Thursday, August 29, 2013

How my Twitter Experiment got me to 3K followers

This past April, I did this spur-of-the-moment Twitter experiment to see if I could gather up some new followers quickly.

Twitter Experiment: Part deux

Basically, I offered a CONTROL swag giveaway to encourage new followers. You could get entered into the draw if you RT'd or became a new follower.

So. Did it work?

I don't think so! 

I got a good amount of RTs, but honestly? The trajectory with which I gained new followers didn't seem to change. I hit my 3000 follower mark not that much sooner than I expected without the experiment. I was grateful to the RTers and was more than happy to send the swag prizes to five winners who really RT'd their hearts out.

I used to seek out people on twitter when I first started. I'd follow a bunch of people I thought I had something in common with (mostly in the writing world), and hope they followed back. It worked for a while, but I don't have time to search out followers anymore. Also, it felt icky and weird after a while. So how else to gain followers?

I think the best way to get followers is to do the old fashioned good stuff on Twitter.

  • Interact with people who reach out to you, and who tweet interesting things. (This I need to be better about. I tend to just look at my mentions and not read my feeds.)

  • Post some original content once in a while, not just RTs and endless conversations with other twitterers. (Okay, I confess I do that all the time. Have endless conversations about, say, Benedict Cumberbatch, or Doctor Who, or being introverted, or what I'm eating. But I like to discuss what I'm eating!)

  • Be there. I'm not on every hour of the day, but I'm there almost every day. (And yet! I've gotten social media fatigue and been off for a week at a time. Which I'll do for sanity's sake, but not if I can help it.)

  • Have fun. It shows, and people want to follow people who are enjoying Twitter. This one is easier for me. :)
  • Get creative. A few others and I write poetry using a single medically-related word prompt using the hashtag #twtpoem. It's so energizing and a great way to be creative on Twitter.

  • Join some Tweet chats once in a while. There are so many--#yalitchat #Lucky13s #theClassof2k13 are regular ones I participate in, but I'll jump into others that are trending if they're interesting.

  • Don't just tweet about your book, or promo yourself. There's no quicker way to lose followers than to drown in book narcissism. But the opposite isn't the answer either. A little promo is okay!

  • Mix it up. I cross tweet my Tumblr posts, and my blog posts, obviously. But I'm on Instagram and often take tweet pics of random things I like. I'd love to add some video via Vimeo or something. Maybe later. And I'm still NOT vlogging!

  • Write a good book. Still hoping this one will pan out. :) Once your published book is out there, people will find you. And that will be (I hope) pretty cool.

So...are you on Twitter? What's your favorite thing about it? Do you have any Tweet Tips to share?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Medical Mondays: INFINITE SKY by C.J. Flood

Hey guys! I've been on vacation and taking a little blog break, but I'm back. I hope you guys have been having a good summer!

Today's Medical Monday is a bit celebratory. Over a year ago, I fielded some questions from Chelsey Flood, another Lucky 13 whose book, INFINITE SKY, finally came out in February of this year in the UK from Simon and Schuster. It's soon to make its U.S. debut in May of 2014.

Here is is:

Here's the hardcover
And here's the paperback version
Iris Dancy’s free-spirited mum has left for Tunisia, her dad’s rarely sober and her brother’s determined to fight anyone with a pair of fists. 

When a family of travellers move into the overgrown paddock overnight, her dad looks set to finally lose it. Gypsies are parasites he says, but Iris is intrigued. As her dad plans to evict the travelling family, Iris makes friends with their teenage son. Trick Deran is a bare knuckle boxer who says he’s done with fighting, but is he telling the truth? 

When tools go missing from the shed, the travellers are the first suspects. Iris’s brother, Sam, warns her to stay away from Trick; he’s dangerous, but Iris can no longer blindly follow her brother’s advice. He’s got secrets of his own, and she’s not sure he can be trusted himself. 

