Monday, 1 December 2014

How to use Twitter to Sell Your Books: Tips for Novel Writers on Selling your Novel without Spamming

Making money from self publishing would benefit from social media marketing, such as Blogger, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Goodreads. All these great free online tools, if used cleverly, will increase your novel’s visibility to sell books online. The focus of this article is how to use Twitter to make book sales.

Using Twitter to Make Book Sales

How to Use Twitter for Authors
Love it or hate it, Twitter can only be ignored at the writer’s peril, as this free marketing tool can be used to spread the word about your book. Let’s start with the basics.

Twitter is a means of getting short messages of up to 140 characters in length to people about what you are up to. Images, links and tags can be added. A Twitter feed can be added to Amazon’s Author Central, the Author page of Goodreads, Smashwords and Linkedin to enable the writer to share bite sized information to book lovers. But it need not end there.

Let’s consider the following facts about Twitter when tweeting about your books:

How to Use Twitter to Make Book Sales Spam Free

People tend to follow twitters who have a large following, so post interesting tweets about not only about your book, but things that might be of interest to a wider audience. This is the key to getting more followers and increasing author visibility. Consider the following:

The aim of Twitter users is to be seen by a large number of people. The inevitable result of Twitter is increased exposure of your book. This exposure is increased again when Twitters retweet your tweets if they are of interest.

Popularity breeds popularity, so the more people that follow you, the more will want to follow you, even if it is merely to retweet their tweets. Remember, your tweets may also be retweeted too.

Always thank those who retweet your tweets and retweet their tweets. This way, tweets about your book could get around.

If you hashtag # your subject, others looking for that subject will more likely find it. Hashtags work like tags on a website or on Amazon that help customers find your book.

Making Your Tweets go Viral for Book Sales

Now this is where things get sensitive. An author self promoting can easily look like spam and will be poorly received not only by Twitter, but Goodreads, Amazon and the KDP Kindleboards. A way round this is to mix interesting things that relate to the author’s books that a wider audience may appreciate. For instance, the theme for one of my thrillers, A Hard Lesson is peer pressure. A good idea might be to tweet about issues relating to peer pressure. Another angle might be to tweet interesting facts about book publishing or offer useful tips about novel writing. I read an interesting link from Twitter to an author’s site that cited funny rejection letters to authors. This will increase the author’s blog visibility by sharing which will have a knock-on effect upon the author’s visibility.

Posting interesting material that relates to the author in some way will help keep the audience interested without spamming.

Author Tips on Using Twitter:

A social media rule to talk 20% about yourself and 80% about others. This will ensure you will not appear all ‘me, me, me’ which could cause other Twitters to mute you. On the subject of being muted, you will not know about it, as muting isn’t the same as being unfollowed. Your tweets won’t be heard and you won’t even realise it. Not a good thing.

On the subject of not being ‘me, me me,’ ask questions or engage in conversations about other fellow tweeters or writers in a non-intrusive way.

Add the ‘at’ sign in front of a Twitter name eg @charlesjharwood if you would like that person to retweet your tweet or to give a mention. However, never persist if someone doesn’t reply or retweet your tweet.

Find potential followers who might be interested in your book by hashtagging a related search term or by using the Twitter search bar to find book lovers of your genre, be it thrillers or dystopian. Never badger other Tweeters to follow you back.

Use pictures to make your tweets stand out. Memes will often draw readers’ attention and could be shared. It doesn’t matter if your meme is pirated, so long as you provide your web page or FB address at the bottom. Free advertising could result.

Post links to interesting articles on your blog or website where your bookstore is located. This provides more for the reader to peruse over rather than mere blurbs about your books.

Create a List on Twitter

You don’t have to follow everyone that follows you. Followers that result from a targeted search is better than a huge following consisting of Twitters that follow indiscriminately.

But having many followers can be difficult to manage. You can organize your followers into lists that can also be used for creating tailored tweets for particular followers. A targeted tweet will result. For instance, you might want to create a list of fellow writers who write in your genre or a list of avid readers who love the genre you write in.

How Not to Market Your Book On Twitter

Don’t retweet the sales plug about your book. People can block or mute you, even if they don’t unfollow.
Don’t target only authors or those in the book trade to be your follower. Widen your audience as much as possible.
Don’t bore the audience by tweeting quotes from your books.
Don’t keep tweeting your book cover.
Don’t keep tweeting your book blurb.
Don’t keep tweeting about your book’s free giveaway.
Don’t keep tweeting about how wonderful your book is and that is has a compelling plot and the reader will have never read anything like it.
Use direct messaging with caution. Twitters find DM generally invasive, particularly if it contains a sales plug.

Newbies can be forgiven for making these mistakes, but I have seen other writers repeatedly do it.

Remember that tweets have a very short life span. Don't assume anyone saw your tweet. Once the feed is more than a few hours old it's unlikely anyone will check the feed in detail although it may be viewed if you added a hashtag. Do time your tweets with the time zone of the country you are targeting. The US is about 9 hours behind the UK, so tweeting in the evening will be received at the start of the US day.

Don’t alienate followers with rude or offensive material. A large following means keeping things clean and being sensitive to people’s feelings. Bear in mind that critiquing a book could be seen by that very author.

Don’t buy Twitter followers to look popular. It’s a waste of time and money. Grow your fan base the organic way with interesting tweets.

Check notifications and mentions to see if fellow Twitters are talking about you and respond appropriately. Thank anyone who has helped promote your book.
Unfollow people who are not following you, they can't see your tweets anyway and you are having to see theirs for as long as you continue to follow them.

Using Twitter to Sell your Books

Twitter is a great way to share information and promote your books, but take care not to spam by repeating a sales pitch to your book. Increase author exposure by tweeting interesting information and links that relate to your books in some way. Use hashtags wisely to create tags that enable others to find you. Credit and thank others who mention you or your book. Increased exposure and meaningful followers is more likely to result in books sales than merely book plugging on Twitter.

More tips on how to Market your Book

How to sell books through Adwords
Traditional book marketing
How selling your books for free can increase book sales

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