John Marion Francis, Romance Writer and Market Research Analyst, explains how he uses Twitter as part of his book marketing plan:
Twitter, if you haven’t discovered by now, is another powerful marketing tool and a way to gain more readers. How many people visit and use Twitter? Over 5 million visitors in September 2008!
So what is Twitter? Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. That’s right; your post can only be 140 characters each. There is no limit to how many times you can post.
How does it work?
Updates (your twitter post) are displayed on your profile page and delivered to other Twitter users who have signed up to receive them aka Followers. You can restrict delivery to those in your circle (Followers) or make it Open to anyone on the Twitter network. Followers can receive updates via the Twitter website, SMS, RSS, email or through an application such as TwitterFon (iPhone feed) and even Facebook!
So, is it worth the time?
Here are just a few of the giants that use it. Large Businesses such as Cisco Systems, Jet Blue, Sun Microsystems and Whole Foods Market use Twitter to provide product or service information.
Several 2008 U.S. presidential campaigns used Twitter as a publicity mechanism, including that of Democratic Party nominee and eventual winner Barack Obama.
Using Twitter To Market Your Book
Unlike other users that setup Twitter profiles like a “personal communication tool”, I setup my Twitter like a micro story blogger. I post my short stories in Tweet Post Packets (post). I only post one current ongoing short story at a time. This way the reader can read the story from beginning to end or keep up with the story post. I gain readers by them “Following” me. This is done when a Twitter user wants to keep track of my story post. They simply click on my profile and click “Follow”. Now every time I post a chapter, they automatically receive it.
I post full chapters at a time which could be about 10-20 post. This is important because the posts are delivered to them one after another (synchronized) which allows the Followers to read the entire chapter(s). Here is my Twitter link so you can see what I mean: http://twitter.com/romancestories.
Think of Twitter like the new service and device that Amazon has called Kindle http://www.Amazon.com/Kindle. Kindle as some of you may know is an e-book service by Amazon coupled with its digital e-book reader called Kindle ($359.00).
The advantage of Twitter as a micro story blogger is that anyone can access it from any internet connection, iPhone, PDA, Blackberry, RSS, or SMS enabled phone for free. You can also put your website link in your main profile which is an active hotlink to your website as well as weblinks in your post. I put a link to the short story at the end to drive more readers to my website.
Well, I hope I answered most of your questions and gave you another potent tool to market yourself and your books! Feel free to contact me if you have questions.
November 22, 2008 at 5:58 pm
Jonathan, Thank you for letting me post this article.
I’ve added a Twitter Updater to my facebook account, that way all my FB status changes are automatically uploaded to my Twitter page. Twitter hasn’t done much for me yet, but as with all these sites, I’m still a neophyte.
November 22, 2008 at 8:20 pm
That’s very interesting! I’ve been thinking about using Twitter and other microblogging sites to promote my writing. You have an interesting idea for mini-publishing of your stories. I’ll have to think about that.
November 24, 2008 at 4:54 pm
Neat idea. I’d been trying to work out how to use Twitter.
November 24, 2008 at 6:17 pm
Sheila, when you sign up, be sure to add me as a friend/follower. http://twitter.com/patbertram
February 13, 2009 at 11:19 am
Yup! I have a twitter – at first I thought – oh no, not one more thing…but now I’m glad someone convinced me to sign up!