J to tha M: What We’re Reading

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bad hockey romance

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J: I read a book last night

I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t sleep

so on I read

it was cute

tired trope, but still cute

M: Oh, yes?

J:  I liked the hero so much I kept going

Falling for Her Fiance by Cindi Madsen

one of those BFFs turned lovers while pretending to be engaged things

M:  I’m not a huge fan of the fake marriage or engagement trope

but I am willing to overlook a lot if I like the hero

J:  he was the everyguy

and the heroine was one of those girls I couldn’t get mad at

she had her personal issues, her reasons for holding back, but they weren’t the usual madness

they were more family and financial, which was a breath of fresh air

of course, there was past-love drama

but they weren’t villains

and the hero, adorable and likeable, just kind of fell softly

hints at how he was protective of her before realizing his feelings

how he’d drop everything for her, but not in a whipped, she-demands-it way

M:  ooh, I do like that

J:  so yeah. They were very likeable

I rooted for them

and she spends most of the story thinking he’s still in love with his ex and tries to do the right thing by letting him go

because, believe it or not, his ex is actually a nice person

M:  that’s a nice change

J:  see?

there wasn’t a thing about it that made me >.<

even as used as the trope may be

M:  I can read it if it’s done well and with originality.

make me believe, you know?

J:  yes

then there was Kathryn Quick’s Ineligible Bachelor

Also another BFF turned lovers

also cute and well done

also an adorable hero

though there was some “we hate skinny bitches”

but it worked, because, well, who doesn’t believe women who go on reality shows are looking for attention?

M:  that sounds fun and different

J:  it was cute

you know me and my fluffcloud

don’t mess with it

M:  I do tend to take a blowtorch to your fluffcloud sometimes

J:  you do

M:  I read a couple this week, but there were issues – suspension of disbelief, editing, the slightly overdone/predictable/typical dramz

but they had all the feels and really swoony heroes

Listed by Noelle Adams and Translation of Love by Alice Montalvo-Tribue

I think one was 99 cents and one was free

so, worth the shot

J:  ohhhhhh, Listed. A bucket-list marriage

bucket-list books are always iffy

M:  The heroine suffers from a mysterious virus that will kill her in 3 months

hence the suspension of disbelief. it was a little convenient, but it was explained better than I’d anticipated later in the book

J: and a reformed bad boy

fully reformed or just simmering under the surface?

M:  Oh, yes, the hero – Paul – was great

and it wasn’t insta-love or sex, but nicely developed

and he was just super swoony

super rich, of course, also convenient

but the story was pretty well-written and had a lot of feels despite that

J:  did you finish Elizabeth Hunter’s new one – Blood and Sand – already?

M: Almost done. I’ll finish this afternoon

seeeexyyy

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but yeah

I really like. That was my winner of the week, hands down

J: Also, August can’t get here soon enough for the next Kate SeRine

M: Hah – so you liked the first two in the series?

J:  jeebus, yes

M:  I love her imagination

J:  seriously

I want to roll around in it

plus her heroes are delicious

utterly

M:  They are. So sexy and masculine without being all Alphaholey

J:  yes! gah

Nate in RED was just so

so

*shiver*

dangerous and dark and sweet and…

I loved Seth in the second book, but for some reason, Nate spoke to me

the whole loving from afar thing always gets me

M:  Nate was such a perfect balance of studly and vulnerable without going too far in either direction

it’s hard to hit that perfect balance in a romance hero

how we like to see men that are sensitive but still *men*

and it seems I’ve read too many lately that have been way wrong

J:  hahahaha

the sobbing hockey player?

M:  ugh

I hate to speak ill of anyone’s hard work, I really do

especially when I know other readers are enjoying it, even if I didn’t

but…yes. I had to bail when the hero is on his bedroom floor in a ball sobbing and clutching the ring he was about to give the heroine moments before The Big Misunderstanding

and the hero’s sister, because she’s mad he hasn’t called her in two months, kicks him in the gut so hard he spends the rest of the scene puking

O.O

and >.<

Who does that?

