Weekly Ramble #147

I’m gradually moving towards preparation for my 8th book release.

‘Darke Apocalypse’ should arrive in September or early October and represents the end of a series that has held my indie career together. Whilst my focus these days is more on content outside of books, I promised myself and the handful of readers who have read this series that I would release this one next.

The truth is, the content I now produce is a product of demand from my followers but sometimes when it comes to writing and creativity, I have to follow my own demand or wants. There is always work to be done when it comes to content, social media, blogging and everything else I do but to me, books are my home. That is also without mentioning the abundance of curveballs life seems to throw me at any given time, I guess that’s just life and it is always something I have found a way to manage. Time is precious and I have learned that spending it on myself is important, especially for my own mental health.

Although this book is the 5th in a series that not a lot of people have read, I am so damn proud of how much it has carried me and what it has given me in terms of learning experiences. To have a backlist of 8 books puts me in a wonderful position and so like I have said before, watch this space kind reader because I am sure you’ll be hearing much more quite soon!

Reaching 30,000 Twitter Followers

Everyday I am on twitter. And over some years I’ve learned a lot about the platform as well as a lot about myself. Reaching 30,000 followers wasn’t a solo effort because like most social media platforms, success is mainly defined by those you interact with and others ultimately decide your success. In this post I am going to reflect on how I got to that number.

There was a time not too long ago where my tweets seemingly fell upon deaf ears. And back in April of 2020 my Twitter was nothing like it is now but then things started to gradually change. During a time of uncertainty I was granted probably the greatest gift you can give a writer; time. And looking back, I spent it figuring out the best possible way to turn my Twitter into something much more than it was. And to me, much like writing, Twitter is a journey of self discovery.

With 3,000 or so followers at that time and not a lot of engagement I dove in to the platform. Using some stuff I’d already realised about the platform’s potential and with some consistency, things began to change. It took time, it took effort and it took a boat load of constant trial and error. Everyone’s Twitter is different but the application of trial and error is something everyone can do pretty much everyday, even just for a few minutes.

From figuring out what time the majority of my following is online to see my tweets to simply learning that replying to those who reply to you is incredibly beneficial for visibility amongst so many vital lessons. The time I spent self-learning about this strange but wonderful conversation driven app started to churn out results. From book sales to blog views, from followers to friendships and even important contacts who would help me with BETA reading or even editing of future works.

I was talking and people from all over the world started listening whilst that following was gradually growing. By the end of 2020 I reached 5,000 followers and year later it was 20,000. All of this was driven by spending time and figuring out the value of being conversational. That’s all this is at the end of the day and for someone who finds dialogue a natural habitat – lets face it, most writers do. I eventually turned my Twitter into something truly worth having in my life.

Books were selling every 10 days in 2020 and today its near enough every few days which is also driven by mainly Twitter. My presence and persistence has paid off in so many ways, from building friendships to even having a purpose to those sales.

All of what I figured out gave me the best chance for others to ultimately decide my success, and if I could sum up everything I have done for people to decide my success on the platform it would simply be this:

For all the things you want to be on social media, just be kind. Kindness sticks out these days and good people will remember you for it.

To those who do follow me on Twitter, now over 30,000 of you, thank you. I’ll be recording a special celebration Twitter coaching session this week which will be free to listen to.

Below you’ll find some of my better resources for Twitter success.

Twitter Coaching Sessions – Pt 1 and 2 are Free to listen to. Sign up to listen to the rest.

Building an Algorithm of Trust – for better results on Twitter

Tips for Better Twitter Engagement

Nine Years on Twitter – What I’ve learned

Weekly Ramble #146

Just a few years back the concept of reaching 30,000 Twitter followers is something I would have laughed out loud at. Not anymore. And this journey has known zeros often but not today because I’ve reached that once impossible seeming milestone on the platform.

Of course and above all, this has not been a solo effort or journey. Much like all of my successes, they have been governed by others. And the help of others is what has pushed me to go further and dream bigger. I am nothing without the fantastic support of you and the now 30,000 followers who give me reason to keep going. This creative journey has been hard and every now and then it does bite me on the rear end but, the rewards are huge and this is a defining turning point.

