Posted in Introduction

Twitter is the bar, Facebook the restaurant. Twitter for writers

Jenny O’Brien, writer

Okay I’m not putting myself up as a Twitter expert, far from it but I do get disgruntled when I hear writers bashing this very useful Social Media platform.

For me Twitter is like the bar of a large hotel, whilst Facebook is the restaurant. The bar is where you hook up with strangers, pass the time of day and swap stories and other nuggets of wisdom. The restaurant, or Facebook is where you forge these new links into online friendships. Let’s begin…

The basics

Your name, or handle: use your writer’s name or a near variation so that people can actually find you. I didn’t and now with 7,000 + followers it’s a huge regret.

Use keywords in your bio as these will help other like minded people find you. Writer, blogger, country of origin etc

Ditch the Twitter egg motif with something more personal – a photo etc, same goes for the header. I never follow anyone that hasn’t at least made an effort.

Don’t buy followers. A, it doesn’t work. B, they won’t be interested in what you have to say and will ditch you as soon as they discover it.

Add your website, or blog to your profile and make sure it links to an interesting page.

Let’s get to it

What are you trying to do? Promote your book? Find more followers? Some tips.

Search for like minded writers (similar genres) and rather than just following them start to retweet their posts. Who do they follow? Who follows them?

Twitter etiquette is important. Mindless tweets about ‘buy my book’ etc do not work. Yes, of course it’s okay to tweet your book news and if you’ve got specials and even the odd (up to 3 a day promotional tweets) but after that people will just get bored and will unfollow you. I read once about the 80:20 rule. So only 20% of posts should be self promos.

Don’t follow everyone back that follows you. As a writer you have a platform you want to cultivate. For example If you’re writing for children do you really want to follow someone with x rated posts? What would this say to your followers? There’s no and fast rules on this but all I’m saying is be careful of your image and what you want to see on your feed.

If someone says ‘no dm’s’ (direct messages) then respect that.

Auto messages: lots of people use them and they really don’t work. I’m not going to click on an external link in a DM, that would be foolhardy. Just because I follow you doesn’t mean I want your full works including the 230 essays you’ve written in how to flush the toilet. I think you’ve got the message!

Pinned posts: many writers have a post pinned to the top of their feed and this is what new followers tend to retweet so make it useful to you. Your latest book with links. A new blog post etc.

Photos: use them, lots of them. It’s proven that people retweet more posts that have photos included.

Hashtags, you know the funny # before words that streams them together? Cultivate a list that works for you and use them. People do use them to find tweets of interest

Finally I’m Scribblerjb and here’s my favourite tweet x

That’s it, hope you find this brief intro useful.

Posted in Uncategorized

Inspiration and the blank page

imageFor many would be writers the single thing that stops them setting pen to page.

As a writer of three published books, a fourth nearly finished and a fifth half finished inspiration isn’t something I’m short of, but where do the ideas come from?

Luck of course comes into it, luck and an overactive imagination. Probably the most talked about book inspiration was J K Rowland’s dream on a train journey between London and Manchester in 1990 – I wonder if she’d have ended up with a different book altogether if the journey was between Swansea and Cardiff, or Liverpool and Crewe?

For me there’s an autobiographical element –  probably 10% contain scenes that I’ve adapted from my own life. Our own lives are unique to us, our own personal page crammed full of ideas and plots. Of course much is unusable, much is repetitive rubbish that all people seem to be exposed to, but mixed within are the gems – We just need to pull them out, expand, adapt, tweak even and voila – a plot.

For example in Ideal Girl Liddy trips up Mitch in her knitting – yep, that’s happened to me, although it wasn’t a hunk like Mitch I caught – that’s a completely different story!

So I have a plot. I’ve had the plot for my sixth novel lurking around for the last six months. I have the first scene written in my head and, sitting on a beach over the weekend I plotted the second and third scene. I know the start, the start of the middle and the end. Once I have the plot I work on the location and, as I only write about places I’ve been that’s not difficult.

That’s book number six sorted, now book number seven is a completely different animal and is causing me problems. I have the central conflict honed to the nineth degree. All books need a conflict or they roll along on a stream of nothingness. A book where nothing happens is a boring book, just like a book with an unresolved conflict is a bad one. We’ve all watched movies that have fizzled out to an unsatisfactory conclusion. We’ve all shouted at the TV about time wasted on a pile of dross, we’ve all flung books across the room in disgust – don’t let this happen to your book. Choose a conflict and wrap a start, middle and end around it. Pick a location that, either you know or are prepared to research and then pick up your pen and join me on the journey of a lifetime.


About Jenny O’Brien

Jenny O’Brien was born in Ireland a very long time ago. She always wanted to write a book but decided to hone her life experiences first. One husband, three children and numerous cats later she finally went out and bought a notebook and pen! She now divides her time between Wales, France and Guernsey.
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so.
She’s also an avid collector of cats, broken laptops, dust and happy endings – two of which you’ll always find in her scribblings! You’ll find her Amazon Author’s page here