Tag Archives: technology

Using Twitter For Your Author Platform

Using Twitter For Your Author Platform

Twitter is a powerful tool for an author to use as part of their author platform. It is a free and easy to use announcement platform that can be tailored to supplement your book launches, let your readers know where your latest article or story has published, and a great way to show support to fellow authors or causes you love. Many people like to use Twitter to stay up to date with the news of the day or to follow people that interest them, but that should all be done on your personal Twitter account. As an author, you should have a twitter account that is linked with your blog and other writer social media outlets that serve more like an announcement feed and remains free of personal comments except for those related to your writing process or about your stories and work in general.

Signing up for Twitter is free. Simply log into the social media website and select a name for your new Twitter feed. This name should be either your author pen name or your website name. It needs to be a name that your readers can recognize and connect with you as an author. My Twitter is @wvancamp. In retrospect, I should have chosen to use my blog’s name instead because this matches my website, but being a beginner I chose to use the account I’d already started for my personal use. When this account took off, I did not wish to change to a new name and start over finding new followers. Don’t do what I did. Choose your name more carefully.

Once your Twitter account is set up, you need to start finding followers. One way to attract and keep followers is to constantly have new content appearing in your Twitter feed. These tweets could be writerly quotes, links to various posts on your blog, links to articles you feel might be interesting to your readers, or other miscellaneous information. The key to remember is that your feed needs to be 80% content of other people and 20% content of your own. Remember, you do not want to be considered a spammer. make sure that the information and links that appear on your Twitter feed appeal to the sort of readers you want to attract to your platform.

On my Twitter feed for No Wasted Ink, I have set up certain systems to automatically post to my Twitter feed. For instance, via WordPress, every post that appears on No Wasted Ink automatically appears as a link on my Twitter feed. My Facebook page is set up the same way. Whenever I post on my author Facebook page, a link to that post appears automatically on my Twitter feed. Finally, I use a free account on HootSuite to schedule post to appear on my Twitter feed based on days and times that I choose. I use HootSuite to promote guest posts, author interviews, and essays on my Twitter feed. I also promote the stories and poems that publish on Medium or in independent magazines online. In bulk, I write out the tweets ahead of time and HootSuite trickles them out, one by one, at the designated time. In this way, my Twitter feed is always active even when I am busy living my life or writing my stories. There will be times when I’m at a writer guild meeting when one of my neighbors will stop and stare at me. They will have gotten a tweet on their phone from me, yet I am seated beside them listening to a lecture alongside them. Usually, once they figure out what is going on, they smile.

Another part of my Twitter feed comes from a third-party service called Triberr. There is a free version and a paid version of Triberr. In most cases, the free version of the program is all you will need for your author platform. Triberr organizes its users into tribes. Each tribe is lead by a single leader who chooses the theme of the Triberr tribe. I seek out tribes of fellow authors or tribes of Science Fiction and Fantasy readers and writers since this is in tune with the sort of readers I wish to attract to No Wasted Ink. Once I find a tribe I like, I apply to it and wait to be accepted by the tribe’s leader as a member. This can take some time but is well worth the effort. Once I am accepted as a member, I scroll through that tribe’s post and choose the ones I would like to promote on my Twitter feed. I checked them off and this puts them into a queue. My Triberr is set up to automatically post all the articles I have chosen to Twitter. You can set it up to drip post every 20 minutes or up to five hours. I tend to not have these posts drip to quickly because I don’t like to use up my queue of posts to quickly. But if you have a large number of tribes and wish to promote other people more fully, then setting your drip to be more often could be a good idea.

This combination of automatic posts from my website, Facebook, preset tweets from HootSuite, and Triberr all create a robust Twitter feed that attracts readers, keeps them informed as to what I’m doing as an author, and entertains and informs them. In this way, not only do I keep most of the readers that subscribe to my Twitter feed, but new ones find me every day.

One last thing you should know about Twitter and using it as an announcement platform for yourself as an author is that you need to keep your list active and pruned. Twitter is set up so that you need to be balanced between the people you read and the people that follow you. When you first starting to build your list you can add as many people as you want until you have 2,000 followers. After that point, Twitter slows you down with an add limit. You can only add proximately 10% of your feed at any given time to your Twitter followers. What this means is that if you follow people who are not following you back, eventually you will not be allowed to follow new people. Would I like to do is always add people who are following me. Then once a quarter, I use a free service called Tweepi to locate people I follow who are not following me back and remove them from my following list. Remember, this is an announcement list. If the follower is not following you back, they are not getting your message and are useless to you. Another thing I look for among my followers are people who have not posted on their stream for six months or more. I consider these followers to be inactive. I also remove inactive followers from my Twitter feed.

I hope that this has given you a better understanding of how to use Twitter as part of your author platform. While Twitter is only one part of your entire platform, it is one of the more important social media services you should be tapping into. If you are an Indy Author, Twitter gives you an easy way to promote your books and stories to a wide readership. If you use hashtags and Triberr, you can expand your reach significantly. For traditional authors, many book publishers look at the following potential authors can provide in support of their books. Having a large Twitter channel in addition to your website and newsletter can prove to be an asset for your consideration by these firms. Remember, some automation to simply your posting can make Twitter easy to use and not take up your valuable writing time.

