Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chirp Tweet Retweet

Twitter is a great tool to connect with people across the globe and circulate information. Recent changes have made the experience less enjoyable.   Free advertisement is priceless and companies are in business to make money.  If they can’t make money, they will limit what you can do with their product.   The explanation for the changes is anything but the truth. It all boils down to the loss of potential advertising dollars.

Twitter is not only a way to advertise for free, it is also a means of networking. The new limitation on Twitter can be discouraging if you have not networked in your core group. For example, if you’re an artist, most of your followers may be in that profession, individuals who appreciate art and others related to the field.   We all know how important networking is in the real world and it’s no different in the virtual world.    When I joined, I followed users who shared my interests whether it was professional or personal. 

There is a lot of information shared on twitter. I noticed a tweet that said, gain 5000 followers in a day.  It sounds great, but I think it’s more rewarding when someone follows you voluntarily.   Another tweet advertised a Tweeting Service. I wonder is there a team retweeting their customer’s information or an individual? Are they forming relationships or networking with your audience? Do they retweet your follower’s messages?  

In my profile, I let potential followers know that I retweet!  I let them know that retweeting their information is as important as tweeting my information.   For example, I did what I call a Retweet Blitz. I retweeted literary tweets and the user did not have to be a follower.  I got followers and non-followers attention. This was not a calculated move. I did it to support other authors. As a result, I gained more followers and a dedicated group of retweet buddies!  It’s a group of thirty plus followers who retweet each other’s tweets. When I go to bed at night my tweets are still chirping on Twitter. It motivates me and I faithfully retweet their tweets. 

Despite the changes in Twitter, it is possible to make connections and reach your target audience.  Twitter is a powerful tool but as it continues to change, users will have to make genuine connections that will continue to blossom.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Open Mouth Insert Book!

I have been an avid Stephen King fan for many years. His books have always managed to engage my imagination.  I entered the worlds he created with ease. Despite all his success, there was a time when publishers failed to realize his worth. It’s hard to believe he endured years of rejection letters. Despite the rejection, he kept writing. Stephen invested in his dream until others were willing to. Then, Carrie changed everything for Stephen King. The manuscript made it through the almost impenetrable doors of traditional publishing. Even if you are not a fan of his work, you have to admire his determination.

Now imagine if your favorite author openly bashed self-published authors. It is an unfortunate occurrence. Once an author reaches a certain level of success many people look up to them. Yet, there is ample ‘self-published author bashing’ occurring. It is not wise to offend the people who look up to you. Reach out and give words of encouragement. It is important to remember that self-published authors are consumers who buy, read and recommend traditionally published books.

Many traditionally published authors decide to self publish series when their publishers end them. It’s a smart move and I applaud them for taking the initiative. They realize the value of keeping their readers happy. Books have errors whether they are self published or traditionally published! If you disagree, think back to your education.  Many textbooks meant to educate us had and will continue to have errors. 

“Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.”- Stephen King.  Keep writing, perfect your craft and do not let anyone kill your passion.  Glory does not always come from the mouth of others, sometimes it comes from knowing you are determined to succeed.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Do You Remember Me?

I have been a fan of police and mystery dramas for as long as I can remember.  Murder She Wrote, Matlock and The Shield are some of my favorites. Jessica Fletcher always seemed to be at the right place at the right time when someone died and Matlock always found a way to uncover the truth. It was a certainty that Jessica and Matlock prevailed in the end. The viewers expected it and it kept them coming back for more. Then, there is Vic Mackey, a gritty cop that does unethical things, but at the same time, he is an effective cop.   Vic pushes the boundaries and skillfully displays how far a cop can go to get results.  

The writers of The Shield series have achieved a rare occurrence. They managed to make Vic so good at being bad that the viewer wants him to get away with just about anything; even murder!  I never thought I would root for the bad guy. So I asked myself, has my value system changed? It did not, I want good to prevail over evil. However, we see good prevail in just about every storyline.  

The Shield’s success can be attributed to the character Vic Mackey exhibiting protagonist and antagonist traits. The dual role takes on a life of its own when the viewer becomes emotionally invested in his efforts to evade his superiors and maintaining his position on the Strike Team. Therefore, I strive to create characters that you love to hate or love. Getting the reader to care is not an easy task. You have to give the reader a reason to care about what happens to your character. Otherwise, the character is shot and the reader flips the page or turns the channel without a second thought.

The character should leave an impression on the reader to the point that they question themselves. How can an author encourage a reader to care? A non-literary example is the Caylee Anthony case. The media and law enforcement play a crucial role in making the public aware when a child is missing. They show the public pictures of the child, and keep us informed when the police have new leads. The media and law enforcement make the public care about finding the child. There is no exact formula to achieve this task. We are different and respond to the same situation in different ways. We only have to look within ourselves and ask why should the reader care?