When Ian H Sutherland told me he was writing a guidebook specifically for authors on how to use Twitter more effectively, I knew that it would be worth reading. I know Ian through the member of Alliance of Independent Authors, and having met him a few times at various bookish events, and been part of various online conversations with him on the ALLi forum, I knew him to be a sound, thoughtful chap with special insight into IT from his other activities. (His novels, published as Ian Sutherland, are thrillers connected with computer hacking, with titles such as Social Engineer.)
Extensive Research Condensed
I expected his book to be thorough and worth reading, but when I read it, I was bowled over by just how much research and hard work had gone it. He has investigated so many different Twitter-related options and services, separating the worthwhile from the wastes of time, and cleverly combined them in a recipe that promises to boost your Twitter success in just 15 minutes a day. With so many authors, myself included, recommending that the only way ever to feel on top of both writing and marketing is to pigeonhole tasks into specific and disciplined time-slots, his formula is a gift.
My Twitter Experience
I’ve been on Twitter for a few years and have a decent number of followers – nearing 9,000 at the time of writing – but I know I’m not using it to best advantage. It’s also very easy to feel overwhelmed once you get to the stage where you can’t possibly read every entry in your timeline. I’ve therefore been taking notes going through Ian’s book of which services I need to subscribe to and how to use them, so that I can rectify my omission.
Ian is completely open and honest about what has worked in his own experience, and what hasn’t, and shares details of likely costs (yes, you must be prepared to invest a small amount each month in various tools), and although he is clearly completely convinced of his own case, his book doesn’t read as evangelising or self-righteous. Quite the opposite, in fact – it is at once authoritative yet modest, and respectful of the reader’s own time and opinions. “Chivalrous” was a word that sprang to mind as I was enjoying his quietly assertive yet considerate prose.
Fuelling Informed Decisions
Even if you decide not to follow all of his advice, at least you will feel by the end of the book that you’ve made an informed decision, rather than not taking the time to investigate Twitter’s potential properly. I’ll be going through it again in the autumn, once I’ve got passed some important deadlines (and my summer holidays!), to give my Twitter activity a new lease of life, with the confidence that Ian’s methods will work for me too.
Huge thanks to him for taking the time and trouble to share such a comprehensive and intelligent guide, in a way that is characteristic of the indie author and self-publishing community. You are a gentleman and a scholar, sir!
Ian kindly provided me with a free ebook for review, but I’ll be investing in a paperback copy for my shelf of must-read indie author guidebooks.
For more information about Ian’s books, including his novels, visit his website: www.ianhsutherland.com.