In my never-ending quest to bring you useful book marketing strategies, it occurred to me that I may not be alone in my befuddlement over Twitter.
No, I’m not referring to my FREAK OUT DAY, when all my Tweets inexplicably disappeared from my four websites. (Translation: Twitter suddenly changed its API.)
I am referring to effective Tweeting to promote your novel.
Since I break out in hives at the mere MENTION of statistical analysis, I don’t have concrete proof that any of these (brilliant) Twitter ideas pay off, but you are welcome to try them. And to praise me profusely in your Tweets!
20 Things Every Novel Writer
Should Know About
Book Marketing on Twitter
Forget Good Grammar
You have 144 characters to express yourself. (Translation: you’re writing a HEADLINE, not a sentence.) Punch up your message with powerful verbs. Cut out the fluff. A blah word like “THE” is wasted in a Tweet. Put the interesting stuff at the beginning.
Use Short Codes
Shorten blah words. (Examples: With = w/; For=4; To=2, Your=UR, Thank You=TY or Thx; Be=B.) Why go to these extremes to save space? So you can stuff more hashtags into your message – or, if you prefer, to leave room for a retweeter’s handle.
Learn from the "Drool-Worthy Hero"
Twitter operates at HYPER SPEED. To promote your book in a way that stands out from the stampede, write headlines that are clever or humorous. For instance, I retweeted a stranger’s Tweet about her book simply because I got a chuckle out of the hook: “Drool-worthy hero.”
Think Like Your Audience
Make a special effort to write messages that appeal to your target audience. The average Romance reader won't care that you researched aircraft carriers. However, she might be intrigued that you spent the summer with 100 Navy Seals, cruising the Mediterranean.
Yes, folks in Australia and Great Britain have Twitter accounts! Tweet around the clock. As an experiment in my book promotion strategy, I scheduled a message for 2 a.m. that had been overwhelmingly ignored during the day. Around 5 a.m., I discovered that my Tweet had been retweeted 22 times. Holy Jackpot, Batman!
Know When Your Readers Are Active
In the United States, on the weekdays, Twitter is busiest from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST ~ but is that when YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE is Tweeting? Find out. BTW: there are pros and cons to Tweeting when everyone else is. One way to stand out? Avoid Tweeting on the hour, quarter hour, and half hour.
Give It a Rest, Already!
Mix up your messages! Intersperse your book promotion Tweets with non-related material. Give the marketing push a rest for a day, or a week. When you resume, Tweet with a new slant to the old book marketing message.
Become Captain Generous
Help your fellow authors: retweet their messages to your peeps. Celebrate their wins; promote their giveaways.
Practice Twitter Etiquette
ALWAYS give credit when retweeting (Example: RT @AdriennedeWolfe.) It helps you make friends and grow your followers -- which should be a key component of your book marketing strategy, anyway.
Know Who's Retweeting for You
- Instruct Twitter to send you an Email when someone retweets for you, or
- Include your Twitter handle in your Tweet. If you have a (free) account on Tweet Deck, you can then see how many times your name appears in the @Mention column.
- Another way: Click on your Tweet’s “Details” tag. If you see, “Retweets,” click again. Voila: a list of the folks who retweeted for you, plus links to their Twitter accounts. Then FOLLOW that person's Twitter account.
Model the "Gratitude Attitude"
Thank the folks who retweeted for you (yes, this requires you to keep track of your RTs.) Think of this task as good karma and good book marketing strategy. You’ll be amazed how many times those thank you Tweets get retweeted or favorited.
Show Your "Savvy"
Repetition annoys followers. So does a flood of thank you Tweets. To dispense the virtual hugs, list all the peeps who retweeted for you in one message (example: Thx 4 RT @AdriennedeWolfe @SolMage @WriterPal.) Are you receiving too many RT's to put in one message? (We all envy you!) Send the second one out hours later -- or wait 'til the next day.
Reward Your Allies
Invite other peeps to follow your Twitter pals on Follow Friday (#FF) and Writer Wednesday (#WW). By the way, in the vast world of Twitter (beyond book marketing) #WW stands for “worth watching.”
Stop Playing "Hide and Seek"
Engage! Twitter is a SOCIAL medium. If you want to sell books, you can't afford the luxury of hiding behind your favorite scheduling service. Carve 15 minutes out of every day to join live conversations on Twitter, or ask questions to start one of your own.
Avoid a Bad Twitter Rep
DMs (direct messages) become annoying super fast, especially when people use them as sales pitches. Do so at your own risk. Personally, I unfollow anyone who DM's me with a sales blurt.
Increase Your Market Reach
Constantly reach out to new audiences in your book marketing strategy. (This is where the hashtags come into play.) You may only have 28 people following your account today, but with a little persistence, you’ll attract a horde.
Become a Scheduling Ninja
Make time in your book promotion strategy to master Tweet Deck or Hoot Suite. These services let you schedule Tweets around the clock. They also let you follow multiple hashtags and all your Twitter accounts simultaneously.
Experiment with Formatting
I've been watching teens create eye-catching Tweets with gimmicks like photos, spacing, and lists. Here's an example of how a teen formatted her list:
-Wine, cheese and bread
(Number of characters used: 142)
Here's an example of Twitter formatting with unusual spacing. This author's Tweet got retweeted several times:
At a university in upstate #NY A beautiful woman from #California
All set to a #Beatles soundtrack (URL)
(Number of characters used: 144)
Scope Out New Hashtags
To stretch your book marketing reach, research new hashtags. Many hashtags have overlapping audiences. If your Tweet only has room for one hashtag, you'll want to know which one is more active: #Mystery vs #Detective or #TeenReads vs #YALit.
Make Comprehension Your Priority
Caution: lots of hashtags and short codes can make your message incomprehensible. Use them sparsely in the “headline.” The better strategy for hashtags is to tack them onto the end of your Tweet.
Next week, I'll post Secret Hashtags 4 Novel #Writers, part 2 of my Twitter Tips series.