But how? And what advice would I give to anyone looking to grow on social media as a creative? Just be open and do your best to build conversational bridges. My agenda has never really been to make money – I suppose that’s what has driven me to try and find something else and I have, conversation, support and consistency, they are just three of the many elements that make up the factors of my Twitter success. If you can offer something, someone out there will probably be motivated to take it. That and the sheer will to never ever give in, no matter what adversities I’ve faced internally and externally. Rewards come to those who work and keep going.

There is a hell of a lot more to come from me and you can expect a lot more content based on my Twitter experiences soon. For now, be sure to check out my Twitter Coaching Sessions here.

Thank you for the support!

Special Narration Presentation of Consistent Creative Content

‘Destiny can fall into our hands during the most unexpected of moments…’

In celebration of a year since Consistent Creative Content was released I have recorded a special narration presentation which is free to listen to. For this weekend, the book is also discounted in digital format with quite a substantial price reduction.

To everyone who has supported me and this book in the past year and of course beyond, thank you.

You can find this exclusive narration special here.

‘Sentinel: Galaxii Book 4’ by Christina Engela – Review

Immersive and enjoyable space-sci fi

Christina Engela returns with her immersive and enjoyable brand of space sci-fi in the latest instalment of the Galaxii series.

Captain ‘Sonia La Belle’ is tasked with an uphill struggle of bringing the starship I.S.S. Munray back up to better standards. With mostly disorganised personnel and the ways of a former disgraced captain leaving the ship in disarray, not to mention an old flame on the crew, this new skipper has her work cut out and then come the space pirates.

In the wake of these ‘Corsairs’ being a near enough wiped out, two particular outlaws find themselves in possession of a dooms day-esque technology that threatens not just ‘La Belle’s’ reputation but much more. A pirate resurgence begins along with a matter-of-time chase that ensues with drama and deception at the forefront of a great story delivered by way of Engela’s best writing to date. For anyone looking to for some fun space sci-fi immersion then ‘Sentinel’ is the book for you!

5 Stars – thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Weekly Ramble #145

Thank you to those who signed up to my Patreon over the weekend! For all my social media posting and effort I wasn’t sure if anyone knew about my latest venture of Twitter coaching. Social media can be hard sometimes, especially when you want to yell from the high hills about something but the algorithms and platforms tend to work in mysterious ways.

I am recording again today – another coaching session which will drop this week and will be exclusive to Patrons. Of course those who do sign up will receive regular shout outs on Twitter as well as access to a growing catalogue of exclusive content. Having something to offer regularly is the key to success on social media and whilst it can be difficult to be heard, those who do keep going will find ways to be heard. I am proof of that and even though my numbers aren’t huge, they are enough for me.

This month is the anniversary of Consistent Creative Content and soon you can expect some cool promotional things.

Have a great week!

Weekly Ramble #144

2022 has been an incredibly busy year but also quite rewarding. Last weekend saw the final performances of my 4th play which was very well received. While it is wonderful to receive great feedback it is just as wonderful seeing performers take on my writing and have a great experience with it. Some of them doing this for the first time, will probably never look back.

Not so long ago, it was me up on that stage and after choosing writing as my primary thing it gives me wonderful satisfaction to see performers enjoying themselves and even having that all-important moment when they know that performing is for them. Its even like they have found their calling and that is the resultant of art sometimes. Most creatives eventually have a positive experience which draws them back to creating and over the years I’ve had my fill.

My journey has been a series of chance encounters with creativity with each one building towards my love for writing and telling stories. Long may it continue because this writing machine never stops.

Weekly Ramble #143

It’s an incredible feeling to have an audience member approach me and say they enjoyed the play I wrote. This past weekend saw my 4th stage adaptation premiere and it was a huge success. Shows and large gatherings of audience have been absent for quite some time in my life and to see it return is very special to me.

