Tag Archives: Twitter

The Self-Published Author as Shapeshifting Social Media Butterfly

I don’t know about you, but as a self-published author I have joined a whole damn plethora of social media sites, a great many of which I didn’t even know existed prior to this.

The name of my novel is Missing Zero. And so I’ve got the Missing Zero Facebook page, Twitter account and blog here at WordPress, too. In addition to these I’ve got other accounts, under the name of Lorem Ipsum at Pinterest and LinkedIn and a bunch of other sites like StumbleUpon and Tumblr, which I rarely use.

The reason I have these accounts ultimately is because I’m trying to make a direct connection with people. A direct connection with the greater reading public, in the first instance, possibly, but also a direct connection with people of all stations. And this is why I am currently exploring here with you the concept of the self-published author as shape-shifting social media butterfly.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. This week I have been in contact with two very different publishers, in regard to having Missing Zero published by either one of their respective publishing houses.

Now, the first of these two is a big name publishing house based in the UK. And I have so far managed to sort of get into the ear of one of this company’s head publishers. But the only way I have been able to do this was by contacting him through LinkedIn’s inmail service.

My point is that I actually joined LinkedIn for this sole purpose. As I knew of no other way of contacting this particular person, who I had earlier decided was the perfect match for publishing my novel. And this is where my idea of shapeshifting comes in.

You see, upon my joining LinkedIn, an old friend spotted my profile and sent me the following text, “OMG, you’re mainstreaming now!”

I suppose, I deserved his playful dig, because I’ve previously always stood apart from social networking practices, seeing them as an anathema to the creative life of an artist. But I’m now no longer just being a writer, you understand, I’ve shapeshifted into a she-wolf fighting for the life of one of her cubs.

Because that’s what my novel feels like to me. It feels like my offspring, and I will literally fight tooth and nail to see my progeny flourish and prosper, believe me. I will even enter the conservative, buttoned-down world of LinkedIn to promote my novel and thereby increase its chances of survival.

However, in a completely different guise again, I have also been in contact with another publisher this week, as I mentioned earlier. And I came across this particular outfit while hanging out at Twitter. Because that’s what I do at Twitter, I just hang out. Talking sh#t mostly, in 140 characters or less. My persona there is therefore not quite that of a street hustler, but certainly someone more streetwise, let’s say.

Well, anyway, I sent off a submission to this other publishing outfit. And quickly received a very favorable response. Although I’m yet to hear back about their policy regarding my novel’s currently self-published status. Gulp!

Whatever. I’m right now more interested in talking about who I’m being as I write this anyhow. Because at WordPress I believe I can just be me. There’s no need for any kind of shapeshifting on my part here. You guys get the closest thing to the real me.

And for the most part, you’ve all been totally accepting and extremely welcoming of the confusing ball of contradictions and inconsistencies that I happen to be. Really, what I’m saying is that it feels like home here for me. And I thank each and every one of you for that. Yay!

But remember, if you do happen to stumble upon me at StumbleUpon or try and pin me down at Pinterest I can be as elusive as a shapeshifting butterfly. Man, let’s simply say you really don’t want to know what I get up to at deviantART…

PS Just kidding, deviantART is one of the few sites I’m still yet to join. But give me time, and I’ll get on to it, sure enough.

PPS Just before I went to post this, I got an email from the publisher in England. Here’s what it said: “Your e[mail] made me laugh…Hope to read the script next week”

PPS Aargh! So what the hell do I do to stop going insane between now and next week? No, really I’m not joking! I’m FREAKING out here people. Anybody got any thoughts or Valium handy? Help!

Bike Butterfly

Bike Butterfly


Human, All Too Human — Putting Into Words What Makes Us Who We Are

I’ve recently become friends with a guy who is a literary anthropologist. Let’s call him Ben, for argument’s sake; although that does also happen to be his name, coincidentally enough. And anyway, as you do, I have decided to have a go at reading his doctoral thesis, in my abundant spare time, as it were.

So, having survived the learning curve of reading the 36-page introduction to his thesis proper (and I only just survived, at that, believe me), I feel I’m now in a position to share some of what I have since learnt.

To begin with, it would seem the whole subject of literary anthropology is vexed by the paradoxical nature of its dependence on deferring to language to explain the origins of language itself. A fact that makes for a whole lot of self-reflexive logic loops along the lines of the Internet meme that asks, “If two mind readers read each other’s minds, would they just be reading their own mind?”

However, be that as it may, once this fundamental paradox is understood as a given, many other deeply intriguing ideas and theoretical concepts soon come to light. Ideas that are of deep interest, I would argue, to those of us who identify ourselves as writers and therefore as the frontline upholders and protectors of language, especially the written word.

Following on from this, the most fascinating concept I have yet met with in my reading is that of the “originary event”. And in my own words (later ratified by Ben himself) this idea can be explained thus: The originary event is not only when language first emerged (out of a kind of singularity-type event), but also when we first became human.

