Monthly Archives: September 2014

Twitter Timing for Beginners

twitterOkay, I have some news: Not everyone keeps the hours you do. Shock and awe baby, it’s the truth. The problem is this old world of ours is spinning through the cosmos and that means, for the sake of our collective sanity, we elect to use time zones.

That means if I get up at 8am in the UK, in China they’ve already been up 7 hours and in New York they’re still catching those zeds because it’s 3 in the morning. Time is a tricky thing when you’re messing around with the blessed Twitter.

One of the best times to get hold of people is when they are on their daily commute, particularly now many of us have smartphones and have forgotten the art of conversation. So if I tweet now, I’ll catch all those yawning, bleary eyed commuters in the UK who can’t be bothered to talk to the person sitting next to them.

But in the US they’re mostly still asleep so my message isn’t going to get through. It will probably be missed by those snoozing Yanks. The best time to get them will be in three or four hours’ time when they’ve had their decaf and cream cheese bagel.

And, yes, I do know Twitter is banned in China. But what if I want to catch the commute in other Asian countries like South Korea, Japan, or Hong Kong (and yes I know it’s a principality rather than an actual country)?

  • Generally, when timing your tweets you need to consider two things:
  • The location of your target audience.

When they are statistically more likely to be viewing their Twitter stream.
For example, take a look at Kissmetrics infographic on tweeting in the US of A.

It’s not all about catching people on their daily commute. In the UK, Twitter usage rises between 7pm and 8pm during the week but is at its highest often over the weekend. Wait! That’s not strictly true. If you are tweeting B2B then it’s different – the optimum time is during working hours, you know, when people are actually at work.

Timing can get complicated, especially if you have fans or customers all over the world. For an interesting overview of several media including Facebook, Twitter, and email, take a look at the BufferSocial breakdown of the best times to engage.

While it can be a pain in the rear end, getting to grips with timing your social media contact can help improve your visibility, increase the likelihood that your message will be shared, and generally, boost your popularity.

Indie Author: 5 Myths You Should Ignore

indie authorSince the rise of t’Internet, indie authors have been doing their stuff, scratching away with their quills and pots of jet black ink, getting it out there, and largely pretending they are writers. The same goes for photographers, painters, indie film makers, and fashion designers.
In fact, anyone with a hint of talent can now access the web and make a success of themselves. It’s as easy as logging on and writing a few lines.

Add in a fine Merlot and you’ve got the perfect recipe for being a literary superstar.

1. Indie author = Sad git who can’t get published

Back in the day (you know, way back when writers wrote under the flickering light of a candle or two) it was common practice to self-publish. It was only in later years that publishing houses came along and decided they would be the ones to choose who was worthy or not. Just because you don’t have some ponce in an office validating your work, doesn’t mean you’re less of an author.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re any good either.

2. Indie author = no chance of success

Okay, so you’re probably not going to sell millions of copies and become a world renowned scribe. But then most writers never get that chance and who wants to be famous anyway? There are, however, a growing number of writers who are making a reasonable at their chosen profession. They may not be earning the big bucks but they’re pulling in a sustainable salary, either to complement the day job or, for a lucky few, as their main income.

The trick? Good Story x Effective Social Media Marketing = Success.

Who are doing it well? I refer my friends to Amy Cross and monster aficionado Jake Bible.

3. Indie author = no one wants to read

Not true. There’s a growing audience out there for indie authors and it’s not just amongst the writing fraternity. E-readers are at their most popular and people can download what they want from a range of sites. Pique their interest and they’ll give you a go, whether you are famous or not, conventionally published or not.

4. Indie author = you have to sell yourself cheap

No you don’t. This is the big bug bear of many reasonably successful indie authors. If you want to give your book away, fine. But it’s so much better to charge a reasonable price for your work. Giving it away says: “Hey, this stinks, but go ahead and read it anyway.”
Value your work, charge the right price and be happy.

5. Indie author = It’s all down to luck

No, it’s down to hard work, research, and a host of fruitless endeavours that add up to something. If you’re not putting in the effort, stop trying to be an indie author and take up basket weaving instead. If you’re no good at basket weaving try pie eating contests. And if you don’t like that, maybe you should consider multiple murder or painting yourself the colour of sky.

Indie isn’t about luck. It’s about finding out how the whole thing works and applying that to your style and content. If you put in the hours, someday you’ll get something out. I’m not saying you’ll be the next JK Rowling, but you may just start to make a living.