It’s all about the tweeting quality of your conversation…
Are you talking?
One of the most underused and abused of the social networking/media sites is Twitter. I will admit that Twitter completely overwhelmed me and baffled me when I first heard about it. Someone suggested I should sign up as the only way to understand Twitter is to dive right in. Well I signed up. I was lost. For the first couple of months my account remained inactive. So did the conversation. I was not talking to anyone on twitter so nobody knew I was there. I decided I needed to educate myself. I quizzed friends already on Twitter, I read up blog posts on Twitter and then I started a conversation. Someone tweeted something that interested me and I responded. Within seconds there was an echoing response from the tweeter and they had started following me. So I continued talking. Before I knew it I was involved in multiple conversations and had more than a few followers who I followed in turn.
Suddenly a lightbulb had been turned on and I could see the whole room. It was a room full of people talking and connecting over shared interests. I turned around and saw a whole lot of smaller groups. Over there, there was a crowd talking about publishing, just across from them another crowd spoke about music, just across from them another crowd spoke about politics. Turning around I also realised there were celebrities in the room but they didn’t have any “minders” or “publicists”, they were just people like you and I talking about things that interest them.
Twitter is a social tool that breaks down all barriers of fame, wealth, class, age, geography, language in one huge online room full of people having conversations. That is the trick of Twitter if there is a trick. You have to engage in conversation with another person. There is no way that being a wallflower is going to get you into Twitter. But in Twitter there is no need to be a wallflower because conversation is easy. All you need for a conversation is at least two people and a topic that connects them. That is the great secret of Twitter. You need to be part of the conversations in the room to be accepted, followed and friended.
Yes Twitter can be a great marketing tool in that you can tweet links to your blog – to draw in new readers – or you can tweet links to your upcoming products and a site where people can buy them. But if you are only tweeting links to blogs or tweeting product promotion and self-marketing, you have lost the point and the true charm of twitter.
Think of Twitter more as a cocktail party you have been invited to by an acquaintance. Why did they invite you? Did they invite you so that you can climb aboard a pedestal and promote who you are and what you do? Or did they invite you because you peeked their interest and they want to learn more about you, the individual, the person? When you think of Twitter in these terms you will see Twitter in a different light.
However there are so many different conversations going on in the rooms but you may want to leave the main party room and enter a smaller party room to zone in on one specific conversation/debate. This is when Twitter chats come in play or as they are known on Twitter as # (hash-tag chats). For instance if you are taking part in NaNoWriMo this month, if you sign up to a TweetChat account like tweet chat or TweetDeck and enter #NaNoWriMo, you will enter a room where everyone is chatting all things NaNoWriMo. To continue in this conversation, you tweet as normal but make sure that somewhere in each tweet there is the same #NaNoWriMo, this means that all your tweets will be seen by the people in the smaller #NaNoWriMo room.
As you explore more in Twitter chats you will realise that there will be regular chats in your industry throughout the week. Now for writers, twitter is a perfect hangout and brainstorming session with fellow wordsmiths. There are weekly chats on the craft of writing, on the marketing side, the creative side, the brainstorming side and the critiquing side. You just have to search them out. If you have not joined in on one of these chats, I urge you to do so. Not only will you meet many like-minded people but you will learn a lot too. On my writing blog, Wrestling the Muse, I have a page devoted to the different Twitter chats called #Twittertalk. On here you will find the most regular and popular twitter chats targeted towards writers. Try one of the chats out. You may just enjoy the conversation more than you thought and start understanding the unique charm that is Twitter.
I hope that this post breaks down Twitter in simple terms for you as one more great social media tool. Remember that people will take more notice of your blogs, websites, products and talent if they like talking to you anyway. If you can interest them on Twitter, they will follow you to your other places in social media. Try Twitter out if you have not had the courage to yet. If you have and have been overwhelmed, break it down. It is just a conversation after all. You have those all the time every day. Good Luck with your twittering.
