No Budget for Promotion? Twitter!

Today, I am changing gears and sharing the blog with guest author, Beth Barany.  Beth shares some insights on using Twitter to promote newly published books.

 
Promotions on $0 Budget: Use Twitter for a Purpose by Beth Barany

Twitter is a lot of fun! I’d be the first to admit it. And it’s a time suck. In researching this article I spent WAY too much time playing on Twitter, doing good things—which I’ll get to later—but it’s distracting nonetheless. Lesson: set a time to write the article [done!] and a time limit on Twitter. [I’m going to have to work on that one!] 

You may think that using Twitter is a complete waste of time (see above), but actually it’s a goldmine of promotional opportunities for authors. If you use Twitter to grow your fan base, build your book buzz, and ultimately sell your books, then Twitter can be worth all your time away from your current work in progress. Yah!  
 
Before We Begin – Twitter Basics 

 To get started on Twitter, here are the steps: 
1. Create a free account and fill out your profile information. 
2. Choose a picture, background and bio that stays aligned with your brand. 
3. Import your contacts from your email account. 
4. Then start searching for your favorite authors, media folks, and interesting people to follow. 

In Twitter, who you follow won’t necessarily follow you back, though they may. You also don’t have to follow those who follow you. I do recommend you follow your fans, once you’ve identified them. Which leads us to our first main opportunity: grow your fan base.  

Grow Your Fan Base 

Whether you’re a newly published author or have a few books under your belt, Twitter is a great way to have direct and timely contact with your readers. By direct, I mean you can send them a message via Twitter called a direct message or DM for short. Handy, huh?! By timely, I mean right away! Okay, when it’s your social networking time. 

 Regarding DM’s, individuals can only send you a direct message if you’re following them. So, follow back if you want to use this feature. 

You can also write a Twitter post (often called a tweet) directly back to someone and mention them. Everyone likes some Twitter love. 

Actual Twitter Example: “@ann_aguirre We’ll miss you while you’re gone. Enjoy DRAGON AGE”. 

For as yet unpublished authors, you can use Twitter too! Connect with your potential fan base by chatting (DMing in twitter parlance) with fans of your favorite authors. Share about your favorite authors in the genre in which you write. When it comes time for you to chat about your first book, your fellow fans can get excited about your book and become your fan. 

Continue the conversation by occasionally inviting followers to visit your site or blog and sign up for your newsletter, if you have one, or sign up for your RSS feed for your blog. 

 Build Your Book Buzz 

 You can build buzz around your book by getting other people to buzz for you. One way to do this is to talk about other people’s books a lot, as does Ann Aguirre, paranormal romance author, https://twitter.com/MsAnnAguirre, and romance author, Bella Andre, http://twitter.com/bellaandre, among many others. 

Another way to build buzz is to interact with the buzz builders: book reviewers. By following romance author, Carolyn Jewel’s Twitter (@jewel), I found LimeCello (http://twitter.com/limecello), an avid book reviewer who interacts with the authors she reviews and raves over. It was fun to follow her send up of various authors and see them answer back. 

Find book reviewers by using Lists, a new Twitter feature that allows you to collect groups of Twitter folks under one, well, list. Anyone can create a list. I’m sure I was not the only one to create one for book reviewers:http://twitter.com/Beth_Barany/book-reviewers. Check out the reviewers’ sites to be sure they cover your genre, then engage the right ones in a Twitter conversation.  

Book Sales 

While it may be difficult to track book sales because of Twitter, you can increase your author platform—the size of your audience—by using Twitter to point out how great and awesome you are! I mean, how your books rock the house. Or, how absolutely smart and snarky you are. Whatever fits your book, your style, and your author brand. 

Above all, have fun with Twitter! Interact with new fans, build buzz, and shine a light on your books! 

 Links mentioned in this article: 
List of Book Reviewers on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/Beth_Barany/book-reviewers 
Book reviewer, LimeCello: http://twitter.com/limecello 
Romance author, Bella Andre: http://twitter.com/bellaandre 
Romance author, Carolyn Jewel: https://twitter.com/cjewel 
Paranormal romance author, Ann Aguirre: http://twitter.com/ann_aguirre 

First published The Heart of the Bay, in the column, the Promotion Posse—a monthly column spotlighting promotional strategies for authors, written by members of SFA-RWA with a knack for PR.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Beth Barany is the bestselling author of The Writer's Adventure Guide: 12 Stages to Writing Your Book, and Overcome Writer's Block: 10 Writing Sparks To Ignite Your Creativity. Beth speaks to groups and conferences all over the San Francisco Bay Area and across the United States and Europe. Beth Barany is also an award-winning novelist. Her current novel is Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, a young adult fantasy novel, available in print and in ebook format. You can connect with her on Twitter and bug her with questions at: https://twitter.com/Beth_Barany. More about Beth and how she helps authors create successful careers at http://www.bethbarany.com.

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