Author-in-Waiting Rebecca Woodhead for Ms Twitter UK!

The Countdown's Started! Can I Win This?

There's only a few days now before the winner's crowned Ms Twitter UK. To put it in perspective, the last winner of this was one of The Corrs and the winner of the American one was Mariah Carey

Celebrities have done big publicity campaigns and harnessed huge fanbases to do well in these competitions. Can an unpublished author really win this thing? Can I beat 'Queen of Twitter' Lily Allen?

The celebrity publicity machines will start whirring over the next few days. I have no major media contacts - okay, a few journalists follow me on twitter but I don't have anywhere like the influence these guys have. The tools I have at my disposal are: my writing and you.

Need Your Help

I've been working really hard campaigning for votes and tired myself out. Last night I had an allergic reaction and this morning I woke up with a pulse of 107 which I couldn't calm down for ages. This happens sometimes with my health condition if I've overdone it and not slept enough and it's something I can get back under control (it's normal again now) but it's a warning and I need to take a couple of days off to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Of course, this happens on the day they put the countdown clock up doesn't it? Not great timing. Health's the most important thing though so I need to lean on my online chums a bit for a couple of days. If any of you feel able to put up a post about the Ms Twitter UK contest or can think of another social network where you can raise a bit of interest (facebook etc) then you'd be doing me a huge favour.

If anyone needs to find my different online places, they're all 'my name dot com' followed by the place or action. For example:

Ms Twitter UK

This Blog

twitter etc.

The full list is at

Hope that helps. Thanks everyone for all your support and fabulousness. I'm going to take a couple of days off now so I can be fresh for the last few days of the contest.

See you soon and thanks again,




I'm Winning Ms Twitter UK!

An Unknown Writer is Winning Ms Twitter UK and it's Me!

What a crazy journey! I can't believe all the celebrities I've overtaken. Lily Allen seemed impossible to beat - how could I ever get over 3000 votes? It happened. Not quite sure how, but I beat her and this morning I overtook Vanessa White from The Saturdays.

What I'm Learning

Ms Twitter is basically a popularity contest. My preconceptions were that on the level playing field of Twitter, the usual stereotypes would rise to the top: models and celebs with professional photos, make-up artist-and-cosmetic-surgeon-perfected faces and publicity machines would wipe the floor with the 'normals'. After all, that's what M.O.P.s (Members of the Public) are for. Hasn't happened though.

True, all the others in the top 10 are celebrities...but I'm not. The person behind me was born in a year in which I remember lying in a field with my friends and a bottle of cheap cider, and watching the stars above as The Cure left outdoor speakers and thudded through the ground beneath us.

My lack of spring-chickenyness caused a crisis of confidence early in the competition when I had to wade through a field of impossibly beautiful young models. I asked my followers on Twitter for advice. They would need to put in all the hard work to get me to the front page after all, so I needed to know how they wanted me to play it.

Back in the day, I wasn't bad looking and I have some old modelly shots I thought I could pull out so I'd be fighting the battle with a youthful face at the very least. They said I must not do this. They were very firm on this point. Interestingly, they were also fairly evenly split between the genders. It was almost unanimously decided that I must fight with brains only.

That said, the fact that I've suffered brain injury was to be no excuse for failure. A number of people with disabilities and hidden illnesses also got on board. I wasn't going to be allowed to hide behind any physical difficulties because they wouldn't let me. They encouraged me to use what I have now and focus on winning. Strict crowd.

The Battle Plan

All possible excuses for failure now behind me, we came up with a battle plan we could all stick to. The slogan of the campaign would be:

'The pen is mightier than the pin-up'

The weapons we would use to fight the battle would be the tools of what became known as 'literary stand-up.'

Through trial and error, we discovered that I can come up with ideas very fast so this became my strategy for gaining votes. When votes were needed, I'd make myself really vulnerable and let people quiz me however they felt fit.

Of course, this was all under the watchful eyes of the publishers and media types that follow me so it was a huge gamble but it paid off. Before long, agents and publishers also joined in. Not only were they asking me questions and requesting haiku, stories, medieval translations etc against the clock but they were even promoting my bid for the Ms Twitter UK title and encouraging others in the literary world to follow me.

This whole process has been exhausting but it's also been exhilarating. From a personal perspective, it makes no odds to me whether I win or not. The contest is a means to an end rather than an end in itself. At the moment, I'm winning. At the moment I have proved that someone like me CAN win. That's the important bit.

What matters to me is that I've proved to myself - and hopefully to others - that you don't have to be a certain age or of a certain physical ability or image or income or any of those things to build a market for your writing online. As I have said before, these are "mind forg'd manacles" not real barriers to success. Publishers are pretty Twitter-savvy and I'm sure this hasn't skipped their notice either. Web 2.0 gives writers legs - whatever their physical constraints. Little triumphs like these amongst writers battling with disabilities, poverty or other problems are bound to give publishers more confidence when it comes to taking a chance on the 'imperfect' unpublished author.

