When Twitter first came on the scene I was like many of my fellow authors in believing you could not express yourself or gain an audience in 140 characters. We are writers for goodness sake - writers! Perhaps that was my opinion because the only thing I knew about Twitter was you could find out what Ashton Kutcher was having for breakfast or OMG! where Paris partied the night before.
I already had a large email database list so I thought I did not need Followers on another medium, I just needed to increase my conversion rates on my different websites and increase book sales. However, the more stories I heard and the more tangible results I learned about, the more interested I was in how it could help my brand and expand my visibility (sans the minute-by-minute stalker updates).
Here are the key lessons my colleagues and I have learned:
- Choose your words wisely: with only 140 characters the concept of concise writing takes on new meaning (especially for those of us not versed in texting abbreviations, BTW)
- Keeping your ear to the ground (or keyboard): by following trend listings you can get great ideas for chapters or blog posts by reading about what is current and hot.
- Reach out and touch someone: Having trouble coming up with a chapter or book title? Ask away - you might be surprised by how much feedback you receive.
- Get to know your resources: A lot of literary agents, publishers, book cover designers and editors engage daily, and it is much easier to get a good sense of who they are by their tweets than simply by searching for a company online.
- Accountability buddies: If you follow a group like #writegoal or #amwriting, you will see how much writing everyone is getting done or struggling with each day. Moral support and a good reality check will help you do more than the original 500 word count you set for the day.
- If a tree falls in the woods....: So you have been diligently adding new content to your website blog but you have no idea who is reading it, if anyone. By tweeting with a shortened URL link you can see tangible traffic which encourages you to keep writing.
- Pent up demand: Even before your book hits the bookshelves, you can be creating a buzz around its release. I heard a story recently about an author who engaged his 80,000+ followers in every step of his manuscript so well that he earned best-seller status with just pre-orders. Urban legend? I think not. It's the power of the tweeple. (Sorry, I just had to do it!)
At the end of the day, I realized that just as with any successful marketing message, Twitter can help your book launch and your brand if it is used to engage and create relationships through providing value and benefits to your audience. Simply posting only self-promotion content with links back to your products or services will cost you eyeballs, followers and fans.
About Arielle Ford:
Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: www.HowToWriteMyBook.com