Q & A: Marketing your Book on Twitter

On 23rd Feb. webinar on Marketing Your Book On Twitter was interesting and packed with great info. Our panel consisted of Joanna Penn(Author and creator of the Author 2.0 Blueprint) and Gary Smailes(with over 10 years experience of the publishing industry).

We answered a lot of questions but still had a few unanswered. This post answers those questions. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments for our panel.

1: Thanks for your advice. Did you mention the TITLE of your book on Twitter before its publication? there is a war on in Australia between two authors each with a book of the same title ie “Lose the last 5 kilos”? Claim one stole it from the other after reading about it on Twitter! [catherine saxelby]

Joanna Penn:
I did actually answer this on the call but to recap. Yes, I mentioned the name of my novel and tweeted blog posts throughout the journey. You can read all the posts here and basically I tweeted all of those which is a few per month. As mentioned in the call, I keep an 80:20 rule where 80% of my tweets are other people’s links and then 20% are my own. It should also be remembered that book titles cannot be copyrighted so there is no “stealing” in that case. In this case, you would “win” if you had a website that came up with that search term and then sold your book from there. It would be more about SEO than twitter. Also, in this example, I suspect there are a lot more books with this title as weight loss is a huge niche. I would recommend that the authors look at sub-niches which is very effective with non-fiction and the “long tail” idea e.g. “Lose the last 5 kilos on a gluten free diet” which targets 2 niches.

2: Following on Catherine Saxelby’s Q…Would sharing the title ahead of publication apply to non-fiction books as well? Is there more of a risk that someone will jump onto the specific non-fiction topic that you have carefully selected?[trudy williams]

Joanna Penn:
As above, non-fiction authors should be paying much more attention to search optimisation for this type of thing. Twitter is a satellite around your main site so someone who has been blogging for 2 years on losing weight on a gluten free diet will absolutely rank higher and get more traffic than someone who decides to “steal” this idea and just tweet about it.
Also, I have found twitter to be a wonderful, giving, generous environment where people help each other and the various bloggers all help each other. We talked about connecting away from Twitter and how that can enhance your business. I am someone who believes you get what you give/ karma or however you like to say it. If you are friendly, generous, useful and a nice person on your blog and twitter, then you will thrive and attract like-minded people. If you have carefully selected your topic and laser focus on it over time, then you become the expert and people will not be able to touch you! Just make sure it is a long-tail niche as the above example.

3: I released my independently published book in October 2010. Do these techniques still apply? another question: I have two niche markets for my book. Should I create separate twitter accounts?[Carolyn Vines]

Joanna Penn:
Yes, absolutely , you can start anytime with these tactics but it just takes time to build. Include your book information in your profile and start tweeting useful information about your niche. On separate twitter accounts, I have found that it’s hard to do 2 with any effectiveness. To have a really great twitter experience, you need to be focused, so I personally find having more than 1 difficult. If you have one book, then the markets must be related in some way so I would look for that sweet spot. There are people into all kinds of things on twitter and if you have a smaller niche, you can be more dominant.

4: Would you consider having different twitter names if you have non-fiction books that suit different segments, in order to position yourself by adding value to the different segments? Is it ok to have different “names” in twitter?[trudy williams]

Joanna Penn:
This is kind of similar to the above question about having 2 accounts. By having more than one account, you will not be able to highly focus on either one. I have a book on career change but I have stopped trying to market that on twitter because it’s such a different niche to The Creative Penn. I decided the return wasn’t worth the effort. The book still sells every month in print and Kindle, some of those people would have found it through my website and twitter account. So the results can filter through. Perhaps choose the book you want to focus on immediately, build that up and then see if you have the energy to do the other one.

5: Do you actually unfollow people who are not relevant to you or just not pay attention to them? i.e. is it good to have high numbers of listed followers?[Kate Burton]

Joanna Penn:
I unfollow people who spam me or are trolls/haters and just want to argue. I don’t follow people back if they don’t have writer/publisher/marketer in their profile. Basically I do try to have people in my niche in my following and also to follow. I do maintain lists of people I want to make sure I pay attention to, as we mentioned on the call. So I can see their tweets in a separate column on Tweetdeck and respond to them/ continue to build relationships with them. Re high numbers of followers – this happens if you offer value over time. My following has grown slowly but steadily for two years. I absolutely think having large numbers of targeted followers is great for marketing. It offers social proof that people consider you worth following and it also enables you to have a greater reach for your information. When I tweet something, a % of that following will see it, some will retweet it. The higher the base number, the higher the number who will do this. This benefits bloggers whose posts I tweet out there and also benefits me. Twitter is my 2nd highest traffic provider after Google so I see tangible results from my twitter time. It’s definitely worth it for me!

What are your thoughts? Would you like to add to the answers? Have questions about using twitter for book marketing? Leave your questions and suggestions in the comments for our panel.

Apart from being the Community Engagement Manager at BookBuzzr, Freya is an Incurable Drama Queen, Mind-Vagabond, OCDed Control Freak, Innate Traveller, Proud-Softie Dog Mama, Insatiable Reader and Irregular Blogger. She lives in Bangalore, India with her family of six dogs and a husband. Connect with Freya on twitter @freya3377 or her blog Life as Freya.
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