Following a long period of ignoring the Twitter account I created over two years ago, I decided that using it might provide a good way to connect with other authors. While the jury is still out concerning the value of this connection with relationship to my writing career, I can report that I now have a new level of understanding concerning the world of social media. Time spent on Twitter has provided an experience and an education. Not bad, but interesting. I share here just a few of the things I have learned.
- Many Twitter users, maybe even the vast majority, purchase followers. When a relatively unknown user has thousands of followers, I suspect fake accounts are involved. Numerous companies have offered to find thousands of followers for me, for a price (of course). The powers that be at Twitter have attempted to stop this fraudulent practice, but to no avail.
- Canned tweets are in the same category as fake followers. Some who purchase tweet packages have messages sent out many times each hour. During my time on Twitter I have tweeted less than 200 times but have had offers to post “great” tweets for me on whatever topic I might choose and as many times per day as I want (again, for a price). Many authors have page after page of the same repeated tweet about their books. Often these tweets begin with the words, “purchase,” “free download” and “limited time offer” (or other variations of this marketing strategy).
- Most Twitter communities are made up of people who share common interests. However, even while connecting with others who have similar interests, individuals in these communities often have an interest not shared by others in the group. That interest is self. Each hour of the day my feed scrolls with dozens of “buy my book,” “read my blog,” “visit my website,” “like me on Facebook” and “purchase my editing service” tweets.
- Members of Christian Fiction Writers (CFW) and authors published by well-known Christian publishers (authors with whom I might have reading interests in common) seem to mostly follow others in CFW. Not being a “groupie,” I do not follow these authors.
- Self-published writers (AKA Indy writers) support each other while finding fault with authors who have followed the traditional path to publishing. They are apparently unaware that we cannot discount our books or offer them free. In exchange for well-edited manuscripts, expert book design, hosted web sites, and promotional support, our publishers reserve the right to set the prices of our books and electronic downloads.
- On-line book groups tweet book choices for readers to consider. All registered users of these sites have a voice, and self-published authors comprise the majority of registrants. Readers love free and cheap.
- Tweets from online sites that feature discounted and free books are plentiful. Translate, self-published books. Traditional publishers rarely feature a book that is discounted deeply enough to find a home on one of these sites.
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