Showing posts with label Twitter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Twitter. Show all posts

Monday 23 January 2017

Catching up on Twitter...

The nasty winter bug finally caught up with me last week, and my brain went on go-slow until the antibiotics started to get control of the infection in my lungs.

In fact I don't think my characters got out of the imaginary beds/chairs that they'd got comfy in.

As I was quite tired after my couple of brief trips out (essential appointments) I really didn't have the energy to do much beyond a quick trip into the kitchen (next door to my office) to replenish the mug and browse.

So I used the time to catch up on reading blog posts, self-publishing related items, and giving a little more time to Twitter.

Usually I pop into Twitter a few times a week for ten to fifteen minutes a visit, and the regular #writingchat session on a Wednesday night for an hour between 8 and 9 pm- when I'm not at the writers' club. At the weekend I can take a little longer.

When I finish this blog post the link will be tweeted and I'll pin the tweet to the top of my Twitter page feed.

(If you don't know where to find it, just click the little down arrow symbol on the top right of your chosen tweet and choose the pin tweet option- or unpin to change it. It used to be found when you clicked the three dots symbol.)

Do you pin your
I only started to pin my tweets in December, after it was mentioned at the Leicester RNA Chapter meeting during the book blogger discussions. It gets over having to keep tweeting a link, and if someone looks at your profile and the tweets, my latest blog post link is the first tweet seen.

It can easily be retweeted from your profile too. And with a few clicks you can unpin one tweet and replace it with another- especially useful if you're promoting a book you've got on special offer...

Now the following isn't a rant, and I'm talking generally here.

I spent some time looking at what irritated me with tweets, so I don't do it myself.

Obviously writers need to reach readers all over the world. It's just when the book cover and buying link are posted not just once but four or more times in a row, one after another- no gap between them...

Maybe that works for some people, but it just makes me scroll by very quickly.

I have bought e-books after seeing them on Twitter, but that's been because of an intriguing cover image and/or tagline that makes me click the link to find out more, then once I'm there an interesting blurb that convinces me to buy. (Plus those books were a couple of tweets spaced apart by a few minutes.)

Now I am not a prude, but I do not want to be scrolling down my twitter feed and see a full-length book cover that probably wouldn't look out of place in porn- it doesn't happen often, but one from the other week has still not been scrubbed from my retinas!!!

Neither do I automatically follow back; which seems to be the only reason some follow, and then within 24 hours they've unfollowed you because you haven't followed them back. I suspect they work their way through the alphabet of twitter names...

Yes, I follow magazines and companies, but I have a different @name for those. No one wants their twitter feed full of cosmetics, clothes and home decor when you're a writer and time is valuable.

Tweetdeck is useful to schedule tweets and I've begun to use it more. It never worked well on my previous computer, so when I had to replace my desktop I decided to download it and try again, and I'm glad I did.

I've not used Twitter lists-yet- but will have to soon.

Hootsuite, I've heard of, but that's all. You can find out more about it on the Story Empire Blog.

Is there anything you like or dislike about Twitter? Any useful tips to pass on?

Sunday 8 March 2015

Another Online Festival...This Times it's Crime!

Last month it was an online romance festival, and now for March there's an online crime festival.

It's being run by event teams from Waterstones, and the HarperCollins imprint, Killer Reads, and takes place Friday 13th March from 2pm, to Saturday 14th March at 8pm.

You can sign up free on their eventbrite page, and that will ensure that you'll get all the details via email to your inbox.

The festival will be a mix of live and virtual events. The live part comes via a number of Waterstones branches that will be holding events with crime authors, so if you're near a Waterstones branch then check with them to see if they're hosting any events.

A few of the branches involved: Liverpool, Brighton, Plymouth Drake Circus, Edinburgh West End, and Romford.

Apparently, Ian Rankin will be on a Twitter Q&A.

The virtual events will be taking place on Facebook, Twitter, and on the Killer reads blog. You can find their blog by going to this page.

On Twitter follow @HarperCollinsUK, and most Waterstones branches have their own twitter accounts so you should be able to find your local branch.

But for full details of all events you need to sign up via eventbrite, and as everything starts Friday, sign up as soon as you can so you can plan your time.

If it is anything like the romance festival was, you'll be torn between events, wanting to do everything, but having to make decisions on which you choose- or madly keyboard hopping between Facebook and Twitter!

Look out for the festival hashtag: #KILLERFEST15

Enjoy the experience...

Friday 15 November 2013

Fun and Learning at The Festival of Romance...

I finally have time to share a few snippets from my visit to Bedford last weekend for The Festival of Romance.

I had to write a piece about my trip to the festival for the Nottingham Writers' Club magazine, with the deadline of yesterday (Thursday).

I also ended up writing a couple of other items for inclusion in the forthcoming issue, in between appointments.

