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Friday Night Rant: Revenge is Tweet!

So, If you haven’t already guessed it, this is a little rant about Twitter (@twitter). A couple of years ago, Twitter was an amazing tool for authors, both indie and the rich ones. You could log onto twitter, do a quick search using a ‘booky’ term and you would be slap bang in the middle of a great discussion about books, the world, everything and anything. Having the discussion would lead to a follow of a tweeter and most often, a mutual follow back.

Sometimes you would be followed by someone famous, or someone you admired and those days were extra special.I have been lucky enough to run around the house on numerous occasions shouting in utter jubilation at being followed by a TV personality or two – believe me, no matter how cool you think you are, you too will turn into a fan-like 16-year-old screaming teen when it happens to you! But more often I would be following and be followed by someone whom I wanted to hear speak, albeit in 140 characters or less.

When I first joined twitter, I followed publishers, agents, producers and directors in the hope that they would see that I had followed them, and likewise they would follow me back and see what I was up to… ah, the joy of innocence and happily living in la-la land. As we all know, and if you don’t then you do now, the important people that we are trying to impress tend to only follow us for the quality of our tweets. They have to be of interest to them as well as the rest of the twitter world. This of course, doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t promote their book or works via twitter, it is still a great tool for that, but the thing to remember is that it is a tool to be used to inform – inform of a special offer, a new title, a great deal not just dust cover quotes repeated over and over again, every hour, on the hour.

Over the last year, along with the usual trashy ‘want to buy followers’ followers I have found that there is another trend occurring. Self publishers like myself (or worse, those that ‘plan’ to release their first masterpiece later in the year.) have been following me and when I check out their page, see what it is like, they are just continually spamming ads for their books (or even ads for their still unfinished book.) and guess what, more often than not, I don’t follow back.

You see, I like to see interesting content, not just book promos. To try to combat this I joined a group of writers who had formed a little club, the Rave Reviews Book Club. All seemed well for a while, but I soon found that once again ads were being spammed far more often than any meaningful or interesting content. I soon left this group (there is an earlier post on my bad experience with them HERE) and when I left, I noticed that over night I also lost around 300 followers. It came as quite a shock at the time, but knowing ‘the rules’ they operate under, it shouldn’t have been too surprising. Anyway, because of their policies, a couple of great authors and writers, who I enjoyed tweeting with, stopped following me and so, eventually, I also stopped following them.

Very recently, I have noticed another new trend. People will follow me, They look interesting, I follow back, then a couple of weeks later, they stop following me. Well, I have found this to be a little irksome, and so I have now decided to do a regular check on who exactly I am following. It is a regular quarterly twenty-minute job, I quickly unfollow those that have recently followed then unfollowed me and I have found it has multiple benefits.

First and foremost, my twitter feed is filled with interesting ‘stuff’ to read. I miss far less great tweets than I had been doing, I had been constantly hitting my 2001 following limit, now I rarely do, and that is quite important for someone with just a few followers like myself, it means that I now am mutually following people who I interact with, or will be able to follow people who I can interact with. It brings back the ‘community’ feeling to twitter. I have found that I am more likely to post interesting tweets, which get interactions from those I want to notice me, rather than just following them hoping that they will blindly follow me back. Opportunities have mostly come from people interacting with my tweets, rather than my just following them.

I have been able to manage my two twitter accounts far better. Yes, I have two accounts, don’t you? One for me and my general writing @madgarlick, you know, containing things like these friday night rants, my battle with everyday life as a fibromyalgia sufferer, my writing which is challenging or controversial, political and concerns social issues, my adventures as an #indieauthor and my playwriting. Then there is my second which is just for my children’s books @milojamesauthor. It has a different vibe, it is youth friendly, fun, more uplifting, promoting child friendly subjects etc (you will be surprised how many SEX authors follow my children’s author account, I bet they think I am being rude by not following them back!). It all makes more sense that way and my regular cull of people I follow who don’t follow me back keeps my interactions live, and these are interactions with interesting people, doing interesting things.

Occasionally I will launch another twitter account which might be for a particular project or interest, however to manage any more than two accounts manually is more like a full-time job, and I have one of those already so I try to concentrate on just the two accounts.

So, if you don’t do a regular twitter cull then I can highly recommend it, quality far outweighs quantity in the self publishing game and I am fairly certain that pretty soon Twitter will be banning or removing automated accounts, for the infrastructure to be valuable in all senses of the word they will need to, and It will be interesting to see the state of the many accounts of self publishes with over 40,000 followers will be left in after they do that.

So, if I have recently unfollowed you, don’t be offended, it is either because you no longer follow me, or you are boring my manboobs off.

If you want to follow me the please do, if not, don’t worry, I won’t be offended!