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Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Natalie here today. I have a special edition of Tip Tuesday today where I’m interviewing author Daniel Alexander about tips on using Twitter. I immediately wanted to interview him when he told me he has over 28,000 followers. Daniel is the author of three books, including a new picture book, A SWIM THROUGH SPACE, and is a motivational speaker who has spoken to high school students about staying positive and at NYU about branding and marketing. Oh and did I mention, he’s 20 years old and already accomplished all this.

In honor of Daniel’s visit, I finally did it. I joined Twitter! So be sure to follow me @NatalieIAguirre and I’ll follow you back.

Hi Daniel. Thanks so much for joining us.

1. First, tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I started writing by using twitter. At first twitter was just something I used to keep in touch with friends and upload pictures. But after you use twitter for a little bit you start to see it differently. It's a place that challenges you to get something said in only 140 characters. I shifted my view of twitter from meaningless updates to jokes and thought provoking tweets. I wrote my first book RADDDDD (http://raddddd.com/) using tweets and building off of them to create poems and short stories. I didn't like writing before but I just took a step back and realized I've loved writing all along. I just had to figure out what I loved writing about and how I wrote it.

2. That’s awesome you starting writing using Twitter. And it’s a unique way to get into it. Share about where you got your idea for A SWIM THROUGH SPACE and your Kickstarter campaign to get the funds to publish it.

A SWIM THROUGH SPACE was an idea that my girlfriend and I had. We wanted to write a children’s book but we weren't sure what it would be about. She loved space and I loved the ocean. We used this idea to create a story of two characters exploring both of them together. After a month of writing and 6 months of getting the illustrations made we finally had it done. We then went on to Kickstarter to raise the funds to self-publish it. Having a recent successful Kickstarter for my book RADDDDD I knew how it all worked and how to make it a successful one. The main thing that will make your Kickstarter successful is the time you dedicate to promoting it to your friends and readers.

3. How sweet that you and your girlfriend wrote this together. So let’s move onto Twitter. How long have you been on Twitter and how long did it take you to reach over 46,000 followers?

I've been on twitter since 2009. I didn't write any tweets until a year later in 2010. From early 2010 to fall 2012 I just used it to keep in touch with friends and didn't realize its true potential. From fall 2012 to summer 2013 I went from around 600 followers to 46,000.

4. Wow! That’s a huge increase in followers in such a short time. What did you do that helped you increase your Twitter following? What tips do you have for us as authors in growing our Twitter following?

The biggest thing is to respond to everyone and build relationships. Don't wait for people to find your work. You have to go out and connect with them. Follow a lot of people in your target audience. Interacting with everyone is just one part of the puzzle. The other is to create good content on your twitter. Don't look at twitter as just a way to market yourself but as a medium to showcase off your writing. At first it takes a little bit to get started using Twitter but as you use it more and understand how it works it will become one of your best tools.

5. Focusing on interacting and content sounds like something I can do. How much time do you spend on Twitter each day? How do you best interact with your followers?

I'm not sure of the exact time but I check it almost every hour to quickly respond to people. Usually I ask
questions about everyone’s day or what’s the coolest thing you have ever done. Making open ended questions creates a conversation. Also I have others send me pictures of their snacks and I retweet them. It's almost crazy how many people have caught on and how many I get a day. Figuring out how to create conversation between you and your audience as well as your audience and your audience is the key to being successful on Twitter.

6. That’s so interesting how you figured out something that really caught on. How do you reach out and interact with prospective readers of your books?

Following people in my target audience and building relationships with them. Soon their followers will your tweets from them retweeting it and it creates a big snowball effect.

7. Oh, I didn’t realize that other people’s followers would start following you too. So I’m an aspiring middle grade and YA fantasy writer and spend about two hours a day on this blog and reading other blogs. I want to use Twitter to interact with followers, other authors, friends, and agents and publishers. I’m a brand new to Twitter. What advice do you have for me on using Twitter without having it take hours of my day?

Find a writer or blogger similar to you and follow their followers and build relationships with them. At first it seems difficult and takes a little bit of time. Just don't look at it as a chore or something you have to do to get your work seen. Look at it as a platform to make friends and interacting with them.

8. That’s great advice to start following other writer’s followers. Is there any other advice you can share about how we can best use Twitter to reach out to others, including our readers, and to establish our brand without spamming people with only book promotion tweets?

