Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting the Most From Twitter (Part 2: How to Find People to Follow)

Over about 6 months, my Twitter followers increased more than 12-fold (from 60ish to over 750), and I gain new followers every day. Plenty of other people have done it faster or gained a lot more followers in that timeframe. But my approach is all about making connections and having fun, and I don't use any aggressive tactics (or any "tactics" at all, really) to try to grow my list of followers. I'm happy with the way it's evolving, so I don't worry about the numbers.

The first thing to know is that if you want to gain followers on Twitter, you must follow others. Unless you're already famous, of course. :) If you're an author, you should be on Twitter trying to connect with readers (current and potential), book bloggers, other writers, people in publishing, etc.

But I know it can be tough, especially at first, to find people to follow. Here are some tips:

1. Leverage Your Other Social Networks
You're on Facebook, right? Go to your friends' pages and look for their Twitter links. Maybe post an update asking for your friends' Twitter handles. If you belong to FB groups, tell them you're trying to get more active on Twitter and ask for their Twitter handles.

Go to the blogs you frequent, look for bloggers' Twitter links, and follow them.

If you spend time on message boards, in Goodreads groups, etc, look for a thread where people have posted their Twitter handles. If there isn't a Twitter thread, start one.

2. Look at Who Your Friends Follow and Talk to
In the stream of updates from the people you follow on Twitter, pay attention to who they're talking to, take a peek at their profiles, and follow some of them; I do this all the time because it's so easy. You can also comb your Twitter friends' follow lists.

Look at your Twitter friends' Follow Friday (#FF) or Writer Wednesday (#WW) tweets. Ask your friends for recommendations. If you have a couple of Twitter friends who are pretty well-established, ask them to tweet a shoutout for you. I've done this a number of times for others, I'll say something along the lines of "Hey friends, book blogger so-and-so is new to Twitter - please follow and say hello!" Plenty of people are willing to help, just ask. And when they do help, don't forget to send out a thank-you tweet.

3. Look for Established Authors, Gurus, and Industry Leaders
If you read about writing, books, and the publishing industry - you are doing that, right? - find the Twitter accounts for people who write about writing, books, and publishing. Follow some of your favorite authors. Twitter is interesting in that it's one of the few platforms where there's a decent chance that someone relatively well-known could see your tweet and respond to you. It's happened to me a few times - nearly always in conversations that have nothing to do with writing or publishing, interestingly - and it's pretty cool.

Missed Part 1: Why I LOVE Twitter? Read it here.

Watch for the next post in the series, Part 3: Why You Need to Be Yourself

Author K.C. Neal:: Pyxis Series :: YA Paranormal

Friday, August 19, 2011

Read My YA-Aholic Interview!

Book blogger extraordinaire Haley interviewed me over at Find out which three Pyxis characters are named after real people, what career I'd like to have besides writing, and more.

Here's a little excerpt from the interview: 

What can your readers expect from your upcoming novel Pyxis?

Pyxis: The Discovery is a young adult paranormal book, the first in the Pyxis Series. The main character, 16-year-old Corinne, discovers there are two universes - the waking universe we live in every day, and a universe our minds enter when we're asleep. Her destiny is to protect a weakness between the two universes, to keep evil and harm from cycling between them, but the person who was supposed to teach her everything she needs to do this died unexpectedly. Her friend Mason has a role in all of this, too, and together they search for answers. I don't want to give away too much, but there are some fun paranormal elements to the story - ESP, pyrokinesis, things like that. I think readers will find it a fast-paced read that's full  of mystery. 

Read the full interview >>

Author K.C. Neal:: Pyxis Series :: YA Paranormal

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting the Most From Twitter (Part 1: Why I LOVE Twitter)

This is the first in a series of posts about Twitter. And I'm gonna be honest with you: in this post, I'm basically going on about how much I love Twitter and why. Practical info will come later. :)

How It All Started....
I created my Twitter account in 2009, not totally understanding what I was supposed to do with it. I mostly followed famous people. It was mildly entertaining, but not very engaging because I wasn't interacting with anyone. I found a few interesting non-famous people to follow, but still, it didn't really take off for me. No one I knew IRL was on Twitter.

Fast-forward to February of this year.... I decided I needed to ramp up my Twitter activity because I wanted to publish a novel, and it seemed like I was reading everywhere about how authors needed to be on Twitter, Facebook, etc, for marketing purposes. I had about 60 followers at the end of February 2011, and I knew I needed to change that. So I started finding writers and book bloggers to follow. I talked to them, and some of them talked back. A bunch of them started following me.

Hey, suddenly Twitter was kinda fun!

Followers Became Friends

In the months after I got more involved with Twitter, I became FB friends with many of my Twitter friends, and that just gave us one more way to get to know each other. We followed each other's blogs and reposted or retweeted each other's updates. I've gotten to know some of my online friends well enough that if I'm quiet for a day or two, they wonder where I am and ask if everything is okay. It's pretty cool. :)

Apart from connecting with other writerly and bookish people, I started following some local tweeters - turns out Boise is one of the most active U.S. cities on Twitter - and I've met maybe 20 or so IRL. For someone who normally hates talking to strangers (*raises hand*) and trying to make smalltalk (*raises hand again*), Twitter has been a great prelude because in most cases I've already had some online conversations with tweeps before I meet them for reals. So they're not really strangers.

It's not easy to explain to people who aren't on Twitter, but tweeps' personalities shine through remarkably clearly despite the 140-character limit. A person's sense of humor (or lack of it) somehow gets distilled and focused. And let's face it - you have to be pretty articulate to survive on Twitter.

I Just... Freaking LOVE Twitter
I love every part of the Twitter experience: the pithy updates, fast pace, highly interactive yet low-obligation format... and yeah, the sense of voyeurism you get when "listening in" on a bunch of public conversations.

Back in Feb I had about 60 followers. Now, I have around 700 (I'll talk more about how I gained followers in my next post). I've connected with so many people on Twitter who I'm sure I never would have found otherwise. I started out thinking I'd be using Twitter as a marketing tool, but that's taken a back seat to keeping up with my friends... and just having fun. :)

Read Part 2: How to Find People to Follow on Twitter

Author K.C. Neal:: Pyxis Series :: YA Paranormal