Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How Twitter Can Work for Authors - Making Connections and Sellng Books

     When I learned that my publisher expected me to build Twitter followers, I wasn’t altogether excited.  Not that I hadn’t found Twitter to be useful in my journey to publication. Quite the opposite. I actually landed my book’s contract because of a Twitter pitch contest. I tweeted my pitch during Adpit last February and was favorited by Zara Kramer, head of PandaMoon Publishing. Months after submitting Beautiful Secret to Pandamoon, I got an offer of publication.

     All because of Twitter.

     Twitter is a great tool for authors looking for representation.  The MSWL hashtag is super useful to link writers to agents who are looking for specific kinds of writing or even subject matter. Agents or editors will tweet out their wish lists and embed the mswl hashtag into their tweet. Surfing through the #mswl tweets can be entertaining in and of itself. You often find wishes like “space unicorns who fall in love over cookies and milk,” or “robot online dating stories.” It can be bizarre. Usually, though, an agent or editor will tweet genres, maybe a setting or a specific character trait. I subbed Beautiful Secret to agents who professed to be looking for stories set in Europe or family sagas with secrets. The mswl hashtag can really help a writer nail down agents who want what they have written, so it’s helpful.

    Writers who are seeking community have options galore available to them on Twitter. They can follow and participate in the amwriting hashtag and be favorited and supported by other writers. With #amwriting, you can share what you’re currently working on or just say “good morning #amwriting on this snowy Monday.” You never know who will reach out to you and say hey – I’m writing the same thing or “ooh, that sounds interesting.” Sometimes, we need this type of encouragement. Another community-building trend happens every Wednesday with #onelinewednesday during which you can tweet one line from your manuscript with the hashtag and share it with a host of other writers who are doing the same. This builds interest  and gives the world a taste of what you are writing.

     All in all, Twitter is a great place to connect with other like-minded people.

     I just didn’t see how connecting with other tweeters would help me sell more books.

     I was wrong, though.

     In early December, I had about 600 followers on Twitter. To be honest, I didn’t really interact much with any of them. Now, in mid-February, I have about 6,000.  I interact with several of them on a daily basis, and guess what?

     I’m selling books because of it!

     I learned that by following people who follow authors like me, I can gain followers who are likely to be interested in my book. Now, when I run a promotion and tweet about it, a bunch of my followers retweet it, and my reach is exponentially larger. If I share a #onelinewednesday, it’s also retweeted by my followers, allowing their audiences to learn about my books as well. I have reviewers who are following me and are interested in posting reviews of my trilogy on their blog sites. Twitter is an explosive marketing tool.

     What I’ve also realized is that Twitter is a place to connect to people who can become marketing partners with you.  For example, last week I did my first podcast interview with this amazing guy.

     Jon Filitti reached out to me over Twitter because our names are pronounced the same way. Coincidentally, everyone misspells his name to look like mine (because mine is the way Faletti should be spelled, of course - ha.) Jon humorously mentioned all of this in a direct message, we started dishing Italian backgrounds, and he asked if I’d be interested in letting him interview me on his Mindsoak Podcast.

     I was both enthused and terrified at the idea of being interviewed for a podcast, but I went with it and was pleasantly surprised. Mindsoak is a super cool project in which Jon, who is endlessly curious about everything, interviews interesting people from all walks of life. Actors, lawyers, writers like me. He wants to know what makes us tick and what makes us feel most alive. It’s a super interesting sociological project,  and Jon is incredibly easy to talk with. He asks fantastic questions that go just deep enough. On my podcast, he introduced my Whisper trilogy and gave me the opportunity to tell the world why I wrote it. He also asked me to talk about my publication journey and my women’s fiction debut novel, Beautiful Secret.

     Since we connected on Twitter, Jon and I have shared contacts. I’ve hooked him up with some great subjects to interview in the coming months, and his followers have shown interest in my writing. Now that we’ve connected, we are more committed to promoting each others’ works.

     All because of Twitter.

     Here’s a link to the Dana Faletti episode of Mindsoak.

     Check it out and follow Jon Filitti on Twitter. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get your own podcast opp too!




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