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.
Granted, anything can be a waste of time if you don’t do it well. So to help you better tackle social media, we’ve rounded up a bunch of tips from those in the industry who have tested the waters and learned what works. In this issue, you’ll find 41 tips for building online communities, as well as 36 tips for using Twitter to promote your titles and authors.
By the way, several of the tips for that article actually came in through Twitter—I had tweeted that I was working on the article and suggested that anyone who wanted to share tips contact me. There are so many ways you can use it. And my favorite part about Twitter versus some other sites is that it takes almost no time at all to stay active. But watch out … as Harlequin’s Malle Vallik says, “It’s addictive.” And it truly is. I’m hooked—come join me (@NoelleSki)!
The Publishing Business Conference & Expo (March 10-12, 2010) will cover social media as well, so make sure you check out the program (PublishingBusiness.com). (And if you register by Dec. 31 for a full conference pass, you’ll get a free Sony e-reader. Sorry to slip in that bit of promotion—I just think it’s a great deal for content that I truly believe no publishing executive should miss—free e-reader or not.)
I hope you enjoy this entire issue of Book Business—our annual business tips issue packed with 150+ tips not only on social media, but on crashing a book, vendor management during tough economic times, environmental sustainability … and more. It’s one of my favorites. And, I hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday season, and a happy New Year!