Lauren Sapala

Twitter Tips & Tricks

“Are you on Twitter?” I ask my new client.

“Yeah…um, well…sort of. I mean, I’m on it but I don’t use it.”

“Why not?” I ask.

The answers writers give tend to follow the same pattern:

  • I don’t know what to say
  • I’m not funny enough
  • My life isn’t interesting enough
  • I’m not good at social media
  • Who wants to read my tweets anyway?

But not one of these statements matters when it comes to building an awesome author presence on Twitter.

The key to becoming a Twitter Rockstar is that it’s not about you being impressive.

It’s about you finding your people.

But how do you put yourself out there and find your people?

One of the biggest misconceptions new users bring to Twitter is that they should be concerned with building what we call “clout.” Sure, Stephen King has over 600k followers and is only following 21 people. But you don’t have to be Stephen King to rock the Twittersphere.

You can be yourself and still build your audience. You can be 100% authentic and still promote your book and grow your writing career. Instead of focusing on pushing your advertising, your focus should be on pulling in a grassroots network of writer friends who want to support your work.

Twitter Tip #1

Check the Follower Lists of Popular Organizations in the Writing World.

Writer’s Digest, Artists and Writers, and AWP all have a mass following on Twitter. Look at who is following them and then follow the novelists, poets, freelance writers, editors, agents, and publishers who catch your eye.

Follow those Followers who share your vibe.

Zoom in on the details. If you’re a horror author, look at the Follower list of the Horror Writers Association. If you write contemporary romance, check out Chick Lit Central. Follow the people you have something in common with, and if they don’t follow you back it’s no big deal. The people you are meant to connect with will.

Twitter Tip #2 

Be Supportive and Share the Content of Others.

When you find someone on Twitter who shares your vibe take it a few steps further. Look up their About page on their website, Like them on Facebook, and subscribe to get their posts if they have a blog. Then, tweet their stuff.

Twitter is about connection.

Once you build those relationships it becomes a two-way street. The people who appreciate your help with their writing dreams will cheer you on as you pursue yours. You will build a virtual community that is compatible with you, your message, and your mission. And when you put your own content out there, members of this community will share it with their audiences.

Twitter Tip #3

Harness the Power of the List

If Twitter is like a party with millions of people in attendance, the Lists you create are rooms within the party. As you stumble across people who always tweet good stuff, or who you want to get to know better, you can add them all to one room.

Your lists should include people and organizations who only share interesting and useful tweets.

When you’re crunched for time check one of your Lists and retweet the good stuff. It only takes five minutes when you have a great List going and you’re not under so much pressure to come up with witty, insightful tweets of your own. Plus, you can actually keep up with what’s going on with a select circle of your Twitter friends instead of becoming overwhelmed by the main stream.

Twitter Tip #4

Talk to Strangers and Tell Them You Love What They’re Doing

Once you start following a lot of different writing people, you will stumble across a few who have fantastic projects going on. If you find a new indie author who’s just come out with a book that looks intriguing, tell them so. If you discover a cool writing contest devoted to charity, tell them to keep up the good work.

Be open and generous with your most positive presence and others will respond in kind.

And sometimes, they won’t. That’s okay too. Remember, your Twitter strategy is to pull in the really incredible people and the most compatible organizations. The ones who fail to connect were never going to be a good match for you anyway.

It’s just like making friends in the real world. You don’t need every single person in the virtual universe to support you as a writer, only the few who really matter.

About The Writer
Lauren Sapala is a writer and a writing coach and a social media expert. If you’re interested in improving your writing, and building your confidence as a writer, she can help you. Email her at writecitysf@gmail.com and talk to her about your writing.

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

Share this post!
EmailTwitterFacebookGoogle+RedditPinterestLinkedInWhatsAppTumblrDiggFlipboard

Think You Don’t Need a Writing Coach? Think Again.

Writers are idea people. Big picture people. We are the visionaries who weave dozens of diverse colorful threads of narrative together to create one unified story. Writing is the thing we feel born to do and the thing no one could ever take away from us. It is our true purpose in life, whether it brings us euphoria or pain. Because we push on with it no matter what, the actual writing is never the problem.

It’s all the stuff that comes along with it, that is.

And that’s where a writing coach comes in.

Every writer I work with struggles with the same issues. They have a brilliant idea but can’t seem to finish writing the book it inspired. Or they finish but then feel lost on how to handle the revisions. They want to grow their writing career but they could use help with social media and getting reviews. They feel overwhelmed in this brave new world of publishing where a writer’s name depends on forging a unique identity, and they have no idea how to go about doing just that.

A top-notch writing coach helps with all this and more by:

Working with Writers to Release Inner Blocks
Many creative people unknowingly hold themselves back and self-sabotage out of fear. By honing in on who you are and how you psychologically tick, we can start to dissolve layers of resistance and open up the mental space needed for a writer to do their best work.

Getting Writers on a Realistic Writing Schedule
We set appointments for writing time and hold writers accountable for showing up. By committing to a regular schedule of time slots and word counts, even the slowest writers will see the pages increase week by week.

Being the First and Best Reader for a Writer’s Work
A top-notch writing coach also boasts the skills of a professional-grade editor and unfailingly supportive beta reader. If you don’t know the difference between the two, this is yet another thing a great writing coach can teach you.

Navigating Writers into Community, Career, and Claiming the Writer Identity
Writing groups, writers’ conferences, writing blogs—trying to get a handle on which is for you is confusing and exhausting. Writing coaches help writers find alignment with other writers, as well as the writing community that is truly a perfect fit.

If you feel scared and unsure about your writing, we can help. If you want to take the first draft of your manuscript to the next level, we can help. If you want to become the writer you always dreamed you could be, we can help.

All you have to do is ask.

