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Twitter Tuesdays: Lists

One of the questions I get most often about Twitter, especially from people who are trying to interact with Twitter for specific purposes, or who have gotten to the point where they’re following quite a large number of people, is how do you keep up with it all?

It’s a good question. Twitter is a very fast-paced environment, and once you’re deep enough in, it’s hard to catch up after being away for even an hour. (And you HAVE to step away from Twitter for much longer than that if you’re still going to have a normal, healthy life.)

Also, if you’re a writer, or any other person building a platform, chances are you’ve followed LOTS of other writers (or people in your business), and this means that a lot of the time your stream can get pretty full of … um … marketing. It’s hard to wade through this to find the stuff you really want to see.

In previous posts, I’ve discussed using an app like TweetDeck, and how to use hashtags to make columns of searches for relevant things. If you missed these, and you want to see them, click on the nifty little “Techie Tuesdays” button at the top for a list. (Thanks Morgan Dragonwillow for pushing me to do that — you really can find AWESOME people on Twitter).

Now, let’s say you’ve figured out the hashtag thing, you’ve started keeping up with some group discussions, and you’ve actually found some great people on Twitter you enjoy talking to, and you want to keep up with THEM, and not lose them in your stream.

If it’s just one person — your favorite celebrity, or your old or new BFF, you can create a column in TweetDeck just for that person. You’re going to go to the top, and click the little gray + to add a column. Then the ‘search’ box pops up. Enter your friend’s user name, and voila — all of their tweets will pop up.

Usually, though, you have  larger groups of awesome people. The group you like to write with in the evenings around six, the people you like to exchange raunchy jokes with at lunchtime, the people who always post interesting blogs about gardening, or technology in the classroom, or getting better at Twitter. Yes, for these people, there are LISTS! :)

In Twitter, you can create as many lists as you like. You can create them on the Twitter website, or right inside TweetDeck.

In TweetDeck, you can create a list by, again, clicking the gray +. When the search box opens, you will see some options on the side. One of these says “Groups/Lists.” If you click on that, you can go to the top and click new list. Here, you can name the list, and write a description of it. “Lunchtime Buddies” “Word Warriors” “Awesome People” whatever. You can also decide whether you’d like the list to be public or private.

Once you’ve made the list, you can start adding people to it. In TweetDeck, adding people is easy. You hover over their profile picture, and you’ll see little buttons appear in place of the picture. Click on the little gear that says “other actions.” You’ll get a menu that will either let you do a number of things with the tweet, or with the person. One of the options under the “person” menu is “add to list.” Click it, and add them to a list.

Once you have a list set up, you can now make a column JUST FOR THAT LIST. It’s kind of like a hashtag column, only people don’t have to be using the hashtag to show up on it.

Your assignment this week? Create at least one list. Populate it with people you love to follow, and who don’t make you wade through sales pitches. Make a column in TweetDeck for your list, and sigh a happy sigh as you keep up with people you were starting to lose track of. :)

As always, if I was confusing or if there’s something else you’d like to know, comment below! :)

Special Request!

This Friday marks T-9 weeks until the release of Thorns of Decision! :) To celebrate, starting this week, each Friday I will host an “interview” here on the blog of one of the Dusk Gate characters. Always chomping at the bit to go first is Thomas. He will be answering your questions on Friday, in his own Thomas way. If you have a special question you’d like to ask him, please comment below, and then check back for the answer on Friday. :)

Lucky 7: Lines from the 7th Page

Tonya tagged me in this fun meme, and I’m happy to play along. :)

Here are the directions:

  1. Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next seven lines (sentences??) as they are – no cheating
  4. Tag 7 other authors

My current manuscript is, of course, Thorns of Decision, which is due out June 1st. I have started initial writing on Book Four, but it’s definitely not ready for public viewing yet. :)

So here you are … this is from page 7 of the Word document — I don’t yet know what will be on page 7 of any other version. :)

“No, he doesn’t.”

“But I can’t tell him the truth!”

“Not all of it, anyway.”

She blinked. “What do you mean?”

“Okay, so obviously you can’t tell him everything. But maybe we should think of what parts you could tell him that are true.”

At that instant, the small black phone sitting next to her buzzed. The tiny sound seemed strangely ominous. Quinn jumped away from it as though it might somehow bite her.

So … guesses? This conversation is between Quinn and ? Who are they talking about? :)

Comment below if you don’t yet have a digital copy of either Seeds of Discovery or Roots of Insight. In keeping with the “7″ theme — the first 7 people to ask can have a copy of the book of their choice, in the e-format of choice (Kindle, .epub, or .pdf — basically any e-reader or computer).

Oh, and, nope, you don’t have to have the right answer to win — just ask!  But play along for fun, anyway? ;)

Now for the tagging! I can’t wait to see seven lines from some of these folks. :)

  1. Kristy K. James
  2. Cara Michaels
  3. Morgan Dragonwillow
  4. Danni Menard 
  5. Jayrod Garrett
  6. Steven P. Watson
  7. Lillie McFerrin

Linnea

Okay, since I’ve been such a slacker about new posts lately, I’ll give everyone a special sample today. :)

Linnea is one of my favorite characters, and in Chapter Six of Thorns of Decision, we finally get to hear some of the things she’s been thinking in her own POV. :)

Enjoy … let me know what you think. :)

Linnea sighed as William and Quinn followed her father down the hallway, wondering what in the world was going on now. She’d been waiting as patiently as she could for them to return, and now there was something else going on that she wasn’t a part of.

