Sunday, 18 May 2014

Who says you can't sell books via Twitter?


I've read a few people saying recently, oh, everyone's fed up with all the 'buy my book tweets, they don't work anymore, it's so hard to sell even one book these days, you can't sell books/find new readers via Twitter, blah blah blah.   

Well, actually, yes you can.  

Then there are those who look down on we writers who advertise our books on the site, too.   As one writer friend said to me recently, we don't complain about our feed being filled up with their conversations, do we?  The friend in question chats to people alot, helps support others, blogs regularly and posts items of general interest, as well as advertising her books - yet still she has been criticised for this terrible sin.  I think people should tweet what they wish ~ you can always unfollow if it's not to your taste.  (Incidentally - if someone does too many retweets for your liking, but you still want to follow them, you can do so by turning off the retweets.  It's in the little cog wheel thing by where it says 'following' on their page).


Anyway - back to the big question.  Can you find readers for your books via Twitter? 

Hell, YES!

My newest book, Kings and Queens, has been out for five and a half weeks. It already has twenty-two reviews.  To give credence to the two green words above, I shall now break these twenty-two down:

Two are from book bloggers from whom I requested a review and to whom I supplied a review copy.
One is from a real life friend (who does actually read all my books, without being forced/bribed!)
One is from a long standing Facebook friend (ditto!)
One is from someone who (I think) 'discovered' me via Facebook.
One is from someone on an avid readers Facebook group (for readers, not writers).
One is from someone who started to read me after reading a short story of mine - but the story was in an anthology compiled by.... someone I met on Twitter!
All rest are from people who have started to read me through Twitter - and they're not one-offs from chums, they're all from people who have read more than one of the others, too; some have read them all. 

Thus, were it not for Twitter, I would only have six reviews for this book so far!  You could even argue that I would have even less; the book bloggers were found via Twitter.

HUGE thank you to anyone who has ever enjoyed one of my books that they acquired via Twitter, whether free, half price or a whole £1.99, and another HUGE thanks to anyone who has reviewed me, ever, ever.  I have many, many more reviews from people who have got to know about me via Twittering, be it through a tweet, a free promotion, a blog feature, a recommendation, or whatever.  I know that loads of my writer friends can say the same, too, and will, I hope, be nodding to themselves if they're reading this.  So, if you've only just started using Twitter to promote your book, don't take notice of the negativity, and stick with it.

If you use Twitter in an effective way, you CAN find readers.  I think it's a marvellous site, and not just for this purpose.  So many interesting people and articles, so many great photos (especially lately) ~ it's something all those people who use apps for auto tweeting/retweeting never find out about.  Ah - perhaps they're the people who say Twitter 'doesn't work'....

If you've just started using the site and are a little unsure about it, you could do a lot worse than to buy Twitter for Writers by Rayne Hall ~ it's by far the best book of its type.


Thank you, Twitter, and all who tweet in her!!




(ps, from June 1:  I was just twittering with someone who shares my Tudor fascination, who then said, hang on, I have to read your book (Gemma Lawrence @TudorTweep, she writes great historical stuff on wattpad HERE), so she nipped onto Amazon and bought Kings and Queens.  A moment later another lady, Becky, chimed in with 'I've just been looking at that - sounds like just the thing for my long train journey from France!', and bought it, too.  She didn't have a Kindle, but I told her how you can download the app to your ipad, phone, etc, which she didn't know.  Yes, I know that's only two books, but it was two in five minutes, and that sort of thing happens to me a fair bit.  Established readership often comes one, two or three at a time.  And it's is something the "Contributed Tweets are provided by @SomeCrapApp" crew miss out on....)


26 comments:

  1. Really good post thank you. I'm quite new to self publishing & Twitter & the different view points can be v confusing and negative. Thanks for a positive post.

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    1. Hi Emma, thanks for reading! I hope the two posts I supplied links to, help, as well - Jon has different views from me on some points, so that might be helpful, to read more than one point of view, too. All the best! My blog on the UK Arts Directory has loads of articles on all this stuff, too - it's where I do most of my self-publishing info one x

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  2. I love an optimistic post on a Monday morning, Terry. I hope you're right :D I think Twitter could be a brilliant site if they outlawed bots - I have heard this may be on the cards. I'm not sure I agree entirely - I am considering doing much more offline work this summer, including banging on the doors of bookshops and leafleting, but of the online tools, Twitter is the best. Cheers, Wiz. :-)

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    1. Thanks for reading, Mr B! Tis true that what works for one doesn't work for another, but I think the main problem is that people don't use Twitter effectively. As for the bots - best just ignored, and that's good news; it would be excellent if they were banned :)

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  3. Great post and helpful articles too :)

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    1. Thank you, oh wise and apple-ish one!

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  4. You certainly can Terry, that's how I found you and others who I enjoy reading. My big gripe with twitter is those bloody awful auto-retweets!! I keep asking myself, why do they do it? Who actually pays any attention to them?

