Putting the ‘twit’ into Twitter

The master plan is chugging along nicely.

  • I’ve engaged the services of a switched-on freelance editor to bring my manuscript up to profesh level–CHECK!
  • I’ve decided on which self-publishing company to publish my novel–CHECK!
  • I’ve built my website–CHECK! (In case you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s www.MartinTurnbull.com )

The next step is the three-headed Hydra Monster known collectively as “Marketing.” You may have written the 21st century’s Greatest! Novel! Ever! but nobody’s going to know about it unless you find some way of telling them. (If you toss a failed novel in the trash can and noone’s there to hear it, does it make a sound…?)

My self-publishing bible (“Self-Printed“) makes the point that authors who have been told to get lost by every literary agent in town are lucky to be around in an age which has seen the development of ‘print-on-demand’ publishers like CreateSpace. Similarly, we are lucky that we can do for ourselves all the things authors like us would normally pay book publicists thousands of smackers for. In other words: USE SOCIAL MEDIA.

Facebook I have down. I know it, I use it, I get it. If it folded tomorrow, would it create a gaping hole in my life the size of the Beaverhead Crater? No, it wouldn’t. But I can see its advantages, especially when it comes to spreading the word to a lot of people in a short period of time. The rioting in Egypt in early 2011 was a testament to The Power of Facebook and the way it rallied the population.

But Twitter? MMMmmm…not so much. We do have a Twitter page for Fantasies Come True ( FantComeTrue ) and I post something on it every day.

Do I really understand what I’m doing? No.
Do I really get what’s going on in the Twitter universe? No.
Do I get what happens when I post something on Twitter? No.
Should I take the time to understand all this tweeting? Well yes, apparently. According to the author of “Self-Printed” I should. I really, really should.

She tells her readers to think of Twitter as being at a 24/7/365 cocktail party filled with–if you’ve chosen your guests wisely–funny, interesting, strangely attractive people who are into the same things you’re into. You can dip into it and out of it as much or as little as you want during which time you can stand in a corner and say nothing, join in or start up a conversation, or jump into the middle of the room and make a dramatic announcement that does or does not require a response.

Okay, now that I get. I’d always seen Twitter as a Reader’s Digest version of Facebook. A constant blathering of unfiltered, 140 characters-or-less ego-fulfillment: “I ate a bagel on the way to work…my favorite color is puce…I lost my last contact lens on the bus…” Quite frankly, people, who gives a rat’s ass and even if I did, who the hell has the time to stay on top of all that?

But, I now understand, it’s a way (blessedly abbreviated) to share and/or pass on information about stuff you might find interesting and/or make you laugh with other people who think like you do.

So I opened a Twitter account ( TurnbullMartin ) and went to page 339 of “Self Printed” where Catherine lists 50 Tweeters to start following. By the time I was done (about an hour later), I found that I was already being followed by three people! How the hell they found me and why the hell they’d want to follow me I couldn’t even begin to guess. Even more astonishing is that now–24 hours later–I’ve got ten followers. I haven’t even tweeted anything yet so who are you people and why are you following me!?!???!

Clearly things in the Twitter universe evolve at a much faster pace than I anticipated. I feel like a caveman standing in the middle of Runway #4 at Los Angeles International Airport, looking at a Qantas 747 hurtling towards him and thinking, But I just got my first wheel. WHAT THE HELL!?!?


About Martin Turnbull

The Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels blog is by Martin Turnbull, a Los Angeles based historical fiction author writing about the golden era of Hollywood in his series of novels set at the Garden of Allah Hotel, which stood on Sunset Blvd from 1927 to 1959. Check him out at www.martinturnbull.com and Facebook: "gardenofallahnovels"
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2 Responses to Putting the ‘twit’ into Twitter

  1. Vanessa says:

    Where is your first tweet, Martin? Come on – announce yourself!

  2. JW Manus says:

    I just joined Twitter. I find it useful to follow bloggers and industry news. I’ve found some good stuff to read, too. Here’s the thing about social media. Random doesn’t do it. You won’t sell your book to people who aren’t interested. The trick is to go where people ARE interested. Find bloggers who might be interested in your book (and it should be easy since you’re fascinated by your subject, right?) and post some comments. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Authors who only talk about their books are a bore, so talk about Hollywood. As for your website, it’s very nice, but it seems static. Put up new stuff at least once a week. Give people a reason to come back. Make sure every time you write a blog post or put up an article on your website, you post it on Twitter and Facebook. Most of all be patient. Remember, indie pubbed books have a very long shelf life — like forever. Put 90% of your energy into writing your next book, 10% into selling the one for sale. The more titles you have available, the better your sales will be. Good luck.

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