Next time I go, I will keep the week following, clear...

So what did I learn?

So much. From being able to talk to other writers, listen to them reading their work aloud, and on the Sunday from the editors of the various romance publishers talking about what they're doing currently, to what they're looking for in submissions - and encouragement to submit.

There were one to ones available, but I wasn't ready for that this year, so didn't put in a request when the opportunity was offered a few weeks prior to the festival.

After an evening of readings, from authors in historical dress, set against a background of drawings and paintings by the pre-Raphaelite artists in the art gallery on the Friday night, I was glad of a good night's sleep before Saturday's events.

There was the Romance Fair where you could buy a wide selection of books by various authors attending the festival. I moved onto the Coffee and Cake to listen to more authors reading excerpts from their novels.

I did the 3 hour workshop in the library run by Sue Moorcroft and Christina Courtney on 'Irresistible Heroes'. I learnt a bit more about one of my heroes in waiting, Hugo, during the practical sessions.

And following that the talk, How to Stand Out, Get Published and Stay Published, given by author Miranda Dickinson and her HarperCollins editor, Sammia Rafique. Miranda described her journey to publication, while Sammia explained her role in the author’s books. 
There was a very useful question and answer session. I wanted to know the current length they required, and for their books it’s at least 90,000 up to 120,000. (Other publishers have their own specifications.)

I can actually be seen at the Ball (on Table 4 in purple and glasses) in the video of the after dinner entertainment- I'm in the background for a while; amazing I was still wide awake as that was at 11pm and I'd been up since 7am that morning...

Sunday was conference day, with an early start of 9.30am.

Spread throughout the day there were author led panels, including one on building an author platform.

The presence of editors from the main romance publishers was keenly anticipated.

Mills and Boon covered the 5 UK acquired series they deal with: Modern/Presents, Cherish, Historical, and Medical. Guidelines can be found on their website.

I've read their historical novels on and off over the years, and they have changed a lot in that time- length has increased too, they're now at 70,000.

Piatkus Entice is a digital first imprint at Piatkus Fiction.

The important message that came over was that stories needed to be a commercial proposition. And like all the other publishers they wanted 'voices' - fresh, engaging and consistent.

Carina UK - this is an imprint of Harlequin UK. They are a digital first publisher, with their first print title due out early 2014. They talked about their interest in trans-media projects, a different method of reaching readers...

And the good news is that they don't just publish romance. They're seeking, women's fiction, new adult, contemporary young adult, and erotica. And if you happen to have a WW1 romance ( considering next year's anniversary of 100 years since the outbreak of war) it could find a home.

Mira publish Women's Fiction and Crime, aimed at the older reader. Heroines 40+, well written, a hook, and commercial were important words, and they will accept unagented submissions.

Harper Impulse, another digital first publisher. Again like other digital first publishers length is not an issue. You could send a 1,000 word short story that could be read on a phone. They like to get a full manuscript, covering letter and short synopsis.

Generally: They all had a presence on Twitter. Many of the editors can be followed on Twitter; and writers having a social media presence was very useful.

Just as with any publisher, they want good stories, and fresh voices, stories that will sell.

But again and again the editors kept saying submit it! Don't worry if it's not perfect, or you're not sure it's quite right for them, just submit it.

There was so much useful information, that it was hard to take it all in. That's why I made good use of my notebook.

I learnt a lot, and have started putting into action the elements that I was missing- in social media.

But most reassuring was that my writing seems to be going in the right direction...

Saturday 9 March 2013

Would We Marry Our Fictional Heroes if They Were Real?

I ask this because apparently there has been a trending topic on Twitter this week- #FictionalCharactersIWantToMarry.

In the short piece in the Guardian Bookblogs section 'Want to marry a fictional character? You could do so much better', Alison Flood makes some interesting remarks, read it here.

So who would I choose?

The first one that springs to mind is Alex Randall from M M Kaye's 'Shadow of the Moon' (I mentioned this book in my glomming post). There he is trying to do a tough job in a volatile situation, falling in love and then having to watch her marry another man, but maintain a co-existence, only to have everyday life violently fall apart with the Indian Mutiny, and then keep not only himself alive, but the woman he loves and one of her friends too... He's strong, compassionate, dutiful and emotionally torn by the circumstances.

Mr Darcy? No, I think I'd want to kill him after a week!

I suppose I do have a soft spot for my hero, Hugh, from my current work in progress. He's considerate but not a push-over; he can be tough when needed but not a bully, dependable and intelligent.
I've just realised that I've been borrowing a few characteristics from my OH for Hugh, but I won't tell him that. :-)

Fictional characters are just that, fictional, but to be believable to the reader, they have to display characteristics that we recognise and can relate to, whether they are things that you like, hate or are indifferent about.

Perhaps you could liken reading to a series of short relationships; some are disasters, others are fine while you're together, and a few stay in the memory and become longtime friends.