The contest is not over. I've no idea whether or not I will be in the lead when it closes. What I do know, however, is that thousands of people have followed my progress over the last couple of weeks and, after weeding out most of them, a good thousand or so remain. Of these, about 90% are die-hard book fans and they've fought for my success. Chaps... I have a platform. Mission accomplished.

Ms Twitter UK:

My Twitter Page:



New Writer Next to Lily Allen In Twitter Popularity Contest!

How Did This Happen?

Can you believe this madness? I'm competing with Lily Allen for goodness sake. It's nuts.

They haven't put up the end date for this round yet - still showing the update from the last competition - so there's probably still a good couple of weeks in it and I'm already in the top three. There are so many people following me now, I feel like there's a kind of expectation that I'll pull some giant metaphorical rabbit out of a hat if I actually win this. I hope it's a rabbit with the words '3 book deal' in big, friendly letters on its tummy. :)



Rebecca Woodhead Makes Final of Ms Twitter UK - New Holiday Declared

Best Followers in World Discovered

My followers rock. In only 10 days they've voted more than 2000 times. I've had to work my butt off for the votes, using: literary standup, debates, quotes, etc to earn them. Worth it though. I'm in the top 10 now. In 9th place about, hopefully, to take 8th. This screen shot was taken earlier. I'm now one more place in. Every vote takes me closer.

People have really got behind the idea of the slogan:

'the pen is mightier than the pin-up'

Thank you :)



Tony Robbins is Following Me!!

A Bizarre turn of events has occurred in my bid for the Ms Twitter UK title. A man of 898,688 followers on twitter - who was following only 204 - backed my bid and started following me!

He's a bit of a hero of mine, I've got to be honest. When I was living in America, I split up with my then boyfriend and ended up sitting in an apartment on my own watching shopping channels - an unheard of invention in England at the time. On one of these channels I saw a positive chap talk positively about something. I wasn't feeling very positive so I thought I might be able to buy some positivity off him. I phoned and gave over my card details.

A little while later a bunch of tapes arrived in a box. By this point I was feeling a bit better so I put them in the cupboard. The box came back to England with me. It travelled all over the place with me then, one day, I was on the phone with my bank in America trying to find out what had happened to a small amount of cash and whether it could be transferred into my English account. 24 hour news had just been introduced and I watched the TV as a plane flew into a tower. I had to break the news to the person on the other end that their offices in New York had been attacked. I phoned my dear friend (the chap of earlier in the story - ex and now best chum) and while I was on the phone, another plane flew over his building. The line went dead.
Fortunately, he was fine but that hour was the longest I had ever experienced. I knew I had to move somewhere else and start afresh so I handed in my notice and moved to the other side of England.

When I arrived at my new flat/apartment, I unpacked my boxes. There sat the unopened box of tapes. I was really in need of positivity. I found an old Walkman and as I unpacked and tidied my new home, I listened to Tony Robbins telling me ways to look at my life differently. He's not a 'positive-thinking' guru, but it felt pretty positive to me. By the time I'd finished the tapes I knew I had to change my life so I set up a new business, met new people, learnt new things and ultimately met my husband.

Okay, I have a wreck of a life now. I wasn't able to 'bounce back' from the death of my brother in the same way and I had a relapse of bad health but I never forgot a few of the things Robbins taught me on his tapes - and later at a seminar in which I walked over hot coals. The three main things I remembered were:

  • to 'live with an attitude of gratitude'
  • 'the past does not equal the future unless you live there'
  • 'God's delays are not God's denials'
I remembered these things because I've used them. They're all relevant to me every week. I am aware that we live at a subsistence level but I'm also grateful for the fact that we do so in a lovely rented cottage with beautiful views. If you're going to be poor you may as well do it in style!

I know that the past does not equal the future because I've got through things I felt were insurmountable.  I know that God's delays are not God's denials because ill health kept me out of university but I fought through it the first time I became really ill and was able to attend a uni that I much preferred a few years later.

Tony Robbins following me on twitter has reminded me that however grim my situation may appear, there is still hope. The chances of him choosing to follow me were... well I'm not a mathematician but I'd have to say the chances were tiny. I follow more people on twitter than he does! But... he did follow me.  If that can happen, what other improbable things can happen? Maybe I will actually get into the top 20 in this competition. It looks unlikely but it might happen. Maybe a publisher will look at my illnesses and accomplishments and instead of passing me over for someone with perfect health will think "she's bloody resourceful. We could use an author like her." Who knows? Intriguing to find out.