J: I know you want me to read and form my own opinions, but life’s too short

M:  Well, a lot of people really like it, and that’s cool. It just wasn’t for me. I was barely hanging on until that point, but that was my “I’m out” moment

I don’t mind some Misunderstandings, as long as they’re somewhat reasonable and believable

but when they make me throw my hands up and be all “normal people do not DO that!”

but again, I do realize a lot of the time that’s just me

I have a tendency to, you know, ask questions, listen, and talk to people before I throw a total conniption and refuse to have any contact with them for months

J:  exactly

M:  although I haven’t had a good conniption in a while.

brb

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Calling All Readers, Writers, Editors, Publishers

Basically Everyone

call for book bloggers

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It’s been three months since the commencement of Fight for Your Write, and we’re shocked, awed, and so very pleased at the success so far. We’ve heard from true-blue marketing professionals, received fiery opinion pieces from readers, learned about writing from some amazing authors, and shared some giggles and laughs along the way, too. We only hope you’ve had as much fun as we have.

We started this thing with a bang and feel that’s the only way to continue. Without you, that’s impossible. Not just as readers, either. We’re so glad you love reading. Faithful visitors are the reason the blog has been successful so far. But we want to hear you, too. Everyone has a voice, an opinion, a lesson. Take a step, a leap of faith and share your words with us.

Some pretty incredible guests are in the queue, but there’s plenty of room for more. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, wishing you could say something, now’s your chance. Hit us up by clicking on one of the categories under So What’cha Want there on the side. You can volunteer to review a book, offer your book for review, submit a guest blog about your writing process, give marketing and publicity tips, or just unload your gripe about today’s books. We love it all.

What are you waiting for? Check the rules under I Run This Land, You Understand and send us your thoughts. We’re already obsessively checking our inbox.

J and M

J to tha M: Twitter for Marketing?

Oh, the Twitter Woes

J: Twitter is kind of driving me bonkers

M: Twitter always drives me bonkers

J:  my irritation is with authors who schedule twitter posts and then spam the hell out of people all day long with nothing but advertisements for themselves

or maybe even for others

but have zero engagement

M: some people only use it for that – promotion and marketing.

J:  and the >.< isn’t so much about scheduling posts

that’s all well and good

I use it for marketing, too

the >.< is when I open my twitter and the first 20 tweets are from the same author about various things

four times a day? fabulous!

every second? I hate you.

M: I don’t even know how to schedule tweets

J: you do use the auto post buttons from blogs

the “tweet this” feature

I actually pay attention to those

and find new books through yours

M: Oh, yeah, I do that for things I think are interesting to share or to help other people spread the word

J:  I think you’re doing it right

not only are you not posting 1,000,000 times per day about yourself

you’re using twitter to spread the word about others

M: I’m all about that

I know I “should” use it more, but I don’t enjoy it

I tried to get into it, I really did. You’re so active and in a good way on facebook, twitter

but I just can’t

J:  I do miss silly tweeting with you sometimes, but you’re not filling my timeline with auto-tweets, so we’re cool

M: what’s the point of auto tweets? Just to sell stuff?

J:  yes

M: I mean, isn’t the point of twitter to be interactive?

J:  yes

now you get me

M: well, that’s why I don’t use it so much. I don’t feel interactive enough. I like sharing cool things, or things that interest me

that might interest others

J:  but that is interactive, see? the sharing information

that’s what it’s about

YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT!

M: but here’s my thing – I hate things only being about numbers, and that’s what twitter has kind of turned into. How many followers, who unfollowed. It’s too much like cliques in high school or something sometimes

J: It doesn’t have to be that way

M: Here’s the other thing – I can’t read all the tweets. So what’s the point of having followers or being followed if no one reads them?

this is what baffles me about Twitter

I have blah-de-blah number of followers. Great.

but what good is it if no one reads my tweets?

J:  I do try to track certain people who interact with me, but I also find it rewarding to scroll through the last hour or so of my full list of follows just to see things I might have otherwise missed

but this is where I get my >.<

M: can you really read tweets of the multiple thousands of people you follow?