What do you think?

Sunday 2 September 2012

Keyboard Troubles Are Now Over...

I'm now back in writing action after a few days of keyboard troubles.

It's only when your keyboard starts to randomly malfunction that you realise how valuable the Shift key actually is...

I'm a creature of habit, whenever I log on, the first thing I do is check my e-mail accounts, so when I found I could only get ' instead of the @ symbol I jumped to the obvious conclusion that I'd not pressed the shift key, but when I tried again and it still happened (repeatedly) I panicked.

Okay I only went into panic mode for a moment, as common sense returned and I used the diagnostics on my computer. It made a few changes and the shift keys started working again. Until later it did it again.

By yesterday I'd lost any symbol that needed the shift key to access it. I had to resort to copying and pasting the @ symbol to get to my e-mails, or to log in to Twitter and Facebook.
I couldn't ask a question as I couldn't get the ? and I didn't think it was right that a writer should ask a question and not use a question mark. :-)

So this morning my OH went and purchased a new keyboard- a drive to the nearest retail park.

What a shock.

All the keys are raised on this Advent keyboard, including the up and down buttons and separate number pad. This is the first time I've used this type of keyboard, and now I'm getting used to it, I quite like it.

My nails slipped down the edges at first, but as I'm a one or two finger typer I can adjust as is needed.

The letters of the alphabet appear larger which I'm finding helpful. As I don't touch type I'm scanning for the less frequently used keys as I go, but I'm now finding the raised keys very useful as it's much easier to locate the correct letter, so in fact I'm typing quicker.

And of course all new products have to be energy efficient; this one has a Power/Sleep/Wake Up keys too.

I'm pleasantly surprised; and looking forward to seeing if it helps me when I'm in a long writing session.

I'm off to catch up on all the interesting blogs and articles I've missed the last couple of days...

Thursday 8 March 2012

Social Marketing -the Talk...

I spent most of Wednesday answering the phone, exchanging e-mails and putting together a hand-out on social media, and a mini talk sheet on blogging, for myself -because the speaker who was booked for Wednesday night at Nottingham Writers' Club was ill, and as I was also going to be the chair that night, I needed to get an alternative arranged.

Aware that writers of all ages and experience need to make the most of current technology, I contacted fellow member David Bowman-writer, e-book publisher, and proficient in social networking-and between us we agreed a format for the evening.

Now my part was very small, I covered blogging, so anyone at the meeting who might be considering a blog would (hopefully) realise that it isn't hard to do and is a great way to start making themselves known. I talked about free blogs, building up followers and the types of posts a writer might use their blog for- such as announcing a competition win, or a short story sale/publication date...

David talked about Facebook and Twitter, and also author websites.

The recommendations that I picked up, relating to Facebook, was keeping your account for personal, fun things, and your writing for your author page- (your name) writer; so book news, links and photos relating to your writing goes only on that page, so your readers go there for the information. And of course if you have different pseudonyms, it makes it easier to distinguish between different genres, if you write in more than one category- so that's more than one writer name for me then.

As I recently joined Twitter and was discovering for myself, hashtags # are not only useful but important; retweeting can be helpful. That there is a fine line between over promotion and sharing good news, so its clearly something that you learn by actually doing once you're on Twitter.

But never underestimate how widely your tweets can be seen. Every tweet seen by your followers, is seen by the followers of each of them- so you never know who and how many will see that interesting piece of information...

Now websites. This was interesting; having a press area that was kept up to date, so the latest press release was available was important. As David explained if a journalist wants to interview you they'll have gone and checked out all the information on your website so they don't need to waste time asking basic questions- which is logical when you consider modern day journalism.

We finally talked about Amazon and e-book ratings, and how a writer promoting their books on Amazon can use these various methods of social marketing to bring potential book buyers to their work, by promotions and free book offers- so get high up in the Amazon rankings and it will enable you to get Amazon to promote your book which could be very useful if you're a relative unknown.

I'd not considered all these various methods being used together to maximise exposure- but then I'm only on stage 2 of my marketing plan at the moment... Yes, apparently you should have a marketing plan.

The words I did take take away from the talk were as follows: politeness; being professional and start this networking before you have the publishing deal...

I've got a long way to go, but at least I've started.

Saturday 3 March 2012

Infidelity and 'Forced Seduction' in Historical Romance Novels...

I decided to blog about character behaviour after reading a couple of items on the Heroes and Heartbreakers website- they came up on Twitter links; then today I was in my local Waterstones branch glancing through a couple of new romances, and one of them brought these articles to mind.

The issues of infidelity, and 'forced seduction' (so wrong, in so many ways) have more relevance to historical than contemporary romance fiction. And perhaps mostly related to books produced for the US romance market.

