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Archived Marketing No New Posts > does twitter help you sell your books?

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message 1: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments Perhaps I am being naive but I thought twitter was about following people & having a discussion with them if you are interested in their tweet. For me, all I see is everybody throwing their latest book at me. There are so many I find the prospect of actually stopping and perusing them a real turn off. I find Goodreads far more interesting and helpful and, thank goodness, I don't get somebody's latest book shoved in my face at every juncture. We all have books to sell, we all know that and this way, if we like the cut of your jib then maybe we will look at your profile and off we go from there.


message 2: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I've found that Twitter drives a little traffic to my website, but I don't think it sells any books. At least, not in large numbers. Post enough times, however, with as much creativity as you can muster, and maybe people will start to recognize your name.


message 3: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments Ken, I'm on the case. I think as an indie, you have to use your own creative instinct to engender interest. i have to admit I am not the most confident when it comes to social media & perhaps my own hesitancy is part of the problem. I think your last sentence is the key.


message 4: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments I don't follow (or follow back) tweeple who just tweet their books or blog posts all day long. I agree that Twitter is more about engaging with others, rather than screaming "Buy Me!".


message 5: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal Hi Colin,

Have found some of the same - and to a degree I expected it. We use twitter heavily to build interest in our work through engaging with a range of different types of people. Over nearly 12 months I have learned

-limit any kind of promotional tweets to 20% of total tweets
-be discriminate in who to follow, and use lists
-don't abandon the blog
-integrate twitter timeline with Facebook timeline
-post original content
-post regularly

the result - awesome amount of traffic to website and a direct correlation with an improvement in sales, especially around new releases and discount periods

I was very resistant to using Twitter, not any longer, and it's our primary social media tool.

I think everyone's experience is different; fundamentally, follow accounts that interest you and segregate accounts into lists.

Happy to share more of our experience if you would like.

Alp Mortal


message 6: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments Alp, thanks for the advice. I'v got some finishing touches to make to my material & then I will give it a whirl. I do think that it is me that's the issue. It's the commitment to actually spend time on and time with twitter. Thanks again.
Colin


message 7: by Connie (new)

Connie Jordan (poetseyes) | 12 comments This has been helpful - I 'bought' a service to tweet because this is all new to me but the amount of times they tweeted made me feel uncomfortable but I went with it - now let me see if it changes sales. I will continue to use twitter but just once or twice a day along with other tweets I may have because it at least puts my name out there. Thanks for the 'awareness'

Connie


message 8: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Zebert | 10 comments Alp wrote: "Hi Colin,

Have found some of the same - and to a degree I expected it. We use twitter heavily to build interest in our work through engaging with a range of different types of people. Over nearly ..."


I'd love to hear more, if you'd share. I use Twitter, but really could use help with the particulars of marketing effectively.


message 9: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Alp wrote: "Hi Colin,

Have found some of the same - and to a degree I expected it. We use twitter heavily to build interest in our work through engaging with a range of different types of people. Over nearly ..."


Alp's advice is good. Twitter is my primary marketing tool, and it's very effective. But you have to know how to engage with Twitter properly. It's an art, not a science. Avoid automation. Auto DMs, auto tweets, and direct sales DMs are huge turn-offs. Avoid those businesses that tweet or shout-out your book via multiple Twitter handles. That's so obvious and such a big turn-off.


message 10: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal Kathy wrote: "Alp wrote: "Hi Colin,

Have found some of the same - and to a degree I expected it. We use twitter heavily to build interest in our work through engaging with a range of different types of people. ..."


Hi Kathy,

Happy to share our experience - you've prompted me to do a blog post on the subject at some point - but for now ...