There are many writers who live with their work in obscurity and never ever have to opportunity to see their words brought to life or even read so I consider myself lucky to have that. I am very grateful to the drama club that take on my work and bring it to life whilst also giving it a whole new meaning. As a performer way back when and now a writer, this wonderful group has always embraced my creative efforts and my writing is merely a suggestion because the final performed product is even better than I could imagine. To me, nothing beats the roar of a crowd and the bright lights that wash over the stage. Live entertainment, is the best entertainment.

This has been a busy year so far and to have good things like this is incredibly rewarding. To those involved, thank you.

Free and Discounted Books Today Only!

Book Promotion Activated! Hello kind readers and followers, I have decided to take the plunge into some book promotion to celebrate reaching 27,000 Twitter followers and you’ll be able to grab my debut horror novel Open Evening for free today but that’s not all! You can also grab the three other books in the same series for a discounted price for today only. Details are below!

Today Only Open Evening is Free!

Open Evening was my first foray into indie/self publishing and serves not just as my debut but a tribute to horror films from the early 2000’s. If you enjoyed ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and ‘The Faculty’ you’ll most likely enjoy this one. Fans of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Alien’ will also find something to enjoy about this book which is also a partly semi-autobiographical tribute to my own school days.

“As soon as you open this book, it will grab your attention!”

Recent Review by Ellen Khodakivska

This book is also just the beginning of my wider occult Order of the Following Series with the 5th book planned for release soon. The three titles from that series are exclusively discounted today in digital format.

Head on over to Amazon and give one of the above titles a search to grab yourself some discounted or free goodness and if you do, remember to leave a review! Peace out!

The Twitter Bar Analogy: Creating a Nice place to be…

The majority of people enjoy nice experiences and the same can be said for most people on social media. A nice or pleasant social media experience can lead to so many possibilities from making new friends and connections, to even earning someone else’s trust or perhaps making a sale. Subconsciously and over many years, I made my social media presence across the platforms a nice place for my followers to hang out. This was also driven by how welcome I have been made to feel by so many others. Because social media is sometimes viewed in a negative light for many reasons, being pleasant tends to stand out.

I’m going to use this post to talk about Twitter in particular and how for me it compares to a bar or pub. Those who know me will also know I love an analogy! As of today my Twitter stands at nearly 30,000+ followers and it is also my primary method to sell books. Every day I am present on the platform and regularly my posts are seen by lots of people everyday. Twitter presents a wonderful opportunity for anyone to speak and find others to connect with pretty much instantly. For those of the writing persuasion, its a natural fit as Tweeting is mostly dialogue and whether you write fiction or news articles, poetry or screenplays – dialogue turns that Twitter machine.

Artwork via Pixabay

Think of your favourite bar, pub or restaurant – a place you’ve had a nice experience and would most probably return to. Now I want you to think why you enjoyed your time there and what factors made the experience worthwhile. The same can pretty much be applied to who you engage with on Twitter and how you engage with them. We’re going to look at why a good experience in a hospitality setting is similar to Twitter.

First Impressions – The Basics

Imagine if you will, the first thing you see when heading out for the evening is the venue and of course the signage for the bar/pub/place outside – for Twitter this is your profile. From your handle to profile picture, banner and pinned Tweet and recent tweets. All of this comes into account when someone has been intrigued enough to check out your profile. Much like the physical building of the bar you face, does your profile resemble what you expect a decent approachable venue to look like?

From the signage (your name, handle and bio – are they clear in what you are about?) to just the general look of the place (your profile picture and banner – are they professional looking or at least friendly/approachable in appearance while also relaying what you have to offer?) There’s a sign outside advertising two for one cocktails (your pinned tweet – does it relay what you are about? – it could be a link to your book or something recently compelling that you want an audience to know about.) You have a pinned tweet right?

All of these basic visual things are first impressions. And most of us know that first impressions are quite important. Getting the balance on all of the above is the difference between being followed or engaged with or not. Before anything else you need engagement and your profile is key to that.