Tell me how you find Twitter? Do you enjoy it? Has it baffled you? Will you give it a chance if you have not yet? I would love to hear about your TwitterTalk. Tell me something. Better yet: tweet me@last_lines or @AuthorKimKoning . I look forward to having many conversations with you in Twittertime. Don’t be shy. It is just people talking.
Join me here tomorrow for Part 3 on social media…Tomorrow we are going to talk blogging.
In real life you may fall into one or the other category but what about in the virtual and digital world of social media? Are you a shy and retreating Wallflower or are you the life of the party and a Social Butterfly? You may wonder what it matters whether you are shy in social media or not but if you want to network and you want to make connections – you need to become a social butterfly if you aren’t already.
Social Media is called “Social” for a very good reason.
You must be social for it to accomplish its task.
Not only has social media changed the business world but it has changed and continues to change our personal lives. If you meet someone new at a party and you want to meet up later in the week, how do you get in contact with them? You ask if they are on Facebook. There are two reasons why people are more willing to give out their Facebook profiles rather than their home address or even mobile phone number. If you friend request them they can learn all about you from your Facebook profile before choosing to accept. Secondly it is safer to give out your Facebook profile than it is to give out more personal information, like your home address, to a virtual stranger.
In this modern day and age more networking and more connections are made and forming through the social media and social networking sites. There is no point in being an ostrich and sticking your head in the sand hoping that life will just go back to being simple.
Most industries rely on marketing savvy and promotion savvy. Everyone and every business has something to sell. Whether this be a service, their name or a talent. The way this is accomplished in 2011 is through social media and social networking. It simply has the largest exposure without a very high monetary cost. An effective and engaged social presence on the internet is more beneficial and powerful than advertising copy in a magazine or on tv.
So what is your presence in social media? Do you have a presence or are you scratching your head as you read “social media”? If you do have a presence, is it effective and engaging? Are you using social media to your best advantage? Do you know why you need social media and what you want from it?
If you are a creative; a musician, an artist or a writer, social media can be either your friend or your foe. This is even more important for a relative unknown or an up-and-coming-not-quite-there-yet star. The creative industries are one of the most difficult industries to get a foot in the door. They are completely subjective industries where most times you are judged on yourself and the impression you give before they will give you a chance to be judged on your talent. This brings us to the old scenario where a young and hopeful graduate is ready to enter the work-world but in countless interviews is told that though they have the qualifications and the look, they don’t have the experience to get the job? This always leaves the young graduate despondent because how does he/she get experience if they can’t get a job in the first place?
So as a creative wanting to break into your chosen sphere, how do you get the bigwigs – these are usually corporates who think with their wallets and guard their time jealously – to sit up and pay attention to you?
You get online! You could do a number of other cost and time consuming activities to engage their attention but at this point your cost and your time is probably limited. So the easiest way is to build an effective and engaging social media that is market-savvy to your specific industry. How? Below is the set of tools available to you in social media…
Now you may be looking at this and think there are way too many options up there and counting away the hours it will take to build a social presence in each of these media tools…Fear not! These may be all the tools available to you but you do not need to use every one of these tools. You need to choose which are the best tools. When considering that, you need to focus on these factors:
What is best for you as an individual?
What is best for your talent/service as a marketing tool?
It is all about who you know in this world so what is best for your talent/service as a networking tool?
What are the most popular social media sites used by your future colleagues in your industry?
What are the most popular and watched sites by the bigwigs and decision makers in your industry?
So before reading on, take a notepad and a pen and write down these 5 factors. Then answer them.
Are you starting to form a picture of your social media presence yet?
I am going to tell you about what I use in social networking. I am a writer and my product is my words. So the social media sites are perfect for someone in my industry. I am however also an experienced sales and marketing manager so I have a little more of an insider track on how to sell a product and how to market it.
