Part of the appeal of Twitter is that it gives users the opportunity to communicate with people to whom they’ve never before had access. Learn how Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists used Twitter to connect author Andy Andrews with thousands of readers on Twitter.

The unique features of Twitter got our publicity firm thinking about how to leverage the large followings that many of our authors have. How cool would it be if their “followers” could have a designated forum to speak directly with them in a live setting.

Andy-AndrewsSo, we created “Tweet the Author,” a weekly chat with authors about their newest books.  With “Tweet the Author” we can play on the biggest strength of Twitter—access—and give those people living outside areas where authors hold events a chance to interact with them in a “live” setting.

Last Wednesday we hosted our first “Tweet the Author” event with New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews, whose newest book, The Noticer, is now in its 7th week on the New York Times bestseller list.

How Tweet the Author Worked

For Andy’s “Tweet the Author” chat we set #thenoticer as the hash-tag, which meant that people could join the chat by searching “#thenoticer” in the search field on Twitter. From there people could follow the chat as it progressed by simply refreshing their screen. If they wanted to ask Andy a question or join in, they would simply type in their tweet and add #thenoticer at the end.

How We Promoted Tweet the Author

We began promoting the event about a week ahead of time by:

  • reaching out to bloggers who reviewed the book
  • writing our own blog post
  • tweeting about it a few times a day

Perhaps more importantly, we also received great help from Andy and his team, and the fabulous publicity staff at Thomas Nelson. “Tweet the Author” was billed as a chance to ask questions, discuss the book and give Andy feedback on how the message may have impacted people’s lives and by giving people about a week’s worth of notice, we gave them the ability to plan to attend.

How well did it go?

At 1 PM CST last Wednesday we introduced Andy and held our breath…as with any idea, even if you think it’s a good one you never know if it’s going to work until the wheels are up and you start it. The questions quickly started rolling in and Andy was ready for them. He met both of his challenges—keeping up with questions and answering them in 140 characters or less—like a total pro.

The-Noticer-cover-artPeople asked about characters from the book, and many sent tweets saying they were heading out to buy the book or recommend it to friends. One tweet from a teacher even mentioned introducing the book as a high school level school-wide reading project.

Although it’s impossible to count the number of people who attended the event (you can only count those who tweeted—not those just watching the discussion), we did have 40 unique tweeters for the hour and numerous questions. We have no idea how many “lurkers” we had who just listened to the conversation.

If you start adding all the followers from those 40 unique tweeters—not to mention those who covered it ahead of time, you get to a very large number of impressions.

Making #TweetTheAuthor a Weekly Event

Andy Andrews Tweet the Author went so well that we have decided to make “Tweet the Author” a weekly Twitter event on Wednesdays from 1-2 PM CST.

Today’s “Tweet the Author” guest is New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson. His newest book, Warbreaker, debuted on the New York Times list in June.

Sanderson will be answering questions about Warbreaker as well as talking about his eagerly anticipated November release, The Gathering Storm, which will be the beginning of the end of the famous Wheel of Time series.

I hope that “Tweet the Author” will continue to be a hit among readers who will now have the ability to attend author events from the comfort of their couch.

What do you think? Have you participated in a #TweetTheAuthor? What did you think?

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