J:  I DO actually pay attention to all that I follow

not all the time, which is why social media experts suggest tweeting at least four times per day

to reach the optimal number of people

M: that’s the finding a balance thing, isn’t it?

what twitter and other social media were maybe originally intended for and what they’ve ended up being

I don’t like the hypocritical “I hate twitter, but I’ll use it to sell my stuff”

to me that just seems wrong

it should be about interacting with people, but it seems to be all about gaining numbers and not really caring about people behind those numbers

J:  we both use Twitter for the same reasons, which are to engage and inform. I’m more comfy sharing personal stuff than you are, but it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. Most of my personal stuff is just making fun of Liam

and I’m cool with people tweeting about their lives, too

that’s interesting

well, those who tweet everything they do are also on my list

please don’t tell me you’re folding laundry on twitter

unless it’s part of a conversation, which is a whole other story

M:   if you’re just telling people you’re folding laundry, that’s not interacting

connecting, catching up, I can totally see that

but otherwise… I don’t know

J: but I do know a lot of my followers would be interested in some of the stuff I do. probably not all of them

I mean, if you tweeted pics of your dogs, I’d look at them

because it’s you

and your dogs

M: it does go back to your original point – oversharing whether it’s personal or professional

there’s an author in my list of people I follow that is auto tweeting the exact same thing from over a year ago

the exact same marketing/promotion message for the book

o.O

that’s not only annoying, it’s lazy

J:  there!

that’s exactly what I’m talking about

M: i don’t get it. as a reader, writer, or sometimes twitter user

J:  and chances are that’s the only damn thing she/he posts

that’s where I was going with it

M: and that goes back to my question: how does that help anyone if no one actually reads it?

J:  it doesn’t

it does nothing but annoy me

so this chat is my PSA to anyone who does that

STOP

the ones in your timeline really are probably pre-scheduled

which means that author opened twitter, scheduled tweets, and then never opened twitter again

so what they’re really doing is alienating potential readers

M: well, I’m not a big Twitter user, but that’s just my weirdness, so I’m not the best judge

J:  just for that, we should tweet-read another book together

M: it’d have to be a really spectacular book to get me on Twitter. Let me go find one.

brb

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Series, Serials, and Cliffhangers

series, serial novels, and cliffhangers

Dudley Do-Right, created by Alex Anderson

J: so, I’m currently about 50% through the fourth book in Elizabeth Hunter’s series

Elemental Mysteries

and our stalking paid off

she has agreed to a guest post

M: You read three books in a week? Woo-hoo! They must be good

J: um, yes

they’re really addictive

I know I need to read up on The Painting of Porcupine City so our interview with Ben Monopoli doesn’t spoil it for me

so that’s next. I promise

M: That’s one of the things that makes series so fun. If you like them, you can pick up the next.

fun for both the reader and writer to stay in an intriguing world

J: yeah, but I’m not a fan of the cliffhanger thing. There are a few reasons for a cliffhanger, and none are good

the first is that you’re too wordy to fit everything in one book, so you split at a vital point

the second is that you aren’t sure if you created a compelling enough story to keep readers coming back for more

so you have to trick them

M: Some cliffhangers are good, to build suspense, keep the reader wanting to turn the page. I love a good cliffhanger when used like that.

What I’ve found annoying is those books that are written to end on a huge “cliffhanger” for the sole purpose of getting you to buy the next. You get 130 pages for 2.99 and the story just ends in the middle of the scene, so you have to pay another 2.99 for the next 130 pages if you want to read the rest of the story.

And then you find out there are like four “books” in the series like that

to me, those aren’t really cliffhangers. Those are just ending in the middle of a scene.

J: there is that, too

M: There are the serial novels, which is a much better alternative

I mentioned a couple I’m reading a week or so ago

Where you pay one price and get installments automatically delivered to your Kindle

J: I could get behind something like that. Would be like a TV show

M: but you know in advance the (reasonable) full price and when you’ll get the next episode

J: yeah, instead of getting to the end and finding out you have to fork over more money

M: exactly. You can make a fully informed choice from the beginning

J: i love a good series, though. I love an epic story that requires more than one book to tell

M: I wonder if the new interest in the serialized novels is a reflection of the proven popularity of fanfiction. They do follow a similar format

J: I thought that, too

are they all dramatic and soap opera-y?

do you hear “dun dun dun!” in your head when you finish an installment?

