Social media accounts for authors

Social media accounts for authors

What social media accounts does an author need and what should they post on them?

Set up accounts at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, Youtube and if you are an author of non-fiction, LinkedIn
Here’s what to post on each:

Facebook

Set up an author page and a personal page. Facebook frowns on users having multiple personal pages and now asks for a phone number to verify accounts. In both pages you’ll need a suitable page header. Here’s the sizes you need:

On the author page post news about the books you have written and are writing, what you are researching, ask questions about reader preferences and what problems you’ve had as an author. Ask readers to review books. Tell them about any special offers and brag about any awards you’ve earned. Of course you should also respond to reader comments and questions. I suggest you turn off the ‘Shop’ link (That’s Settings > Edit Page > Scroll to ‘Shop’ and edit it to turn ‘Show Shop tab’ off.) Include a link to your mailing list. Here’s how to do that with MailChimp

  • Log in to your MailChimp account and in a separate tab to your Facebook page
  • On Facebook, search for MailChimp and ‘Like’ the page.
  • At the top right, select from the profile dropdown ‘Account’ then ‘Integrations’.
  • From the integrations directory select ‘Facebook Add a signup form to…’
  • In ‘Page to use’ select the author page you’ve created.
  • Select the appropriate ‘List to use’, select the ‘Yes’ of ‘Use signup form tab’ and save the choices
On the personal page join author groups—not to promote books to other authors but to interact. Facebook is a great place to get help and ask questions. It’s also possible to give advice and opinions to other authors. Your personal page is a place to socialize with others, play games to relax and talk to relatives. It’s a poor place to sell books but great for collecting contact email addresses but don’t do this too often. Infrequently make announcements. If you have a blog – link to it here.

Twitter

You can have several Twitter accounts but two are essential. One should be your author account and the other should NOT be associated with you as an author in any way. Don’t even follow each other.
On your author account – Twitter allows you to write 140 characters per tweet. In addition you can post a video or picture and a link. You can actually post four pictures and multiple links but each takes from your 140 characters.
Get the aspect ratio of any pictures you use right. Each should be twice as wide as it is tall or it may be cropped. You don’t see this cropping but other tweeps will! Here’s an example of a tweet image which created the wrong message because it was cropped.

What tweeps saw

What the original poster expected them to see

Video has proved more effective than static images but keep video short. Originally you were limited to 30 seconds. You can use longer video now but that 30 second limit is still worthwhile. Here’s one I did using MS Powerpoint

Always pin a tweet to your twitter account. This makes it easy for someone you have helped and who wishes to respond to re-tweet what you want people to see.

What else should you tweet?

When and how often should you tweet?

As an author your market is global. You won’t find a ‘best time to tweet’. Even if you were to find most of your followers were online at the same 2 hour slot then that would mean a busy time with there being little chance of your tweets being seen. Quiet times of the day can often  be just as productive.
An average Twitter user will check their Twitter stream for just a short time each day. If they have lots of followers then each tweet is shown for just a short time. Most of your tweets won’t be seen! Twitter is very much a numbers game and only becomes effective when you have thousands of followers. 10,000 seems to be the magic number here. You need to tweet often to be seen. The more often the better. You can’t do that by sitting at your computer 24/7 so you must automate.
Here’s what I do:

  1. I collect items to tweet—none dating news, comments, interest items, humor, quotes, images, facts, trivia, video, music. Currently I have about 5,000 in a spreadsheet.  I constantly add to this list and remove old items.
  2. To this list I add 9% promotional tweets.
  3. Periodically I randomize the list of tweets and produce a text file of them.
  4. I use a Java program on an old laptop to tweet from this list at random intervals of 2 to 17 minutes. It works 24/7 and takes about a month to get through the list before repeating. This means any follower is unlikely to see the same message tweeted too often.
  5. Every day I spend about 30 minutes responding to people who have re-tweeted me, replied to me or mentioned me. I’ll also spend some of that time scanning my Twitter feed for interesting items to re-tweet and interesting books other authors have tweeted about.

