With the explosion of new social media in the last year or so, many in publishing circles feel that Twitter has seen its heyday and is going the way of the dodo bird.
As is often the case in the rush to ride the wave of what’s popular and dis former methods as outdated or ineffective, tried-and-true platforms get pushed aside. Such is the case with Twitter.
Not one to rush headlong into trying every new fad, I held back before plunging into each socia media pool.
I came late to Facebook and Twitter, and have yet to dabble much in the newer social media circles. But in the course of searching for advice to present on my blog aimed at helping writers navigate the murky waters of publishing, I questioned and conversed with numerous best-selling indie authors who were (and still are) making an easy five-figure net profit off their ebooks each month.
With the exception of a small (read: tiny) handful of authors who, by reason of the niche market they write for, don’t have to do much more than upload their novels to get huge sales, all of these authors said Twitter has been (and still is) the source of practically all of their sales and fan base.
Wow. I wanted to see if that would prove true for me.
I knew Facebook was not where readers went to search for new books and authors. Fans would come to my Facebook pages after they knew who I was. Facebook is a great place for readers and authors to interact, but it is not the source of book sales—at least not substantially. I’ve heard it said that Facebook is your dinner party, but Twitter is your billboard to the world. And I’ve found that very true.
Once I decided to put some time and effort into building my Twitter presence to test its merits, I went to work.
I signed up with Socialoomph so I could preschedule tweets in bulk (which saved me an estimated twenty hours a month) and I used Justunfollow to break the Twitter barrier of being capped at 2,000 followers.
Here are my observations and some results over the last year due to Twitter:
1. The month I increased Twitter followers from 2,000 to 21,000, my print sales increased 1000%.
Suddenly I was getting dozens of RTs (retweets) daily, with peeps commenting they had bought one of my books, recommended it to their peeps, and/or had posted a book review.
My ebook sales grew, along with my editing business (but that’s another huge success story). I recently read a comment that Twitter does not help authors because authors only end up chatting with other authors. That’s only true if your only followers are other authors. If you’re an author wanting readers and fans, get them as followers, not other authors.
2. Readers find your books through hashtags.
Authors lament, “I only have eighty followers on Twitter, so how can that result in book sales and new fans?”
Twitter’s value is in the hashtags. If you tag your tweets promoting your books with your genre or format, such as #mystery, #kindle, #ebook, you will reach hundreds of thousands of readers looking for a book just like yours. By being on a tweet team, my tweets often reach more than a half million people a day. No other social media platform is going to get info about your books so specifically to readers and reviewers looking for a great read.
3. Twitter gets results.
A publisher who saw my tweets and checked out one of my ebooks offered me a book contract and I accepted.
As a result of my Twitter involvement, I have made many new author and publishing industry friends and contacts, which has opened doors for me to teach at conferences, guest blog on top writing sites, grow my editing business, and enjoy steadily growing sales of my books.
Twitter is as essential as ever for authors.
If used wisely, it will not only be your billboard to the world, it will be the way for you to establish yourself as an author and grow your fan base steadily over time. And after you’ve made all these important contacts and gained these fans, party with them over on Facebook or post a pretty picture of your book cover on Pinterest. But head for Twitter first.
What has your Twitter experience been like?
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