M: some are, just like any book

J: She turned to see who was at the door and gasped.

tune in next time!

M: it’s like the ending of a chapter, though. They’re ended that way to keep you turning the page

whether it’s a serial or a traditional book

J: well, I can get behind it because you know what you’re getting when you go in

M:  In that format, a cliffhanger is, I don’t know, more accepted. Expected.

When one just ends only to sucker you into buying the next…I’m not 100% sure how I feel about that, but mostly no likey

J: accepted because you know the rest is coming

I really no likey

and usually enough to abandon ship

M: Yeah. I read one like that recently. Thank goodness the first one was free – which is a whole ‘nother subject, I think. And the story was fairly good, but then, it just ended in the middle of an action scene, and the next book was 2 or 3.99. And the next, and the next.

J: >.<

M: And even though I did like the story and would have liked to read more and see what happened – oh, hell no.

J: I feel you

M: I was annoyed

as both a reader and a writer

J: and I bet a lot of people agree with us

except, of course, the authors who exploit their readers in this way

M: and then there are those novellas – which are really popular right now – that just…end

J: oh, I’m a fan of the novella. bite-size fun

M: I like them, too. I mean, I understand the shortened nature of them and how difficult it can be to get in enough character and story development, but it’s just frustrating, to enjoy a story and characters so much, for the author to have done such a good job with the rest of the story, and then…

wah, wah, wah wahhhhhhh

J: but if you have to end without an ending, you probably should have made it a full novel

M: or, you know, come up with a better ending

J: oh, yeah

or that

what I think is a fun idea are the novellas centered on side characters in a series

M: Oh, I like those, too. It’s like a special surprise bonus to revisit a world you loved and characters you want to know more about. I think it’s cool that ebooks seemed to have opened that up as an option. made it more viable.

Oh, hang on. I need to see who’s at the door

brb

**gasp**

Tune in next week!

J to tha M on Reviews, Marketing, and Cheese

What We’re Reading…or Not Reading

book reviews and author marketing

© Sutashiku | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

J: I read a book! Well, I read a couple, but my recent history suggests this is a rare thing. Of course, there was Ben Monopoli’s The Cranberry Hush. Loved. I think I might have a reader-crush on him.

M: I thought you’d like that one. Vince is very Holden-esque

J: Holden, yes. Vince, yes. But mostly the authors who created them. Also, our stalking has paid off once more. Interview with Mr. Monopoli coming soon! (We should maybe clarify that our stalking is in no way shady and almost always welcomed by the authors in question…)

M: Read his books and prepare to ask questions. There may be spoilers in the interview, but we’ll be sure to warn everyone.

J: I have The Painting of Porcupine City queued and ready to go soon. I’m also reading Elizabeth Hunter’s A Hidden Fire.

I’m only half done, but I do not hate

not even a little bit

in fact, I think I’ll love and have to order the next three immediately

M:  I love that

finding something you like and being able to read more

J:  I think you would like this one

but I’ll wait to rec until I finish

M:  I’m not a huge YA fan

they have to be pretty good

J:  it’s a vampire one

but I did not know that when I started. It doesn’t necessarily read like a YA, either.

M:  I read the beginning of an erotica BDSM trilogy by Lila Dubois. The first book was free – Undone Rebel – not sure if it still is. It was good. Not annoying, sexy

but I like a well-written, sexy story

J: it looks kind of cute, actually

M: it was

I liked both hero and heroine

cute, sexy, and free

J: one of the reviews says geek-turned-dom

tell me it’s the hero

please

M: it is

computer geek 😉

J: *dances*

i have such a soft spot for the geeks

M: geek dom

and fun

J: siiiiigh

M: I was very pleasantly surprised.

J:  I’ve got it but haven’t started it

but I will

M:  it’s definitely BDSM-y

good, though

Started a romantic suspense – jury is still out. Started pretty well, but then…

got kinda draggy and now looks like it will succumb to the Silly Romance Overreaction and Misunderstanding

I need to catch up on my reviews

which makes a good segue

I’ve gotten a few emails from authors patrolling reviews of books similar to theirs on Amazon

Sending the emails to the reviewers and asking them to read and review their book. This last one actually sent the book as a pdf attachment.