How do you collect items for your Twitter list?

I use a program called Buffer to collect things to tweet. It’s available as a browser plugin and each time I find something interesting when I’m browsing I can click a button and add it to a list of items to tweet. At various times in the day Buffer will post these items to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. You can re-order the posts, post at a specific time and edit posts. Buffer also keeps a record of what went out and how successful it was. The most successful posts get added to my Twitter list.

What about that non-author account?

Let’s face it, sooner or later you are going to see something on Twitter which you simply have to respond to angrily. Use use your non-author account for that and you can respond safely without trolls descending on your author pages and writing bad reviews because they don’t like you.

Pinterest

Pinterest is the visual equivalent of Twitter. You can post videos and images there and comment on these. Your Pinterest account is split up into boards which you can use for different purposes. Boards can be public or private. These are the boards I’ve created for my Pinterest account:

Checking for Fake Followers on Twitter

Checking for Fake Followers on Twitter

Don’t Buy Fake Followers

I’m sure you’ve seen those ‘Buy Twitter Followers’ posts. Perhaps some are tempted to use them. Don’t be! You would be wasting your money. The chances are these ‘followers’ are not real people. They will never read your tweets and never re-tweet anything. They may also send out spammy messages and suddenly disappear when Twitter realises that they are fake.
People who post these tweets are breaking Twitter’s terms and conditions also and when reported – they will disappear too.
Now—if you are tempted, how are you going to pay for these? Are you going to part with your credit card data? If so say goodbye to your bank account. I wouldn’t give my details to someone who is a crook!

Is it possible to get fake followers by accident?

Certainly. Just use an ‘autofollowback’. Anyone who follows you will automatically be followed back and that includes fake followers. Strangely, there are thousands of fake followers out there who look for ‘I follow back’ or ‘#followback’ in user bios and follow all they find. Since they include that autofollow statement in their own bio they are blindly following each other and growing their lists that way! If you follow them and you’ve got that ‘I follow back’ statement in your bio, you can be sure that you’ll become a person on their list even if you are real.

What’s the harm?

If you have a high number of fake followers you are going to look foolish. “Look at me I have 20,000 followers, I must know what I’m talking about!”. People may also see spammy posts and replies by the fake follower addressed to you. There are people on Twitter who offer their services promoting your tweets to fake followers. To call this dishonest would be putting it mildly.

How do I get rid of fake followers?

First you have to identify them. With a little experience you learn to spot them and avoid following them in the first place. Often you’ll find:
  • They don’t have a profile picture or have one of a scantily clad person.
  • The don’t tweet often or retweet the same thing many times
  • Many more people follow them than they follow
  • They never respond
  • They duplicate the tweets of another account (probably also fake.)
  • Their bio tells you little about them, may be missing or be a quote.
  • They have that ‘follow back’ statement in their bio.
BUT
If you were not aware of this, fortunately there is software available which will help you identify and remove them. There are several of them but you should remember none are perfect. They can only give you a guide.
I use ManageFlitter – a paid solution costing $12.00 per month. They have a tool which identifies likely fake followers and will allow you to remove them and block them. How to do this is detailed at http://blog.manageflitter.com/identify-remove-fake-twitter-accounts-3-simple-steps
Once you’ve done this, wait a few days and check your Twitter account by entering it at https://www.twitteraudit.com/ or at http://fakers.statuspeople.com/ These are  free services which can be used to check for the percentage of fake followers. When you are following someone and are doubtful if they are real try running their Twitter name through those. If they have more than 10% fake followers, you might want to give them a miss.
Incidentally you can use ManageFlitter to grow your twitter account but remember—don’t automatically follow everyone who follows you. Check them out first.
Author—Should you be Using Social Media?

Author—Should you be Using Social Media?