A romance novel doesn't have to have a sex scene- or more than one of them- to make a good story with believable characters. But some of those characters will do it- it's part of who they are and it would be daft to deny it.

Personally I consider it's up to the individual  author whether they show that aspects of their characters. In my stories, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. My characters are usually quite clear about that point in their developing relationship.

Women today have freedoms and advantages that their sisters in earlier centuries didn't; so I don't feel it's right to apply modern day thinking to stories set in the past.

So let's start with Infidelity.

Here's Limecello's piece on the H&H website: 'When Going Strange...Isn’t: Adultery in Romance'.

Read any social history of the aristocracy covering 200-300 years ago and you'll quickly discover that infidelity was accepted if it was carried out discreetly. A number of  younger aristocratic children were actually fathered by other men- not the man whose surname they carried through life.

The ideal is fidelity within marriage- I believe in that myself. 

But in the circumstances of the two novels mentioned in the article, I could understand and agree it's not infidelity- when both partners know and agree to the situation for their own reasons.

Yes it goes against my personal view, but I can't impose my morality on another writer's characters/story.
If a storyline offends me, or just doesn't appeal, then I won't buy the book.

'Forced Seduction' is another thing entirely... It truly belongs in the past of the so called Bodice Rippers- horrid description.

Here's a list on Amazon that gives you an idea of some of the titles from the last thirty years- and yes I can confirm that over the years I've read a few of them- especially those by Johanna Lindsey...

Sexual violence against any woman is wrong. Sexual coercion is wrong. Seduction is not coercion.

( I'm not including erotica, bondage and associated preferences in this category, as it's legal and it's between consenting adults.)

I have to say that the line between coercion and seduction can be very thin for some writers. As I saw today when I was looking through the improved romance section in my local Waterstones.

I picked up a book by a US author whose name I recognised (but her stories have not appealed to me previously) and after reading the blurb on the back of the book, I did my standard routine of opening the book a couple of times at random pages and reading on.

Unfortunately I found myself on part of the story where this very thin line between coercion and seduction was on show. Perhaps it was tied up with the author's word choices in that scene, but I decided not to buy it.

Fortunately there are still a lot of good books from both the UK and US on the romance shelves that don't see the need to walk that fine line...

Thursday 23 February 2012

Delving into Twitter...

This week I've been considering joining Twitter. A lot of writer friends have told me it's brilliant and worth doing.

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was being encouraged to set up a blog, and that seemed like a mammoth task then too, but once you know the basics...

I know it's much easier once you understand how everything works, just a bit scary at the start- like starting a new exercise class and not really knowing anyone there...But I actually know quite a few people who I can start by following, so perhaps it won't be as daunting as I expect.

I bought Nicola Morgan's 'Tweet Right' e-book and read it straight through- great book for those like me who can do the theory, but get a bit scared of the practical, thinking it will be difficult...

And after further reassurance and useful info from a friend (who has an e-publishing business) I'm ready to do the practical bit...

So, do you have any useful advice you'd be willing to share before I sign up?

Friday 6 January 2012

Promoting Your Characters...

Now we all know that promoting your latest book is very important for sales (and future books perhaps), but have you considered promoting your character as a way of getting interest in your book?

Writer Rosalie Warren has started promoting her new fictional character from a ghostly tale- MarieT's story is about her upbringing by sisters/nuns, who may be ghosts...

She has her own Twitter handle @MarieTGhost and a blog Brought Up By Ghosts

Now perhaps this is something that is much more effective for children's/YA fiction. But do you think it would work for other genres?

We all know that writers need to use social media to promote their work, and I think this is quite a fun and different way to do it, engaging potential readers.

So what do you think of this? Would you try it, or do you think it might not work as well as usual social media methods?

Personally, it's an interesting idea...

Wednesday 6 April 2011

If You Tweet Please Help An Impersonated Writer...

Just a brief request for help for a fellow writer Rosalie Warren.

Rosalie has (like any other writer) been actively promoting her new book 'Coping with Chloe' since its publication date.

Last week her Twitter identity was assumed by someone else, read about it here. So sensibly she did what she could to make people aware what had happened and contacted Twitter about this impersonation.

Now under the rules of Twitter, Impersonation is wrong- whatever the reason it is not on. So she followed the rules and contacted Twitter, but has received a lukewarm response from Twitter.

From Rosalie's latest post:
"Now Twitter have replied - and apparently it's fine to nick someone's profile and pretend you have written their books, own their website, etc. For her to claim to be me, in fact, intentional or not. I just need to 'keep an eye on things' and report back if they get 'any worse'. "

So spread the news- Rosalie says:
"If you are on Twitter, please follow me at Ros_Warren and retweet my tweets on this."

Have any of you had a similar experience? If you have, please share how you got it resolved so we all know how to deal with it if it happens to another writer in the future. Thanks.