Simply put, we became human at the same moment language discovered us or vice versa. Words make us human. There is no understanding the human animal without language. The two are one.

And that’s what I love about being a writer, ultimately. I love that as writers we have made a craft out of the very thing that makes us human. We are true humanists in the most profoundest sense.

Sure, less romantic types might cite opposable thumbs as the great distinguishing attribute of our species, but, then, such people couldn’t make their point without the use of language, could they?

You see, in theory, most primates can use their thumbs to tap out a random tweet on a smartphone, but it takes the rare genius of a writer to fit the following into 140 characters or less
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

QED. Have a banana, science nerds!

20130425-230838.jpg


“Come Up and Tweet Me Some Time” — The Internet Dating Game

You’re a writer, artist, photographer, avant garde jewellery-maker, part-time fashionista or whatever, and you want to court a following through the social media so as to “spread the word” about your product, yeah?

Well, ok, so let me break it down for you all…

Here are the 3 Stages of Internet Dating (within the context of wooing readers/followers/fans etc):

  1. Twitter: is for “chasing birds” — (flirting with your readers).
  2. FaceBook: is for forming more committed relationships — (foreplay/fooling around/possible fondling).
  3. WordPress: is for when you’re old and married and now wear your socks to bed together— (in other words, f*#king over each other).

Don’t believe me? Think about it. If you’re reading this WordPress blog at all, you’re only going to give me another 30 seconds or so to reach my point, before you switch off and start thinking about whether anyone has favorited your last tweet yet or whether you shouldn’t be updating your FaceBook status or whether a google search for free porn wouldn’t be a better option.

Go on, admit it! I’m not going to judge you. Just “Like” my FaceBook page before you leave for your dirty, little cyberspace stop-overs. Or better yet: why don’t you instead just “come up and tweet me some time”…@missingzero666Twiiter wink

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase


Attack of the Bloggers – Achieving Book Sales Through Social Media

Looking Back ~ 1958 ~ Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman

Looking Back ~ 1958 ~ Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (Photo credit: erjkprunczýk)

One Writer’s Perspective of the On-line Marketing Game

I don’t know about you, but social media is a whole new world I’ve yet to fully explore. Don’t think, though, that I haven’t already started tweeting and blogging and posting etc, because I have.

You see, as a struggling writer I’ve been led to believe the Internet can provide me with a way of connecting directly with the reading public. So I’ve started a Twitter and FaceBook account and signed onto Pinterest, StumbleUpon and WordPress, as well, to name but a few. In fact, I’ve got so many accounts now I can’t remember all the passwords and usernames I’ve had to come up with.

Ultimately, I suppose my point is that I don’t really know what I’m supposed to be doing. Once I log into the various sites I’ve signed up for, I’m immediately struck by the fact everybody else is doing the same thing. Everybody has got something they’re trying to get out there. They’re all musicians, artists and writers like myself, or worse pyramid sellers flogging their e-wares! Each site is like a virtual market place where everybody is vying to be noticed so as to promote their cause, idea or product.

At its most basic social media seems to be a numbers game. Or so I have gathered. It’s not enough to have a fantastic book, independent clothing brand or jewellery range. You have to attract followers. And you have to attract them across a range of social media platforms. Or do you? The thing is, while I have 850+ supposed FaceBook fans of my novel and 600+ Twitter followers and such, as well as a presence on YouTube and WordPress and Pinterest and the rest, I’ve only managed to sell one eBook of my novel so far. This after three months of engaging in a bloody and relentlessly ruthless viral-marketing blitzkrieg!

Don’t get me wrong! I’ve also had a bloody brilliant time doing it. Along the way, I’ve connected with every kind of person imaginable from across the planet…

But I can’t turn these connections into a profitable business. Not yet, anyway. And I don’t want you to think it’s because of a lack of engagement by my various followers/fans that’s the problem. Quite truthfully, I can report that an alarming number of them have gone so far as asking if they can join the religion that I am obviously starting. No, instilling blind devotion hasn’t been a problem. Well, other than ethically-speaking, that is.

The problem must therefore be the product itself (the novel I’m trying to sell), I hear you say. Quite possibly. Although I would prefer to think the issue is the fault of the medium I’m trying to sell it through – the various social media sites I mentioned earlier. Whatever, my novel and these sites are not a happy match.

It seems the sad fact is nobody reads books any more, I’m convinced of it. Twitter, for instance, only allows its users 450 characters at a time to get their ideas across. And I think this is a reflection of the concentration span of most people today. We’ve all got so many things competing for our attention every day that any block of words over 450 characters seems to us like an epic on the scale of War and Peace. Meaning that I can sell people on the idea of my novel (over and over again); but I can’t make anybody buy it, because they know they will never find the time to read it.

