As suggested, by almost everyone I read who self-publishes and blogs, I bit the bullet and created a Twitter account.
Twitter, I discover, is frantic, scatty, insane. And slightly scary. But wow, who knew? (You lot obviously, because you’ve been tweeting for years). It is a miracle to me that, in an instant, I am linked to people from all over the world and all walks of life.
I am stalking the followers of other authors, and following them (as advised by my marketing research). How very un-English and rude. Every emerging author is doing exactly the same, so we are basically following each other. Trying to flog our books within a continuously growing loop of writers trying to flog theirs. Not that it isn’t great to be in touch with them, because it is. I have identified with their problems, discussed potential names for a racehorse with a very nice man in Australia, and ‘met’ lots of interesting people.
I am thrilled and excited every time I get a follow-back. Checking my follower numbers obsessively. Even more delighted when I gain an unsolicited follower, even though many of these have been from other authors, or people trying to sell me dietary advice, lifestyle coaching and beauty/fashion tips. How did they know I needed all of those things? I receive numerous affirmative, life enhancing quotes to guide me through my day. So many of them that I positively float to bed of a night, buoyed up on a glorious cloud of self-belief. And aren’t pets sweet?
I am talking in hastags. My children are rolling their eyes. Tense, daring, clever, addictive and frequently amusing. That’s Twitter, not me. I wish. In my dreams that would be a review of my book (with ‘raunchy’ thrown in for good measure). I’m sure Twitter is raunchy too but I’ve almost managed to avoid that so far. I say almost, because one author I’ve been tracking (who will remain nameless here) seems to have a lot of followers using their dicks as avatars. The modern form of flashing, without the cold draft? Or possibly a character statement summed up in a simple image?
Guiltily, I have un-followed three people. A character who’s tweets were too radical for me, a girl who was younger than her picture lead me to believe (I don’t want to be accused of pedalling smut to children) and a woman who’s constant tweets about her migraine were giving me a headache. Heartless, I know, but she’d had this migraine for three days and it hadn’t stopped her tweeting 30 second updates, or watching #CBB (Celebrity Big Brother, not Children’s TV, which is what I initially thought). I made sure they had a billion followers before I un-followed them, because I would really hate to cause offence or trauma. Especially to the underage girl, who was apparently having severe parent trouble. That un-follow gave me a sleepless night, I wanted to write her a letter explaining that my un-follow was not personal.
I live in fear of re-tweeting something offensive or extremist because the message was attached to a cute picture. I tweeted a complaint to the Guardian when they failed to include the arrival of the contraceptive pill, on a timeline which did include the invention of the bra. Too late, I discovered that you can only see part of the image on your screen until you click on it. The contraceptive pill was clearly, plainly there. I tweeted an apology.
I am told I need a website and a Facebook and a Goodreads account. But I’m not entirely sure I can cope with further technological experiences at the moment. And my phone is already permanently glued to my face.