The answer is a simple—Yes—but which social media sites? Come to think of it, what exactly is meant by an author social media website?
Social media is defined as ‘websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.’ That means any site which authors will find useful in getting information, sharing information, displaying their books and marketing. That will include sites such as Facebook but also sites such as Goodreads and forums such as Kboards

Let’s take a look at various author social media sites and see what they have to offer.

Facebook

The largest social networking site in the world and widely used. Using it you can network with ‘friends’ and relatives, and also access various writer’s groups where you can ask questions. You can even market or promote your books by using paid Facebook ads. As of September 2016 Facebook had approximately 1.71 billion active users. It is estimated that more than 1 million small and medium-sized businesses use the platform to advertise their business.
Get as many Facebook friends as possible – interact with them. People you don’t interact with are unlikely to see many of your posts. That’s the way Facebook works – it won’t show you what it thinks you won’t be interested in.
Facebook can be an author’s friend when it comes to making contacts. Create a page for your books and periodically write about your progress. Facebook is the place for announcing your successes.

  • Have you won an award? Use Facebook to tell everyone.
  • Got a new book coming out? Tell everyone about it on Facebook.
  • Got a problem? Ask for advice on Facebook
  • Need to make a decision such as which cover is best? Post the choices on Facebook and ask reader’s opinions
Facebook is NOT the place for posting repeated ‘Buy my book’ adverts. People will quickly de-friend/un-like you.
Facebook adverts work for collecting new readers and subscribers to your email lists. Make an attractive offer and exchange it for an email address. I’ve yet to meet any fiction author who has earned more than their advertising cost when direct selling fiction.

 

Tumblr

Tumblr was created in 2007 and has been owned by Yahoo since 2013, It’s a social media site on which you can post anything, including quote posts, chat posts, video and photo posts as well as audio posts and short blogs. Like Twitter you can re-post the items of others. The big difference is you are not limited to 140 characters. Unlimited text, images, animated gifs, photosets, audio files, videos, and more are possible. It gives you the flexibility to customize almost everything. Tumbler has about 555 million active users.

Pinterest

Pinterest is primarily for images and video. Of course as an author, you will be posting images of your book covers and possibly of images relevant to it. More than half of its visitors are women; could that mean it’s a good site to promote romance? I post the pictures which I use in advertising, especially those using humour. People seem to like those.

Twitter

A site which limits your text to 140 characters to which you can add a URL and image. It has more than 320 million active monthly users who make use of the 140 character limit to pass on information. Authors can use Twitter to interact with readers, answer questions, release latest news and advertise books.  The one thing you must NOT do is to post a constant stream of ‘Buy my book’ posts. You will quickly be unfollowed if you do. Post a mixture of  video, images, how to…, quotes, interest items, and mix in no more than 15% of promotions. Re-tweet interesting posts by others and comment. DON’T follow everyone who follows you—vet them first. Don’t expect miracles; Twitter will have little effect until you have at least 10,000 followers. NEVER buy followers—these are useless. Learn how to create the perfect Twitter profile.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most popular social media site for professional networking and has over 400 million registered users. LinkedIn is great for people looking to connect with other authors and people in the publishing industry. You’ll frequently be bugged with job offers though. This is a great place for support groups and works for non-fiction authors.
 

Google+

Great for articles and short posts. For authors Its SEO value alone makes it a must-use tool. It had 418 active million users as of December 2015. Blogs using Blogspot will be added to Google+ accounts and it’s a great place to announce Google Play books.

YouTube

YouTube is the largest and most popular video-based social media website. It is owned by Google and as such has great SEO value. YouTube has over 1 billion website visitors per month and is the second most popular search engine behind Google. Every author should produce a short video introducing their book and link from it to their website. Consider using MS Powerpoint to do this.
YouTube videos get a high priority at Facebook which likes video.

Instagram

Instagram is a visual social media platform. It has more than 400 million active users and is owned by Facebook. Many of its users use it to post information about travel, fashion, food, art and, of course, books. Almost 95 percent of Instagram users also use Facebook.

