My friend Miriam Halahmy has been to stay, making my house seem like a mini writing retreat for the week. Miriam is a published author of novels for children and young adults (or YA). Her cycle of novels set on Hayling Island, Hidden, Illegal and Stuffed, is published by Albury Books. I recommend these novels to anyone who is into page-turning issue-based fiction with a real feel for the lives and voices of young people; powerful stories that need to be told.
Miriam is a model of the modern writer who makes full use of the amazing resources offered by social networks. You will find her on Facebook, Linkdin and Twitter, networking away as herself, on behalf of her books and on behalf of campaigns and causes she espouses. I confess to being someone who dips in and out of social networking. I enjoy Facebook for the community it provides, the entertainment, the links to old and new friends and the information it offers, but I am not consistent. Some weeks I play with it a lot, posting snippets about work, play and articles that have caught my interest. At other times I retire into the background, ‘liking’ others’ posts and keeping a quiet eye on who is discussing what.
My Linkdin profile sits there, trying to look serious but feeling a bit unloved (by me, at any rate). As a latecomer to Twitter and one who glanced at the manual only briefly before diving in, my tweeting has been sporadic.
Miriam has changed that for me. After quick look at my little band of followers she took me in hand. She showed me how to follow not just people who interest me, but those that can help me by following me back and helping to spread the word in their own wider and relevant circles. It took her about half an hour to show me the ropes, during which time the penny dropped.
I had assumed, wrongly, that Twitter is a random medium. I now understand that it can be as strategic as any other marketing tool. I can reach people I know, people I would like to know, and people who would like to know me, if only they could find me.
All I have to do is follow someone, check out who they follow and who follows them, follow those people too, wait for them to follow me back, then have a conversation. After that, it’s a case of feeding my growing congregation with tasty tweets to keep them satisfied and give them cause to re-tweet and favourite me. It’s as simple as that. Best of all, it’s free.
In the past week my followers have more than doubled and I have had interesting DMs (Direct Messages) with several. So from this day forth, thanks to Miriam Halahmy, I vow to tweet.
Today I have the best excuse in the world; news of a brand new retreat for writers in West Cornwall. I’m teaming up with Kath Morgan, a fellow writer and tutor based on the south coast of Cornwall, and we are hosting our first retreat at Rosemerryn, a beautiful house in its own wooded grounds just 15 minutes west of Penzance. It takes place from 17-21 November at the special introductory all inclusive price of £455.00.
That’s something to tweet about.