Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Maximising your Social Networking Time, so you can do what you love best - write!

Hi folks
Well, let's face it, many of you know I am always struggling with balancing the marketing of my first book, Sign of the Times, and concentrating on writing, rewriting & editing the new one, The Dating Game.  Many, if not all indie authors, find themselves in similar positions and some traditional published authors too. Personally, I am open to trying everything possible (well, almost - there are limits after all!) to ensure Sign of the Times reaches as large an audience as possible.

I am now 3 months into using Twitter and FB (confess not to doing FB as much as should & need to).  So much has changed. I have gone from never using Twitter, not even having an account, to spending almost every waking moment I am not writing, eating, sleeping or in the shower, using it.  Thank God I don't have kids - I would have had social services at the door.  My poor Other Half is just thankful to have more control over our TV viewing of an evening.

There are so many blog posts about 'building a platform' and 'a brand'. I know this is true, but am I the only one who is sick hearing this?  But, doing this takes a lot of time. One way of building your brand and following is through Twitter.  It doesn't happen overnight and whilst I realise that the tools I am about to mention, are known to many, I am pretty confident that many will discover a new tool they didn't know about, which will help them save time.  Some of these tools are also relevant to Facebook.

Just when I thought I had got to grips with Twitter, an author friend sent me my Klout score. I hadn't a clue what she was talking about.  It's a social media ranking of how much of an influence you are. At the moment, I am 40 out of 100. Mean much to you? Neither to me. I am sure it could be higher if I used FB more and engaged other mediums, but, and don't gasp in shock, can I really be bothered?!

In the past few weeks people have been sending me links to Tumblr (the only useful thing was a collage of Rupert Penry Jones in Silk - I had a feeling he would make his way into my blog at some point!) I have no interest (and that's another confession) in yet another social networking medium to give me headaches! I asked someone and they said it was for teenagers. Great, I can forget about it, unless I have a teenager in a future book who uses Tumblr.

Then, Pinterest. Again, what? Still with no desire to investigate, I asked someone who had sent me a Pinterest link, about it. It was a fellow author, in the US, who said she and many authors surf Pinterest and the web for ideas for novels/stories and then store them on Pinterest. Well, I suppose I could see how that could be useful.  I am lucky, I have more ideas than I know what do with and I like as much as possible in my books to come directly from my imagination.  But everyone works differently.

So, those are the things I haven't embraced. Now to what has helped me in the past few weeks. I am only going to cite a few here, because there are many similar applications. Originally I wouldn't sign up to any of these, as they use your Twitter account, but I've thrown caution to the wind now, in an attempt to maximise my time and write more! Plus, I genuinely don't think there's anything untoward with them & have had no problems so far - touch wood.

During my free promo a month ago, I hit a following limit on Twitter of 2000.  Well, I wasn't having that!  Someone told me of www.manageflitter.com/unfollow.  So, I have been weeding, just like you do when you are gardening. There are many people who just collect followers for the sake of it and who never have any intention of interacting, or retweeting or well, anything! So, time to get ruthless. Ditch them.  Tick!   Then, what I also realised was, I myself wasn't interacting with certain people who I was following, so, I made a point of then interacting with them. Then there were those followers , who I hadn't interacted with simply because they had come on board during my free promo and had got lost in the fray. I addressed that.

But my favourite discovery, due to a new follower last week, was Tweepi.  I've already said elsewhere that one of the ways I look for followers, is to see who is reading other authors in the genre I write in and follow them. But doing this in regular Twitter is seriously laborious. Tweepi shows you in pages the users, no. of tweets, last tweet, klout score. Saves me loads of time.  I like interacting with people, but there are only 24 hours in a day & so it makes sense to interact with like-minded individuals.

Tweetdeck, which I wish I had known about before the free promo, as I could have slept some, means I can schedule my tweets.  I set my morning promotional tweets before I go to bed, so the breakfast club Kindle buyers can see them. It also means you can reach people in other time zones during their waking hours.  TD also shows you your DMs in one place. I was getting so lost in my emails. I even had to open a new email account just for Twitter. Tweetdeck has many functions, too many to list here, but look into it. There is also Social Oomph,but this is a payable service. 

Twitcleaner - wow! I haven't yet understood how I am going to use it, but gee whizz does it give a lot of info. It tells you for your followers: who doesn't follow,  who tweets little & lots, also who doesn't RT, who RTs the same stuff, who is self-obsessed (that was quite fun!) It also tells you your own rating, so that you can modify your behaviour if you wish, so that you don't appear on lists suggesting to followers they remove you.  Ever wonder why you lost 20 followers overnight? Tweetclean might be why!  Tip 1: Vary your tweet content

And the last one is Friday Follow Helper. It doesn't need to be a Friday to use it, but it shows you at a glance who RTs you and then you can nominate them for #MM. #FF and other & also simply thank for RTs. No more forgetting anyone and slighting them!!

Now you won't & don't need to use them every day, but try them, mix them up & see the difference.

So, the moral of the story is, when you get to grips with all of that, you should have more time, more followers, more visibility, a better Klout score, and you should be reaching your larger audience more easily.

Cliche alert - the proof is in the pudding. Last week I wrote more than 10K words of my new novel The Dating Game.

In a few days time, I will be talking about What I Look For In Rewrites (because I will have rewritten another 13 chapters by then hopefully!).  Stay tuned, Sooz
PS and after all that, if your heading is spinning and you want some light entertainment . Sign of the Times is available here: http://amzn.to/GKqZGd (UK) & http://amzn.to/IYN0Fc (US & other)


  1. Good post on how to maximize Twitter.

  2. Very entertaining post, Sooz! I hadn't heard of Tweepi or Tweetclean, I'll have to look into those. I use Justunfollow to find out who is not following me on Twitter and I also tend to weed them out every so often, after all I'm not interested in following people who just want 'numbers' and don't want to interact or help out others...
    I know what you mean about the daunting amount of social networking sites out there. I must admit I am a member of Pinterest and Tumblr (as well as MySpace, Google+ and many more that I won't bore you with). I don't use them as much as FB or Twitter, but I figured that the more sites we are on, the more people will hear about us and our books. You might be right, though, about concentrating on a couple of sites and interacting more on those.
    I'll have to remember to give you some +K next time I'm on Klout!

  3. Hi Sooz,
    Great post, and I agree that it's impossible to write great novels, promote them across all platforms, and have a life! Like you said, it's important to weed out what works for you and what doesn't. I keep this mantra in my mind: Go where your readers are. So, I guess, also: Know who your readers are (and where they hang out). I keep asking myself why I buy books, how I find out about them, what turns me off as a reader, and then I try to think how I can replicate that.

    1. hi Jo, would agree with everything you've said. We all need to keep learning from each other, Sooz

  4. Thank you Sooz, your blog has helped me immensely, I have been swallowed up by the social networking world and your post may be just the tool I need to dig myself out!
    Tara Ford

    1. Hi Tara, I am so pleased the blog is helping you. It's cathartic for me and helps organise my thoughts. Am sure will be able to go back and refer to it in years to come (and probably update it!) Good luck! Sooz