When I signed up for Twitter a year ago, my account was plagued by the Blank Page Bug. After I’d set up, I’d try to go to my Feed, and the page was blank. Zip. Nada, Nothing.

Twitter was aware of the problem, which affected everyone who set up accounts at around the same time as me. (I always have to remind myself in these situations that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the problem lies not with me and my humble computer, but with THEM.) Twitter suggested all kinds of time-consuming workarounds and I had to move on. (One of my Internet rules these days is if they make it too hard, I move on.)

I decided to give Twitter another go in January of this year and, thank the gods of ones and zeroes, now it works like a charm. I started learning the system and building up my Followers. In three-and-a-half months, I’m up to 2,600, many of them solid citizens who have books to sell, Retweet my posts, and are very supportive. I once thought Twitter was a waste of that all-precious commodity, time. Now I’m loving it!

Thanks to someone’s Tweet on my Feed, I discovered a site that schedules Tweets for you. There are several services like this. I don’t want to cast aspersions on this particular site, which is very good, and won’t mention it by name.

The deal is, you go to the site and schedule Tweets over any period of time you want—a day in advance, a week in advance—and post them anytime you want—four times a day or every fifteen minutes for twenty-four hours, your choice.

I thought, Wow, this is fantastic! Me being me, I sat down and scheduled my entire list for every fifteen minutes over twenty-four hours of three days.

First catch: I sat at my computer for something like ten solid hours performing achingly boring rote work that, at the same time, had to be painstakingly correct and required my presence every moment. (Kind of like beta-testing a program, not like down- or uploading files where you can walk away and do something else for however long it takes.)

Why so long? Yeah, I’ve got a slow connection. But also there are several picky little details you’ve got to get right for each post, and each of them takes a little time. Time that adds up.

It would all be worth it, my grousing notwithstanding, if I could tell you I had fantastic results. The first session resulted in sales of one of my more slow-moving titles (Tesla, A Worthy of His Time, A Screenplay). But over all, I didn’t see significantly more sales than when I do my usual posting on the Net. Certainly not enough to justify ten solid hours when I always need the time to produce more books, stories, and screenplays (what I lovingly call my “Real Work”).

I decided to try another experiment: using the same posting schedule for one title only. I chose SHAKEN, one of my personal favorites, a short novel about the next Big One in San Francisco. I chose a holiday when everyone would be cruising the Net, looking for stuff.

Again, six solid hours of set up. And worse, not a single sale.

Having observed a bit more of how people work on Twitter, I’m getting a sense of why scheduled Tweets don’t work very well.

They’re impersonal.

The service I used, and others like it, automatically shorten your link so your Tweet will fit the 140-character limitation. Which is a very good thing. Each service has its own distinctive brand of link. Which would be okay, except that when a Tweeter sees such a link, she thinks, “Oh, that’s a scheduled link. Lisa Mason isn’t really here.” And that Tweeter moves on to the next link.

I now devote a good chunk of time to Twitter every other day or so. When I’m Tweeting, I’m really here on the other side of the computer. Yes, I post my book links all these time (that’s another story), but I also actively RT, interact with others, post poetry, and so on.

No, I can’t be online 24 hours a day, every day. But yes (hallelujah!) I’m seeing much better results after I’m there in person.

So there you have it, my friend. By all means, try scheduled Tweets if you wish and observe the results. My experience is that you may only overcome the huge depersonalization of the Internet by showing up. And, as we all know, showing up is ninety percent of success!

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add stars, write a review, blog it, and spread the word to your friends. Your participation really matters.

More affordable titles for your reading enjoyment:

Thriller! Don’t miss SHAKEN, my sexy thriller, an ebook adaptation of “Deus Ex Machina” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide. SHAKEN is on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords and UK Kindle.

Literary science fiction! And don’t miss TOMORROW’S CHILD, The Story That Sold To The Movies. This began as a medical documentary, got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is now in development. My 30-day blog, The Story Behind the Story That Sold To The Movies, sets out the twists and turns the project took from inspiration to movie deal. On Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle.

Thank you for your readership!

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