develop, structure, organize, etc.

The reason these verbs work better is they are verbs used to describe what authorities do. Teachers are authorities in our society. People who construct and train and design and regulate all have authority. Writers? Not so much. :D

Notice how much more powerful these statements are than “I am a writer”:

“I craft futuristic mystery stories that inform readers about social issues in an entertaining way.”

“I teach people who hate gardening how to care for their gardens in five easy steps  so they have more time to enjoy Life.”

If you are a Christian writer, here are more examples:

“I inform Christian women through my romance novels about God’s love, so they can find a deeper happiness.”

“I design materials for Sunday schools that helps primary-school-age children understand how to have a walk with God.”

“I teach teenagers about history through non-fiction that emphasizes the biblical worldview so they make constructive decisions.”

There are two more things we need to look at when writing a VBC–specificity and benefit.  These will be covered in Part 2.

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If you enjoyed this article, you will also like Market YOU Before Your Book: A Lesson in Passive Marketing

Market YOU Before Your Book: A Lesson in Passive Marketing

Savvy Writer Article #1201 by DENISE MILLER HOLMES

BAD NEWS. You’ve been told  publishing houses don’t market books anymore, they expect the author to do it.  A feeling of being overwhelmed envelops you as you ponder the new career you must add on to your writing–marketing. Typically, you handle this by learning how to market your books and your books alone. But a new wisdom is here. Writers need to market themselves before they ever market their books.

This is problematic for you. As a typical writer, you have a terrible time getting out there and letting people see you. What you want is to push your book in front of your face and say, “Don’t look at me. See this fabulous book and buy it. It wrote itself.”

But, the biggest authors get their names out there FIRST, before they ever have a book.

Passive Marketing is about doing things that get your name (and later, your products) out there in the public eye without overtly asking for the sale. It includes things such as distributing business cards (yes, a writer should have a business card); speaking to organizations; filling out profiles for Yahoo, Google, Blogger, and any place that asks; a professional head shot to put on your blog, your business cards, and your profiles; writing a blog; and actively presenting yourself on Facebook and Twitter, and, if you ghostwrite or speak–LinkedIn.

Please don’t think these things are a waste of time. They are very powerful. But, they are only the first step. You HAVE to get your name and presence out there in the public eye, or any active marketing you do later will fall flat. Of all the things listed above, I think speaking is the most powerful.

Overcoming your resistance to being SEEN is probably the hardest obstacle for you the writer to conquer. You may go through tough denial. You may think that you will be the one who writes the book that becomes the bestseller the minute it hits the shelves. It won’t happen!

But, you can choose to conquer your fear of being out there. When you do, the world will open to you.

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If you like this article, you may also like The Power of the Verbal Business Card, Part I because a VBC is a vital part of Passive Marketing.

This article is similar to one published in Denise Miller Holmes author blog  Writing Adventures– Passive Marketing Lesson for January 17th Writers’ Guild.