Yep, that’s me trying to be artistic

Heading Inside – Conduct

Most visitors to a bar or hospitality venue will decide within the first few steps whether or not they are going to spend extended time there. In those settings there are a bunch of inputs like lighting, odour, sights, noise, décor and layout but the same can also be applied to your Twitter. This is the part where a potential follower has scrolled down your profile to check out some recent tweets.

Near enough everything on my Twitter is governed by what I tweet about and so if your subject matter and content isn’t inviting it won’t receive any engagement. I generally Tweet about something that inspires, informs, entertains, gives value or has some kind of incentive – the more of these five elements of conduct a tweet has, the better. And the best way to figure out what works is to spend time Tweeting things that include this stuff while also being approachable. Someone who has a feed full of links probably won’t get much engagement much like someone who tweets about angry stuff or heavily opinionated stuff. We want to make solid connections here who might be our customers some day or they might even help us someday or vice-versa. Keeping things relatively light most of the time will make a good impression.

So as for this bar, you’ve stepped inside to see the lighting is ambient, the layout is clear, there are no bad smells, the customers aren’t noisy or hostile and the staff are inviting. You take a seat and order some drinks which there is a nice range of (your potential follower sees your tweet subject matter which ranges, your tweets are mostly friendly and approachable). The staff check up on you every so often – not in an overbearing controlling way, but in a finely balanced non-intrusive way (you reply to people who engage with your tweets, even if it is a simple thank you – this is a major booster for many things.) If you can, try to be like good staff at a venue – above all, good hospitality staff make good hosts.

Keeping Customers Engaged – The Long Game

Now your customer has had a drink we need to keep them interested so they can spend more money (followers choosing to follow and engage with you more) – bars or restaurants will have a range of food and drink to help this and if it is of a high quality, people will stay – the same can be said about your Twitter. What are you offering your followers in order for them to stick around?

Time and incentive go hand in hand here along with conduct, remember the five elements of conduct. If you spend time on the platform, tweeting and offering incentive, you won’t ever have to worry about customers leaving after one drink (losing followers). They’ll move on to ordering food or snacks (buy your books, visit your blog, invest in you, become you friend or simply just be there beside you on the platform), some will even invite their own friends. You don’t have to give a lot to provide incentive – incentive is just another word for offering something which includes: being friendly, helping others, engaging with others, following others, retweeting other folks tweets, liking their tweets – all of this is free. Even just spreading some positive thoughts online goes a long way.

This stuff will eventually turn heads towards your profile and tweets while also building a level of trust. Any venue that provides hospitality is a success because of the overall customer experience and the same can be said about twitter. Give your followers reason to engage with you and everything else will eventually fall into place. Reputation takes time to build and being a good host will help you grow that and eventually your Twitter will be known for being a nice place – something which resonates with mostly everyone. This is a long game and one you can certainly win.

I hope this analogy helps your Twitter growth and here are some specific basics that I do frequently to grow:

Show up everyday – even if I am busy with work or social stuff, I make the effort to spend even just a few minutes responding or even scheduling a tweet or two.

Try new things constantly – I am always trying something new, from sharing something I haven’t showed anyone before to even just tweeting a lot more. Change it up until you find what works for you.

Share more important stuff later on in the day – as the day unfolds more and more people log in to Twitter so by the evening here in the UK there are several time zones in the world that are online so I’ll plug my books and blog stuff later.

Reply back if applicable/possible – replying back will boost visibility on your tweets and others will see that you are engaging and will want that also.

Keep going – yesterday might have been a slow day but the twitter machine moves quickly and every day is a new day to seize the opportunity.

Thank you for stopping by. Quite soon I shall be releasing a series of audio based coaching sessions based on my Twitter experience, you can read more about that here.

For those who want some further reading do check out the resources section which is packed full of free-to-read guides on twitter and the wider subject of book marketing.

For some further listening, on my Patreon I have an audio series based upon my Twitter experiences with a hope it will help a fellow creative. Sessions 1 and 2 are free.

Those who do sign up to my Patreon will receive regular shout-outs for them and their books/creative things via my Twitter.

Of course my journey is also laid out in guide book Consistent Creative Content which is available now on Amazon!