To build a decent account and attract good quality followers, the essential ingredients are - as we have found them -

1. post original content that genuinely interests you - I post a lot of indie short films from youtube - I'm already watching them so to post them is easy. I post a lot of photographic stuff, design stuff, a reasonable amount of music stuff (which gets the best retweets), and of course book stuff.
2. Chose accounts to follow wisely and be a good follower - I use lists because it's the easiest way to organise the content I want to see and retweet - I have a core group of favourite accounts and always check that twice daily - but it's good husbandry to change stuff up and swap out new accounts from time to time - attention span being what it is - you gotta grab it.
3. Must post as far as possible with an image - I hardly look at tweets without images - so it's true.
4. I post stuff that I purchase and review - always include handle of author if they have a twitter account
5. Always use hashtags - retweet group hashtags like #IARTG and #LPRTG and #tw4rw are very successful, so are hashtags like #ebooks #LGBT
6. Integrate with website and Facebook - tweet timeline is displayed on our website front page, and auto posted to Facebook (as is stuff from Goodreads).
7. Subscribe to appropriate lists because it saves time in collating content that you want to read and share
8. Use Twitter recommended accounts to follow, regularly declutter using something like unfollow.com, and highly recommend Tweetjukebox for collated content and the tweet scheduling service
9. Tweet daily, including weekends and holidays
10. Reply to all relevant DMs or state no DMs
11. Set up auto thank you for all new followers
12. Do not use auto retweet services
13. Limit promo tweets of your own to 20% of total tweets - we use tweetjukebox for evergreen content - like our free reads
14. Use commune.it for some analytics and thankyou cards
15. Pin most relevant tweet to top of profile - in our case, the tweet of our latest release - and change up when appropriate to keep fresh
16. Check links work before posting them!
17. Regularly thank followers, retweeters and use #SO to do the occasional shout out.
18. Avoid Twitter paid ads and boosts - waste of time
19. Have follow me button on website, retweet widget on each webpage and blog post.
20. Blog and then auto post to Twitter/Facebook - we use weebly and it's easy

Can't think of any more off the top of my head - except - enjoy and have fun or don't bother - like Facebook, you have to engage or you're better off using the energy elsewhere - don't listen to detractors - try it and see if it works for you.

Alp Mortal
Twitter account @carterseagrove


message 11: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1103 comments That's a great list, thanks!


message 12: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) Here's an example of what not to do on Twitter. I just received an automated DM saying thanks for the follow, now go to this link to read 2 chapters of my book.

My response? An immediate unfollow.


message 13: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Moved to the Marketing and Promo Questions folder.

Everyone is going to respond differently to different types of advertising, but yes, as Quoleena pointed out, auto DMs, personalized @ spam (where someone specifically tweets tgeir ad to your account), and over reliance on auto-tweeting services is a good way to make me and others like me ignore you.

Now, I do not mind the occasional new release and if a book is on promo, by all means, tell the world, but without any other content, you are just a commercial. No kne skips the TV shows and goes straight for the commercials.


message 14: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments This is great stuff, so informative. If i can ask one more question. Would you tweet followers directly or put up a general tweet (do they get the tweet whichever way?)


message 15: by Victor (new)

Victor | 5 comments Alp put together a great list. Thanks.


message 16: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal Colin wrote: "This is great stuff, so informative. If i can ask one more question. Would you tweet followers directly or put up a general tweet (do they get the tweet whichever way?)"

Sorry, Colin; was that question for me, and if so, can you clarify.

Alp


message 17: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments Sorry Alp, is was for you. I suppose its a question about how twitter works. I can tweet a person directly (so i guess nobody else sees it) or i can put a tweet up that will be seen by everyone who is following me. Would you advise tweeting people separately even though it would be time consuming when trying to market material? Does this clarify the question?


message 18: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) I'll hop in to say that unless you send someone a direct message on Twitter, everyone can see your tweet. In regards to tweeting your book content to individual handles, someone did that to a bunch of accounts the other day. I received it, and the format was something like "@yourhandlehere check out this awesome book __________." That's spam. If you tweet to someone's handle, it should be conversational.

Your general tweets can be seen by everyone who follows you, and it depends on a few factors like when they're using Twitter, how much content they scroll through, if you get retweeted by someone else they follow, etc.


message 19: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Quoleena wrote: "Here's an example of what not to do on Twitter. I just received an automated DM saying thanks for the follow, now go to this link to read 2 chapters of my book.

My response? An immediate unfollow."