The end of Western civilisation as we know it? Not likely.The end of the novel? Who cares? Nobody but us unsigned writer-folk living in the cyber-fringes desperate for a sale. And you know what? Maybe it’s time we all learnt to lol at ourselves a whole lot more anyway, before then simply sitting back and enjoying the ride! 😉 The future is now, right?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Join me on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/missingzero666


Missing Zero – A Case of Username Envy

Envy

Envy (Photo credit: iThinkergoiMac)

The face of writing has changed forever. Due to the Internet, that is. It’s obvious, sure. But it can’t be denied that everything we do today as writers is now influenced by the vagaries of the great almighty World Wide Web. For better and worse.

Take this blog I’m writing. I don’t even know what a blog is. But I know as a self-published author I have to write one. I’ve also created a FaceBook page, a Twitter account, a Tumblr and Pinterest site and produced a YouTube video to help me promote the novel I wrote, called Missing Zero (see more links below).

Without the Internet there would be no Smashwords, granted. Or eBooks, more generally. Meaning my treasured manuscript would no doubt have been left in a bottom drawer somewhere to serve as cockroach bedding. Instead copies of my magnum opus are available for download at Smashwords, Diesel, and Barnes and Nobel for the modest price of $6.66. This being just one of the many obvious boons of the Internet for an unsigned author.

Personally, I have also somehow relished the challenge Twitter, for instance, presents of using only 140 characters at a time to convey one’s ideas. Distilling Missing Zero’s 116,000 words and central conceit to just 140 characters or less proved strangely liberating – namely “the role of Antichrist is defunct in a world so gone to hell”. Hilarious premise for a darkly-comic satirical novel, huh?

More incredible to me (a child of last century), though, is the fact I’m writing this on an iPhone, while lying on my back on the couch. Technological advances continue to make writing easier…Again, for better and worse.

Which brings me to the main point of today’s blog: username envy. Because don”t you agree with me there ought to exist a single amusing and universally-accepted word to describe it? That pissed-off feeling you get when you go to open a new Internet account only to find someone already owns your username. Damn! It happened to me just today, here at WordPress. The URL missingzero@wordpress.com was already taken! Believe me, it sucks. But what can I do? Change the title of my novel? Not f#%*ing likely!

No, the genre-bending comic masterpiece I wrote shall keep its title of Missing Zero for evermore. Unfortunately, its companion blog shall be hosted at zeromissing@wordpress.com for evermore, also. Oh well, it could be worse I could share Justin Bieber‘s sex life. Hmm…

As an experiment I just posted the following request for help on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/missingzero666 – Anyone know the Internet slang word for “username envy”? “Ah, fuck, it’s already taken!” seems a bit cumbersome. Any ideas, twitterfolk?

Within about 30 seconds someone favorited (if that’s even a word) my post. But no-one offered up the kind of zippy slang term I was after. The more observant amongst you will notice, by the way, that even my twitter account is @missingzero666 (@missingzero having already been taken). The 666 tag on the end was forced upon me, essentially. Although the story of the novel does centre around a character named Lorem Ipsum, who starts to believe he just might be the (now defunct) Beast of the Apocalypse or Antichrist, I’m not an advocate of Satanism per se.

Anyway, so, in my wider search for answers, I happened earlier upon a random username generator (http://www.jimpix.co.uk/words/username-generator.asp), where I got given malmseynosedzero as a suggested username. Who nose/knows maybe I’ll use it someday? Whatever. Either way, this conveniently leads me to my next point. Cue segue music now, please!

What I am trying to say is this: many of the characters in my novel got their names from online usernames I have used over the years. Names like Lorem Ipsum, Sdeerwf Eggeth and Missing Zero itself! I must admit I have a personal affection for Sdeerwf Eggeth, having been asked once in an Internet forum about this most unusual of names. My reply was that I believed it to be of Norwegian origin, before leaving it at that.

Yes, the face of writing has changed forever. If you don’t believe me, simply take a look at how many writers are now using social media and online hosting sites to promote their e-wares. Me included! Follow the links to see the kind of web presence I’ve started to build up around Missing Zero in just over 12 weeks. It’s a numbers game. With a world population of 7.071 billion, you only need a fraction of a percent of people to pick up on your talent and you’re away. Sure as hell beats watching your unpublished prize manuscript slowly decompose into compost in the bottom drawer of your desk. So get tweeting/posting/blogging today, right this instant. Who knows, it might be your novel that’s the next “now trending” success story…if trending is even a word, that is.

Missing Zero eBook downloads:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/missing-zero-lorem-ipsum/1114301801?ean=2940045109604

http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000256919/Ipsum-Lorem-Missing-Zero/1.html

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/256919

Missing Zero social media sites:

https://twitter.com/missingzero666

https://www.facebook.com/zeromissing?ref=hl

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/missingzero

YouTube