|Ten years ago we had NO idea what this was!|
Hallie--doesn't. (But she does other stuff, of course. And what ever it is, seems to be working quite successfully, thank you so much.)
So it happens again. Are you a Hank or a Hallie?
Three Twitter Tips for Mystery Writers (and Readers)
|Dorie Clark--actually tweeting!|
I was originally a Twitter skeptic – when it first hit the scene seven years ago, it seemed like the worst combination of useless and narcissistic. But my opinion has changed, and I now think it’s one of the best ways to build a following, establish your brand, and keep connected with your community.
In my new book Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, I profile a number of “professional reinventers” – including Jungle Red co-conspirator Hank Phillippi Ryan, who used her successful career in television news as a launchpad for her mystery writing career. Whether you’re seeking to grow your profile as a mystery writer or stay on top of news and cool opportunities as a reader, here are three quick tips I recommend.
• Leverage the power of lists. Twitter allows you to create lists, a terrific feature that enables you to make sense of the ceaseless stream of content. Set up lists for your favorite authors, other readers whose opinion you respect, industry insiders, potential agents you’re querying – you name it. That will make it easier for you to track what they’re posting and, if appropriate, respond in a timely fashion.
• Schedule your retweets in advance. How do you avoid the last-minute stress of not knowing what to post? And how can you strengthen your connections with other mystery writers and readers? Kill two birds with one stone by scheduling your retweets in advance. Using a service like Hootsuite or TweetDeck, you can glance at your lists once a week, pick out the best tweets others have sent, and schedule them as retweets throughout the week. Others will appreciate that you’re sharing their content, and your own pipeline will be full.
• Brainstorm in bulk. Another way to ensure you have plenty of Twitter content is by brainstorming in bulk. Block out an afternoon on your calendar to create a list of tweets (i.e., 1-2 sentence nuggets). I can often bang out 100-200 in a couple of hours. These should be tips, insights or recommendations that establish your expertise or give readers a sense of your perspective. (In my case, writing a book about business and careers, I might write, “How to create buzz? Think about marketing as you design a product, not after” or “Have you had coffee with your local reporter? If not, invite them today.”) For a mystery author, you could share links to the menus of restaurants your characters visit (“Want to try [protagonist’s] favorite apple pie? Visit [name of restaurant] in the South End”), information about the milieu of your novel (“Fun fact: 95% of the population in Thailand is Buddhist”), or simply recommend great authors or books you admire.
Twitter is a fabulous “real time” communication tool, and part of the fun is responding to messages quickly or commenting on breaking news. But to stay sane (and ensure you have enough time for writing and reading), most of us should only log in for a few minutes a day. The majority of your Twitter presence can be handled once a week, in bulk – and hopefully these tips will make that easier.
HANK: So how about you Reds? Are you on the twitter bandwagon? What have you learned and what are your secrets? We'll give Dorie's new book on branding to one lucky commenter! And hey, what's your twitter address..we should all follow each other!
Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and the author of the newly-released Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013), a book about how to change careers, embrace new professional challenges, and take control of your professional reputation. You can follow her on Twitter.