Just about every author I’ve come into contact with is on Twitter, one of the world’s easiest ways to transmit information in the modern digital age. But, as with all social media, it can be hard to determine how best to use it to achieve an optimum marketing effect. Let’s face it: there are lots of people on Twitter who are “peddling their wares,” so to speak, whether it’s news, political commentary, or a product. Authors have grown particularly attached to it as a viable means of attracting readers. In fact, for some of you reading right now, the only way you will know about this post is via a Twitter post.
This is exactly what I’m getting at. Twitter can be an effective marketing tool for sending information to others and inviting people to get to know you and your work. But Twitter is part of a much larger cadre in your marketing arsenal, not the only one.
A great many authors have employed numerous tactics to attract interested readers. Some tweet something that comes from their book blurb or an agent pitch letter—or perhaps a great review from a reader. Others talk about great literary achievements a work or collection of works has garnered. Others still hire or connect with others who can tweet on their behalves, using very similar language you might expect to see in one of the author’s own tweets.
In the author marketing and social media ebook I wrote at the beginning of this year, I discuss how Twitter can be a helpful tool in marketing, but it must be accompanied by other social media tools, such as Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Included in this social media package is a professional website with a blog. Right now, you’re reading a blog post, in a blog that discusses topics of interest to self-publishing authors and authors seeking literary representation. Readers who visit this news site on the Lampas Books website can expect to find information that is relevant to authors.
In an earlier post, I spoke about the importance of writing consistent information. One of those places you can house your writing is in a blog. A blog is a very important tool in the self-publishing world because it allows readers to get to know you, kind of like they would be able to do if they were to meet you in person. If you were meeting someone at a party, and discovered that this person was an author, you may be tempted to ask, “What kinds of things do you write?” The blog is like giving you a taste of that writing, without you being fully committed to learning more.
Unfortunately, with a 140-character limit, Twitter doesn’t really give people the opportunity to meet you. Sure, you can point them to your book’s link on Amazon so they can see for themselves how many people like it and what it’s all about. You intend to invite them to read the sample of your book—just a few pages—or encourage them to add it to their wishlist. But, remember: they still know very little about you. They are not committed to learning more.
With a blog, the pieces are rather short. People can choose whether they want to learn more about you and your work. All they have to do is click on another blog post link. After reading a few posts, they might decide that they like your writing style or your ideas; they may decide to check out your other works.
So, having a blog is essential if you want to make the meet-and-greet process easier. Instead of posting endless tweets that link to your books on Amazon, why not link your followers to your blog posts or some other information about you? That way you give them the opportunity to meet you and decide for themselves if they want to know more about you.
You can generate interest in the ideas you are developing through your blog post writing with headline-style tweets that are sure to get people’s attention. If you write about dragons, perhaps write a blog post about a secret order of knights that worshiped dragons—or whatever it is. Tweet to your followers, “500-year-old dragon-worshiping cult shows signs of revival,” and then include a link to your blog post. How many more people might be interested in learning more about that particular subject—a specific benefit of clicking on your link—than learning about a book you published on the subject?
The key is to use Twitter to get someone’s attention. You don’t have much time to do that. Include pictures with your tweets, since that naturally tends to draw the eye of someone reading a Twitter feed. If you’re not artistically inclined, hire someone on Fiverr.com to design some visual Twitter content for you. Finally, use hashtags. People who aren’t even following you will be able to see your content. If I am looking for information on dragons—maybe even books on dragons—I might search for #dragons, or some variant. If your tweet, with the headline I mentioned above, has the hashtag attached, you’ve reached out to a much wider audience. And, chances are, if that audience likes dragons, they will follow you or add you to a list or even…retweet your content to their followers!
Twitter is a great marketing tool, but it only opens the door just enough to let some light through. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that Twitter users can see the whole room in front of them. Open the door gradually, let them walk through, and let them make the choices they need to make.