Agreed! Never do direct sales on Twitter. Never ask anyone to do anything. Don't ask them to download your book or read a sample. Even free books. I get DMs all the time saying, "Thanks for the follow. Download my free novel." - Nope. Don't do it. It's a huge turnoff.

Twitter is a passive marketing tool, but it still can be very effective if you know how to use it. Basically, use Twitter to connect with other people -- all kinds of people. Be nice, don't push, don't do direct sales. Just be there, be nice, offer interesting ideas, quotes, and links. The trick is (I think) you have to be there consistently. I get on Twitter a minimum of three times a day to post, RT, read and reply to others. Authors should support each other on Twitter. RT other authors' tweets. Twitter can be a very good mutually supportive place, and that extends everyone's reach.


message 20: by Rian (last edited Nov 29, 2015 08:28AM) (new)

Rian Nejar (riannejar) Twitter (or should I say a developing 'Twitter Culture') seems to break rules of common propriety - not sure that immediate access to someone you do not really know is all that helpful - follow/unfollow, and whatever leads to such actions, seem so 'binary,' discontinuous, jarring.

Perhaps I am just old fashioned...


message 21: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal Colin wrote: "Sorry Alp, is was for you. I suppose its a question about how twitter works. I can tweet a person directly (so i guess nobody else sees it) or i can put a tweet up that will be seen by everyone who..."

Hey Colin,

Yes you can tweet an individual account and have, effectively, a private conversation - I would tend to use DMs for that I have to say. I guess it depends on the number of followers you have - but for marketing purposes, I would post a general tweet - in the hope that it gets seen and retweeted as many times as possible - it also generates new followers which personal tweets wouldn't.

For a new release, for example, I would tweet the release every five hours for a couple of days, then move to once daily for a period of up to two weeks, by which time, usually, it is replaced by another new release tweet. Promoting back catalogue titles varies - but as we have a daily tweet that drives traffic to the website, that is not as necessary as it was in the past. Specific price promotions are tweeted as appropriate.

If you look on our account at the moment, you will see daily promos for the latest audiobook, our permanent free reads and the current author spotlight feature - that's a kind of benchmark - later, there will also be some tweeted links to blogposts, and a whole raft of other stuff that hopefully users will find interesting and entertaining.

What's your twitter handle?


message 22: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Alp wrote: "For a new release, for example, I would tweet the release every five hours for a couple of days, then move to once daily for a period of up to two weeks, by which time, usually, it is replaced by another new release tweet."

See, personally, I would call this too much. There's no magic formula. You are going to be overlooked by some and others are going to block you for a single promotional tweet. As long as you aren't posting spam directly to people, either via DM or @ spam, you shoukd be fine with a few promotional tweets. Just make sure that those are not the only thing you are posting. It's a good idea to remind people that you are a human every so often.


message 23: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) When I'm online I tweet all day, at least two hours apart, and mostly mini-ads, some funny, some just a book picture and a blurb. I currently have 19 of those so none show up twice in the same day. So far I've lost no significant followers doing this. I figure people come and go all day, so those who saw the earlier ads may not see the later ones, and vice versa. Some may block me, but I also get a lot of retweets, and my name gets out there. It may be doing me absolutely no good, but I figure it can't hurt, and I do get more traffic on my website when I tweet.


message 24: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal Quoleena wrote: "Here's an example of what not to do on Twitter. I just received an automated DM saying thanks for the follow, now go to this link to read 2 chapters of my book.

My response? An immediate unfollow."


Couldn't agree more, though, if the auto DM thanking me for following includes a link to their facebook page, I tend to be cool with that - but not much else.


message 25: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal Ken wrote: "When I'm online I tweet all day, at least two hours apart, and mostly mini-ads, some funny, some just a book picture and a blurb. I currently have 19 of those so none show up twice in the same day...."

Whatever works, Ken. We found the traffic to our websites increased significantly, and specific targeted tweets will drive daily unique visitors into the 100s - always look to strive for a balance between retweets, original content and promos of any kind. What's your handle?


message 26: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) Alp wrote: "Colin wrote: "Sorry Alp, is was for you. I suppose its a question about how twitter works. I can tweet a person directly (so i guess nobody else sees it) or i can put a tweet up that will be seen b..."