She raised an eyebrow at how closely her brother walked behind Quinn, almost as if he were ready to catch her if she stumbled. She’d seen the subtle way that things had changed between the two of them when they’d first brought Thomas home from Philotheum, and she wondered how much more things had changed while they were in Quinn’s world.

After Philotheum, Will had no longer kept his distance from Quinn – no longer spouted off his ridiculous assertions about “letting” her get “too involved” in their world, that by being torn between the two worlds, she’d get hurt in the end. As if any of that was up to any of them, anyway. She’d met Quinn. That girl was going to do what she was going to do.

Not that he was fooling anyone in the first place. Linnea and Thomas had spent countless evenings gossiping about it while Will was in Bristlecone, and wondering when he was going to wake up and realize how he really felt about Quinn.

It had been obvious from the first night the girl had arrived at the castle. Careful, observant, meticulous Will not noticing that a girl was following him closely enough to find the gate? Right. Really, it had been clear that something was up with this girl from the first time he’d ever mentioned her.

He’d talked about girls in Bristlecone before, come home and told everyone stories about the ones who tried to get his phone number, or who asked what he was doing over the weekend. That question was always good for a laugh around the fire in the evening, because wouldn’t the unfortunate girl be surprised if he told her the answer? “Wanna come over to dinner with my family in a different world? I’ll bet you’ve never been inside a castle before. Don’t worry – I’ll take you back home after we keep you for a couple of weeks.”

But when Will had first brought up Quinn Robbins, said he’d noticed her around a lot lately, and he’d been wondering if she was watching him, it had been different. When Thomas had teased him about his “new secret girlfriend,” Will hadn’t laughed. He’d been defensive of the girl – insisting that she was only curious, not like the others – that she didn’t have a crush on him.

And once they’d all met Quinn, and seen William around her, it had become quite clear that he truly wasn’t worried that she had a crush on him. Although he’d never admit it even to himself, his real worry was that she didn’t.

In the next week or two, I’m going to be looking for beta readers for “Draft Two” of Thorns of Decision. If you think you might be interested, send me an e-mail. So far, I’ve had some awesome beta readers who have really helped shape the big questions in the story into something stronger, I think. If you’ve already beta read, and you want to do some more, you’re in. Otherwise, please know that I do give preference to beta readers who have reviewed the books on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

Twitter Tuesdays #5 More About Hashtags and Columns

So, the last time I did a Twitter Tuesdays post, I got several comments and messages from people, both on the blog and off, who, until then had NO IDEA you could do columns and searches with hashtags. And really, if you’re struggling to learn how to use Twitter, or you’re trying to build a platform and still feel like you’re fumbling in the dark, it is kind of life-changing news.

Keep the comments and questions coming, guys — I really would like to be as helpful as I can in my limited scope here. :)

Again, my posts now for the most part presume that you are using TweetDeck (if you’re not using TweetDeck or another app that you like, such as HootSuite, check out my post on why I recommend using something like TweetDeck.

Another question writers (and others who build platforms on Twitter) have is — “How in the heck do you keep up with your stream?”

I follow over 1100 people. I don’t keep up with everything in the stream every day. I do try to browse through the full stream a couple of times a day to look for interesting new things, but it’s definitely the part of Twitter I neglect the most. Once I find the interesting stuff, I use columns, hashtags, and lists to help me keep up with the rest.

Hashtags

I’ve already discussed these a little bit.  A hashtag is a little way of categorizing things on Twitter so that others can find it. One really important thing to know about hashtags, is that if you include one in your tweet, ANYONE who searches that hashtag can see your tweet, even if they’re not (already!) following you. Using hashtags, therefore, can make your tweets that much more visible and powerful (if done correctly!)

For example. I’ve already told you that #wordmongering is one of my very favorite hashtags. I LOOOVE these people, and am thankful everyday for the two awesome people who created it, and got it going. So I have #wordmongering saved as a column in my TweetDeck. I created the column by clicking the little + sign in the upper-left corner. When the search bar popped up, I typed #wordmongering, and then, like magic, I had a whole column filled with #wordmongering tweets!

Now, whenever someone tweets anything with the #wordmongering hashtag, I see it, whether I follow them or not. (And usually, if they like #wordmongering, I follow them!)

This same technique works with any hashtag you see someone tweet. If you see someone in your stream type a hashtag you’re unfamiliar with, but it looks interesting, ASK! Include the hashtag when you ask, too, so you might form a quick connection with someone new. It might look like this:

You: So @personIfollow, what is #wordmongering?

Someone new: Oooh! #wordmongering is a great group of folks who write for 30 minutes at the top of each hour, then post word counts and cheer each other on!

Person you follow: Want to join?

