Entering the Twitterverse

To tweet or not to tweet.  That is the question.

My most humble apologies to the Bard, who is currently rolling over in his grave as I type this post.

Another thought:

Never say never.  Ever.  It will always come back to bite you in the butt.

Self-publishing.  Throwing caution and (miniscule) finances to the winds and hoping someone will read brilliant masterpiece.  Sounds easy, right?  You write a book, prep it for release, buy an ISBN, upload to the digital market of your choosing and BAM!  Instant sales and fans and reward.

Well…..not quite.  Apparently, social media is the driving force behind finding your potential readers.  Ok, I got this.  I do Facebook.  Cool.

Well…..not quite.  There’s a plethora of social media outlets.  Twitter among them.  I had sworn off Twitter personally for years.  I had four thoughts about Twitter—1) I can’t possibly say what I need to say in 140 characters.  Me, the girl whose paragraphs can give Charles Dickens a run for his money on a good day.  Me, the girl whose basic email is the length of The Iliad.  2) I don’t care what people are having for lunch (this was the trend for a while at the onset of the Twitterverse).  3)Facebook is enough. I can barely keep up with Facebook. And, most importantly, 4) “Tweet”.  I think this is one of the stupidest terms on the planet.  I wanted nothing whatsoever to do with an application on which I “tweeted”.  (Yes, I know I’m probably showing my age.  Yes, I realize I sound like an elitist social media snob.  I’ve embraced both of these and am ok with it.)

It turns out, you can be bombarded with pictures and/or descriptions of food people think you want to see on Facebook as well!  (I guess the trend shifted from Twitter to Facebook after a time).  I also found out that I can indeed limit my overly verbose ramblings to around 140 characters…although I have to really, really concentrate.  I am still getting used to the idea of checking Twitter.  I suppose this will become more natural with time.  However, I’m able to use both it and Facebook without going into a panic attack.  I still hate, loathe, despise, and abominate the word “tweet”.

If you’ve done any research into marketing and promotion for authors, Twitter is perhaps the biggest platform to use at the moment, spurring tons of articles and blog posts like “Twitter for Authors in 10 Minutes a Day”, and so on.   After much deliberate debate with myself (along with quite a bit of rolling of eyes and internal “bah, humbug”), I joined the Twitterverse a couple weeks ago.  I am currently up to 27 followers. Not a lot.  BUT—most of them are fellow authors, and a number of them are best-selling authors at that.  If nothing else, for this moment in time, those folks have openly welcomed me into the writing community.  This is a support and an encouragement that is like nothing else—to be accepted by your peers and those whose work you admire.  If they feel that I have something of interest to share, then potential readers will too in time.  And that’s the whole point.

I have 27 followers.  Nathan Fillion (TV’s Richard Castle) has something like 2.4 million.  (If you hear a rapid heartbeat followed by a thud that’s just me swooning over Nathan Fillion…. I’m fine.)  I won’t say I’ll never get 2.4 million followers (although this is unlikely).  See beginning of post above–Never say never.  Nonetheless, I am out there, in the Twitterverse, hashtagging my way towards publication and some lovely (albeit at 140 characters or less) communion with fellow artists in this craft we call writing.

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The beginning of the journey

So.  I am a writer.

I write novels….  I am a novelist….

 

Okay.  So I’ve spent my entire life reading. Voraciously reading.  Dickens—Shakespeare—Austen—Hawthorne—paperback romances (hundreds of paperback romances).  I love reading. I loved it so much I got a degree in literature.  I have a piece of paper that declares I am a readaholic.  Losing yourself in a world somewhere with interesting characters and unending plot twists—heaven.  However, I learned when I was young that I loved something even more than reading…WRITING!  ( I remember my first piece too.  It was a short story I wrote about a haunted house. Very spooky.  I loved it.)

Now, growing up and having to choose a way to make a living, I defaulted to that of “teacher”.  Why?  I loved to read, and I loved to write (when everyone else around me hated it and thought I was weird for loving it so much).  At the time, all I could think was “I’m not an author. I’d never get published”.  What’s the old saying?  Oh yeah… those that can’t do, teach.  So I decided to take my love of literature to the classroom.  I was spurred on by all those great movies about these fabulous teachers (most of whom taught English lit…think about that for a minute….) that inspired their students to excel (Dead Poet’s Society, anyone?  RIP Robin Williams).

I did end up teaching at a local community college as an adjunct for about a decade.  I had some great students.  I also had a few that I seriously wanted to hurt with a frying pan.  Fast-forward a bit.  I’m an ex-teacher in her mid-30s, divorced, and looking at the ever-closing gap to 40 wondering what the hell I’ve done with my life up to this point.  Nothing I had imagined for myself, let me assure you.  I was still reading.  Voraciously reading.  I had also picked my writing back up.  I had started a couple manuscripts, but never finished one.

Last November, I did something I always secretly hoped (but doubted) I’d do.  One of those “maybe one day I’ll….”, back of the mind, think about when you’re drunk and wonder why in hell haven’t I done that yet? ideas.  I wrote a novel.  In 30 days.  Over 51 thousand words.  How?  I got plugged into an awesome local writing group that does NaNoWriMo.  The support of a close-knit group that was just as “nerdy” as me was a match-spark to my fire.  I had a story I loved with characters that I thought were funny and sweet and just a bit sassy.  Throw in a foreign country and a little conflict… recipe for a great read.  But… what to do with it?

For a long time, writers who self-published were considered “lesser” on the author hierarchy.  Popular consensus was they couldn’t cut it with the Big Trade publishers.  Well, with the boom in epublishing, we unknown and novice writers can now take the bull by the horns ourselves in the here and now.  So, that’s the route I’ve chosen.  I choose to be an indie author, solely responsible for the outcome, with total control of my product.  I realize this is a bit of a risk and without a doubt a TON of work.  But, since I have a “day job” to keep me not homeless and not hungry… why not?

Since November, I’ve edited, done beta-reading, dabbled with cover art, scheduled a release date, and started another story.  I am now in the “author platform building” phase of this thing.   (More on that in a future post!)  There’s so much that I’ve learned since November.  There’s so much I still don’t know!  This is my journey.  I hope you’ll join me for the ride.