There are different schools of thought on this, so from my perspective, I always either mute or unfollow the accounts where the author only tweets content related to their books. It gets overwhelming when I have to scroll endlessly to get to real, human content. Does anyone view it differently when on the receiving end of those types of tweets?


message 27: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal Quoleena wrote: "Alp wrote: "Colin wrote: "Sorry Alp, is was for you. I suppose its a question about how twitter works. I can tweet a person directly (so i guess nobody else sees it) or i can put a tweet up that wi..."

This was the main reason why I started using lists


message 28: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Alp wrote: "What's your handle?..."

https://twitter.com/@doggettken


message 29: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Quoleena wrote: "There are different schools of thought on this, so from my perspective, I always either mute or unfollow the accounts where the author only tweets content related to their books. It gets overwhelming when I have to scroll endlessly to get to real, human content. Does anyone view it differently when on the receiving end of those types of tweets?..."

I just assume that an author is there to tweet about his/her book, and it doesn't bother me. Many of the pictures and promos are interesting to see, although some are repetitive, but they brighten up the feed.


message 30: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 779 comments I won't lie I am one of those people who tweet out their book however I don't do it religiously and when I do I try to be creative about it. Does it get me sales? Probably not but it's a good practice to at least tweet out your book in a respective manner every once in a while. I do my best to retweet similar content or content I myself find interesting. Sure I see my share of spam from people but I try and give them the benefit of the doubt because I followed them for a reason.

They say it's good to follow people who follow you but don't follow groups that sound shady or people who have an egg as their picture. Also don't follow people who are all about getting followers have are following more people then there is following them.

As for whether or not Twitter helps sell books, I can't say for certain whether it does or doesn't but it doesn't hurt to make an effort


message 31: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) Ken wrote: "Quoleena wrote: "There are different schools of thought on this, so from my perspective, I always either mute or unfollow the accounts where the author only tweets content related to their books. I..."

I retweet some of those promos from time to time. For me it's a matter of moderation as opposed to all and only.


message 32: by Jens (new)

Jens Lyon | 47 comments I find that Twitter brings traffic to my blog. I don't know if I've sold any books that way. Today I tweeted more ads for my book than I usually do because of cyber Monday.

I am @JensLyon if anyone wants to follow me.


message 33: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal I have followed you Jens - thanks for the follow and for adding me to your list.


message 34: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal Ken wrote: "Alp wrote: "What's your handle?..."

https://twitter.com/@doggettken"


Have followed you Ken. Alp


message 35: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Alp wrote: "Ken wrote: "Alp wrote: "What's your handle?..."

https://twitter.com/@doggettken"

Have followed you Ken. Alp"


Thanks for the follow.


message 36: by Chikamso (new)

Chikamso Efobi (cheexy) | 92 comments Hiya,
I just joined this forum. My twitter handle is https://twitter.com/@chic_aah. I would be happy to see how you use twitter to promote your books


message 37: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Hey guys, there is already a social media thread in author reaources. Please feel free to discuss the merits of Twitter, but keep the trading of contact info to the appropriate thread.


message 38: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments Jz wrote: "Alp put together a great list. Thanks."

That list is exactly why I will always fail on social media. Just looking at it fills me with dread. No way I have the stamina to give social media that much attention. It ends up feeling like another life-cluttering responsibility. I'll inevitably put it off and then feel guilty about not doing it.

