Thursday, April 16, 2009


Here's a story about how Twitter has either contributed to, or rode on the coattails of Mad Men's success.

Take a look. It's an interesting use of what, up to now, I had considered just another product of our self-centered society.

(He says from the comfort of his totally self-centered blog.)

But after hearing how this woman tweeted her way into a pretty good gig, it struck me that Twitter could be a great book promotion tool and yes, I totally understand that this is old news.

But this is a little different. This is tweeting in character, and engaging in a conversation with readers as, in my case, John Harper, which would be easy as Harper's voice is close to my own. I even considered tweeting in my WIP's protagonist's voice, which adds the further wrinkle of time. He would have to tweet from 1941.


This presupposes that anyone actually gives a fuck about what these characters think. But it's got to be as interesting as hearing about someone eating Froot Loops for lunch. It would be easier with a character from a best-selling series, if I had a best-selling series, or even a slow-selling series.

I had considered Twitter as something I could ignore. But if I ever get this new book out, the old man may just have to learn something new.

Have you tweeted? Was it everything you dreamed it would be? Is this tweeting in character something you'd try, or have seen others try?

Talk to me.


Mystery Dawg said...

Seth Harwood is doing this with his new podcast novel Young Junius. It is successful and helps to build readership.

Milo said...

I believe Gary Trudeau had his intrepid Fox News reporter character Roland Hedley tweet during his "reporting" of the G-20 summit.

Anonymous said...

Twitter ... i pods and phones ... Blackberries ...? Who gives a shit about this stuff? Why? Is there an ap for apathy?

Did you see Colbert interviewed on the Today Show a while back? Asked if he Twitters, he replied "Yes, I have twatted."

Beyond a side-splitting crude joke, I have no use for it.

RedTree said...

140 character chapters?

Overall, I have no use for the all the freaking details from anyone's life. But a fictional character? Well, now you're talking...

Graham Powell said...

Twitter is most interesting when several people get involved in a conversation, tweeting back and forth. Then it sort of rises above blather. Sometimes.

The Nephew said...

I think that part of her success has to do with the fact that she didn't have any connection to the show. My guess is that as soon as the show producer and writers get involved, she will have serious restrictions. As of now, the show gets all of the benefit without the cost, plus they can distance themselves whenever they want because she hasn't been contracted by them.

I'm interested to see how she manages once she gets a paying client. As you know Dave, the blog can be a serious commitment of time and energy. Sending thoughtful tweets will surely take significant effort too. I hope she gets clients that are willing to pay for the time it will take, but I'm doubtful.

Of course, as a writer, marketing your own work, this shouldn't be a problem. I think that "social networking" can be used to build an audience and successfully market a project, but it takes a bold approach.

My preference is to stay away from using Twitter for a character from 1941. It's not that it couldn't be done well, but I like things to be a little more organic. Forcing technology where it doesn't belong creates a leverage point for people to dismiss the content. (To pick up an earlier discussion, like the noise against Michael Moore deters from his message.) If not dismiss it, at least it pulls you away from being fully immersed in the story.

I think I'd rather create an outside character -perhaps a modern researcher/investigator - that can use Twitter as part of their uncovering what happened in 1941. Does that make sense? Maybe that's a little contrived, but that's the direction that feels right to me.

The key, as always, is to keep it fresh and entertaining. Anyone can have a blog or twitter account, but it's rare that someone can make me care...

Beneath the Carolina Moon said...

Twitter...what I imagine male hair stylist do while they flip celebrity hair around. I figue it to be another silly fad of people who need to get a life.