J:  I actually got a review request to my email, too

I didn’t connect the two until you said something

M:  I find this annoying.

I mean, I understand coming up with new and creative ways to get your book put there. All authors struggle with marketing.

But I’m pretty uncomfortable with people picking up my contact info from Amazon and

using it like that

And it likely violates a number of Amazon policies, not that that means much anymore

Something like that would never occur to me.

Maybe that’s why I suck at marketing myself

But I could never do anything like that, something that I find so annoying and, well, just uncomfortable

J: liam and I had a discussion about marketing the other night

I want to try a few new things in the future

M: I’d love to hear. Honestly, the only thing I’ve found that really helps is write a better book

“better” in terms of something that really connects with readers

J: we had visual aids and stuff

M: haha – omg

would have loved to see that

J: it was actually pretty funny

over dinner

a container of romano cheese

there may have been a mess to clean up

“this container of cheese represents my sphere of influence. I have reached them all. This piece of lonely cheese out here represents someone who would love my book but has no idea it exists. how do I reach that piece of cheese?”

“well, all of this cheese–” he dumps a handful on the table “–has to go tell that cheese.”

“but they don’t know that cheese. no one I know knows that cheese.”

M: mmm, cheese

word of mouth is so powerful. that’s the best way to reach people

figuring out how to get them to talk is the thing

J: that was another point. “this cheese may EVENTUALLY reach that cheese, but do we want to wait that long? how do I go directly to THAT cheese?”

J: I guess the most important thing is for people to just keep spreading the word if they find a book they like. Goodreads helps, but not everyone is on Goodreads. Same with Facebook and Twitter. You think?

M: I do. That’s why I love talking about books I enjoyed. I want other people to have a chance to enjoy, too, and help spread the word for the author.

J: So, who do we stalk this week for the blog? Whose amazing skills do we want to learn about next? Suggestions? Maybe Elizabeth Hunter?

M: Sounds good. I’m off to spread the stalk–I mean love.

brb

On Writing: The Silver Lining

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse, Swimming with Sharks, and Other Gems

Guest post by Niki  Venis

Zombie apocalypseI have a plethora of hobbies. I might even be considered a collector of them, if there’s any such thing at all. I love makeup, and creating new and artistic looks with it. I write (a lot), but I’m not a professional writer. I blog…incidentally, mostly about writing. I take photographs of things and people, for which I have a business license declaring me legal, but I’m not even a professional photographer (though, that one’s debatable depending on how you define “professional”). In fact, the only thing I can claim to be is a mother, and that’s only because I have irrefutable DNA evidence to prove that. So, when my dear friend, Jen, asked me to guest post on this blog, I spent a great many hours internally debating whether or not to even accept. What could I possibly write about that people would want to read? Furthermore, being a professional Nothing, what could I write about that people would actually take seriously? I can tell you the basic guidelines of editing a story by way of the APA, CMOS, or MLA standards, and that rarely will you find two publishing houses in agreement with the way one should properly space around ellipses, but all that would boil down to is a long-winded non-explanation followed by an exasperated sigh and conclusion of “do what you want, because it won’t be right, no matter what.” I could preach to you the usefulness of what I like to call the Tom Sawyer Technique: a basic guideline of reverse psychology and toddler manipulation that all parents need to know before their young ones turn two, but I’m sort of sadistic and rather love watching new parents, who think all those books they’ve read have prepared them for what’s to come, fail in a mushroom cloud of frustration and chaos. I can prattle on for hours on end about ISO settings and F-stops and the rule of thirds, but this isn’t a blog about photography.

So, what does that leave me to write about, then?

Well, the answer came to me rather abruptly yesterday while perusing my Facebook timeline. A friend of mine posted in her status, “If you were my Where the Wild Things Are book, where would you be hiding? To which I promptly replied, “I’d sail off through night and day, and in and out of weeks, and almost over a year.” If you know the book, which I trust you all do, you’ll recognize that line without missing a beat. This brought me to the realization that the one thing I can do, the one thing I feel confident in boasting my skills of, is reading.