And the next thing you know, you’ve made some new friends and become a bigger part of the Twitter community.

Did you KNOW people CHAT using hashtags?

It’s true. Because of the nature of being able to search using hashtags, oftentimes, people use particular hashtags to create chats. These can be REALLY awesome, because they’re like a huge world-wide conference call in which anyone who adds the hashtag to their tweets can participate! The chats can be a bit harder to find, because they usually run on a schedule, but again, if you’re lost ASK!

So again … take a week (or two, I know it was two weeks — I was writing, which is better than blogging! I logged over 10k new words on Thorns of Decision last week.  Besides — have you SEEN the new covers?) and practice searching for new hashtags, making columns, and interacting with folks. :)

For Writers Especially:

Here are a few more hashtags you might like to try. And PLEASE, if you have others that you love, leave them in the comments.

  • #amwriting
  • #writingsprint
  • #myWANA
  • #writechat (On Sunday afternoons, particularly)
  • #FNTWP (Only on Friday evenings, but check it out!)
  • #row80
  • #wip500

A Final Plea …

Once you’ve learned how to harness the power of hashtags, it can be a little tempting to use them gratuitously as a way to get your message across. PLEASE be respectful of hashtag communities and what the “rules” are inside them. DON’T use hashtags to spam. It won’t work, and it will likely get you blocked by people (who might otherwise have liked you and eventually bought your book/product/whatever).  For example — #wordmongering is for people who want to WRITE together. Don’t hit them up with BUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOK #wordmongering. They won’t.

Besides, if you look around long enough, you’ll find plenty of #hashtags that are fine places to spam er, market … ;)

Sample Sunday (#SampleSunday) And An Announcement …

Happy Sunday everyone! :) I hope you are all resting and preparing for a wonderful week ahead. :)

This past week has been a good one around here, with fun things happening on the Dusk Gate front. Sales have been slowly but steadily picking up for Seeds of Discovery and Roots of Insight. I’m hearing lots of great feedback, and it’s so much fun to hear from those of you who are enjoying the adventures of William, Quinn, and Thomas.

I have been busily working away on writing the next installment, which hit a very important milestone this past week. It is now more than 50 thousand words (~200 pages long). Within the next two weeks, it should be longer than Seeds of Discovery (and it will be longer!).

So, to celebrate, I have a special announcement to share with you.

(If you follow my Facebook fan page, you heard it first! Make sure you join by clicking the button at the bottom of this blog or by clicking here to like Dusk Gate on Facebook, so that you, too can hear breaking news!)

Ready?

Thorns of Decision, Book Three in the Dusk Gate Chronicles, will be released on June 1, 2012!

 

And … today’s very special #SampleSunday has an excerpt from Thorns. Enjoy! :)

 

When the path reached a thick part of the woods, William suddenly led her several yards off of it, into a hidden stand of trees. She had no idea how he knew where he was.
“Where are you taking me?” she asked.
He didn’t answer; he just kept walking. About a hundred yards later, he put his finger to his lips and pointed.
At first, Quinn couldn’t tell what he was pointing at, but as her eyes adjusted to the dimmer light in the thick trees, the shapes became sharper, and a few feet ahead of them, nestled in a tree branch just above William’s head, she could see a nest. She looked at him in surprise, and he smiled.
He made a low chirruping sound, and a second later, a familiar feathered head popped out of the nest, shiny black eyes blinking at the two of them in interest. It was Aelwyn, William’s Seeker bird. He made a different low noise, and she rose from her spot, hopped neatly over the edge of the nest, and glided down toward him, landing only about a foot away.
Now it was Aelwyn’s turn to talk, and she made a strange noise, halfway between a squawk and a whistle. William laughed, and reached into his pocket, retrieving a package of beef jerky, which he opened and tore off a piece, holding it out to the bird.
Quinn had to smile at the intricate dance between William and the bird, as Aelwyn first turned her head away from the offering, and then reached to snatch it once he knelt down low to her. As soon as she’d swallowed it, she walked right up to him, butting her head against his pocket where the rest of the treat was hidden.
At that moment, there was a loud call from overhead, and then Thomas’ bird, Sirian swooped down and landed gracefully near his mate. William withdrew the meat from his pocket, and tore it unevenly. Aelwyn eyed him warily until he tossed the larger piece in her direction. Sirian waited until she had hers, and then accepted the smaller piece.
After a few minutes, the birds had warmed up, and were strutting comfortably around the tiny clearing, and both of them even allowed Quinn to stroke their smooth heads. Up close, she was always startled by how gentle they were around people, though they were quite large hunting birds.
Once he was certain that they’d both let their guards down, William stood again and motioned for Quinn to follow as he walked toward the tree that held the nest. They’d almost reached it when Aelwyn and Sirian suddenly simultaneously flew up into the nest. Quinn shrank back, startled, but William shook his head.
“It’s okay,” he said.
Inside the nest, the two birds chattered in voices that seemed somehow amiable, and then a moment later, four smaller heads peeked over the edge, their black eyes shining curiously as they turned to examine the newcomers.
Quinn sucked in a breath. “They’re beautiful,” she said softly.

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