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    1. Clive, I couldn't agree more! I never RT any of them back, but they keep RTing everything I post, every day - I imagine that all their 'real' followers have stopped following them, so they're probably all just madly retweeting to each other. Also, because they're never actually ON Twitter, they never read anything like this, that would tell them how pointless it all is! I had an argument with one of the blokes who set up one of them; he said that it 'builds communities'. I said, how can it, if no-one ever speaks to each other but just churns it out via app? To which he didn't have an answer!

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  5. Enjoyed your post, as always. Good luck with "Kings and Queens". :)

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  6. Very good article, to which I say 'hear, hear!' Twitter has been a lifeline, and with the help of some lovely people (yourself included!) I'm becoming far more confident in book promotion and finding new followers.

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    1. Thanks, Emma! And without it, I'd have only ever sold about a couple of hundred, I reckon, to me mates, and only those with Kindles, at that!!!

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  7. Haha...great!! ''The Friend'' thanks you for the mention...

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    1. Well, I did start to write a whole blog post about it, but it just ended up a rant, but then I thought, aha! Tis a valid point I can incorporate here!!!!

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  8. Absolutely!!! And the same person spent ages clogging up my tweety thing with a discussion about some cooking prog!

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    1. Yes - why can they not see that it's just the same?!

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  9. 90% of the writer "friends" I know are because of Twitter. 95% of my sales have come from Twitter. Twitter rocks. My writer life isn't as lonely anymore because of that place.

    Good blog post, Terry.

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    1. Thanks! Honestly, Dylan, I've had at least 5 people tell me that 'you can't sell books via social media'! And, dare I say it, I think that 'buy my book' tweets do actually work - I tweet different books of mine on different days, and I often notice sales for one on the day I tweet it! I've bought lots of book myself by being attracted by the tweet. Let's face it, if it didn't 'work' none of us would do it - it annoys me when people talk to me as if I don't know what I'm doing, and say 'it doesn't work, all you do is annoy people'. Yeah, like all those people who've bought our books, read them, and keep on doing so, eh!! Ta for commenting x

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  10. Wish I could add something intelligent here, TT, but I'm one of those nodding! Twitter is my number one social media site for many reasons now, and yes, most of the books I've sold in recent months have come through Twitter - without a doubt! Great post and tweet on!!

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    1. Thank you, madame - after all, tis how we got to love each other's work!

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    2. It is, it is! And what's more it's how I got to 'meet' you and a number of other really really lovely souls!

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  11. Great post Terry, and so true. I've "met" some fantastic supporters of my writing via Twitter, and have been happy to plug other people's work too - it's got a greater international reach for me than Facebook seems to achieve. And I've discovered many other authors because of their "buy me!" tweets, so keep 'em coming!

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    1. Nice one, thank you, Rachel! Yes, I wish I'd put about that in the post, too - that I have bought books via random tweets, as well! You're right about it being better than FB for that reason; I usually advise people that unless you already use Facebook it's not a great place for finding new readers; people don't share posts the way they do on Twitter, and I also think it's more insular; in my experience, people use the site mostly to keep up with friends and chat about their own lives. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  12. When people say "You can't sell books on Twitter" I laugh. These people post a constant stream of advertising - "Buy my wonderful book!!!! Unputdownable! #mustread #greatbuy #greatread Buynow!!!!!" - as if that would entice anyone.

    Nowadays we're inundated with advertising, and accustomed to just tune it out, so those tweets just get ignored.

    If anything, this kind of tweet annoys, and actually puts off potential readers rather than entice them.

    And those authors wonder why people don't rush to buy the book. Ahem.

    Like you, Terry, I find that Twitter is great for connecting with potential readers. Many people read my tweets (which are not pure promo), maybe chat with me, or eavesdrop on my chats with other people. This makes them curious about me and my books. They take a look at my books, maybe download sample chapters, and if they like the taste, they buy the book.

    Since I entertain my Twitter followers and chat with them, they also pay attention to the (occasional) promotional tweets.

    Many people tell me they bought one of my books because they like my tweets. Some even buy my books because I'm one of the few authors who don't just churn out promo tweets and who are real and interact. They like my approach and choose to show their support by buying one of my books.

    Uh, I've just realised how much I've written here. It's rather long for a comment. I'll step off my soapbox now.

    I'll talk more about this in my book Twitter for Writers which will be published very soon, and contains techniques how to use Twitter to sell books.

    Ha. I've just promoted my upcoming book. Did anyone notice? ;-)

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  13. Rayne, I'm just applauding you! Love it all - oh, and now I know about your new book, too, which I shall, of course, help to promote as I got to know you on Twitter because you don't just pump out #mustread #thriller #bestseller tweets!!!!!

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  14. Just come across this post on Google+ Terry (shared by Mr B!) and have to say I love Twitter! Only opened an account 5 months ago the same week as I published my book and I know I wouldn't have sold or given away on promotions nearly as many copies if it hadn't been for the great community on Twitter. I have learnt a lot from the 'wise ones' on there, made great connections with others, been introduced to wonderful books (and am trying to get caught up with the backlog of reading and reviewing!) and have found a brilliantly supportive and generous community. I don't have that many followers yet but fortunately there are other kind hearted souls out there who tweet and retweet on your behalf - you know who you are :-) and how selfless is that?? It's a great way for people to get to recognise you and your books. Thanks for sharing!

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