So – Marketing.
Given that a lot of my blog-traffic seems to be Twitter-driven, I thought it might be interesting to talk a little about Twitter, how it seems to a newbie and ask if anyone has anything to add on the subject. There are cool links at the bottom which I’ll update as I find more, but if you get to the end and there are any tips you want to contribute, please do!
It seems to me that for many indie writers the big issue is publicity. You can write the best book in the world but if no-one but your Mum knows it’s out there, you’re not going to sell a million! So how do we do this?
From what I’ve read it seems that the jargon they use for creating interest is to talk about “setting up a platform”. By platform they are referring to readers who are interested in the author as a brand – because, ladies and gents, that’s what we are. To sell our books we now have to engage with the digital age and sell the BrandYou – or in my case, JAClement. How do we do this? By means of digital media.
We’ll start with Twitter. I’m still very much a beginner at this, so you may all be laughing like drains at my ingenuity by now – for instance, I’m not sure that “meme” means what I think it means – any thoughts? On the other hand, this blog may be useful to people who are considering setting up an account but who are a bit put off by the Twitspeke and general jargon, so if you’re already a member of the Twitterati and know it inside out, please give us any tips you think of via the comments box!
So, what I have discovered by my own trial and error is as follows:
There are all sorts of ways of finding new people to follow you on Twitter. Many add you if you add them; some want verification you’re not a Spambot, and some won’t add you at all. You can search by keyword in author and Tweets and there is a tool to suggest people you might be interested in following. For me the thing I have to remember is that I’m not just looking at any people, but specifically people who are interested in books and ebooks; I don’t want to spam people with information about books and writers if it’s not something they’re interested in as that’s a sure-fire way to vex them.
I’ve started with the authors I know from the forums and expanded from there. So far I appear to have hit 300+ followers, some of whom are spam, some reviewers, some interesting people but a large majority of whom are authors. On the one hand this would appear to be preaching to the converted, but most authors are voracious readers as well – and people interested in what one author has to say seem to be up for finding out what another author is on about as well. Add this to the fact that if the author likes your book, they may retweet it to their own following, and that’s a useful tool.
There are also Twitter traditions that are useful. Some “Tweeps” do #MentionMondays, some do #WritersWednesdays, there is a widespread tendency towards #FollowFridays, and the correct use of hashtags can be quite powerful. Possibly the most useful of these for you as a writer is #SampleSunday, whereby you post a sample of your book on your blog or website or wherever, and then Tweet the link. Accepted practice seems to be to reTweet (RT) other people’s samples to your own audience, and quite a few Tweeps have subsequently posted on the Monday to say that they’ve just found a book they like from one of the previous day’s samples, so kudos to all involved!
ReTweeting anything, whether sample or random quote, can bring you to the notice of the original poster (and will often get a thank you) and people don’t seem to cavil if you reply to something they said despite having never spoken to them before in your life! When they reply it shows on their feed so their followers will see your name – a few may be interested enough to investigate your page but remember that if you are inept enough to cause offence, any irate replies will also be there for the viewing by however many followers that person has and like many areas of the internet, things can get tribal VERY fast.
Twitter is useful in conjunction with other media, though, because snappy banter and links are all very well but if you want to sell your style as a writer (another major part of BrandYou) you need to show your fans something longer than 140 characters. At the moment I’m in a Facebook Group that facilitates mutual help between authors but mostly you’re looking at forums for conversation and help, blogs for samples and general musings, and Facebook is good for status updates, photos, and video-sharing.
However, in the short-term, Twitter’s a pretty good place to start and though you have to be careful not to get bogged down in it, it veers from the facile to the fascinating sometimes in the space of subsequent Tweets. The Holy Grail of Twitter marketing is to “go viral” – but there is no way of predicting just what will achieve that heady status.
So – that’s what I’ve found out so far. What have I missed?If you have useful techie knowledge or hints and tips for using Twitter, please tell!
Have you had a successful marketing ploy or noticed a trend in what works and what doesn’t? If you’re a reader, have you ever bought a book after reading a #SampleSunday quote, or followed an author because of a comment they made elsewhere? What are your opinions? I’d be really interested to know.
Right, I’m off to bed now because it’s getting on for time to get up. If there are any typos or I’m talking nonsense, that’ll be why… Will come back tomorrow (er, later today) and see what you guys can tell me (which I’m actually really looking forward to finding out).
And in the meantime, have a great weekend!
Catch you later, guys;
http://johannaharness.com/blog/the-amwriting-faq/ is a useful blog re #amwriting hashtag
http://www.socialmoms.com/profiles/blogs/what-the-heck-is-a-hashtag explains a bit about what hashtags are and how you can search by them
http://www.bitrebels.com/geek/how-to-be-active-on-twitter-without-getting-burned-out/ explains how to manage Twitter a bit better when it’s getting mad (and has a great video at the end)
http://soshable.com/15-most-annoying-types-of-twitter-users/ – how to irritate on Twitter
COOL Twitter tools:
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/8-free-tools-visualise-information-twitter/ (Check out the Tori’s Eye one on that – pretty rather than useful but hey!)
Other people’s thoughts on the subject:
http://alboudreau.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/two-cents-on-twitter/ Al Boudreau’s two cents’worth.
More as I find them!