Writing, life, politics

Tag: twitter

A Twitter Account For Brighton

A little while ago I started1 following @ireland and @sweden on Twitter. Both are examples of what are termed Rotation Curation:

Rotation Curation, also #RotationCuration, is the concept of rotating the spokesperson on a broad scoped social media account. Such a scope can be a location, a country, an organization, a group, and so on. The concept is prominent on Twitter, but has also been ported to Instagram. The concept originated December 10, 2011, when Svenska Institutet and VisitSweden launched Curators of Sweden. The project hands the official Twitter account @Sweden to a new Swedish person every week to manage, with the expressed goal to manifest Swedish diversity and progressiveness through their own personality. [Wikipedia]


Basically, it’s like Doctor Who. Each Monday, a new person gets to run the account for the next seven days. The Twitter handle is unchanged, but they change the name to include their own name, and the icon is their picture with a common graphic overlain.

They tweet what they like: sometimes stuff about themselves; sometimes things about their country. Each weekly curator brings a new angle, shines a new light.

I’m really enjoying reading them both, and it got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be really cool if Brighton had such an account? Not only is it a vibrant city with a bucket load of culture and a strong and alternative identity, it’s got a pretty healthy tech scene to boot.

I’d love to see other people’s views of my adopted home, to get an insight into the other lives going on around me. I’ve only got the one life to live in Brighton, but it would be great to see how other people are living theirs. I think it would be interesting and informative, educational and entertaining2.

What does everyone else think? If you, like me, think this might be a cool thing then please either post here, or tweet me (@jonnynexus). I’m not volunteering to run this, partly because I haven’t got the time, but mainly because something like this needs to have proper backing and not be a one-man operation. But if there’s interest, I could try floating the idea to people who might be able to make it work.

It could happen. And it could be very cool.

1I was vaguely aware of both of them, but when my friend Brian (@natural20) got to be Ireland for the week, I ended up signing up for both of them. He talked about his work, his hobbies, about the importance of storytelling, and did an epic rant about the Catholic church. It was very cool.

2There is a similar Twitter account for the UK (@PeopleofUK) but I’m afraid that this account just doesn’t grab me. I’m not an outsider looking for a “look inside”, as I am with Ireland and Sweden, but the UK is so big that it doesn’t feel like this sort of account offers an insider’s view, either. If a person in Sweden talks about their bus journey to work being delayed, I’ll learn something about the Swedish public transportation system. If a person on our hypothetical Brighton account talked about their bus being stuck on Western Road, I’ll know to take the sea front instead. But if a person in Nottingham tells me that their bus is late, frankly, I couldn’t give a shit.

How Not To Market Your Book Via Twitter

Marketing a book is hard. I know. I’ve done it, and not necessarily that well. But the other day I came across an attempt so stunningly inept that I felt compelled to talk about – albeit with some attempt to mask identifying details, so I don’t feel like I’m being over-cruel.

The principles of using Twitter, or any social network come to that, seem to me to be pretty basic. Be honest, be yourself, engage in genuine two-way dialogue, and don’t see others purely in terms of how you can use them and what they can do for you. Other people don’t exist for your convenience alone. They have their own needs and desires, and if you’re looking to them to help you out in your needs and desires, you first need to look at how you can help them out with theirs. Entertain them. Inform them, like about the various guides and courses they can learn at LCT. Help them. Then they might help you. It’s not hard. After all, those are pretty much the rules for all networking, both on and offline.

So what was this attempt that so amused and horrified me? Well below is a screenshot where I’ve displayed the bloke’s entire Twitter history to that point on the left with, on the right, the image that he was sending links to:

Yes. He’d written an entire total of six tweets at that point, only one of which was not related to his book – and that was in text speak, which in my humble option isn’t the best choice to make if you’re trying to present yourself as a serious author. He’d made no attempt to craft any kind of online persona, but had instead simply dived in with spammy type messages sent to various organisations to advertise his book.

And what of the spammy type messages themselves? Well after starting with one that did at least have some kind of message and a link to his website, he then gave up on that and just starting sending a link to an image that contained the front cover and back cover blurb. No explanation. Just a link.

The only reason I found out about it was because I follow one of his “targets” and they did retweet it, but with an added comment explaining to him that people don’t usually click on links that come from people they don’t know and which have no accompanying text.

Writing a book is hard. It takes a lot of time and effort. After all that, I’m slightly mystified as to why someone would appear to put in so little thought and effort as to how they might market it.

A Little Twitter Love…

My first novel Game Night had a gaming theme and was consequently published by a gaming publisher, Magnum Opus Press. My second novel has a wider theme and so I’m looking to get a mainstream publisher for it – which means looking for an agent.

This is a quite depressing process.

What keeps me going is the occasional comments of approval I get about Game Night via email, Facebook and Twitter. So for purposes that consist pretty much entirely of boasting about my compliments in order to boost my fragile ego, I thought I put up some of the Twitter comments I’ve received over the last few months. (It’s only the last few months because Twitter doesn’t seem to allow me to go any further back than that).


@jonnynexus @wilw Oh, definitely. Satisfied customer over here!


I think that was in response to me saying something along the lines of thinking that Wil Wheaton would probably enjoy Game Night.


@jonnynexus Then I’ll see you at Eastercon, and add to your woes by wanting to buy a new book that you don’t have yet!


I think that was in response to me saying that my second novel was finished, but that it would be a long while before it saw publication (as I had to find an agent first, and then they would have to find a publisher).


@jonnynexus It’s OK, you’ll be at #Red11 in spirit via my love of #GameNight


That was when I said I would be at Redemption 2011 (an SF convention). I read that one out to my wife, my sister-in-law, and my mother-in-law, who were all with me when I first saw it.


@jonnynexus Just wanted to say how pleased I am to have found you on Twitter. Bought Game Night after @wilw blogged about it – loved it!


@jonnynexus Ah, it might have been @muskrat_john. If @wilw hasn’t read Game Night, then he should! I’m sure he’d love it!


@jonnynexus Sorry if I got you all excited for nothing! Still wherever I heard about it, I love the book & also bought one for my brother


That did get me a bit excited for a while about the idea of Wil Wheaton having blogged about my book, but I don’t mind that it turned out that hasn’t. Just meeans I can still look forward to him reading it. And yes, I’d be lying if I said a big (but not only, he’s a writer I really admire) part of that is the thought that he might recommend it to his 3.55 Wheatons worth of Twitter followers. And if someone’s bought Game Night twice? That’s awesome on top of awesome. That really made my day.

I really do appreciate any and all complements that come my way. Thank you to anyone who’s even helped me along with some words of encouragement.

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