Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Writer Wednesday:
Featuring Dawn Rae Miller

I'm so happy to introduce you all to Dawn Rae Miller, a fabulous YA author and Twitter aficionado. I met Dawn through the writing boards, and I'm confident to say that she is one of the most talented authors and gracious people I've ever had the privilege to know. Here's a snippet from her bio...

In addition to writing her own books, Dawn is the ghostwriter of a commercial YA series. She also spends too much time on Twitter. So much, in fact, her agent wonders how she actually finishes things. (Answer: She never sleeps.).

When not writing or procrastinating online, she's either running, chasing after her three young sons or trying to convince her husband that he really does like vegetables.

Dawn lives in San Francisco and is member of The YA Curator blog.

Her book Larkstorm is out now, and I highly encourage you to pick up a copy. But first, let's hear from Dawn and her take on how to use Twitter effectively. Take it away, Dawn!

 A Guest Post by Dawn Rae Miller

"I’ve spent the past two weeks talking about myself, my book, and my road to publication. Frankly, I’m tired of myself.

I’ve had many conversations with fellow writers about how to use Twitter. Usually along the lines of, “Is it a giant time suck?” Can be. “Will using it drive sales?” Maybe.

But the number one thing I hear: “I don’t understand Twitter.” If you fall into this camp, you’ve come to the right person. I am a Twitter-fiend.

For those who don’t know, Twitter is an up-to-the-minute feed where anyone can post anything at anytime. It’s 100% public unless you go off-feed and direct message someone. Otherwise, everything you tweet is searchable.

The best tweeters are the ones who respond to @replies and engage in conversation. Keeping that in mind, a few general rules:

Rule number one: Don’t spam Twitter with non-stop links about your book. People want to know about you. And you are more than your book. Talk about the weather (on twitter this is socially acceptable), a funny video, and books other than yours.

This doesn’t mean you can’t mention your book, but remember: No one cares about your book as much as you do. And chances are, the people who follow you already know about it.

Rule number two: Engage. Talk to other people. It may feel weird jumping into a conversation with someone you don’t know, but people are tweeting things because they want comments. So that lady whose pet parrot has a swearing habit? @reply her.

Rule number three: Share meaningful links to things you love, find interesting, or amusing. YouTube videos, best book lists, articles about the industry. Or even pigmy goats if you’re into those. Anything you think others will enjoy too.

Okay, so now that we’ve covered the general rules, let’s get on to advance tweeting.

  • When you @reply someone, only that person AND the people following BOTH of you can see the tweet. Therefore, if you want ALL your followers to know you’ll be signing at Hot-n-Steamy books on Friday, it needs to look like this:

“@superawesomeperson I’ll be signing at Hot-n-Steamy Friday at 4pm. Thanks for asking.

Do you see the quotation mark before the person’s handle? It allows the tweet to be sent out to ALL your followers. You can use any mark - a period, comma, whatever. Just make sure you use something before the @ sign if you want to broadcast widely.

  • When tweeting links, use a tweet shortening service like Not only will this gobble up less of your 140 character limit, it allows you to track the click-thru-rate.
  • Hashtags are used to track conversations. If you were to search #yalitchat you’d find a whole stream dedicated to conversations between Young Adult writers. If you search #ebooks you’ll find tweets about - surprise – ebooks. You can do this for TV shows #DrWho, music #indiebands, and even #JustinBeiber if you really wanted.
At this point, you may be saying, “This is all fine and great, but I don’t have a ton of followers and my feed is boring. How do I get more followers?”

Don’t give in to the temptation to grow your numbers quickly by using a service. If you let your numbers grow organically – one follow at a time - you’ll find you have better interactions with people. Why? Because those people WANT to follow you and you WANT to follow them. My best advice: follow people you find interesting and @reply them. They may not follow you back immediately, but don’t despair – some people need more than one interaction to add someone.

Which leads to, “Do I have to follow everyone who follows me?” Some people feel very strongly reciprocal follows are polite. Others think it’s a waste of time.

Personally, I don’t follow everyone. When my feed has too many people in it, I miss things. Sure, I can create lists that only track certain people, but then I’m not really following everyone, am I? It’s just a sham to make sure more people follow me.

My own rule of thumb is to follow people I interact with. If someone @replies me or pops up frequently in a friend’s tweets, I usually add them.

So there you have it: Twitter explained.

Happy Tweeting and I hope to see you on twitter!"

Thanks Dawn for revealing all of Twitter's intricacies. You can find Dawn at @dawnraemiller on Twitter. And now for more about Larkstorm...
"In the years following the destructive Long Winter, when half the world’s population perished, the State remains locked in battle against the Sensitives: humans born with extra abilities.

As one of the last descendants of the State’s Founders, seventeen-year-old Lark Greene knows her place: study hard and be a model citizen so she can follow in her family’s footsteps. Her life’s been set since birth, and she’s looking forward to graduating and settling down with Beck, the boy she’s loved longer than she can remember.

However, after Beck is accused of being Sensitive and organizing an attack against Lark, he disappears. Heartbroken and convinced the State made a mistake, Lark sets out to find him and clear his name.

But what she discovers is more dangerous and frightening than Sensitives:

She must kill the boy she loves, unless he kills her first."

To learn more about Dawn check her out on facebook HERE. And to purchase your copy, of Larkstorm check out...


  1. Hi Tina and Dawn. Dawn, great tips on using Twitter. I thought I knew just about everything about it, but I was proven wrong - and picked up a few new things from your article. Thanks for sharing! And the book looks very interesting!

  2. Thanks for the tips! It cracks me up when obvious spammers have like 2000 followers--they struck the auto-follow gold mine.

  3. This is fantastic! As a Twitter newb, this is really helpful advice. Thanks, Dawn and Tina! :)

  4. Thanks Dawn, now that I signed up maybe I'll actually use it and know what the heck is going on.

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  6. Excellent Twitter advice Dawn, thanks for sharing it! I love the concept of your book. I'm off to check it out!