Users can submit content such as direct links and text posts. Users can vote submissions up or down. Submissions with the most positive votes appear in the top category or main page. Reddit had more than 36 million registered accounts and 231 million monthly visitors.

BuzzFeed

At first glance this seems an annoying clickbait site using compelling headlines to attract readers, but look at this post – ‘Students Were Forced to Write BuzzFeed Click-bait For Grades. What Happened Next Will Rock Your World!
Think author’s can’t make use of this?

Quora

A site reminding me of the old Yahoo Answers. It’s a place where you can ask questions and provide answers. It’s proving very popular and seems a place where you can get information and provide answers. NOT a place to promote but you can link to blogs and of course you have control of what appears at the side of blogs. If you fit Isaac Asimov’s statement “Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do,” then you’ll do well at Quora. Find me there.

StumbleUpon

Stumble upon is a place where you can discover new pages to post on Twitter and other social media sites. You can vote pages up or down and you can discover pages and add them to StumbleUpon. Of course you can Stumble your own blog posts can’t you?

Using Buffer to Record Tweets For Re-use

Using Buffer to Record Tweets For Re-use

I keep a record of successful tweets so that I can re-use them much later – a month or more later. Many of my tweets have an attached picture. Twitter used to show the URL of pictures but that stopped some time ago.
So how do you get this URL?
I’ve found three methods:

  1. Use Tweetdeck. This will show the URLs of images you post in tweets.
  2. Use the menu and click the embed tweet link. Then edit the tweet.
  3. Delete the tweet! Well at least start the delete process.
Of the three methods the third method is by far the simplest way. Here’s how you do it. I start the process from Buffer’s Analytics page but you can do this from your Twitter Profile page too.
Step 1 – find the tweet you want to record in the Buffer Analytics window (or scroll down through your Twitter Profile to find it). Click the timestamp of the tweet.

Step 2 – The tweet will open in a window. Under it click the ‘More’ icon – the three dots …

From the menu which appears click ‘Delete’ Don’t worry you are NOT going to delete it.

Step 3 – Twitter will show the tweet including that elusive picture URL and ask you to confirm deletion. Highlight the tweet text and copy it. Although the tweet link URL may appear shortened, when you copy it you will get the full URL. Then click ‘Cancel‘ since you DON’T want to delete it.
Step 4 – Now paste the tweet into the text file or spreadsheet you want to store it in for later reuse.
Simple. Here’s the text of the Tweet I just copied:

34 ways to NOT get more followers on Twitter http://bit.ly/twitint pic.twitter.com/ex3fBvXEpW

If this post has helped or entertained, will you help us? Download a FREE copy of our book ‘Immortality Gene’ from http://smarturl.it/avi
Even if you never read it (but we hope you will) – it will help our rankings.
Look - a FREE e-book
Using a Twitter Collection to Promote

Using a Twitter Collection to Promote

Twitter is great but that 140 characters limit is often an obstruction. There are ways to get round it though:

  1. Use a graphic to include the extra text. Remember to get the aspect ratio of the graphic right. Twitter now resizes images to 455×227 pixels and will crop the height if it is more than twice the width. Here’s an example:
  2. Use one of a number of services which will split your text and post it as multiple tweets one after another.
  3. Set up a Twitter Collection.

What is a Twitter Collection?

A Twitter Collection is a series of tweets grouped together by users. They may contain tweets by a single or multiple tweeps. Each collection has a name and description. New tweets can be added to it, each appearing at the top. For authors it’s ideal for tweeting about a series. The collection can be retweeted as a whole or individually. Unlike normal tweets they appear in the order added rather than by date and time added – you can add an old tweet to the top of the list.
Here’s part of an example:
Notice the collection has a title – ‘The lighter side of promo’ and a description – ‘Can you use humor to…’. It also has a button at the left ‘Tweet about this collection’.
Clicking the button gets you this:

This can be edited by the tweep or the default message tweeted as follows:

(If you want to see the actual collection it’s at https://twitter.com/JChapman1729/timelines/655017052357439488 )

How can authors use this?

