Twitter Marketing for Aspiring Authors

Self-published indie authors are always looking for new ways to market themselves and their books. There are several social media tools available for this purpose. Instagram is one such tool that I covered in an earlier post. Twitter is another.

Can you use Twitter to market your book(s)?

Like with Instagram, the short answer is … yes. You certainly can. However, again like Instagram, you do have to understand a few key things going in to it.

Unlike Instagram, with Twitter, your post can link directly to your book’s page on Amazon.com or any other web page you choose. You will probably still not generate a lot of sales tweeting away on Twitter, but you will generate some. However, like Instagram, Twitter is a valuable tool for establishing yourself as an author and networking with other indie authors, publishers, or editors … sharing ideas, experiences, and writing tips as well as promoting your book in those same circles.

While Instagram is more visual, Twitter is about crafting a clever message in 280 characters. You can include images (and I usually do) but the real trick here is to try to get the reader to click the link in the tweet. Below are a few sample Tweets I created and sent out into the Twit-O-Sphere!

Note the hashtags …

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Again, it is about putting your name and your work in front of a growing audience in a way that builds your brand recognition and establishes you as an author to be remembered. And, like I stated earlier, you may actually even sell a few books.

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Other aspects to consider on Twitter

  • Hashtags – Use hashtags before relevant keywords in your tweet to categorize tweets and help them show up in Twitter searches. Clicking or tapping on a hash-tagged word in any tweet displays other Tweets that include that hashtagHashtags can be included anywhere in a Tweet. Examples: #SerpentsUnderfoot #AdirondackBearTales #writingcommunity #amwriting
  • Tags – You can also tag a specific Twitter handle to ensure that user gets the Tweet in their feed. Examples: @darrencgilbert @AdirondackAlmanac.

    This is very basic. There are some other, trickier aspects to using the @ sign in a Tweet. For more information on using the @ symbol in Tweets, just click this link here!

Twitter also has some strong and welcoming communities for writers and readers. These folks are always willing to share ideas, critiques, etc. There are groups that run little writing contests based on “prompt words” that can help you improve your writing skills … especially since you only have 280 characters!

So, jump in and get started! Join the writing community, try your hand at a few word prompts, and mostly … have fun.

One last thought …

Don’t get caught up in the race for followers. You will have offers to grow your following by the thousands … for a fee of course. Let your following grow naturally. It is far better to have 300 followers that are really interested in you and your work, than to have 3000 followers you paid for and who don’t give a rat’s ass about what you are doing.

For other interesting posts on a variety of topics, click here!

Starve a Cold and Feed a Fever

Or, is it Feed a cold and starve a fever?

I was never quite sure which it was. And, since I have spent the last few days battling a cold, or maybe the flu, I decided to check. It seems starving is never correct! A well-balanced diet can help you stay healthy and defeat either a cold or a fever! How about that? This is really good new for me because I hate to starve!

Other possible remedies

I was certainly relieved to read I did not have to starve to beat whatever it is I am dealing with. But, being a bit bored, I still looked for a few other possible cold remedies. I came across a few others that might be worth trying … or not.

The Naval Cure (I like this one)

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An author friend of mine, D (Joe) Guy, who writes fascinating tales of of romance, love and tragedy with an Italian twist is a retired Navy man. He told me they had a sure-fire cure for any cold in the Navy. You just get a bottle of good whiskey, some honey and some lemons. Then you throw away the honey and the lemons and drink the whiskey!

Cold Wet Socks?

This one did not sound very appealing to me, but many people claim it does work. All you do is soak your feet in hot water for about three minutes. Next, you wet a pair of cotton anklet socks with cold water and put them on. Then, you put thick wool socks on over those and go to bed.

Supposedly, while you sleep, the blood vessels in your cold feet will constrict and push good nutrients up to your organs to help fight the infection. Then, as your feet start to adjust and warm up, your blood vessels will dilate and help send all the “junk” from your organs into your bloodstream, allowing your body to remove it naturally.

Not sure I want to try this one, but hey … who knows? MindBodyGreen.com

Get Down to Your Local Chipotle

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Chili peppers, it seems, are what you need when you have a cold. I might be willing to try this one since I don’t have to starve and I do like spicy food!

ABCNews claims this works because chilis contain a compound called capsaicin which is an irritant as well as the thing that makes them spicy.

I guess, if you are all stuffed up, it does kind of make sense to eat something that will make your nose run and your eyes water. So, have some hot wings, spicy chili, some Korean BBQ, or hot Mexican dish. Or, maybe some chili powder in your tea or brownies. Chilis are nature’s remedy for congestion.

