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Friday, 21 January 2011

Getting followed by the famous (and even semi-famous) on Twitter

In the world of being budding authors, Twitter is just one of a few social media sites becoming an important tool in establishing an online presence. Contrary to popular, yet outdated, beliefs that once we become signed by an agent and/or our book accepted by our publisher, our work as authors is finished, and time to move on to writing our next book, nothing can be further from the truth.

Over the last two years of having my own Twitter account, I've enjoyed hatting with fellow writers I'd initially met via Authonomy, Slush Pile Reader, Authors on Show and even longtime friends and colleagues from WWE-Club and WrestleView.

Twitter is not only one of many excellent ways to keep everyone updated on your writing projects in one stop, but also great for communicating on a personal level with both those who read your books and friends. Once in a while, someone either fairly well-known or an actual celebrity will find you fascinating enough to become a follower.

In the beginning, I had one or two small press publishers following me -one still does. Once I began Writer Wednesday shout outs to fellow authors (and additional followers during Follow Friday) and participating in Twitter events such as Lit Chat, I saw an increase in followers on a regular basis. Some authors were well-known on the indie circuit, but once I was one of a handful being followed by a New York Times bestselling author, I couldn't help but think I was doing something right.

That was just the beginning. As of last count, there's two major publishing houses, two writers for well-known publications, two Twitter accounts of major print media, and about four other celebrities on my list of followers. I have no idea if it's curiosity about my first novel, my tweets, or I don't understand the whole attraction of celebrity worship - therefore not tweeting the famous very often unless they posted something of interest to me.

"How can I get such people to follow me?" you may wonder. Though there's plenty of resources online, such as this post on Tremendous News and Celebrities on Twitter - How to Schmooze With the Famous Online, what really counts is common sense.

Here are a few tips which found successful:

1. Retweet something you've found interesting. Let's say your favorite bestselling author has a new novel coming to bookstores in the near future or their latest release is on Amazon. Though we as authors should support each other - from the top writers all the way down to the new author recently published by small presses - retweeting the newest work of a major author not only reaches out to their other fans who may have missed the news, but also shows support for the writer. With this, don't be surprised if you're followed by said favorite author someday!

2. No excess tweets to celebrities. Seeing someone sending too many tweets to celebrities (and worse, talking about themselves in such tweets!) tends to put me off, so I can't even begin to imagine how the celebrities feel having to wade through a bunch of fawning tweets from people they've never met. Rest assured they don't want their time lines cluttered with mundane things such as the best mulch and ketchup brands, your organic garden, how perfect your little Suzy/Johnny is, or your dog that thinks it's a person.

3. Lay low. If someone famous ever follows you, send a welcome tweet (and perhaps a compliment about their work), and leave it at that. You'll either get a response or you won't, but in any case, it's just being polite. Sending messages several times a day to the famous (and even semi-famous) makes you look desperate - or even like a stalker. Occasional tweets to a favorite celebrity is okay, but don't become bothersome. If you do get a return tweet, a simple 'thank you' and/or retweeting the message is sufficient.

4. Watch what you say. If you're constantly bashing other people, making un-PC comments, or incessantly complaining about your job, just to name a few examples, such behaviors won't look good to the famous who follow you back. This kind of presence is either the fastest way for them to dump you from their follow lists or even think twice about following you in the first place. After all, if you're tweeting personal attacks to/about an everyday person, who's to say the public figures who follow you won't be next on your hit list?

Also remember that potential agents, publishers, and even employers are also watching your words, another important reason to think before tweeting.

5. Most important - no spam! I don't like it, so it's a given that more well-known personalities won't find spam appealing either. While it's great to discuss your upcoming book or other project (how else will potential readers know about it?), going on and on about your present or upcoming works every other tweet borders on spamming - and your famous follower saying good-bye.

Think of Twitter as an ongoing, 24-hour special event. Be yourself, come across as warm and approachable, be clever, amusing, and most of all, positive! Getting more followers in such fashion is great, but waking up one morning to find someone famous on your list of followers lists who spotted your unique and inspirational insights is always a bonus. Who knows, you may also have a famous figure interested in buying your books!

1 comment:

  1. Yoko Ono personally thanks everyone who follows her on Twitter. She's awesome. I mean, I thought so before, but that confirmed it.