  • You can link together a number of tweets with a common theme – in the example – humor. 
  • If a discussion evolves from a tweet the posts could be placed in a collection. 
  • You could also use this to promote a number of books in a series.  
  • It’s also possible for a number of authors to create Collections about a common genre. This has great potential. I’m still working out how this would work but my initial idea is as follows

A Tweet Collection Team

Promotion sites such as Bookbub owe their success to their genre specific emails. It might be possible to set up a Twitter Collection Group to do the same thing on Twitter. Tweeps would find this attractive because they see the posts of the genre collection they are interested in and following.

How it would work – Let’s suppose you are a romance author but don’t write erotica.

  1. You write a tweet for your book and create an optional image for it 455 x 227 pixels in size. You post that tweet as normal in your timeline and get the URL of the tweet by clicking ‘Details’
  2. You go to the Facebook group for Romance (no erotica) and post the link to the tweet as is normally done for retweet groups.
  3. You click the group’s pinned Twitter Collection tweet and retweet that on Twitter. You undertake to do step 3 on a daily basis until you no longer want to be involved and have deleted the Facebook message you made in step 2
  4. IF you need to make a change to your tweet DON’T edit it. Delete it from the Facebook comment and make it again (Don’t do that too often!) You are only allowed ONE comment/tweet in the collection

That’s it – you don’t have to retweet the individual tweets of group members because they will all be in the collection!

On a daily basis the group moderator/s will:

  • Delete the bottom two tweets and re-post them to the top of the collection
  • Add any new tweets to the collection
  • Make a minor change to the group pinned tweet to allow it to be retweeted again.
Of course if you write erotic romance/ science fiction/ thrillers / paranormal / fantasy / children’s books / whatever, you simply use the appropriate group. No group for your genre? Create it – you are the moderator. Don’t forget you can add any tweet, not just your own. You could add some tweets from other authors in your genre to get things going.

Promote the collection – not the individual tweets

The pinned Twitter Collection tweet should have an appropriate image associated. Change it often and get the group involved in making new ones.

How do I make a Twitter Collection?

Twitter suggests using either Tweetdeck or Curator – both programs from Twitter. Tweetdeck is probably easier for most Twitter users to access.
If you don’t have Tweetdeck, get it at tweetdeck.twitter.com It doesn’t require installation but will need access to your Twitter account/s.
If you are new to Tweetdeck there’s a beginner’s guide to using it at Mashable.
Mashable doesn’t mention the new additions to Tweetdeck. Clicking the ‘+’ at the left allows you to add any of these:
There at the bottom you’ll find ‘Collections’. Click it.
At the top click the –
The’ll be a short delay then a new column will appear in Tweetdeck. Give the collection a name and add a description.
Tweetdeck says you can ‘Drag Tweets into this collection’ – you can, but you’ll have to click the tweet then drag its drag icon. If you have a lot of tweets, that can freeze your computer while it catches up. I find it’s better to copy and paste the tweet URL into the bottom of the collection.
To get the tweet URL from a normal Twitter page click the ‘Details’ link and copy the URL. In Tweetdeck you can use the ellipsis to get a menu and click ‘Add to collection’

How do I get the Collection link?

At the top right of the collection in Tweetdeck click the ‘slider’ controls to get a menu. Then click Share and choose one of the options. I like to add an image, so I choose ‘Tweet about this timeline’.

Where can I get more details?