Okay then!

I tried the Naval Cure and I now feel a little better. Therefore, I am done with the whole cold-battling thing. I may have one more snort and then crawl off to bed.

Check out my other interesting blog posts by clicking here!

And remember, my two really awesome books for sale on amazon.com. Both are available in Kindle and paperback and both are getting great reviews! Serpents Underfoot (A Military Action Thriller) and Adirondack Bear Tales (True Life Adirondack Bear Encounters). I would be honored to have you read one or both of them. Remember to let me know what you think.

Pareto’s Rule and Isshin-ryu Karate

I was doing a little spring house cleaning and came across a few old articles from the time when I ran a karate dojo. This was from 1994 until 2007. These articles appeared on the dojo website or in our dojo newsletter. I thought a few of them were fairly interesting, so I will share them here. This first one deals with Pareto’s Rule and Karate. An old student of mine, Lynn Hodges, wrote this article.

Pareto’s Rule and Karate

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One of my older students, Lynn Hodges, after a night of working on the basic techniques of our system and the development of Chinkuchi in the techniques, went home and could not sleep until he had written these thoughts down to get them off his mind. This article is the result of that mind purge.

Ramblings and Reasoning on Pareto’s Rule and Karate
by Lynn Hodges

In many business and non-business situations, the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80-20 Rule, emerges as a statistical constant. Dr. Arthur Hafner* provides a succinct overview of Pareto’s work:

Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) was an Italian economist who, in 1906, observed that twenty percent of the Italian people owned eighty percent of their country’s accumulated wealth. Over time and through application in a variety of environments, this analytic has come to be called Pareto’s Principle, the 80-20 Rule, and the “Vital Few and Trivial Many Rule.”

Called by whatever name, this mix of 80%-20% reminds us that the relationship between input and output is not balanced. In a management context, this rule of thumb is a useful heuristic that applies when there is a question of effectiveness versus diminishing returns on effort, expense, or time.

Sensei Sherman Harrill often said “There’s not much I can’t handle with a good mid-block and reverse punch!” This suggests that the 80-20 rule might be at play in Isshin-ryu Karate. 80% of situations can be handled by 20% of our techniques. The key is figuring out what 20% are those ‘vital few.’ While the remaining 80% of our techniques would never be called trivial by any serious karateka, most would agree that there are techniques that rate as the most effective or at least the most fundamental in our empty hand arsenal. In conflict, we’d choose these vital 20% of our techniques about 80% of the time.

What are the vital few? That is the key question for karateka, and especially the Sensei. Logically, the basic physical moves must be part of that 20% since they underpin all of the techniques. These would include the sweeping step, the stances, the launching of the punch with hips rotating, the “opposite reaction” force, the Isshin-ryu fist and the fundamental bio-mechanics of balance, leverage and movement. Since the basics of Isshin-ryu karate also include punches, blocks and kicks, those are likely in the 20% and are described by the upper and lower charts. Therefore, it could be argued that the basic physical moves and the upper and lower charts make up the vital 20%.

Mastery of the vital 20% does two things. First, it allows us to handle 80% of the conflicts where we rely on karate for self defense. Secondly, it stages us with a firm foundation to engage the remaining 80% of the empty hand and weapons techniques that comprise our martial art style. Perhaps that is why the old masters insisted on learning the vital 20% first. One recalls stories of a single stance being the single lesson for a whole year!

Unfortunately, since the basics and charts are fundamental and seldom spectacular, a beginning karateka is anxious to rush through them, and get into the ‘real karate’ seen as the kata or sparring and competition. Reflection on the importance of these vital 20% will bring the serious karateka back to them for betterment and mastery. As one masters the basics and engages the remaining 80%, a lifetime cycle of continuous improvement begins. What we observe as “Improvement in the vital 20% results in considerable improvement in the remaining 80%!” It’s Pareto’s Rule at work in the dojo 

How is that for a scientific look at the built-in efficiency of karate techniques?

While most often talked about in the business world, Pareto’s Rule applies to many other aspects of our lives. This 80-20 rule seems to very accurately reflect the effort, performance, and efficiency of many human endeavors. Think about it! Where can you see Pareto’s 80-20 rule in effect in your life?

Read other great posts here! I like to blog on a variety of topics and I do try to avoid politic. This is not a political blog. So, I do apologize if it sometimes sneaks in.

