Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Many authors have twitter accounts but there's still a lot of uncertainty about how useful Twitter is and how to use it to make it useful for book promotion.

Here's a clip from an article in Publishing Perspectives that offers some useful insight (where it says publishers, think author instead):

Using Twitter well is a skill. Publishers won’t get far by tweeting, “our book is great, buy it here!” From our experience, a direct plea results in a click-through rate of about 0.1%. Furthermore, such messages are not retweeted.

A smarter strategy is to share a compelling quote or fact from a book, one that your followers might share with their friends, who might share it in turn. A particularly poignant passage will have a much greater reach than a simple pitch for the title. The cascading effect of retweets can expose an exponentially larger audience to a book.

It also follows the golden rule of fiction workshops: show, don’t tell. If your book is great, prove it with material.

The entire article is Lessons from the Rick Moody Twitter Project


Ricky Bush said...

I don't tweet (yet), but this is excellent advice. Thanks for sharing.

Carrie Clevenger said...

I would like to also point out that to get friends on Twitter, you have to have some personality, otherwise it's just a newsfeed and will bore people away.

Be personable. Interact with your followers. Make friends.

Like, follow Janet's Twitter example. She cracks me up every day.

Travener said...

I still have trouble taking seriously a phenomenon whose first syllable is "twit."

Anonymous said...

Like other social networks, the best use of Twitter is to be personally engaging and to build a "tribe" of friends. Choose quality over quantity. Read Dan Zarella on the science of the retweet to find out what works.

I've been on Twitter since the early days. Of the first 400 people I followed, I have now met 125 of them in person -- mostly connecting with them at conferences or tweetups. (I even remember when that word was coined by @scottmonty.) I've made professional and personcal connections that are extremely valuable to me.

When you do that, you can send marketing messages now and then and they won't be ignored. Fail to engage personally and you're wasting your time. (I'm @conniereece if anyone is interested in following me. I won't follow back, however, until you "talk" to me. That's my friending policy.)

BTW, I have a friend who writes novels on Twitter. Not writes them offline and then posts them -- he actually creates them on Twitter, 140 characters at a time. @ttaylordude if you're interested.

Stephanie said...

Very interesting!! My MC has some awesome one liners in the book...I bet they would make very interesting Twitter posts!

Livia Blackburne said...

I find it helpful to just assume that people aren't interested in me, and then try to figure out how I can get them interested.

ryan field said...

Interesting piece. I've been using twitter for a while, and just learned how to use twitpic today.

I've also found it useful to watch how a few of the real celeb pros use twitter.

You can tweet all day, but if it starts to sound too much like shameless self-promotion that no one cares about, it gets tired fast. I know I've stopped following people on twitter for this reason. I've also de-friended people on facebook for the same reason.

Flower said...

Twitter, is only useful for those that have an established platform or people like agents who have a set audience, like writers who flock to them for advice.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to establish a relationship on Twitter. It's impersonal compared to Facebook, where you have a chance to really get to know your audience.

For an unknown person to sell a product they must establish some sort of relationship to gain the trust of the audience.

With a background in sales I can tell you; networking works best with 1) relationship building 2) the right audience.

I started out on Twitter with no interest in my book. Now, I'm on Facebook where I can build a relationship with my audience. I have a large following of people, that I personally selected from certain common interest groups that would more than likely read my kind of book. And now, I am asked almost daily, "When is your book coming out?" Or I'll get a message like, "I can't wait to read your book, hurry up and get an agent." Or, "I love Sebastian already, get him in print!"

Know your audience and build a relationship!