You must be a glutton for technical stuff but here you go – https://dev.twitter.com/rest/collections/about
If this post has helped or entertained, will you help me? Download a FREE copy of the book ‘Immortality Gene’ from http://smarturl.it/avi or ‘Raging Storm’ at http://smarturl.it/botr
Even if you never read them (but I hope you will) – it will help rankings.
As to this post – it’s part of a forthcoming book ‘An Illustrated Guide to Getting Published.’ In it, you’ll learn all sorts of book promotion tricks.
Look - a FREE e-book
Getting a Twitter image URL

Getting a Twitter image URL

Ever wanted to get the URL of an image in Twitter so you can use it in a different tweet? In the past Twitter showed this but it’s a little more difficult now. Here are two methods of getting it:
Method 1 – this works for any image on Twitter – even if it’s not your image.
1. Look for the ‘More’ link at the bottom of the tweet

2. From the ‘More’ menu select ‘Embed tweet’.
Method 2 – This also works for any tweet but if you have many followers, the tweet may be difficult to find. It’s better if the tweet is one of yours.
1. You’ll need an account at TweetDeck – https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/
2. In your ‘User’ column scroll down to your tweet with the picture you want and you’ll find the ‘pic.twitter…’ link there ready to copy and paste.
Method 3. By far the easiest method provided it is your tweet
Delete the tweet! Huh!
Use the menu icon to select ‘Delete Tweet’ (Don’t panic – you are not going to delete it.)
Once you select that the complete text of the tweet will be shown including that elusive ‘pic.twitter.com/…’ link. You can now copy it and then click the ‘Cancel’ button.

Incidentally this method is great for collecting the entire text of a tweet for re-use. Sometimes Twitter will shorten a link in it but the text you copy will contain the full link.

If this post has helped or entertained, will you help me? Download a FREE copy of the book ‘Immortality Gene’ from http://smarturl.it/avi or ‘Raging Storm’ at http://smarturl.it/botr
Even if you never read them (but I hope you will) – it will help rankings.
As to this post – it’s part of a forthcoming book ‘An Illustrated Guide to Getting Published.’ In it, you’ll learn all sorts of book promotion tricks.
Look - a FREE e-book

Have you pinned a tweet to your Twitter profile?

I’m grateful to those people who re-tweet my tweets. I like to respond in kind but many ‘tweeps’ make this difficult. I’d often scroll through many pages of their Twitter profile before I find something of theirs to re-tweet. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had a tweet at the top of their profile which they would like re-tweeting?
Twitter obviously thinks that and has made it easy for us to do this if you are using a browser based version of Twitter  – not an app on a mobile device.

Using Twitter on a Desktop/Laptop

The tweep needs to set up an embedded tweet. All authors should do that as a matter of priority. Here’s how to do that.

    1. Go to your Twitter Profile. If you are using your PC click your profile icon at the top right of your Twitter screen to view your recent tweets.

 

  1. In your Twitter profile find the tweet you wish to embed and click the ellipsis icon under it. From the menu select ‘Embed tweet’. It’s as simple as that.

    Your tweet is now pinned to the top of your profile. Anyone viewing it using a browser will see it first and find something to re-tweet. Change it often to keep it fresh.

Unfortunately the mobile version of Twitter doesn’t show embedded tweets or allow you to set them up – yet. Something we should request @Twitter to implement in the app?

. @Twitter Please implement ’embedded tweets’ in the mobile version of Twitter.
— John Chapman (@JChapmanAuthor) February 26, 2015

Do you want me to follow you on Twitter?

Then…

1. Do you have a profile picture other than an egg? … No? Then there’s no chance unless it’s something like …

2. Have you added a profile description? …  No? Then you have no chance.

3. Are you trying to sell followers? … Yes? No chance and an instant block. I don’t want my followers to see your posts. Buying fake and useless followers is pointless.

4. Do you send out ‘haha’ messages? … Yes? I’m not going to follow your link to a malware site and certainly won’t follow you. Expect an instant block.

5. Are your tweets full of swearwords? … Yes? There’s not much chance unless there’s a reason for using them. Try replacing the ‘F’ word with ‘Sandwich’. ‘ It makes just as much sense and it’s a lot funnier. (Thanks David Icke)

6. Is your profile written in good English? … No? Sorry spelling and grammar are still important and if you make too many mistakes, I’m unlikely to follow you.