About The Author
Lauren Sapala is a fiction writer, writing coach, and blogger. She founded the Write City writing group in San Francisco, and its sister branch in Seattle. She coaches all levels of writers, helping them to discover their voices and realize their goals and dreams.  Lauren currently lives in San Francisco and is working on her fifth novel. She blogs regularly at www.laurensapala.com.

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

Share this post!
EmailTwitterFacebookGoogle+RedditPinterestLinkedInWhatsAppTumblrDiggFlipboard

Need A Writing Coach? Our Choice Is Lauren Sapala

Lauren 1Lauren Sapala

You’ve been coaching writers for years but made this a full-time business about 8 months ago. How has it been going?
It’s been really fantastic so far. I was a bit nervous because I have traditionally coached people in person, and I was worried that I might lose something of that personal connection if I worked with writers via email or Skype. But that actually hasn’t been the case at all. In fact, I’ve noticed that writers who are more on the introverted side have been seeking me out and I think it’s precisely because the option is now open to them to do things over email. I’m an introvert myself (although because I have very strong people skills I’m often mistaken for an extrovert) so it’s been really wonderful taking on more introverted clients.

Writers seem to be like athletes – they come to you in different shapes and with different talents. How do you customize your coaching based on that?
My first rule for coaching writers is: You are where you are right now, and that is exactly where you are supposed to be. Almost every writer who comes to me is focused on the future. They want to finish their novels, get published, gain more confidence, etc. That sort of drive is excellent when it comes to goal-setting, but it’s essential to accept yourself as an artist in this moment. Maybe you haven’t finished your novel yet, but you’ve shown the stamina to get those few rough chapters down. Maybe you haven’t even started your story, but you’ve got the creative brain churning out ideas. By constantly bringing the artist’s awareness back to the present and the positive as touchstones, I can help writers train themselves in resilience and solid self-esteem.

How do you conduct your writing groups? Do you set goals for the groups?
The writing groups I lead meet and write silently together for one hour. I don’t set concrete goals at the beginning of that hour because it’s not about meeting a certain word count or hitting manuscript milestones. However, I do conduct my groups with an emotional intention. My goal is to trust the writers who show up to write. I trust them to be present and do the work. I also put trust in their hopes for themselves and their dreams of a successful writing life. And the writers who show up respond to that trust almost immediately. Struggling writers are usually struggling with whether or not they have “the right” to call themselves a writer. My function is to really see their creative essence, and to recognize them as writers, along with giving them a time and place where they will be welcomed and encouraged to continue creating.

SAMSUNG

You have a great blog. It’s chock full of wonderful advice! How do you determine what you write – do you map out where you want your reader to go, or is it more spontaneous?
It’s totally spontaneous. I either write about about something that I’m currently challenged on, or an idea I’ve come across in something I’m reading that sparks my creative flame. I read a lot of fiction, and also a lot of material on human consciousness, psychology and personalities, and seekers throughout history. I don’t map out where I want my reader to go, but I do craft the emotional tone of each post on my blog to open up the heart. When the heart is open it’s much easier for writers to come away from my blog feeling like they can express themselves with true honesty, which is really the key to brilliant writing.

Dostoevsky has had a great impact on your work. Who do you see as the modern Dostoevsky?
Roberto Bolano is my modern Dostoyevsky. I read his 2666 this past year and it changed the way I thought about my own writing, and what is possible in writing. I really don’t even have the words to describe what an incredible writer he was.

What was the most notable book you’ve read this year?
Prisoner of Love by Jean Genet was a book that completely blew me away this year. It’s a memoir of sorts, about Genet’s time spent in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan in the 1970s and his time spent with the Black Panthers in the States. It’s a phenomenal recording of the instability of time and the unreliability of memory.

Do you write fiction every day?
I don’t. I actually write once a week. I’ve tried to push myself harder in the past and it just doesn’t work. I’m a very slow writer, in fact. I think of myself as this big sponge walking around, collecting all sorts of stuff and soaking up the world, and then once a week I wring myself out on the page and see what floats to the surface.

How do you set the stage for your writing practice (by editing, pacing, chewing fingernails, etc.)?
I treat it the same way as balancing my checkbook. I just sit down and make myself do it. There’s nothing romantic about it for me, it’s pure work. Work that I’m very grateful for and that I love after the fact, but work all the same. It’s like doing sit-ups. I’m not having so much fun when I’m in the middle of it, but I’m willing to put in the time to get the results.

SAMSUNG

You are based in San Francisco. How does “place” affect your writing practice?
When I moved here ten years ago I felt like I had finally come home. San Francisco is filled with eccentrics, artists, weirdos and people who just want to walk around in the streets naked. It’s also filled with ambition, innovation, and business mavericks. I love all of these things. I had been searching for a mix of exactly these things all of my life. Every picture I use on my blog is a picture I took just walking around the city, looking at stuff. I walk around San Francisco a lot and I can never get enough of it.

Do you have any writing goals for this year?
My goal is to finish the novel I’m currently working on and start another. That’s my goal every year and I do usually hit it.

How do people get in touch with you? What are your fees? Do you just work with novelists, or also with screenwriters, non-fiction writers, poets, etc.?
People usually contact me through my website, although I am also extremely active on Twitter. I work with all types of writers, but if I don’t think it’s going to be great fit, I usually know someone I can recommend for what they’re looking for. Fees vary widely. It really depends on what the writer needs and wants. Some writers are only looking for help editing a finished manuscript, while others really want to dig in and work on themselves as part of the process. I do a free consultation to determine what would be most helpful and the scope of the work.

writing

 

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

Share this post!
EmailTwitterFacebookGoogle+RedditPinterestLinkedInWhatsAppTumblrDiggFlipboard
By |January 4th, 2014|Interviews|0 Comments