Sorry if I sound like a dirty-mac vampire type, but I only want live bodies – beating hearts, pulsing blood and working brains (IQ over 80, please, and the higher the better) are required for my devious purposes… (If it helps, at this point, you can imagine a dark and foggy night, Victorian church ruins, views of dilapidated grave stones, sinister organ music, hooting owls, lightning flashes, cracks of thunder, etc., etc.)
OK, enough of that. Cut to the confession. ‘Yes, officer, I will come clean. I am a lurker.’ There, I’ve said it. In my quest to find fiction lovers and thriller readers who are;
c) active on twitter
I have been lurking on other people’s accounts, checking out their followers and delving into some of the darker corners of Twitterdom. Lurking - Guilty as charged. What have I found? Well, there are a lot of pretty strange people out there in cyberspace. ‘Strange’ does not mean necessarily mean ‘bad’. Some of the strangest actually sound like fun, but I don’t think this is the right space for an in-depth analysis of my hobbies. That is between me and my therapist. If I had one. What I am really interested in, is, can these people ACTUALLY READ?
As I search among the accounts likely to be frequented by readers, I have evolved some basic rules for efficient list building and contact making. As you may be aware, my interests and targets are readers of fiction – especially thrillers. I suspect that my basic rules can be easily adapted to any profession or leisure-time interest. Delete ‘Authors’ and ‘Reading’ in your searches and insert ‘Micro-light Flying’ and ‘Death Wish’ if that is what floats your boat.
So, what are my recommendations to fellow authors who are trying to build up their contacts with potential readers of their books?
Rule One: Don’t follow dead people
Real dead is obvious. Dead people don’t tweet. (Though, in the case of Elvis, I’m not 100% sure – see @ElvisPresley) I’m actually talking about Twitter Dead. They opened an account in 2011, made 4 tweets and haven’t been back. Quick decision – don’t bother. In the interests of speed, if they haven’t tweeted for a month, or even a couple of weeks – THEY ARE DEAD.
Maybe, if they’ve sent 18,072 tweets and have 6, 453 followers I will give them a few more days grace. Maybe even as much as 15 days – this level of Tweep is occasionally, just very occasionally, allowed a two week holiday from Twitterdom. Other than that, I classify them as ‘Twitter Dead.’ Move along there people, it’s just a dead Tweep…
Rule Two: Don’t follow eggs
Most eggs are a waste of time. They generally have only a couple of tweets, no followers and are following a handful of celebrities that are not returning the favour. They haven’t been interested enough in Twitter to upload a picture or avatar. Granted, a few eggs are genuine, but just very shy. However, look on Twitter as an omelette made in a bustling kitchen. Get busy! If you are going to build a list you’ll just have to break a few eggs. (Sorry, eggs – I suggest you upload a picture of some sort. Not an egg. No yoke.)
Rule Three: Don’t follow crazy kids
‘Mrs Justin Bieber’ aged 8, ‘One Direction Is my Entire Life’, and ‘Olly Murs is God’ are probably unlikely to shell out time and / or cash for reading your fiction. Don’t add them to your lists. Unless you really ARE Olly Murs.
Rule Four: Don’t follow easy numbers
Delete anyone whose bio or tweets are on the lines of ‘How I got 50,000 followers in just one day’ – Delete. Delete. Delete. Especially if they only have 105 followers.
Rule Five: Don’t follow anyone you can’t understand
Bilingual is fine. But if their bio and their tweets are all in Serbo-Croat and you don’t happen to speak and write that fine language, don’t bother – move on. As a sub-set of Rule Five I would include those members of Twitter who communicate in some version of text-speak that is impenetrable to anyone over the age of 25, and those whose blogs and websites show that they miserably failed Primary One spelling and grammar exams. They probably dribble from the corners of their mouths while sitting, don’t understand how to use cutlery, and are unlikely to be able to read an entire book without mouthing the words out loud, and that would just annoy anyone in their vicinity. Be nice to the world. Leave them alone.
Rule Six: Don’t follow sex
‘Hi Guys, wanna do some sexy camming?’ tweeps are to be avoided. I would cheerfully bet a pound to a penny that the only pictures that they really want are of your credit card and pin number.
So, who do I want to follow?
Live bodies – people who are active on twitter – and have preferably tweeted in the last day or two. People who enjoy reading to the point that they follow authors they like, or join groups that discuss books. People who read thrillers. People that you’d enjoy meeting, people that you wouldn’t mind being seated next to at a party, and people who have opinions worth listening to – these are the people that I want to follow, and that I want to follow me.
If that’s you, I’d be delighted if you’d follow my blog and connect with me on Twitter. And if we happen to sit next to each other at a dinner party, I promise I won’t dribble. And I CAN use a knife and fork. Yay for thriller readers!
‘Q’ – A Thriller is now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
Try before you buy! Click on the book cover link and check out the first few chapters.