I’m a reader. I don’t get paid for it, so I can’t be considered a professional, but I’ve logged many hours between the pages of books in my 28 years (and 48 months) on this planet. My literary roots reach deep, anchoring me in a way nothing else can in this world. From children’s books to classic novels, comic books to derivative fiction, I’ve even pre-read a few published and soon-to-be-published books, spanning countless genres and styles. I’m proud of the diversity of my bookshelves (both tactile and electronic).
It truly breaks my heart knowing that some of the gorgeous, life-altering and eye-opening stories I’ve read will never be shared with the world, never be available to check out at libraries or purchase from the endless rows of wisdom in basement bookstores, or the cherry-polished shelves of Barnes & Noble. Like anything that takes talent, in addition to proper connections to rise up in this world (acting, directing, singing, etc.), writing is a craft often overlooked by the general public as they reach past the freebies (or cheapies) on their way to something with a more appealing or attention grabbing cover.

By now, every person who’s reading this post is familiar with the explosion of popularity in a certain erotic trilogy. This frustrates me to no end for a number of reasons I neither have the time nor energy to get into right now, so we’ll keep it simple, shall we? From a reader’s standpoint, and someone who comes from a long line of tree-hugging hippies, I can say beyond the shadow of doubt, that those books are a travesty. Not only are they a misguided interpretation of the BDSM community, an embarrassment to hard-working, serious writers around the world, and a shameful spotlight of negativity shed on derivative fiction readers and writers in fandoms everywhere, but how many trees had to die for this cock-pushing, BDSM-shaming, woman demeaning piece of steaming…”fiction” to print and sell over 65 million copies? I can practically hear a whole rainforest crying out in protest, begging to be torn down and reincarnated as toilet plunger handles or mousetraps instead.

And now, it’s been announced that the writer (a little fast and loose with that title here, aren’t we, guys?) will soon be releasing a journal of writing tips—

Sorry. Hold, please. I just screen-sprayed chewed up Cheerio’s all over my iPhone.

As one Tweeter mentioned upon hearing this news, “A book about writing by the author of that trilogy is like a cookbook by Ronald McDonald.” Personally, I think this assessment is rather generous. At least Ronald did a bit of research before kicking the doors wide open on the fast food industry. I’m horrified for the people of the BDSM community. Having friends who are part of it has brought me a much better understanding of people who chose to live this lifestyle; an understanding that will never be gained between the pages of such a poorly written and ill researched sack of garble like this one. I’m sure by this point, the writer has seen so much critique on her (non-existent) “technique” that such opinions roll off her like beads of sweat on the forehead of a whore at the Pope’s Inauguration.

I’m always one to look for the silver lining in otherwise dreary situations. And lookie here! I’ve found quite a few different shades of it in these clouds. When the zombie apocalypse hits, we’ll have no shortage of things to shield ourselves, clothe our children, or wipe our asses with.

One can’t be taught if they simply aren’t willing to learn, as proven in this situation. For the rest of us, the writers or would-be/soon-to-be/struggling-to-be authors working hard to produce a legitimately good piece of literature, something they can be genuinely proud of for years to come, the task isn’t as simple as “Oh my,” (smut), impetuous assholeism in a supposedly lovable character, find-replace names, (repeat). It’s hard work, and, as we can learn from tiny fish in a big pond, swimming in schools is not only safer, but makes you more noticeable.

All right, so I haven’t had my second cup of coffee yet, and maybe analogies aren’t my strong suit. What I’m trying to say is don’t let the success of others, no matter how undeserving they may be, tamp down your willingness to do your very best, try your very hardest, and rise up to be the most wonderful you that you can be. Because in the end, the only person you need to compare yourself to is the one you used to be.

Make friends with other authors, and never underestimate the power in numbers. I’d love to propose a sort of “reviewing club” for lesser-known or self published writers, in which the members would take turns passing around their own books in an effort to drive up reviews and draw more attention. If you read it, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sure to love it, so the more honest, the better. There are just so many little gems I’ve had the pleasure of seeing with my own eyes that are constantly being overshadowed by far less deserving novels with the financial means to shed a brighter spotlight. Authors reviewing each other’s work, one-for-one, many tiny fish swimming together with the same common goal: be big, get noticed, and…don’t let your drive to succeed be eaten by mindless, talentless sharks.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right, even if it isn’t easy.

