Friday, June 21, 2013

I Never Thought I’d Be Tweeting

Twitter engagement is fluid, the @ sign indicating a multitude of dynamics. Photograph: Alamy
Before I became an Indie novelist, I never thought I’d be tweeting.

I’m a member of what’s now called, “the older generation.” I came of age in the 1950s-60s before the advent of digital computers. In the early days, “techies” surrounded their discipline with mystery, tucked away in clean rooms where operators wore white coats like doctors and spoke in unintelligible jargon.  The first computer courses I attempted lost me early on because they all began with intensive binomial theory lessons rather than teach what the machines could do and how to operate them.

My interest reawakened after personal computers came along. The advantages of composing at a machine where changes could easily be made and where spell-check corrected my poor spelling were obvious.  After teaching myself how to operate a Wang word processer, the transition to PCs was surprisingly painless. Still, I more or less limited myself to desktops, and watching my grand children’s texting and tweeting on their cellphones seemed a colossal waste of time.

Then I published my first Indie novel, Fall Eagle One, on Kindle and CreateSpace.
I soon found the intricacies of marketing an Indie book somewhat overwhelming. My wonderful daughter, Karen, then stepped in and volunteered to help with the electronic side of getting my book before the largest possible audience. She set up my website, got me into blogging and other Internet activities, and got me into Twitter.

The advantages of marketing through Twitter were at once apparent. Two similes come to mind: the first is the spreading ripples of a rock thrown into a pond; the second is how a family tree spreads outward as on works back through time. A Twitter posting doesn’t just reach your own followers.  Many of them will in turn re-tweet the posting to their followers, and on and on. Re-tweets may be stimulated by in turn re-tweeting their postings on to your followers. I’m not sure the effect meets the definition of exponential expansion, but it produces good results.

Since adopting marketing through Twitter and other electronic media, Fall Eagle One has climbed into the upper one percent of Kindle book sales and stayed there. My next electronic challenge is to really master my Iphone.

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