I already feel that way about not writing enough!


message 39: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 779 comments The thing that I feel about Twitter when it comes to selling books is that your a lot more likely to do so than you would on Facebook. On Twitter you have a far greater chance at someone not only seeing it but retweeting it or at best commenting you back on the post. With Facebook, there's too many people spamming in groups so your post goes unnoticed and also people are more likely to bypass your post on Facebook.


message 40: by R.W. (new)

R.W. Andrews (goodreadscomRWAndrews) | 5 comments Using Twitter definitely has some advantages over FB by allowing an author to reach a wider audience. Personally I see it as a great tool for learning about marketing strategy on Social Media. This is vitally important for any Indie since most of us are seeking ways to build a sales platform. However I would not put all of my expectations into one basket such as social media. Instead just think of it as another resource you have at your disposal while you continue to seek other ways to promote your book.


message 41: by J.M. (new)

J.M. Brown (janbrown) | 4 comments I have tried twitter and all other social media and I can say without a doubt that it doesn't sell books. It has helped me to get visitors to my blog but that's it. I created a blog with some really interesting posts to get people to know who I am and then maybe follow me or sign up to my newsletter and that hasn't worked either. I really think twitter and social media may have been a good strategy when it first became popular but things change so fast that it is already out-dated.


message 42: by Victor (new)

Victor | 5 comments I'm with Micah on this one. Self-promotion can be a full time job. Too bad I already have a full time job.

I'm not sure if the traditionally published authors have easier time then the indie authors. The two 'big names' I know, both trumpet their books across all media and probably spend god-awful amount of time doing so.

I'm not sure if a hermit writer of the past can be successful nowadays. Any thoughts?


message 43: by Jens (new)

Jens Lyon | 47 comments Trad pubbed authors can get reviews in big-name publications. I'm sure that helps. Most of us scramble to find bloggers who will review our books. We also don't get listed in book catalogs unless the catalog fits a specific niche and the author knows how to hustle.

Beyond that, the trad pubbed authors seem to be doing the same things we're doing. In some ways, they're under more pressure than we are because the house expects them to earn back their advance.


message 44: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal It's taken all year to get to where we are with the social media strategy we began back in February. I don't think any strategy will deliver success overnight, given the increasing competition we all face in our genres.

Simple truth, if we want to sell books, we have to work harder, and a social media strategy, which could include Twitter, is absolutely essential these days.


message 45: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1103 comments I think it's necessary to have a presence. The list above is helpful because it shows the possibilities. As for the actual take-a-ways, it's not an all or nothing; I may use one or two. It's a matter of what each person is comfortable doing. I enjoy reading the posts.


message 46: by Jens (new)

Jens Lyon | 47 comments Somebody did click the Amazon link from my pinned post on Twitter yesterday. Then when I checked at Author Central, it registered a sale that hadn't been there a few hours earlier. So you never know!


message 47: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments HI everyone. I've now decided to use Twitter as another platform for creativity. I have pooled your ideas and decided to, yes market my books, but not just by pasting the front page with links but trying to tell part of the story, a kind of synopsis, in parts, each with a picture or photo. I'm not sure it makes for compelling reading, you'll have to be the judge of that but it does get the creative juices flowing, having to reduce everything to 140 characters, including a pic, video etc. Let me know what you think. There is another, slight issue & that is time zones. As I write this post, many of you will still be asleep and so I guess I need to find out when is the best time to tweet so that you all get to read. I bet you can't wait! (lol)


message 48: by Alp (new)

Alp Mortal Colin wrote: "HI everyone. I've now decided to use Twitter as another platform for creativity. I have pooled your ideas and decided to, yes market my books, but not just by pasting the front page with links but ..."

Hi, Colin

I followed you, and in the process, viewed your timeline, and when I saw the references to La Chaire, I remembered that I had visited the garden, back in 2001, just as the restoration was beginning - how cool!

The easiest way to get round the 140 character limit is to use a twitter card - in essence, an image, which contains the text you want to post.


message 49: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments Spooky huh! Sad to say no restoration took place. I was in on the idea with a view to me writing historical pieces to view as people walked around. It was such a great story I decided to write a book instead but not just a non-fiction biography. I wanted to bring the place to life. A twist to the tale is that they sell the book (& take zero percentage) at the hotel so i stopped trying to sell it elsewhere, until now. I'm going to put up some pics over the next week on Twitter. If you are interested there is more background on my website. Thanks for the heads up on the twitter card I'll explore that. regards Colin


message 50: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Soosar | 6 comments The worst Twitter author accounts are those with just My Book tweets over and over and over again. Amazing how many do it because they heard they "have to be on Twitter".


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