**

Niki Venis lives in Utah, but is neither Mormon nor Amish (however ardently Jen’s husband wishes she were.) She’s the kickass mom to some kickass boys and loves to tweet their random, scarily intelligent conversations. You can follow her on Twitter @Empty_Spaces or check out her blog.

How to Market Yourself on Twitter without Pissing People Off

Here Comes the Social Media Police

Twitter marketing tipsI’d like to start this blog post by saying that Twitter is necessary for the average (or above average) social media fanatic. So if you don’t have an account, you better get one—fast.  Twitter is a great tool to market yourself, whether it’s professionally or personally. If you’re an artist, a writer, or whatever you choose to do with your life, you should have one.

I will admit to you all that I didn’t even start using Twitter until about a year and a half ago because a friend of mine (let’s just call her “Sweet T”) told me how great it was.  I always love to see what my friends and colleagues are up to, especially if I don’t keep in regular contact with them.

Twitter is a simple way to share important information in 140 characters or less. What could be better, write? (See what I did there, y’all?) So anyway, I wanted to share with you 5 simple steps to market yourself on this little gem of a tool…without pissing people off.

1)     Keep it updated.

Don’t tweet for one day and then leave it alone for a year. Just don’t.  Not sure what to say? Perhaps mention some of the work you’re doing, links to an article you wrote (I use bitly to shorten articles), pictures of restaurants, concerts, or events you’re at, and so on and so forth. People like to know what you’re doing (and what I mean by that is, people like to creep.)  Also have a profile picture of yourself—no, not your favorite beanie baby or a photo of Snooki. YOU.

2)     Make it entertaining.

I always love it when those I’m following post things that I get a good laugh out of, even if it’s a retweet.  Love retweets. Be fearless when it comes to starting dialogue. Maybe someone will reply. Definitely don’t be rude or ignorant, because that will probably help you to lose a follower or four. Just don’t be an asshole, okay? For instance, the whole Justin Bieber/Patrick Carney incident that went down a couple weeks ago—not cool. J. Biebs, you’re a little shit. (For the record, I never liked him anyway, but now I like him even less. Patrick Carney is forever my fave, and I respect him more because of how he reacted.) More on this raging lunacy here.

3)     Post relevant content.

Keep your followers engaged in what you have to say. Depending on your occupation and interests, post content you find useful and important. I always love it when those I follow post links to articles where I may learn something new and exciting. It keeps me wanting more.

4)     Use hashtags.

Hashtags are a great way for people to search for tweets that relate to a common topic and to create a community on Twitter. Now, some people take this a little too far. Please, don’t hashtag #every #single #word. That does no one any good and completely goes against the whole point of the hashtag. If you hashtag every word you tweet, I’m pretty sure 80% of your followers will unfollow. You look like an idiot. And you should most definitely not turn what was supposed to be one sentence into one word.  Fortunately, @OhHashtagAbuse is policing Twitter for us. Don’t get caught.

social media police

5)     Do not spam your followers.

This is for your own good. If you’re one of those people who constantly posts multiple unrelated updates to a trending topic, stop it. That gets annoying real quick. Don’t set up auto-tweets to market your book/album/brand new invention and then never log in again. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t spread hate via Twitter, especially if you want to keep your followers—and perhaps convince them to buy your products.

So there you have it, folks. Five steps to market yourself via Twitter without pissing people off. I do hope that has helped you in your quest to have people not hate you or unfollow you. Peace out.

Katie Marcario is a recent Nashville transplant who loves brewing beer and drinking that beer. She works at Kaleidoscope Media as the Director of Social Media and Web Content, but loves the chance to really speak her mind when asked. You can follow Katie @KaleidoscopePR or attempt to follow her personal account @kmarcario. It’s private, though, and she might be selective about her followers. She learned that trick from Jen’s husband.

(Jen would like to add that she no longer goes by the nickname Sweet T, and hasn’t since she left the black gospel choir in Brooklyn. She won’t answer to it; don’t even try.)