Also, please be sure to check out my military action thriller, Serpents Underfoot, and my collection of Adirondack Bear Tales! Both are receiving great reviews and both are available in both Kindle and paperback formats! I would love to hear what you think about these two books.

Free Stuff … Review copies of Serpents Underfoot!

Free review copies of Serpents Underfoot are still available!

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There are a limited number of free review copies of Serpents Underfoot available on BookFunnel for anyone interested. They are in both Kindle and epub formats. The only catch is that, if you take one, I am asking you to please leave an honest review on Amazon.com.

Do you like military action thrillers written with a real sense of pride in all branches of the U.S. military? If so, you will really enjoy Serpents Underfoot.

This military action thriller is already getting great reviews, but I need a few more. Reviews are very important to self-published authors. They are also very import to Sophie, because selling more books means I can keep her in dog biscuits! And, Sophie needs her biscuits!

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So, feel free to snag a free Kindle or epub copy of Serpents Underfoot! Read it and enjoy it! Then, leave an honest review on Amazon.com … so people can read how much you enjoyed the book. This way, more people will buy the book and I can buy Sophie more biscuits!

Or, check out Adirondack Bear Tales!

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Eleven delightfully charming tales of real-life encounters with black bears in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York.

This book can now be found in the Raquette Lake Library! It is selling well and has 4 Five Star reviews to date. The Kindle version is only $2.99. You can order a copy by clicking here!

These tales would be great for sitting around the campfire, bedtime tales for children, or just some pleasant light reading when when the mood strikes. The paperback copy makes a great little gift for a reader in your life at only $5.99. Please check it out, and if you enjoy it, leave a review on Amazon.com!

Check out other great posts by clicking here!

Anne Rice … I write like Anne Rice?

I just learned I write like Anne Rice

A fellow writer shared a link on Twitter to a little analysis tool that allows you to paste in a chapter of your work or a blog post, etc., and then analyzes your writing to tell you who you write like. For kicks, I thought I would give it a try. I pasted a section of a chapter from Serpents Underfoot in the field, clicked analyze, and held my breath. A few second later, my results came back and I was informed I write like Anne Rice.

So, who is Anne Rice … in case you don’t know

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Anne Rice was born on October 4, 1941 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her first novel, Interview With The Vampire, was published in 1976 and went on the become one of the best-selling novels of all time. Her many books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history.

I admit I am not sure what to think about this. I was sure I would come back with Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, or Fredrick Forsyth … but Anne Rice? To be sure, I am not knocking Anne Rice. I have read several of the books in her Lestat series and enjoyed them immensely. I just didn’t imagine that military thriller writers would compare to a writer of metaphysical Gothic fiction, Christian literature and erotica!

If you would like to check out this little writing analysis tool, click here!

I wonder if a sample from my book, Adirondack Bear Tales, would also come back as similar to Anne’s in style? Interesting question. I may need to check that out.

By the way …

If you happen to check out one of my books, please leave a review to let me know what you think. I would certainly appreciate it! Click here to read more of my blog posts.

Vietnam Veteran, 5 Star Review & The Flesheater

Check out this great review from a Vietnam veteran!

Anyone who reads Military Fiction will enjoy this book. DC Gilbert did an excellent job developing the characters and bringing them to life. I enjoyed the beginning, being a Vietnam Veteran, and thought it added to the plot of the story. The story has depth, and the author did an excellent job in fitting in historical events. It was evident that he did his research. I am looking forward to the next one!

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A word about the sequel, Montagnard!

I added a new character to my sequel to Serpents Underfoot. This new character is amazing! He is … the Flesheater!

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Jim Hammond designed this amazing blade with input from Guru Arcenio J. Advincula. Guru Advincula is also a 1st generation Isshin-ryu Karate student of the system’s founder, Master Tatsuo Shimabuku. Sensei Advincula was a colleague and good friend of my Isshin-ryu Karate Sensei, Sherman Harrill.

Jim Hammond and AJ Advincula designed the Flesheater as a highly effective fighting knife compatible with the fundamental mechanics of both Largo-Mano Escrima and Isshin-ryu Karate.

Introducing the Flesheater.

The story of the Flesheater began when Master Chief Petty Officer Don Griffiths discussed fighting knives with his martial arts instructor, AJ Advincula. The Master Chief led the design and development research for the SEALTAC knives developed for USN Special Warfare (SEAL) Operations in the early 1980s. During one of the Master Chief’s visits to the shop, he accidentally experienced the cutting edge of the first prototype. The Master Chief exclaimed, “That knife’s a real flesh eater!” It seemed to be a very suitable moniker for the blade.