7. Do you send out lots of direct messages? … Yes? Then I’m already following you but I won’t be for much longer. The occasional one in a private conversation is OK. DMs can be an intrusion though – especially the pointless ones which say  just “Hi”. If you send me a link that I haven’t asked for then I’m NOT going to click it.

8. Are you trying to be offensive? … Yes? Then there’s no chance. No one likes trolls.

9. Do you post sexually explicit pictures? … Then you’ve no chance and will be blocked by me and are likely to blocked by Twitter soon.

10. Are your tweets and profile full of text abbreviations? … Ys? b4 I fllw U id hv 2 b crzy

11. Do lots of your tweets have links with red WOT circles? … Yes? Then there’s little chance. If you don’t know about Web of Trust – WOT – you should do. (Note Web Of Trust came under fire after allowing it’s list of users out but it’s still a useful precaution. Remember – there is no obligation to give sites truthful information about yourself.

12. Does your profile mention your religion? … Yes? Then there’s little chance. Go preach somewhere else.

13. Does your profile mention your politics? … Yes? Then there’s little chance and you might not want me to follow you either because I enjoy poking fun at politicians. Here’s a blog post about the 2010 UK election.

Tweet: If you want followers, here's some things NOT to do - http://bit.ly/twitint Found this useful so far? Click the button to Tweet this page.

14. Do you sometimes retweet others?  … No? Then there’s not much chance unless you are really interesting

15. Do you respond to others tweets? …No? Twitter is all about interaction so I probably won’t follow you.

16. Do you have more than 1,000 followers but have tweeted less than 100 times? … Yes? I don’t follow celebrities with nothing to say or people who have bought or gained useless followers.

17. Do you ONLY retweet others? … Yes? Then there’s not much chance (unless you are retweeting me). Many Twitter spammers do that. Try at least pinning one of your posts so that it shows at the top for me to retweet in return.

18. Do you retweet the same 20 tweets endlessly? … Yes? Then there’s no chance. Try retweeting from a bank of 1,000+ tweets.

19. Do you use TrueTwit? … Yes? Then there’s no chance of me ‘validating.’ If you want to find out why – check here.

20. Do you allow autotweets about how many people unfollowed/followed you or to thank people for following?  … Yes? Then that’s not good but there’s some chance if something else catches my interest. Rather than thanking people – retweet one of their tweets.

21. Do you tweet or retweet multi line posts like this:
…Yes? These are so annoying, especially if you are using Twitter mobile apps. I’m not going to follow anyone who hogs so much space on my screen!

22. Are all your tweets adverts for something? … Yes? Then there’s no chance and I’ll probably mute your tweets.

23. Are all your tweets quotes? … Yes?  Then there’s not much chance unless you find really interesting quotes I’ve never heard before.

24. Do most of your tweets start with ‘ I ‘ … Yes? Then there’s not much chance unless you are really interesting. That’s called being a bore.

25. Are most of your tweets about sport? … Yes?  Then there’s little chance. If you do that expect to cut your followers by at least 50%

26. Are you promoting/tweeting about Apple products? … Yes? 50% of people are not at all interested and a good percentage of those think Apple users have more money than sense. Because of the latter people who want to sell you things will probably follow you.

27. Are your tweets protected? … Yes? Then there’s no chance. I’m not going to follow anyone I can’t see.

28. Are you pretending to be Yoda, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Sherlock Holmes, Einstein etc. Yes? I’m tired of these so there’s little chance – do something original.

29. Are most of your tweets automessages ‘Thank you for following me…’? Yes? Then I doubt if you’ll be sending one to me. Here’s Rachel Thompson’s blog about why you shouldn’t allow autotweet messages
Even worse – someone who retweets ‘Thank you for following me’ tweets.
30. How many hashtags are you using? 1-3? That helps (2 is best) 5 or more – You must be kidding! Is the key stuck? ######################
31. Do you follow tweeps and unfollow them 1-2 days later? … Yes? By the time I get round to checking your tweets, you’ll probably have unfollowed me and I probably won’t follow you because I doubt if you’re real.
32. Are you really a ‘bestselling author? I’ll check and if your books have an overall rank at Amazon.com of over a million, I’ll probably laugh, feel smug, and move on Beware the (desperate) bestseller.