The social media/networking sites I am listed on are, from longest running to newest:
Facebook (personal profile)
WordPress – Blogging
Twitter (personal profile)
Facebook groups (related to writing)
Facebook group admin / creator (related to writing)
Facebook Fan Page
Twitter (writer account)
Facebook (separate writer profile)
Twitter chat host (a weekly writing craft chat)
Now from the above you will see that I have two Facebook profiles and two Twitter accounts. I also have 4 WordPress blogs. Now although writers and most creatives can be accused of having multiple personalities this is not the reason why I have different profiles / sites on the same social media/networking sites. I have a private life and a professional life. I use my personal profiles for personal networking with friends and family and not necessarily friends who are in the same industry as me. I use the professional profiles for anything and everything related to my writing business.
“Writing business”? But you thought writing was a “creative” industry and not sullied with the muddiness of “business”? Wrong! If you are writing as a hobby then yes it is purely creative. But if you are in this for the long haul and hope to make a living from your creativity than you MUST look at writing just like you would any other job or any other Business. Believe me if you want to get noticed and make it in this business, you will need to work harder than at anything else you have ever worked at.
For me the most effective methods of getting noticed and building a readership/following as well as networking with decision makers has been Facebook, Twitter and Blogging. Facebook is still one of the most preferred and effective tools out there. As we hear constantly in the media, if Facebook were a country it would have the third highest population in the world. The next effective method, especially in the writing and publishing world is Twitter. With Twitter you can reach hundreds of followers as well as follow and connect with the who’s who in whatever industry you want to break into.
Then there is blogging. Blogging is incredibly effective to market your actual product – which in a writer’s world is our words and our ability to hold a reader’s attention so that they keep coming back for more.
I have 4 separate blogs that are all writing related but differently marketed. This blog is my creativity and inspiration blog. I blog here on creative exercises, creative tips and tools as well as spotlighting up and coming authors and creatives in the industry. In my other blog, Wrestling the Muse, I blog about my lessons learned while undertaking the adventures of full-time writing. Then I have a poetry portfolio blog, Soul Photographs, where I blog poetry and all things related to poetry. Just recently I started my fourth blog, Amazon Wanderings, where I will be blogging about my adventure traveling. You probably wonder why I need 4 blogs and why don’t I use one blog with 4 different uses. I have done it very specifically to create niche blogs and niche readerships/followings for each blog. Yes it means I have more blogs to upkeep but this is when a blogging schedule comes in handy.
So in answer to my initial question: If you are a Wallflower when it comes to social media, why are you retreating? How are you planning on getting noticed in your industry?
Watch out for Part 2 coming tomorrow on how to stop retreating and how to become an effective social butterfly…
Tell me in the meantime: What social networking do you find works best? What social networking baffles you? What social networking do you dislike or find unnecessary?
Join me here tomorrow when I share with you how to effectively market yourself. Remember writing and publishing is big business. Know what your strengths and weaknesses are. It is time to get market-savvy in social media….
Welcome to your first episode of Warrior Wednesdays. Today is an exceptionally SPECIAL day for this girl with a quill. (Thanks Aditi Sarin for the Nickname)
Today is the 100th post in this blogosphere for this girl with a quill and a dragonflyscroll.
To mark the day I have released the debut episode of Warrior Wednesdays with the erudite and dazzling Roz Morris also known as the enigmatic dirtywhitecandy. This is a lady that is the owner of the website – Nailyournovel and author extraordinaire of the book called: Nail Your Novel – Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence. She is a successful Editor who also moonlights as a successful Ghostwriter with 11 books under her Ghosting – 8 of these bestsellers. How did I get to know this Red Dynamo of a lady?? I came across a tweet by a tweeter called dirtywhitecandy. Of course, the name had me intrigued – who was this enigmatically named creature and why did she seem to tweet so many words or wisdom. I started following her and this led me to her website. The first thing I searched for was what was behind that enigmatically unique twitter moniker.