Largo-Mano Escrima

I knew of the Flesheater sometime before my introduction to its capabilities because I have attended a few of Sensei Advincula’s Isshin-ryu Karate seminars over the last several years. However, the real introduction occurred when I began practicing Largo-Mano Escrima with Richard Rosenthal, a fellow long-time Isshin-ryu Karate practitioner and a student of Escrima for the last 15 years.

Richard runs an escrima class on selected weeknights at the House of Hops in Raleigh, NC. Weather permitting, we train in the upper parking lot and then enjoy a few craft beers as well. It is a good time and a great workout!

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Of course, we don’t practice with live blades. I am partial to keeping my fingers attached to my hands. In addition, I am not too keen on being disemboweled. And, this blade excels in both areas of endeavor. Therefore, we use a hard rubber version of the blade. It is solid and will definitely leave bruises. Consequently, realism is not really an issue. Anyone interested can find the training version here. It is available from several third-party vendors.

It will be interesting to see what part this awesome blade plays in Montagnard when JD Cordell and a few of his fellow SEALs return to Vietnam on a mission that is highly personal in nature!

Certainly, whether hacking your way through a hoard of crazed terrorists, the dense jungles of Vietnam, or simply cleaning your fingernails, the Flesheater is the blade you should have on hand.

Read more great posts by clicking here!

Question: Why did you choose to write?

Is it for the money?

An important question. Writing is not a get rich quick scheme. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with seeking to earn a few buck from your writing. I must confess that it was a pleasant surprise when people began to buy my books and actually enjoyed the stories I’d written.

I just like to tell stories. So, the question for me was, how do you know people are enjoying your books? It is one thing to tell the tale! It is quite another thing when people truly enjoy your tales. Probably for me, a reader’s enjoyment is the biggest motivation behind why I write.

Question #2: How do you know people enjoy your writing.

I think this question is answered in several ways. Talking to your readers and asking them for their thoughts on your book is one thing I have done.

There is a real difference between, “I thought it was good” …

and,

… “Dude! I loved it. That part where JD spent the night trapped under the NVA tank rocked” or “that barroom fight scene was totally awesome. I loved that line … ‘my mother taught me!’ “

Reviews can also answer this question …

When a reader takes the time to write a review for something you wrote, that really means something.

1) Either they hated it (I had one reader who hated the fact that I had some adult scenes in Serpents Underfoot so much that he never finished the book and gave me a 1 Star review just so he could vent his outrage.)

2) Or, they liked your story enough to take the time to say so.

The Few, the Proud, the Marines!

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I really loved this review of Serpents Underfoot because it is from a USMC veteran. Getting a 5 Star Review from a USMC veteran for a book that includes all branches of the U.S. military including the Coast Guard, really meant something special to me. Marines are not noted for lightly giving out praise which is why this review does mean so much!

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Thriller

Definitely a five-star adventure. I was hooked from the first page and read it in one sitting. The plot, which revolved around a conspiracy to detonate nuclear bombs in the U. S., includes many unexpected twists and turns. JD quickly becomes the dominant character with Ajax a close second. I’m looking forward to the next book. ~ usmc – mike



Warning: Bears ahead!

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This 5 Star Review of Adirondack Bear Tales made me chuckle. This reader obviously enjoyed the stories and even took the time to write a carefully crafted and entertaining review! Very cool! And, very much appreciated.

Reviews like this are one of the main reasons I enjoy writing. This reader clearly enjoyed this short collection of bear tales from the Adirondacks!

5.0 out of 5 stars Could not stop reading these tales


Adirondack Bear Tales is a first-class collection of gripping encounters with Ursus Americanus. Gilbert enjoins readers with the inviting and entrancing aspects of the Adirondacks, only to rapidly transform each tale into a suspenseful and terrifying experience! Suitable for all ages, I could not put this 42 page book down. Adirondack Bear Tales is a superlative blend of family, nature, humor, and fright. ~ Eric Ewald

Pursuing reviews for the sake of pursuing reviews is probably not the best use of your time as a writer. Above all, you need to be writing. However, it doesn’t take too many reviews such as these to give you a good feeling about what you are doing! In addition, reviews such as these can be very motivational!

To read other posts on DC Gilbert’s blog … click here!

Check out Serpents Underfoot and Adirondack Bear Tales on Amazon.com

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