33. Is your profile picture one showing an attractive young female? I’ll check you out carefully to find if you are fake. This profile picture (which I’ve partially pixelated) proved to be one used by several tweeps all of which had 30-40% fake followers. This may be a little unfair to genuinely attractive young women but you’ll have to live with it. To check a profile picture in Google Chrome right click it while holding down the ‘S’ key.

33. Does your Twitter bio say something like ‘Follow me and I follow back.’? That’s never a good idea. You may be following fake followers, trolls, scammers. Whilst I might tolerate you following me, I’m unlikely to follow you back and I’ll probably hide posts with your twitter name. Spend some time and check those you follow.

34. DO YOU TWEET IN ALL CAPS? This is considered shouting and bad manners on Internet. You’ll find the Caps Lock key at the left hand side of your keyboard. Switch it off and I may follow you.


35. Is your Twitter bio a quote or comment? This tells me nothing about you and doesn’t give me a reason to follow you. 

I might make an exception for something extremely clever or witty like this: 

Do you tweet a variety… of news, pictures, comments, quotes, jokes, retweet others, reply to others, avoid being offensive, ask questions, link to interesting blogs AND have a meaningful profile picture and description? … Yes? I’ll follow you and so will lots of others! I’m @JChapman1729

 

What about you?

What sort of things put you off following people on Twitter?

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Why are so many authors making things difficult for themselves?

Making things difficult

I periodically return to my list of authors and go through it to add genre and location to my spreadsheet. I also add other authors I come across. I’m amazed at the number of authors who make things difficult for their readers to find out information.

  • Lots of authors don’t have a website or blog
  • Lots of authors don’t use Facebook or have their page set as ‘private’.
  • Lots of authors don’t use Twitter
  • Lots of authors don’t have a Pinterest page
Where an author does have a discoverable website or blog they often fail to mention their Twitter name – mine is @JChapmanAuthor, Facebook page – mine is https://www.facebook.com/JohnChapman.0, Pinterest page – mine is http://www.pinterest.com/johnchapman/. Some don’t even give a clue as to the genres they write in; we are supposed to guess that from the book covers.
Of those who have a discoverable Twitter presence, I’m amazed at the number who hamper their followers by using TrueTwit – If you are one of them, I suggest you read Mary C Long’s ‘How TrueTwit Helps You Help It Make Money – And Waste A Ton Of Time’ at http://bit.ly/1ijbdly

I’m astonished that some authors make their Twitter accounts private. By all means make a personal account private but your author account should be made public and shouted from the rooftops!

I’m amazed by the authors who think it’s good to respond to being followed with an auto-message promoting a book. While on the subject of automessages, some authors seem to think it’s OK to automatically auto-unfollow those who unfollow and auto-tweet that information. Have they never heard that Twitter sometimes unfollows people? If you are going to unfollow – wait a month or so and autotweeting that ‘5 tweeps unfollowed me. Know who your latest unfollowers are? Find them at…‘ simply proves you are a vengeful person and maybe not a nice person to follow in the first place.

I’m amazed by authors who obviously buy Twitter followers and make that fact public by promoting buy follower posts. I can only think of one possible excuse for buying followers – to get round Twitter’s 2000 followers rule. Any followers you get from purchasing will be otherwise useless and are likely to destroy your reputation. I usually block those who post these messages.

As to Facebook, some author accounts are simply a list of books and ‘What I did today’ posts. No interaction, no sharing. Boring and no fun!
Are you guilty? If so, then I think you are shooting your book sales in the foot. I doubt if I’ve covered everything. Can you think of some other examples of bad author practice?