Archives for posts with tag: Twitter

When I first turned my attention to Twitter in early 2012, I didn’t think much of it. My account was plagued with the “Blank Page Bug” that afflicted new users at that time. There was a way-too-complicated workaround. I couldn’t be bothered.

I liked Facebook, used it almost daily for community building and book promotion. How good could a social net like Twitter be when you can only use 140 characters?

The bug got fixed in January 2013, and I discovered I liked Twitter a lot. People promote their books relentlessly (which is fine by me; more about Book Promotion in another blog) and with less guilt than on Facebook where you’re supposed to tone things down (more about that later, too) and be all touchy-feely. The Twitter newsfeed zips by so fast and each Tweet is even more ephemeral than Facebook posts, so there is a feel of fluidity about it I like.

Moreover, I soon discovered a community of people who were happy to Retweet book promotions and posts about writing, far more so than on Facebook. Twitter turned out to be a lot of fun, with more of a community spirit than you might imagine.

And when I Tweet my books, they sell.

I’m sold.

In a scant six months, with several long stretches of offline time to finish books and retool my office, I’ve built 3,050 Followers on Twitter at @lisaSmason. Wow!

(By contrast, it took me three years to build 4,677 Friends on my Facebook Profile Page, poking along since the January 2013 launch of my Facebook Author Page along at 484. Ten years ago, as a traditionally published author, I had 26,000 books in print of one title alone. Those pesky numbers aren’t quite lining up yet like I want them to.)

Now, then.

In my quest to build my Follower list, I stumbled upon several automated Tweets in the feeds of people I was Following, to the effect of, “My daily stats, 50 new Followers, 2 Unfollowers.” There are several apps that do something similar with different app names, True Twit Validation and other variations of justunfollow. But justunfollow.com was the one I clicked on.

It’s a very good site with a very good basic free service. (As with all such sites, more sophisticated apps cost you money.) The free service searches your Following list and pulls out those people who have not Followed you.

Why does that matter?

You want to keep your Following/Follower ratio balanced, for starters. At the risk of adding a whiff of junior high school, you don’t want to be perceived as following a whole lot more people than those who follow you.

And second, people you follow who don’t follow you don’t do you any good. You could Tweet your heart out, but they won’t see it, won’t Retweet it, won’t connect you to more people. But when they Tweet, their Tweets may clog up your feed.

Justunfollow spits out a list of these people—people you’ve Followed who don’t Follow you. Unless someone is important—say, a movie rights literary agent who doesn’t follow you or anyone, but whose Twitter name is good to hang onto in case you need to Tweet or Message him—delete them all. Frankly, they’re of little use to you, socially or professionally.

So far, so good!

Once I opted in to justunfollow, I noticed the “Daily stats” Tweets showing up in my feed, but I was Tweeting so much, it didn’t dawn on me that such Tweets are two things: (1) dead Tweets with no content, and (2) free advertising for the app—at my expense.

I finally got the message when I went offline for three weeks to seriously retool. Came roaring back into Twitter to resume building up my community and crafting my book promotions and lo! there were “Daily stats” Tweets for three weeks straight.

I was horrified! Manually deleted them all. A misguided Follower actually Retweeted a bunch of them. After working hard to build relationships and craft a campaign for my 27 book titles on three retailers, I would have much preferred a black hole during the time I was offline than a slew of automated dead Tweets.

What to do?

I can’t advise you on the other automated apps, but on justunfollow.com go to the home page. At the left of the screen is an orange list of options. At the bottom of the list, is the option Automate. Click on that. You’ll go to a menu of choices, the first of which is “Post my daily stats.” That choice is default-checked.

Uncheck that box! Uncheck it now!

The founder of the site assured me you can use all the other functions, such as editing your Following list, without the “Daily stats” message clogging up your finely crafted feed.

So there you have it, my friends. Use automated list management apps, by all means, but search around for their self-promotion agenda. Don’t make it your own.

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 work, please “Like” it, add a bunch of stars, write a review on the site where you acquired it, blog it, Tweet it, and spread the word to your friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

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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!