When she mentioned on her website that she chose an 18th century candy made by Fortnums and Mason in London because she loved the idea of such a surprising and unpredictable name – she knew she had to make this funky name her new online moniker. Does she fit the bill? Definitely….but without giving too much more away…let me bring the lady herself in. Let me tell you she does not have a shy bone in her body and she loves to chat…..So help me give a warm welcome to the lady herself – in she sashays, bright dazzling locks of the sun just tucked under a cornflower blue winter beanie and a smile effervescent in energetic warmth….
girl with a quill: Welcome Roz…..
dirtywhitecandy: Phew, brilliant questions, Kim! Thanks so much for hosting me and I’m really flattered to be your hundredth post! You’re such a creative dynamo you definitely deserve a telegram from the Queen.
A pic or two is enclosed, with a different interview hat…
girl with a quill : Tell us a little about you.
I’ve ghostwritten eight bestselling novels which I can’t name because they’re a trade secret. I freelance edit, mentoring other writers to help them shape up their novels to a state where they can be presented to the market, and I’m coming out from under the ghostly sheet with novels of my own. I’m represented by Jane Conway-Gordon in London. The rest of the time I work as a freelance magazine editor – and occasionally as a movie extra!
girl with a quill: Do you remember the moment you wanted to become a writer?
Not really. I’ve always been very creative and when I was a child I liked making up music and drawing comics. But the thing I enjoyed most was writing. It didn’t really matter what it was – stories, school essays… I had a number of pen friends and they got very long letters! I’ve always had a feeling that when I put words on a page it is more important than writing, it is a performance. I can never dash off even a short email, it has to be ‘right’.
So, to answer your question, I have always been a writer really.
girl with a quill: What inspires you to write and why?
Good writing. Any beautifully executed novel makes me want to get at my desk and make something!
girl with a quill: Where do you do write?
A lot of my writing goes on in my head – pacing about, or out running, or driving with the radio on. I also scribble a lot of notes to work out story problems. Thinking time is crucial for me. But when I’m getting the words down I have two official places. There’s my study, which has the whizzy internet computer and all my pictures, music, and all you intensely interesting people out on Twitter and blogs. Sometimes, though, I need to get away from all that. For those occasions I have a tiny laptop that folds into a handbag. I take it to a room in the house where none of those things will tempt me, and snuggle down with my manuscript.
girl with a quill: How do your stories find you? Are they character-driven or story-driven?
I would say they’re story driven at the moment. I’m most inspired by people doing odd things. I then ask myself who would do it, and why, and where it might go, and who they might draw in. So the story comes first – and then I seek the people who need it.
girl with a quill: An interesting fact about you is that you have successfully ghostwritten 11 books for other people…What led you into this form of writing?
I got into it by a lucky break. I was doing a full-time job on a medical magazine and in my spare time was writing short stories and attempting a novel. My husband is a full-time writer and he had a commission that had gone wrong – the publisher changed their mind about the brief and wanted him to rewrite. He had other commitments so he gave the job to me and I wrote an entirely new novel for them. It was accepted and once I’d done that I was on their list of useful writers. The ghostwriting followed on from there.
Most ghosting jobs are circulated around people who publishers know and my name must have landed on the right desk at the right time!
girl with a quill: I know you cannot divulge who you ghosted for but can you tell us a little about the process? How does ghost-writing differ from your own writing?
Ghosting is writing a book pretending to be somebody else – mostly celebrities. Perhaps they’ve already published their memoirs (possibly also ghosted) and have branched out into novels – but need help with the craft of fiction writing. And they’re not always non-writers. Sometimes the megabrand established novelists use ghosts, outsourcing some of their early draft work to keep up with demand. And if a mega-selling author dies, a publisher might hire a ghostwriter to keep their brand alive beyond the grave.
Ghostwriting is a colloboration. The actual details vary from project to project, but when I ghost I’m writing a book that is someone else’s idea, to please their readers – who wouldn’t necessarily be the same readers who would like my own work. I can’t use my own voice I have to develop a voice and style that is appropriate for the author I am ghosting. Also I can’t always take a story in the direction I want it to go, and if I have a blinding blast of inspiration I may not be able to use it. Also, if the ‘author’ (the person whose name is on the cover) doesn’t like what I’ve done, it’s their book and I have to rewrite it. That’s not to say that I can’t put something of myself into the book, but I must always remember the book is not mine.
girl with a quill: I have read that you started out as a journalist. I studied journalism as well. I often battle against which hat I am putting on: the hard-nosed journalist’s hat or the free-form writer’s hat. Did you find the switch from journalism to fiction a difficult one?
