J.K. Rowling Builds a Reader Audience Through Twitter

We love a great success story and certainly J.K. Rowling, renown author of the Harry Potter story is one of the best. From practically homeless to one of most published authors in the world, J.K. Rowling took a story idea and built it into an empire.

Although it has been eight years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hit bookstores, she continues to connect with her readers around the globe. Thanks to social media she is able to respond in real time.

Just recently JK was in the news for helping encourage a young writer who was being bullied. Here is a recap of the exchange from The Today Show:

On August 16, Rowling sent “big hugs” to a 16-year-old Egyptian girl and “Potterhead,” who tweeted that the “Harry Potter” author’s work inspired her to write. She explained to Rowling that, in Egypt, girls have less freedom than boys to explore their interests. In fact, she’s even been laughed at when revealing her plan to be a writer.

@jk_rowling You inspired me to write. However, in Egypt, girls can’t do anything freely as boys. They laugh at me when I say I am a writer.

— Hagar E. El-Saeed (@Hagar_ElSaeed) August 15, 2015

Rowling immediately responded to her young fan with a sweet message that will resonate with anyone who’s ever had a dream.

Don’t you dare let their laughter extinguish your ambition. Turn it into fuel! Big hugs from one writer to another x https://t.co/w3lYXAosJj

The teen couldn’t believe she got a response from the author. She thanked Rowling, whom she addressed as “the Queen,” for encouraging her.

Since that tweet, the 16-year-old has received many other motivational messages offering support.

There is nothing as valuable as that immediate response to help build relationships and Twitter is one of the best platforms for creating that conversation. And now Twitter has made following conversation even easier.

According to a CNET article we learn about the recent changes to Twitter from product manager Akarshan Kumar:

“So, we’re doing a few things to make this much easier: grouping conversations together and highlighting some of the most interesting exchanges surrounding a given Tweet right below that Tweet. To surface some of the most interesting conversations, we’ll take factors into account like whether the original account has replied.”

Each conversation will be grouped by a line, showing just a few Tweets in each conversation. To expand a conversation, you will be able to click a “View other replies” option, much like you can already do to expand a conversation in your home timeline.

But how did JK even know about the 16 year old girl’s tweet to begin with?

I use HootSuite, a great social media management tool that allows you to track several accounts from one platform. Part of that process is the ability to create streams of information:

  • Current tweets from everyone you follow
  • Key word searches
  • Times when you are mention
  • People sending you a private message

HootsuiteI have circled the stream of comments where Halo Publishing has been mentioned. A quick visit here each day allows me to interact with those talking about me, sharing my content or sending me a public message.

Also, through your Twitter account in the notifications area, you can determine when you receive an email or even a text. So if you want to be on top of comments, you can have them forwarded to your smart phone so, like JK, you can respond within minutes to one of your reader’s comments.

As a self-published author, one of the perks can be fan mail. Remember the olden days when we would hand write a letter to our favorite musician (Davy Jones from the Monkees, perhaps?) or to the author of a book that touched our heart.

We’d wait by the mailbox each day for some response and if we were lucky, we’d get a signed photo and a form letter from their secretary thanking us for our letter. Who did you hear from?

But times are changed! We can now send a message to our favorite author via Twitter and just like Hagar E. El-Saeed, we might hear back directly. Imagine how that would feel. Now put yourself in the shoes of your reader and imagine how thrilled they’d be to hear back from you.

Consider giving Twitter a try and connect with your readers. Ask them about their favorite characters or scene and then start a conversation.

Bottom line: It is people who buy our books so why not work to build real time relationships with our readers using Twitter?