Yesterday’s CBC Radio interview had a huge impact in terms of people searching for my blog and my book. The full interview is at http://www.cbc.ca/ottawamorning/ . Scroll down the right hand side (Featured Audios) to ‘finally published author’ if you missed it. (On the left hand side is a picture of the furry red fake-furred sasquatch interviewed just before I was. I felt as if I’d wandered into a Pixar movie.)
Obviously, being on the radio is a form of marketing. In this, the last in the series of guest posts by author Anne Devereux, she explains how to use Twitter as a marketing tool. Thanks again, @pirateannie, for helping Luddites like me to understand this new medium. Thanks to you, I’ve opened a Twitter account but have yet to activate it. I feel like a little kid — poking my feet into the pool before I take the plunge. But I’m on my way!
Update: @pirateannie is pretty persuasive. I am now on Twitter as @peggyblair and tweeting. Have already added Ian Rankin to the people I’m following :-).
As writers, we can use Twitter effectively to promote our work. For example, say you have a booksigning. You can tweet “I’m signing copies of Mad Dog, Ottawa Indigo, 10 am Sunday Pls RT”
So you’ve just advertised your booksigning (for free!) worldwide, and asked your followers to retweet it to their followers. Pretty sweet! This of course holds true for promoting debut novels, ebooks, pre-sales and all kinds of other marketing opportunities.
Did I say marketing? Twitter, like everywhere, is a prime forum for spammers and scammers of all kinds.
You’ll get followers who, on closer inspection, are not real people at all but bots who have seized on a word you used in a tweet and are now trying to urge you to buy their product. You can ignore them, or delete and report them for spam. I haven’t as yet found any actual harm proceeding from these types, but just be aware of them.
The other thing to bear in mind is that Twitter is meant to be fun. It’s a micro-blog, and should be used as such. If you’re going to set yourself up as @boringwriter and only tweet “My debut novel, Boring Like Me, is out now! Pls RT!” you’re not going to get many followers.
Certainly you can, and should, use Twitter for promo and advertising. But please, let your personality shine through! Don’t worry about being crazy, irritated or downright silly.
Some of my favourite tweeters are professional bestselling authors who regularly post quite insane tweets. @nicolamorgan is a great example. Your followers don’t just want professional, serious, polished tweets. They want to get to know you better. Don’t be afraid to just be yourself on Twitter. I often post tweets like “Chocolate Pudding.” Or “Arrrr mateys, splice the mainbrace.”
I think that pretty much covers everything necessary for a Twitter primer. For aspiring writers and published authors, Twitter provides a quick, useful and fun tool for connecting with other like minded folks, without the wordiness and at times pedantic air of many blog sites.
I have found it especially useful for connecting with potential agents: in following their tweets I can discern their likes and dislikes, and by replying to them and showing an interest in their lives I raise my own profile as a writer. When I get around to querying them, they may say “oh yes, I’ve seen her on Twitter”. I can also say in my query letter “I follow you on Twitter and applaud your stance on * (insert topic of choice.)” Anything that gets my foot further in the door is worth the effort!
One word of caution: Twitter is addictive. You’ll find yourself checking it several times a day. You’ll fret when your favourite celebrity doesn’t consider your sparkling wit worth a reply. You’ll feel like you’re hollering into an empty well. But you will make contacts, some of whom will become friends, and if you approach it with a light-hearted attitude and allow your personality to be expressed (in 140 characters or less!) you’ll have a Whale of a time.