I had to learn different ways to write. A journalism story is detached, as though it’s written by a machine. It condenses when a fiction writer should expand and draw you into a scene. I’ve always been quite sensitive to styles and narrative voices so I didn’t find it difficult, but you raise a good question because many journalists find it hard to slip off their analytical, detached voice. They find it particularly hard to inhabit a flawed character or be an unreliable narrator. I still do some journalism and switching back is amusing sometimes. If I’m editing a news story I often get the urge to spice up the interviewees’ quotes (and call them ‘dialogue’…)
And by contrast, when fiction writers have to include a news story in their narrative, they can’t get the tone right. I’m sure you must have noticed that, Kim!
But journalism has helped too. Journalism lives by deadlines – you find something to write and you get the words down. That’s great discipline for any writer. I don’t have to worry about grammar and punctuation because they’re ingrained. Also I’ve been a sub-editor, editing and proofing for press, so I can proof and copy-edit my own material to a professional standard (and often do this for others).
girl with a quill: Journalism and Fiction Writing are two different sides of a coin. One could almost say they directly oppose one another. Did being a journalist first help or hinder your fiction writing? How?
(See above, sorry, answered 2 questions in one go!)
girl with a quill: You have a fantastic website called Nailyournovel This is where most people get to know you. Can you tell us what the phrase “Nail your novel” means to you?
Great question! Novel-writing is complex. To do it well is a life-long process of learning. I believe in learning as much as I can about how stories work and how they are derailed, so that I can throw together a narrative that will do exactly what I want it to do.
That may sound like it’s churning out predictable stories according to formulae, but in fact it is not. Story rules are like laws of physics; they are a natural order derived from the way we all make sense of the world. Humans see patterns, and that is where stories come from. The more deeply we understand this process, the more inventive, creative and daring we can be with the stories we create. Novel-writing as an intensely practical craft learned from the nuts and bolts of the world around us. I regard everything I see as potential storytelling tools, hence the rather practical name of the blog!
The short answer is this: I’m trying to nail my novels – so I reckoned other people might be too!
girl with a quill: This brings me to the publication of your book by the same name. This book is available at Amazon. Can you tell us why you wrote this book?
dirtywhitecandy: So many people start a novel and drizzle to a stop. it’s a job that can get the better of you. Most of the beginner writers I talk to need to know how to organise all that business of characters, plot, using research and so on.
Also a lot of the writers who come to me for editing help struggle with revising a novel. Because of this, they also can’t assess their novel’s structure – which is essential to whether it works or not – and they don’t dare to make major changes because it all looks too complicated. I disembowel my drafts quite blithely because I’ve developed ways to take control of my manuscripts. So I thought the most helpful thing I could do for people was to write a book about how I do that. Its full title is Nail Your Novel – Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence. Rather a mouthful, but that’s what it does!
girl with a quill: Can you tell my followers where to get a copy of your book?
girl with a quill: Along with your website, you also have a twitter account. Many people in the know in the publishing industry push how important it is to build a public platform through social media tools. As a published writer, would you agree that a public platform is necessary for pre-published and published writers alike?
It is absolutely, one-hundred per cent essential. Books only sell if they are publicised. But that doesn’t mean ramming your book down everyone’s throat. When you buy a book it’s usually because you want to spend time with the author. When you build a platform you are reaching out to find people who might want to spend time with what you write. It’s a slow process, as it is if you get to know anyone in the real world. When you build your platform that’s what you’re doing – being yourself and finding the people who enjoy your company.
