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Using Twitter for Book Marketing

Twitter is the new Myspace. Back when I first started using Myspace, around 2-3 years ago, it was still a place where people connected with each other. When you added a friend, people would actually take the time to see how you were. This meant connecting with some very interesting people. I traded Myspace emails with Peter Bagge, author of Hate comics, which was a highlight.

Now Myspace is overrun with spam and people who indiscriminately add to build up their friend count. Twitter, on the other hand, is what Myspace used to be. It could too get corrupted by spammers, make money onliners, and otherwise add-happy users, but right now it’s a vibrant community where people with 20,000 followers are corresponding with people who have 20. It truly is a social network.

Admittedly, I hated Twitter when I first saw it. It seemed like blogging for non-writers and seemed a corruption of the better medium of blogging. But now, having been on the site for some time, I see it for what it is, more like human conversation. Everything can’t be an essay, and that’s not how people normally talk to each other. It’s blogging meets instant messaging – a pretty simple realization, but as soon as you realize that, the more you can get out of it. And the site can potentially drive a lot of traffic to your blog or site.

Twitter and Book Sales

When you’re self-publishing, you’re basically selling one book at a time. Selling a book from a Twitter profile is something like selling a book out of a trunk. Obviously, you can’t guarantee actual hard book sales from Twitter traffic, but the more interest you can generate in your blog, and your perspective, the better chance you will have to unload books. It’s yet another way to market and right now should be mandatory as it’s the internet’s new It Girl.

10 Tips for Using Twitter

1.  Don’t add too many pages all at once. If you are following 400 people and only have 10 followers, people are going to read this as you don’t have good Twitter content and/or you’ve spam-added a bunch of pages. Add several, wait for them to add you back, add some more. It’s best to have your Twitter followers and follows about even, give or take a hundred depending on the number of followers.

2.  Make your Twitter posts understandable to people who aren’t part of the conversation. Just typing in LOL! without any context isn’t going to make anyone check in on the conversation.  A Twitter post should stand on its own, which is tough to do in 140 characters, and many people don’t follow this advice, but it’s recommended.

3.  Don’t over-Tweet because you’ll flood people’s home page with your own posts and they might delete you.  Link to the blog posts you really want people to read. Linking to other people’s blog posts will gain followers who will do the same.

4.  Join the conversation – reply to people and you may be very surprised how quickly they reply back, even people with thousands of followers, which means your address is listed on a popular page.

5.  Go to Highspot’s exhaustive directory of publishing-affiliated Tweeters. Editor Unleashed has some more good tips and follows.  Now read #1 again. Additionally, you can be banned from Twitter for adding too many people in a short amount of time.

6.  Go to search.twitter.com and type in a keyword that has something to do with what you write about. For instance, I typed in “self-publishing” and found people who are self-publishing friendly.

7.  Use a service like Tweetdeck. One of the things missing from Twitter is that it only lists replies that begin with your username and not posts that have your username a few words in (a major oversight). Tweetdeck helps alert you to these replies and helps you organize Tweets by type, and other features.

8.  Add your Twitter feed to Twitter directories, such as Just Tweet It or Twellow.

9. Sign up with Mr. Tweet to get new follower recommendations and get recommended to others.

10.  Take part in Follow Fridays, where you reply to a few people you think are interesting.

This just scratches the surface – a site like TwiTip offers daily Twitter tips, run by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. You may be surprised just how much traffic Twitter can bring to a site. The network is at the stage where people are very interested in the work of their fellow Tweeters. Hopefully it stays that way.

Follow the Self-Publishing Review @selfpubreview.

  • http://www.kristentsetsi.com Kristen

    This was helpful – thank you. I recently joined twitter, but that’s about it. i haven’t gone back to figure out how to use it, yet – like anything new, it looks foreign and scary, so I’m taking my time. But it appears to be worth the time it’ll take.

  • http://www.calltoactionwebsites.com Phyllis Zimbler Miller

    I’m an active Twitter user, yet I still continue to read new articles on using Twitter. This is an excellent article for people new to Twitter, especially the warning about not following too many people immediately. I neglected to mention this small tip to a website client, and he immediately got kicked off Twitter for spamming because he followed so many people immediately.

    I’ve grown my Twitter account over several months. I use Tweetbeep.com to find people writing about book marketing (that’s how I found this blog post) and I do NOT automatically follow back. I look at the bio of each person who follows me. If the profile doesn’t have a photo and no real name is given, I usually do not follow.

    If you want to read an article about the transparency of Twitter, see the free book marketing articles at my site http://www.calltoactionwebsites.com.

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com Editor

    Thanks for writing. This is a perfect example of Twitter marketing: a Twitter follower linked to this article – http://twitter.com/wordywoman – and you found the Tweet via her page. It’s about building up these relationships one at a time.

  • http://www.bauuinstitute.com/Marketing/Marketing.html Online Bookmarketer

    I’ve yet to delve into Twitter simply because I’ve heard that it can be a big time drag and that there is no correlation directly between tweeting and book sales. Have you seen any measurable increase in your book sales because of Twitter? I’ve had success on other social networks, but it seems like one has to manage their time.

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com Editor

    I haven’t seen a huge increase in sales, but I’ve mainly been using it to promote this site, which is not really geared around my own books – and for that it’s been very good.

  • http://www.calltoactionwebsites.com Phyllis Zimbler Miller

    It’s not a huge drag on time if you have a Twitter marketing strategy. And I find Twitter extremely valuable for connecting with people for various projects. I admit, though, that I don’t use Twitter to promote my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT. But my Mrs. Lieutenant blog feeds into my Twitter account.

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com Editor

    Another resource. Twitter book promotion group:


  • http://madpropstobakedpotatoes.com Brian

    Online Bookmarketer you’re not going to see a direct correlation like “x number of Twerts = y number of books sold”. It’s more like making connections and building an awareness of yourself – eventually people will check out your site, your work, etc.

    I have had people tell me they’ve become readers of my site and/or bought my book after interacting on Twitter.

  • http://SellingChange.com Brett Clay

    Great set of recommendations! I’m implementing them, now!