I love Twitter. I’ve been using it for five or six years on various plaforms, and when I first took to the micro-social networking website, it was largely undiscovered. I’ve learned how to use it over time, and I love connecting with people and being social. I’d even go so far to say that because I’m so hermity in real life, tweeting people throughout the day helps me fulfil some of my social fix (SAD, I know).
Using Twitter to promote and sell eBooks
I’ve had quite a lot of success selling Inside Evil and The Tower of Souls through Twitter. I know that some authors hate the platform, and scorn anyone that promotes using it as a marketing tool. But, from first hand experience, it’s worked for me. It doesn’t sell vast numbers, but it’s sure better than being lost in Amazon’s algorithms.
Twitter won’t work for everyone, but it’s worked, and is still working, in helping me get the word out about my books. You can make friends, RT reader’s compliments to your own followers, connect with other readers – it really is a great tool.
However, over the past few months I’ve noticed that a hell of a lot of authors are just going about it completely wrong. Hell, there are some authors I follow that I seriously need to sit down and have a word with. If they’re driving me crazy when I’m trying to support them, then they must be turning potential readers off left, right and centre.
So, with that said, here are five things not to do when promoting your book on Twitter.
1. DON’T SPAM.
I truly do not care if you’re ‘promoting‘ your book, but tweeting every five minutes, hell, tweeting every 10 minutes about your book is SPAM whether you think it is or not. It fills up the Twitter feed with useless rubbish that IS NOT GOING TO BE READ by readers. Worse than that, it will cause people to unfollow you. Yes. It’s really not a good move to make. In my personal opinion, if you end up in Twitter jail, then you’re tweeting way too much and need to reign it in a bit.
2. DON’T ONLY TWEET LINKS
OK, this isn’t quite as spammy, but tweeting your book link and only your book link is not going to gain the attention you want. If you are going to tweet about your book, at least give your followers some information, as ‘Inside Evil available now at ________‘ simply doesn’t cut it. Give your followers something interesting to read. Provide a hook for your book, use weekly events such as #samplesunday to attract people to your sample chapters, or tell folks that your book’s a bargain if they’re looking for a new read. Fill out those 140 characters so your tweets are read, rather than falling into the virtual slush pile.
3. DON’T MESSAGE FOLLOWERS WITH BOOK LINKS
Oh my, if there’s one thing that infuriates me, it’s when mutual followers send me their book link out of the blue. Not only will I rarely click the link and take a look, but that author immediately gets a black blot on my copy book. You want to be remembered as a fun and interactive Tweeter, not someone who sends unsolicited messages. Of course, if you’ve had a full conversation with someone first and they’ve shown interest in your book, then by all means send them a link with a ‘here’s the link if you want to find out more‘.
4. DON’T RESPOND TO DM’S FROM NEW FOLLOWERS
This is a little bit of advice that I’ve learned myself in the past few months. I’ve always let my past Twitter accounts grow organically, but I’ve been a bit more aggressive in building my professional account. This entails actually going through Twitter, finding readers and following them. It can be highly rewarding if you meet new people, new friends and ultimately manage to get some sales. BUT beware responding to DM’s too quickly. DM’s (Direct Messages) are a great tool once you’ve got to know people and want to have a quick bitch, ahem, chat off-screen. But, returning DM’s from new followers before you’ve sussed them out can lead to some strange and uncomfortable conversations.
5. DON’T EXPECT MIRACLE SALES OVERNIGHT
A lot of people join Twitter to promote their book and think that the 1,000 followers they’ve followed are going to buy their book. This is NEVER going to happen. If you’re lucky 10 or 20 might check your book out. Five or six might buy it. Twitter isn’t an immediate promotional tool; you need to talk to people, engage, make friends. People WILL look at your profile, so put a link to your website in there. People WILL ask you about your book, especially if you tweet about it’s progress, about what you’re writing, about sales, covers, even other books you’re reading.
It’s been a pleasure getting to know readers over the past few months since I started my official author profile. I talk with many about far more than my work, I’ve made friends, and in return these folks have bought my books. If they’ve liked them, they’ve tweeted about them. I’ve RT their tweets.
If you’re using Twitter for book marketing, then please go in with open eyes. Twitter should be used about increasing your branding and exposure, not about sales…these will come later. Go, tweet, make friends, debate, and sales will come from the most unsuspecting places.