Editor's Note: Twitter: I'm Addicted, but With Good Reason
I recently became a follower of Khaled Hosseini, author of “The Kite Runner,” on Twitter. I was shocked to see that he had only 920 followers. Not that 920 is necessarily a small number of followers … but it’s Khaled Hosseini, for heaven’s sake.
I started looking for some of my other favorite authors. I couldn’t find Barbara Kingsolver (“The Poisonwood Bible” is one of my all-time favorites) on Twitter, but she did have a Facebook profile with 3,845 fans (now 3,846). Daniel Wroblewski (author of “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle”) did not seem to be on Twitter, nor did he have a public Facebook page that I could find. The book did have a Facebook page with 284 fans, but it wasn’t very active, and the last “wall post” was Oct. 5, saying that “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” was looking for a new page administrator.
Stephenie Meyer (author of the “Twilight” series) has 8,177 Twitter followers and 12,006 Facebook fans.
It seems to me that if your titles and authors aren’t represented (actively) on Twitter, Facebook and/or any of the other big social networking sites today, you’re missing a huge marketing opportunity.
Take Daniel Wroblewski, for example. With “Edgar” being his debut novel, it seems a prime time in his career to build some direct connections with fans who will be awaiting his next book.
Stephenie Meyer and/or her publisher can reach more than 20,000 guaranteed fans with the click of a button. They can engage them, build a relationship and loyalty, notify them of book signings and other events, get immediate feedback from them (whether on content, marketing ideas, cover design, pricing, e-book formats, or what have you) … and above all, let them know when new books are coming out.
Many authors and publishers are starting to tap social networking tools and are seeing the payoff. I’ve seen firsthand how social networking can benefit a business. For example, I tweeted (as posting a message on Twitter is called) a stat from Book Business’ annual “Book Industry Salary Guide” feature, which had just been posted on our Web site; that tweet was retweeted, with the link to the article, by a number of people who follow me, putting the article in front of potentially thousands of people who might not otherwise have been exposed to Book Business. Another time, I tweeted about the Publishing Business Conference & Expo, and that tweet was retweeted by two others, reaching more than 5,000 people in a matter of minutes.