Sean the Blogonaut follows up last week’s post with:
Making technology work for you
I mentioned in my previous post that while you should maintain a web presence, incorporating social media that your writing needs to come first. Thankfully we live in the future and there are technical solutions to this quandary.
This post concentrates on Twitter and Paper.li and how you can bend social media to your service as a writer.
My personal approach:
I have been using twitter since Jan 15, 2008, both as a socialising tool and to promote my blogging. It’s still the highest source of referrals on my blog. Once you get beyond a couple of hundred followers though, it becomes nigh on impossible to read every tweet in your stream. It quickly looses its usefulness or becomes a huge time sink.
I quickly abandoned the default twitter web page in favour of third party software that allowed me to filter and break into columns, the various groups of people/interests I followed.
My personal preference was Tweetdeck, but there are others out their including Hootsuite and Seismic. Once you have understood the basics of twitter I’d advise checking out one of these services to streamline your twitter experience – some even incorporate posting to Facebook.
Even with the use of Tweetdeck, I found that I was missing out on a large chunk of news and information, which for a commenter on the state of Speculative fiction was a problem. Enter Paper.li
For those of you who are not aware Paper.li is a service that allows a user to collate tweets with links and automatically generates a “newspaper styled” web page each day (there are twice daily and weekly publication options), featuring these links.
There are thousands of these electronic news papers, covering all the things that people tweet about. Readers can subscribe to individual papers; they don’t even have to be on twitter. The feature list for the service continues to grow and the last few months have seen them release add-ons that allow greater control for curators.
And it’s free.
What prompted me to start a paper?
Initially, I just wanted a central location of the most tweeted information for that day so that I could quickly scan the news and blog on articles that interested me. I formed The Book Bloggers Daily – a paper that collates links from the people on my book blogger list and others who use various keywords associated with book blogging.
Aside from this rather selfish notion of collecting information for me, it soon became apparent what a great tool it could be for promoting authors and their posting or tweeting. Book Blogging was a fairly broad focus though so I stated a second paper focusing purely on Australian Speculative Fiction.
This then expanded to cover both New Zealand and English Speaking South East Asia (largely inspired by the efforts of Charles Tan). The Austral-Asian Spec-Fic Daily is its current form. The Daily is a collection of author and bloggers, tweeting on Speculative fiction and sometimes other interests as well.
I envisaged it being a great way to promote a selection of writers who are disadvantaged because of their location. Australian writers are beginning to reap rewards of exposure at various international conventions, but the American market is still elusive. English speaking South East Asian authors by contrast are almost invisible.
It’s my hope that by curating the daily it might in some way help to raise profiles. For me it creates a central location for authors to promote their work and others, without them actually doing anything but tweeting their interests.
Increased exposure without the legwork.
Should I start my own?
It’s entirely up to you. The service is free and takes almost no technical know-how. I tend to think it’s better to focus or pool resources, so if you can identify a paper that already covers your genre it’s probably worth approaching the person that collates it and asking to have your twitter handle added to their list.
On the other hand you could just construct it as a private (in the sense that you don’t promote it on twitter) paper.
Join me up, Sean!
If tweeting Speculative Fiction authors want to be added to the list they can tweet me at @seandblogonaut . If you are just interested in subscribing there’s a subscription button on the website.
I hope the article has been useful. If you’d like me to expand on any points, I’ll be lurking below in the comments.