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As is often the case in the rush to ride the wave of what’s popular and dis former methods as outdated or ineffective, tried-and-true platforms get pushed aside.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 just learned how C.S. Lakin used Twitter to increase her book sales. I’m have to try these tips! – Click to tweet.
- Authors can get incredible results from Twitter. Here’s how. – Click to tweet.
- Don’t jump the Twitter ship just yet. You may just be using it wrong. – Click to tweet.
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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I’ve sold a few books via Twitter but not much. I also haven’t focused on growing my followers either. I’m definitely going to give it a try.
Awesome. Twitter works. I’d love to see more, however, on exactly HOW you do this (in detail). What is a tweet team, for example? And how do I get in one? I’ve also wondered if I’m supposed to just connect with everyone I can, including his dog, or just those who appear to like Christian suspense fiction. Some books and articles say not to push your books on Twitter—build relationships instead—but is this so? Information seems to be contradictory. I’ll be followed you on Twitter and studying what you do. Thanks! This is very helpful.
See my post on Twitter success written by Claude Bouchard on Live Write Thrive. That will explain how to increase followers. http://www.livewritethrive.com/2012/06/11/coming-clean-about-my-twitter-success? And you can join the tweet team at Worldlitcafe.com. There are instructions when you click on the tweet team icon. I don’t get too concerned about who I follow or who follows me. I just copy followers of authors, book reviewers, and bloggers. Also publishing companies, related ebook and indie pub sites, etc.
GREAT post! I wish you’d published it in June, it could have saved me a lot of learning-by-doing, because I’ve come to the same conclusions you have: you sell books to readers, not writers. Some of the other details (hashtags) are just now coming into focus for me, so this is a HUGE help.
Although a good post for awareness, it’s very short on action items. Basically, the only “usable” thing I get from this post is to use hashtags. But, it’s not that simple. If it were, then all authors could simply open a Twitter account, use hashtags and watch the sales roll in. I promoted my self-published book on Twitter for many, many months, using hashtags, with little to no sales.
Maybe there’s a follow-up to this post. Otherwise, they’ll be some authors who are disappointed after reading this alluring headline but only getting the advice of using hashtags.
I see the link with more details in your comment. Thanks!
I think it takes time to build name recognition. And being on a tweet team helps because (yes I get complaints sometimes!) some people feel if you just toot your own horn all the time, they aren’t interested. It’s always better for other people to promote and tweet about your books. I would also recommend adding things like one-day promos on ereader news today and Digital Book Today. If you do some free days and also run these promos, you can get a boost in sales. I’ve found you just have to do a little of everything, spread a wide net.
Thank you for the follow-up and the links. Now we’re getting more details on how exactly to do this. I appreciate it.
I also received a very good piece of advice, regarding Twitter. Don’t thank tweeps for Retweets, because it doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. Instead, go to their profile and search out something of their’s to retweet and retweet it. I found by doing this, I am gaining a steady increase in followers, and retweets.
Nice article, thanks for sharing it with us.