Scifaiku: White Mask

White Mask (blog)

White Mask
invisible dark face
compensates coded algorithm
false white mask

A Scifaiku by Wendy Van Camp
Illustrated by Wendy Van Camp

Scifaiku poem inspired by a TED talk about how algorithm bias doesn’t factor in certain facial types for identification purposes.  A coding problem that needs to be solved so that services will be available to everyone equally.

Scifaiku: Algorithm Bias

algorithm bias (blog)

Algorithm Bias

Identity algorithm
can not read my darkness
coded gaze

A Scifaiku by Wendy Van Camp
Illustrated by Wendy Van Camp

Scifaiku poem inspired by a TED talk about how algorithm bias doesn’t factor in certain facial types for identification purposes.  A coding problem that needs to be solved so that services will be available to everyone equally.

Using Mind Maps For Creating Novels

Mind Map with Cross Beverly Fountain PenTake a word. Place that word in the center of a sheet of paper and circle it. Let the word tease your brain. Allow related ideas, words or concepts to be inspired by this word. Write down those new ideas around the word. Draw lines to connect them. Major categories of your ideas radiate from this central node to lesser categories and sub-branches, creating a spider’s web of images, colors and text. The final form might seem to be a jumble, yet it is a direct mirror to how the human brain thinks. A mind map is a diagramming tool and is used to generate, visualize and classify ideas as well as solving plot problems, and making decisions about which way a story should progress. Your map should be visually stimulating with color coded branches and boxes.

When I’m first beginning a novel’s outline, I like to use mind maps to help generate characters and plot points. The character information will be plugged into various character sheets and the plot points and their branches are turned into outline bullet points.

Overall Plot Mind Map

    Start with a central Node, the title of your book.
    Create Hubs around it: Characters, Timeline, Settings, Plot.
    In each hub, brainstorm ideas that fit in each category.
    Turn your map into a general outline.

Next I generate mind maps for each of the points that I come up with in the hubs. Two examples are:

Character Generation Mind Map

    Write the name of your character in the center of a sheet of paper.
    Around the name, write several hubs around the name: emotions, habits, relationships, location.
    Around each of these hubs fill in the related information.
    Take this mind map and transfer the information you’ve brainstormed into your character sheet.
    Keep the mind map as a reference in the file with the character.

Plot Generation Mind Map

    Think of an moment in time that will happen in your novel.
    Create hubs around your central event node.
    Hubs: Characters in event, new events that spawn, emotions felt, character growth connected with event.
    Link each events node in a loose timeline to create a rough plot outline.

I am a paper person and write my mind maps in a composition notebook with my fountain pens. However, there are several programs that will create mind maps that are not only neatly printed, but will transfer directly into Word documents or into your Scrivener research files. One of the benefits of using these programs is that you can convert your mind map into an outline form in the program and plug this directly into Scrivener.

I have included a review of five of the the mind mapping software programs below. I have not been approached by any of the makers of these programs to review their software, this is simply my own recommendation. All of them are either free or have a basic starting program that is free of charge.


This was the first mind map program that I used when I started creating the maps. The program is free and easy to learn. I find that it is still somewhat linear in design and relies mainly on text. However, you can color code the text and branches and it does create a neat looking map. I can recommend it, but I do not find it as visually appealing as some of the other programs that are available on the Internet today.


I love the visual maps that this program creates. While it still retains the text based aspects of other software mind maps, it includes enough graphics to personalize your maps and make them more into the visual tools you need to create characters and plots. The program also will export your maps in a myriad of formats, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, PDF, Text, RTF, HTML, PNG, JEPG, GIF, BMP, and Freemind, making it easy to integrate with MS Office or Scrivener. The program has a basic version that is free and a paid upgrade if you need more features. However, I find the free version seems to work well enough for most uses.


This mind map software is probably the most minimalist in the list, but sometimes being simple is an asset. You log into the service and can create a fully functional mind map using directional arrows and the insert key to add your nodes. Once you complete your basic mind map, you may export the file to a text outline, PDF, JPG, PNG, or GIF. If you choose to upgrade from the free version, it gives you the ability to export your maps to Freemind and you can make your map searchable.


Many people say that is is one of the more intuitive mind maping software systems available today. I enjoyed the free seminars on how to use the program to not only brainstorm ideas, but to use “your online brain” to keep your information handy and to use as a planner. This is another program that offers a free version and a paid one. It is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.


Prezi is rather new to me. It is a mind map and yet it plays like a powerpoint presentation. You can add in text boxes, videos, or images to serve as your nodes and hubs. I found it fun to use as a general mind map, but I can see more applications for the program as you learn to use it. This mind map program is only online. If you use the free version, all your data is searchable on the internet, so I would not recommend it to be used for anything you wish to keep private. The paid version offers more security for your data.