Giving, Receiving, Promotional Items and Random Acts of Kindness
by Theresa Snyder
I have always been a giver. As a very young child, the arrival of company sent me scurrying off to my room for a crayon drawing, a toy repainted with mother’s newest color of nail polish or a short poem (which no doubt would have made any Hallmark Cards writer wince). I continue to be a giver. Hopefully, my gifts have improved.
If I give a gift of one Twitter follower’s work to another follower, both benefit. For example, I purchased a photo from a photographer follower (her first sale). I gave the photo to a musician follower. Now both remember me.
I adore music and could not live without it. I have found some great musicians on Twitter. Like the authors, they are all trying to get their work heard. I want to help promote them as much as I can, purchasing their music for myself and to give to other Twitter followers.
I gave a certificate for pizza to a follower who was kind enough to edit my tweets. It was a joke and we have been friends since.
When I first started on Twitter I was amazed at how many indie authors there were. I thought, “What do they need? How can I find a place among them?” As I mentioned earlier, indie authors will sell more books if they are reviewed. When choosing a book, the surfing reader looks at the genre first, the cover image second, the description third, and the reviews fourth.
Provided you have met the criteria of receiving 10 to 25 reviews of 4-to-5 stars, there are Twitter sites which will help you promote your books at no charge. Therefore, I choose to read and review. I do my best to be an honest reviewer and the process has brought me into contact with several helpful folks. It’s called “social media” for a reason.
My follows have become friends – very kind friends. I continue to marvel at the wonderful people I meet on Twitter. I have received tea, marmalade, and candy from the UK and New York; from Idaho, a lovely needlepoint of a pink dragon, which hangs in my bedroom; marketing material from Britain and a T-shirt from Alaska.
If you have a character like Farloft it is good to take advantage of him. Farloft’s fan wear site started from an idea I had to thank his followers on “Follow Farloft Friday.” I thought I would send them a shirt or a cap. Sarah, my graphic guru, whipped out a great logo and we printed some test shirts and a mug. Then I found out how much it costs to mail something to the UK or Singapore. A pin or button was all I could afford.
I decided to take a picture of Farloft, place it in fifty-cent buttons from Craft Warehouse and mail them out to the followers. The buttons became like traveling gnomes and continue to plague Twitter to this day. Farloft has given out books by the score. From Farloft’s personal hoard, I have given Dazzlers, sparkly chains of beads to be worn in the hair. The items are small, but one is remembered by these gifts.
For those who are interested, the shirts, sweatshirts, caps, mugs, and pins went up for sale in Farloft’s store. They are print-on-demand so the company that makes them gets the lion’s share of the profit, but if someone is walking around in one of Farloft’s sweatshirts, I receive the marketing benefits. Once you have a nice logo designed, setting up a shop on Zazzle or one of the other print-on-demand sites is relatively easy.
So in closing, remember you are trying to find a place for yourself in a community that has thousands, tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of folks trying to stand out in the crowd. Pick your corner, stake your claim and make a name for yourself in your area of the community.
Theresa Snyder is a multi-genre writer with an internationally read blog. She grew up on a diet of black-and-white, sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still. She is a voracious reader and her character-driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. This is the sixth installment of her column for VoiceCatcher on self-publishing.