May 2010: Update... I won Ms Twitter UK (the contest in this post), went on to come third in the Shorty Awards, and am now the most influential non-celebrity female in the UK according to Klout.  I had interest from publishers, but chose to become an authorpreneur and my first book, Palaces and Calluses,  will be out soon.  

August 2010 Update... I'm now one of the 100 most powerful women in the world on Twitter, according to Twitter Grader. I've won numerous more awards, been published in an anthology, and commissioned by a UK publisher to write the foreword for a book they are publishing.

Sept 2010 Update... named Blogger Blog of Note

Sept 2011 Update... Palaces and Calluses is not only out, but it's on best reviewed and bestseller lists on Amazon. I'm now the most influential woman in England on Google+ and have been verified ... as a celebrity, I guess ... by Google. I'm also a columnist for my very favourite magazine, Writing Magazine, and have money coming in from various places to support my writing habit. I'm building a team of aspiring writers and teaching them how to become resilient and resourceful too. 

Sept 2012 Update... I've been named one of the top marketers to circle on Google+ by, one of the top Tech Journalists by Robert Scoble, and I spoke at this year's Swanwick Writers' School on the subject of ePublishing. My first information products: The Right to Write and The Mindset Behind the Magic - Volume I: Money Acceptance (featuring Ray Higdon) are launching this month and next month respectively. Oh ... and I interviewed Tony's son, Jairek Robbins. Stay tuned... :)

Me on a panel, with publishers and an editor, advising aspiring authors on becoming published.
Whatever you're going through ... keep going!



Made the Semi-Finalist Box!

I made the front page! I've gained over 100 votes today too so now I'm third in.

I am so exhausted. The votes have been so tiring to get but a few people have been incredibly kind and supportive about passing on the word.

It's been an odd experience though. In literally a couple of days I've got about 200 or so new followers and they seem to fall into three categories.

The first - and vast majority - are intelligent, interesting people who like the idea of getting a writer into the top 25. They've taken the time to check out my blog or at least look at previous tweets of mine to find out a bit about me and are - well, they're like you lot really. Great people. Many of these send out little messages about me and encourage people to follow/vote for me and they're just wonderful. I've no idea whether or not they've all voted as I haven't 'told' anyone to vote and I've even suggested some of them 'unfollow' me until the competition is over so they don't get constant comp-updates. Some vote every now and then, others get much more involved than that. I'd do the same for them in a heartbeat.

The next set are pretty small in number and are similar to the top set but generally not as interested in books as they are in the competitive process. They send messages telling me they've stopped sleeping so they can keep voting for me. I worry about the impact on their health and I'm concerned that they're putting so much into this. I don't stay up voting for myself. I might throw in a vote a day when I remember but I wouldn't sit there at 4 in the morning, counting down 20 minute chunks so I could vote. I worry that they'll be very disappointed once the competition's over and I'm just talking about books again.

The final group are a very small number and... well... what can I say about them? Let's just say, there needs to be another category beyond 'Web 1.0 Spammers' called 'Freaky Stalky Psycho-Bunnies' or something.

The last group have sapped a bit of the fun out of the experience though as I've never experienced this on Twitter before but then, I guess, I've not had a profile this high on Twitter before.

The bit I really don't like about this experience is the way that I've had to become a bit of a 'Web 1.0 Spammer' myself. I stick with the theory that Twitter isn't for self-promotion and the whole thing makes me a bit uncomfortable but I guess the one (and probably only) time where posting self-serving links on a regular basis on twitter would be acceptable and necessary is during a twitter-popularity contest. Part of me is looking forward to the end of the competition when I can go back to the old 'I am watching Gilmore Girls on TV and noticing a new character' type tweets of which Twitter is the happy home.

I have quite an academic discussion lined up for you all when I have a chance to write the post for it but I need to do a bit of research first. See you soon.



The Pen is Mightier than the Pin-Up!

Only 15 votes between me and the semi-final. Please let people know. Thanks. Trying to be the top writer on Ms Twitter UK


I Need Your Vote!

MsTwitter UK?

Hi everyone. I've been nominated for Ms Twitter UK and I need votes. I've already passed Carol Vorderman (which'll mean something if you're English), an American Idol finalist (I guess she lives in England), an X Factor finalist and two winners of The Apprentice. I'm now on the same page as lots of scary celebrities including: Cheryl Cole - X Factor judge and member of Girls Aloud, Portia De Rossa, Kim Kardashian, Emma Freud, Sara Cox, Sophie Elis-Bexter etc etc. HELP!!

Whether you're on twitter or not, you can still vote and it works like a phone vote - you can vote more than once. Thanks so much. If I'm not on the page below (page 2 - confusingly) it's because I've got enough to be on the front page so click back one. xxx



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Margaret Atwood

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Palaces and Calluses

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