Thursday, 2 December 2010

SCBWI Conference 2010 - How to Sell Your Book on the Internet (Part 4)

This is what I said about Part 4 at the end of Part 3....

"It will involve the first of the social networking bits of the 'selling-your-books-and-your- author-self' platform. I know this will be terrifying for a lot of people—and I should warn you now, it will eat your soul if you let it! Mwahahaha!" (Sorry about the demonic laughter--it gets away from me sometimes.)

Are you terrified yet?  Because I'm going to take you into the scary soul-eating area that is


If I had a pound for every person who's asked me ‘what’s the point of Twitter?’ I would be able to buy myself several designer handbags, and probably outfits and shoes to go with them. From my own point of view, I can tell you that I have made more contacts, got more author gigs and generally found more useful stuff on Twitter than anywhere else on the internet. There is a whole community of reviewers, agents, authors, illustrators, librarians, booksellers, publishers both digital and paper, journalists, parents, and readers all in a great, glorious global mix.  Here's what my bright and cheery profile page looks like. As you can see, the background is the cover of one of my books, Hootcat Hill.  Subliminal marketing, if you like.

But the real question you want me to answer here is:
does Twitter sell your books? 
Well, just think about this for a moment:
My Twitter account puts me in contact with people in all areas of the book world and beyond including those all important book buyers
That's a selling tool with pretty amazing potential, I reckon. 
So how can you capitalise on that as an author? There are really only two important rules to remember as far as selling your books on Twitter is concerned:
  • What Twitter is NOT is a direct marketing tool. So you can’t go putting ‘Buy my books Buy my books’ on it every day—the ‘me me me’ author is an absolute no no—you will alienate follower people immediately by doing that. So don't.
  • What Twitter is is a place for mentioning stuff casually, as in a conversation. I’ve bought lots and lots of books through Twitter recommendations or links—and I know I’ve sold many many copies of my own (including in markets like America and Australia where I’m not yet directly published with my current series) through just those casual mentions of something that I’ve been doing, or a review link, or a link to this blog, or just because someone is interested in me as an author. And for every person who has told me directly that they’ve bought a book, you can be sure there are others who are doing and not saying. Also, if you've liked another author's book, why not say so?  Goodwill generates goodwill...I'm a great believer that casting your bread upon the Twitter waters will return it to you a thousand-fold.
If you want to know more about the nuts and bolts of how Twitter actually works, I suggest you look at my Writing 101 Production about Twitter Wisdom, which has useful links for the techy stuff (like explaining why you should use Tweetdeck). And if you are a Twitter neophyte and want to start following some bookie people, you could do a lot worse than the lovely people who were on the SCBWI panel with me...

That's from left to right: @ninadouglas (who is hiding out of shot because she's shy like that), @MayhewJ @jabberworks  and (of course), me @lucycoats

Next up will be that sink of time-wasting, Facebook!  Betcha can't wait!


Nicky S (Absolute Vanilla) said...

I have, of course, retweeted your post ;-)
You are, I have to say, slowly converting me.

Nina Killham said...

Thanks for this. I do sometimes wonder what I'm doing on Twitter. It does seem to hoover time from my day. But I love its energy. And hey, two thumbs up, I got to meet you!

Lucy Coats said...

Slow is good--wouldn't want you to rush in where wolves fear to tread, Nicky!

Nina--that's two thumbs up from me too! And meeting you on Twitter made me move your book from 'wishlist' to 'buy', thus giving a fine and immediate illustration of Twitter indirect selling power.

Thomas Taylor said...

I'm still loitering at the gates of Twitter, but I know I'll have to jump in some day. Perhaps next year.

When I start my diet.

But doesn't it keep you glued to the screen all day, just in case you miss something?

Lucy Coats said...

C'mon Thomas! Jump into the Twitterwater right now. It's warm and welcoming, I promise. *beckons temptingly*

And is surprisingly easy to organise if you use Tweetdeck to put everyone in 'sphere of interest' columns. I use Twitter in 5-15 minute bursts, and I don't ALLOW it to take my life over. If something is really vital, you can be sure it will be retweeted...

Lucy Coats said...

A little example of how this works: I've just had a message from a Sydney Morning Herald journalist/mum saying: "We have read 7 of your Greek myth books - getting more tomorrow." She would never have known about them without Twitter. QED.

Candy Gourlay said...

great stuff. i'm slowly wading into twitter now. partly your fault of course.

Ruth Eastham said...

Thanks for a great post!

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