I woke up this morning and heard the birds outside my window. Their melodic birdsong made me think of the social networking power of Twitter. So this week I have decided to devote my articles on exploring a little bit more of how writers and authors can get the most from Twitter.
Today, I’ll talk about using Twitter as a promotional tool. Wednesday we will examine the phenomena of #hashtag communication and finally, Friday, we’ll shine the spotlight on the top tweeting authors.
Let’s start with using Twitter as a quick marketing tool to get the word out about your book. After culling through scads of articles on the subject, I’ve put together this list of seven ways Twitter can help promote your self-published book. Ready?
- Ben Whiting, @ AuthorMedia, offers his own tips on using Twitter.
Twitter is brimming with story ideas. Writers get their ideas from all sorts of places–news articles, poignant images, odd juxtapositions, and many others. All of those things are the site, and the great thing is that they are presented to you in bite-sized pieces of 140 characters, so you can scroll through dozens of them in a short amount of time.
- Carol Tice, @TiceWrites, has 15 great tips for using Twitter but this one was unique:
Use lists. One great way to stay connected to people without having to follow them is by adding them to your lists. For instance, I have probably 800 writers on lists, and 150 thought leaders that might be good future story sources in a “gurus” list. Many people are flattered by getting into lists, so this is another weapon you have besides following.
Write for Kids, @raynehall, offers several great tips including these two:
Use Twitter to invite reviewers. Write a tweet offering free review copies (ebooks) to anyone who wants to write an honest review on a bookselling site or on their blog.
- Reply to your fans.Readers often tweet that they’ve enjoyed a book. Respond at once. Ask questions “Who was your favorite character?” or “Which part did your daughter like best?” This shows that you value their opinion. It also gives you an insight into your audience. Best of all, it encourages the reader to talk about your book (word-of-mouth is invaluable) and to buy your next books.
I hope you find these tips helpful.
- Joel Freidlander, @JFbookman, wrote an article a few years ago about how writers can use Twitter. Following is a quote from Joel but know that since that time, his 8700 followers have grown to 38,000!
Promote other writers and resources. I’ve published 8,373 messages on Twitter. Almost all of them are links to other people’s work that would be useful for anyone interested in the world of writing, design and book publishing.
If you do the same you may be as lucky as I am, to acquire 8,767 followers, to find 5,960 people to follow, and to make connections with an amazing group of individuals.
- Author Curtis Sittenfeld, @csittenfeld, joined Twitter as a way to thank Judy Blume for her compliments about her writing but has since found enjoyment from this micro-marketing channel.
Research the facts. I’ve tracked down friends of friends to get details right for novels, but now I ask the Twitter hive: How many new ER residents would there be per year in a 400-bed hospital? What’s a Cincinnati restaurant where two preppy, spoiled young women would meet for lunch? Yes, I could find the name of a bistro on Yelp (YELP), but would it really be considered trendy by locals or would it just be pretending to be trendy? Trust me, Twitter knows the difference.
- Finally, IUniverse, @iuniversebooks, offers a great piece of advice when it comes to using Twitter to promote your book. (Frankly, this is true for all methods of social media):
Patience. Posting one tweet will not suddenly drive hundreds of followers to buy your book. The most successful authors use Twitter regularly to build a following over a matter of months or years. Yes, years. It’s a powerful tool, and if used well it’s almost certainly guaranteed to help you market and sell your book, but unfortunately it does require time and effort.
Bottom line; Twitter is an effective tool. As with all forms of social media marketing, employ the 80/20 rule in which you talk about and support others 80% and actually market your book just 20% of the time. People want to engage with you – enjoy the conversations, respond to the questions, thank those that compliment your works, and have fun!
Remember to use shorten links so that you have more space to write. Visit Bit.ly or Tiny Url to create short links that will take readers to your website, blog or Amazon page.