Also, social media is a two-way street. You find the people whose company you enjoy too. Before I started blogging and chatting on Twitter and Facebook, I was holed up in my study, bashing away in isolation. Now I have the camaraderie of thousands of other writers out there. They’re writing posts and sharing links. If I need advice, I can send out a tweet and someone will tell me what I need to know. It’s like having a brilliant set of colleagues – we’re all writing, and we’re all in touch. More than that, I have made many genuine friends through Twitter, Facebook and my blog. In short, it’s great fun.
girl with a quill: What would be 3 pieces of advice that you would share with pre-published writers? Maybe even things you wished you had known as a young writer?
1 You will believe your first novel idea is brilliant and unique. It will probably not be. But when you learn what is wrong with it you will write a much better one.
2 Find critique partners you trust and who understand the kind of novels you want to write
3 Even if you write a brilliant novel, that doesn’t mean you will find a conventional publisher. Mainstream publishing is governed by marketing departments and what is in fashion.
girl with a quill: Share a little of your writing process with us. Are you a plotter or a pantster? and Why?
Plotter, definitely. I have to know where I’m going, and also I find it very creative to make a detailed plan. The structure of the story is just as important as the moment-by-moment words.
girl with a quill: They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. A little bird told me that you are an exhibited artist as well as a published author. What type of artist are you and where have you exhibited?
(Laughs, very loudly…) Hardly. I took part in a self-portrait experiment at the rather smart Twentytwenty Gallery in Much Wenlock, Shropshire. Purely as a laugh, because I can never make pens do what I want them to do. I had a few goes in rough first. The first one came out far too small and squished in the corner, but at least there was room for more.
After some time I had managed several versions of myself if played by Ruby Wax, Matt Damon or someone with the wrong nose and a beard. Finally I ran out of space and stamina, so handed in the rough with a title: A Writer’s Quest for Control Over Hand and Pen. Not sure what the gallery made of it…
girl with a quill: As both a writer and an artist, which statement is more true for you. A picture is worth a thousand words. (Napoleon Bonaparte) (or) It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it. (Anais Nin)
Both! But I can’t do pictures, so I tend to use the 1,000 words.
girl with a quill: If you could choose 1 artist and 1 author to have dinner with? Who would you choose and why?
I’d have Tracey Emin, because she’s so self-absorbed. Who would think anyone would want to see her old bed? But she does, which means she’s very different from me, and I’d like to chat to her to see what makes her tick. Incidentally a friend of mine went to a ball with her boyfriend, and it turns out Ms Emin likes some of my ghosted books. So maybe we would have something in common…
As for authors, I’d have Ian Fleming. He has such a sense of the extraordinary and the flamboyant. Plus I think he’d know what wine to order.
I’d have to have him separately from Tracey Emin as I want to see each of them one on one, not watch how they mixed, rivaled or networked. That’s a thing about writers; in their books you have them to yourself, so that’s how I would most enjoy them.
girl with a quill: Who has had the greatest influence on you as a writer?
Everyone I read influences me. I have to be terribly careful who I read when I’m writing particular books as piece of their style or their way of seeing the world can easily derail me!
girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you would give to yourself as a young writer?
You will never feel you write well enough!
girl with a quill: What in the one piece of writing advice you would give to yourself 10 years from now?
Look back and see how far you’ve come!
girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy as a writer to be?
I want to make books that people love. I’ve had that with some of my ghosted books. I’ve seen forums where people have discussed my books and there are readers who write, in great bold letters, ‘I LOVE these books and these characters’. When I see that, it hardly matters that someone else’s name was on the cover.
For interest’s sake, Roz has kindly posted the recipe for her own delicious and delectable “dirty white candy” here. She has also included small side servings of some writerly advice washed down with a wine whose vintage is rich in brevity and aged with a dry humor.
Now that the she is out of the hot seat…I am going to help myself to some of her delicious dirty white candy and offer compliments to the chef of this speciality.
Thank you for being my 1st Warrior for Warrior Wednesday.
Remember….wield your quill with wit and wisdom for….