Build relationships. By doing that they will find out about your work by themselves. Either about a link in your profile or a tweet you make. Never just send a link to someone expecting them to look at it. Why would they click it and take time out of their day to read something they aren't interested in or from someone they don't even know.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Daniel. You can find Daniel at

Here’s a blurb about A SWIM THROUGH SPACE:

"A Swim Through Space is a children's book about the story of the most happy bottle nosed dolphin in the whole ocean, Dolphin boy! He lives in the great barrier reef and explores the ocean with his friend Larry the sea turtle and Bernard the blue whale. One day by a certain chain of events Dolphin Boy meets Space Girl where they go on the most exciting journey through space."

Daniel is generously offering a copy of A SWIM THROUGH SPACE for a giveaway. o enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on September 21st. I’ll announce the winner on September 23rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for U.S./Canada residents only.

Also do you have any tips on Twitter or questions for Daniel? 

Here’s what’s coming up:

Tomorrow, I’ve got a guest post by John Lewis, the co-author of The Grey Griffins series, who is doing a kickstarter campaign to publish a fantastic anthology with the proceeds going to breast cancer research. And there will be a giveaway of the third book in this series. This is a very personal issue for me because many of my family have suffered from this terrible disease and I’m glad to support this. I'll be sharing some of my own personal experiences at the beginning of his post.

Next Monday I’m interviewing Alex Cavanaugh, one of our followers, and giving away ARCs of CASSAFIRE and CASSASTORM. This is an interesting Sci-fi series that takes Bryon from a young adult into adulthood. I don’t spotlight adult books but I’m a big following and fan of Alex and this is the last book in his series. And he’s a very successful blogger and will be sharing blogging advice with us. In these times when some writers seem to be tiring of blogging, I really feel it’s important to help each other invigorate our blogs and support each other by continuing to follow each other.

Next Wednesday I’m interviewing another follower, debut author Christina Lee, and giving away an e-book of her new fantastic adult novel, ALL OF YOU, a contemporary romantic story with great characters.

Next Friday I’m doing the Stuck In A Good Book Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great choices for you to pick from.

The following Monday I’m interviewing debut author Peggy Eddleman and giving away an ARC of SKY JUMPERS, her fantastic upper grade middle grade post- apocalyptic story. I haven’t seen any post-apocalyptic middle grade stories and I really enjoyed reading about Hope, a girl who thinks she has no talents because she’s not good at inventing like everyone else in her small town.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you tomorrow!


Charlie N. Holmberg said...

Amazing to have accomplished so much at such a young age! Thank you for the tips! I wouldn't mind a gander at that book. ;)

Laura Pauling said...

Cool. I do think the key to all social media is relationships and just being ourself! Good luck to you! Great advice.

Angela Ackerman said...

I am thrilled to find someone who built up a following like this through relationships. So many use those twitter following tools. When I didn't know what I was doing, I tried them but quickly saw it was pretty meaningless. Creating relationships and providing value is what it's all about! :)

Anonymous said...

What an interesting way to get into writing, and social media is about building relationships.

Cherie Reich said...

What fantastic Twitter tips! :)

Maria said...

Hi Casey, hi Natalie and hi Daniel,

I once took part in a writing meme in blogland in which we had to write a story in 140 characters in a photo caption. I did it many times and became surprisingly good at it.

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

Wow. That was inspiring. Thanks Daniel and Natalie. I followed you both on twitter. We already follow Casey.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Wow. 46,000 Twitter followers is wonderful. A Swim Through Space has a nice sound to it :)

Stephanie Garber said...

I'm so glad to hear you joined twitter, Natalie! Great interview! A Swim Through Space sounds like a fun book. And thanks for all the twitter tips--those were very helpful!

Rosi said...

Amazing. 46,000 followers. I find that daunting. Thanks for an interesting interview. I will take a pass on the giveaway though.

Jocelyn Rish said...

Welcome to twitter, Natalie! I've been on there a few years and have met some fun people. Wow, 46,000 followers is really impressive!

DMS said...

This was a fascinating post. I have a twitter account and use it- but it is one thing I can't still get a great handle on. Daniel gave a lot of great advice and I plan to try it out. :) Thanks so much and I wish him much success. :)