I’m baaack! The San Francisco Writers Conference was wonderful on many levels, and I will share more of what I experienced in future posts, but one of the more insightful sessions I attended was on Social Media, and how to use Twitter to expand your network as an author (before you’ve even been published)! Rusty Shelton (of Shelton Interactive) and author Tee Morris gave a quickie overview of Twitter that knocked my socks off. In fact, a lot of us left the room sockless. I’d walked in thinking that Twitter was yet another big time sucker that would steal me away from writing, but Rusty told us that we could begin to network with movers and shakers in just 3 Tweets a day:
· TWEET #1: Make a list of 10-20 of your favorite authors or best-selling authors in your field (e.g. fiction, non-fiction, romance, sci-fi, mystery, whatever). Once a day, send a ‘tweet’ with your Twitter @name to someone on your list, telling them how much you enjoyed reading their book, short story, web post, blog, or tweet. You can find your favorite author’s twitter account by doing an internet search on their name AND Twitter (for example, you can Google “George R R Martin” AND Twitter). Using your @name twitter account (as opposed to tweeting anonymously) allows them to tweet you back with a nice reply, and over time, they’ll remember you as a fan.
· TWEET #2: Make a similar list of journalists that write about your topic, topics that interest you, or reviews books in your genre (you can find this list by looking them up at http://muckrack.com/ ). When they write something that interests you, send them a compliment on their work or most recent article, review, web post, blog, or tweet. Again, using your @name twitter account allows them to tweet you back with a nice reply, and the more often you engage with them, the more they are likely to remember you as a fan.
· TWEET #3: Once a day, tweet something general about what’s on your mind today. This is not a pitch, or a plea to buy your book, but just something that you find interesting, or that sparked your imagination. It’s a conversation starter, not something about you.
Shelton explained that daily Tweets 1 & 2 (over time) build a relationship with people that you already admire. Using your @name when you tweet, gives you an identity, and as long as you’re not tweeting nastiness, brings you closer together in the blogosphere. Tweet #3 also helps you to be identified as an interesting conversationalist, not just a ME-ME-ME presence. Over time, regular posts can help build your online credibility, and get you visible in a positive way. Then, when you DO have something to announce, you may have an excellent chance of extending your presence through a network of people that has a significantly broader reach than your family and friends (and writing group!).