Infinite Sky is a family story about betrayal and loyalty, and love.

Without being too spoilery, Chelsey had asked me questions about physical trauma, hospital situations and medications. It was fun and fascinating to read passages of her book prior to publication and help tweak scenes here and there.

And a totally unlooked for perk? Dr. Kang has a cameo in the book!

So if you're looking for an amazing contemporary book with beautiful prose and a story that will really get into your heart (and see how Medical Mondays ended up helping a fellow author), please check it out!

Follow Chelsey on Twitter and her Blog

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A True Immortal on Earth

Hey guys! Today I'm blogging over at the League of Extraordinary Writers on one of my favorite books of the year and a really important topic in the scientific community. Please stop by if you can, and thanks!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Newsletters for Authors...Good or Bad?

Happy Monday, and Happy August! 

Summer is disappearing faster than my resistance to succumbing to a newfound Doctor Who obsession. (If you survived that cumbersome sentence, then I congratulate you.)

So today I wanted to talk about Newsletters. You know, those weekly/monthly messages you subscribe to (or didn't, but they come anyway...I'm talking about every single company with whom I've ever made an internet purchase. Yeah, you guys.) resulting in a colorful email that pops into your box and gives updates on stuff?

To tell you the truth, I'm a bit torn on them.

Here's the pros and cons, as I see them.

  • Good for gathering lots of news updates in one format
  • Nice for those who don't regularly check your blog or twitter about news
  • Great for family/friends who don't do social media but do email
  • Sites like MailChimp make it easy to produce professional looking newsletters for free
  • Who really clicks on that NEWS link at the top of your blog/website?
  • If done the right way, the only people who subscribe are the ones who care to read it (as opposed to sending one to everyone on your personal email address list)
  • If they don't like it, they can easily remove themselves from the email list or trash it
  • Who really reads newsletters, anyway? They just get deleted.
  • Few people will subscribe to them; social media overload is already bad enough
  • If people cared about what you were doing, they'd just check your FB/Twitter/Website
  • Another marketing thing to worry about
  • It takes time to put together (and I'm talking about an informative one that's worth looking over) even if it's made easier by newsletter sites
  • They take that whole author-as-salesperson thing a step too far.
I subscribe to several newsletters from authors I know. Some I read; some I don't. I'm torn, so in a fit of "I might as well do SOMETHING" I started collecting emails for a newsletter that I may or may not ever send. 

But honestly? I don't know if I'll ever use it. Because I would want them to have interesting content, with news that people cared about, and events that people might actually attend. Basically--I'd want to write a newsletter that was worth NOT trashing. 

So for now, I'll keep collecting emails. But be warned--you may never get a newsletter from me. Or worse--you might! 

What are your opinions on email newsletters? Good? Evil? Pixelated shades of gray?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Winners & Chia Pets

Hey guys! Thanks again so much for celebrating my authorial blurbs with the giveaway. Congrats to the three winners:

Sheri Larsen
Jaime Morrow
Ashley Jellison (who really earned this--she tweeted every single day!)

And now, on to chia seeds.

So they're a relatively new thing in healthy eating. I know, I know...can you hear the ads right now?

"Ch-ch-ch-CHIA PETS!"

If I knew there was a Hello Kitty one, I'd have bought that instead of the pig.
Click here if you have to own this. Now. 

Okay, so who owned one?

*raises hand*

So I was surprised to find chia seeds all over my local Whole Foods in the last few years. I stayed away, until I read up a little more. Some surprising facts:

  • Chia is native to Mexico and Guatemala
  • It was cultivated by the Aztecs as a major food source, as important as maize
  • Seeds are tiny, smaller than sesame seeds
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, and niacin. 
So I'm not recommending that you eat a pound of chia seeds every day. I just wanted to tell you that lately I've been adding them to my cereal and stuff...

...and I can't get that damn song out of my head. 

Anyways. Happy Thursday, and congrats again to the winners!