How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter!

By Rachel Thompson | Blog

Mar 30

How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter tweetspam

 

 

When I was a pharma rep (for fifteen years but recovered now, thank you), we would joke with each other about making ‘radio’ calls. Calls so quick, the same song would still be playing on the radio when you got back in the car. Some people referred to them as ‘drive-by’ calls – did you see the lights on? That’s a call!

 

Was it an effective way to sell? No. Did anyone ever get caught? Who knows? The point is this: it did not sell product.

 

Fast-forward to social media and authors using Twitter to deliver ‘radio’ calls – one-way broadcast tweets, no interaction, link dumps. Every day I see writers spamming their book links repeatedly to thousands and I can’t help but wonder: why are they doing this? Don’t they know better? Are they selling anything?

 

No. Social media is for building relationships and connections. It’s a great marketing platform, but it’s not an ‘advertising’ platform, if you will (though they do have paid advertising). I’m not saying NEVER to promote on Twitter. I’m saying do it with balance.

 

Let’s deconstruct.

 

When you look at social authority (the number of retweets someone gets versus strictly follower count), authors are missing the point. Given that the average half-life of a tweet is eighteen minutes (SEOmoz), it’s time to smarten up, my friends.

 

Let’s discuss the difference between content and spam.

 

  • CONTENT

 

From SEOmoz:

 

Social Authority surfaces a completely different set of top users: those that are extremely effective in engaging their followers. Perhaps jump onto Twitter and look at their content. Expand their tweets: that’s where the magic is. There’s a similar content strategy: short, pithy, often humorous, and targeted well to their audience.

 

So, what does that mean exactly? Do you have to write only humorous tweets to gain retweets? No (but it helps). Be an authority. Share info and resources about topics having to do with your book, subject, or genre. Promote others. Be generous! Engage.

 

BUT it’s not all about engagement. We only have so much time in a day. Keep this is mind: the people who receive the most tweets are often controversial, sarcastic, and are hoping to get a reaction. Many never interact at all (not that I personally recommend or do that).

 

This isn’t content that we necessarily like — often, quite the opposite! Rather, these accounts have found the secret sauce: retweet bait. They’ve discovered content that gets their audiences’ attention, whether we like it or not, and prompts action in terms of retweets and traffic.

But from the perspective of retweets (and clicks), engagement doesn’t matter at all.  Many of these accounts never @mention anyone.

 

This is statistical, but let’s look at the reality from an author perspective: interaction is key to having discussions, polite discourse on controversial topics, and building relationships (not necessarily affecting follower count). Social media is key to building your brand.

 

I often won salesperson of the year awards but the truth is, I would rarely stick to the ‘company line,’ which was about the hard sell. I was always into relationship building. I still am! And social media is perfect for that.

 

  • SPAM

 

Everyone whines about getting spammed by authors constantly on Twitter. Where is the line between sharing something about your book (say, a 5-star review), some kind of a special promo, and spamming?

 

Well, according to Twitter’s guidelines: If your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates,’ you are spamming.

 

People ask me frequently: well, what if I’m promoting other authors, sharing others’ articles and blog posts…am I then spamming?

 

The best answer I can provide is this: balance. Not every tweet should have a link—not only to stay within guidelines, but also to not be annoying. The people I personally enjoy the most do share witty pithisms (not a word but I like it), insightful comments, or review quotes. I don’t mind links to topical information and posts. But if a stream is ALL links? I pass.

 

Here’s a tip I offer daily: shorten the link to your latest book using bit.ly and add it to your Twitter bio (or Facebook, or Google+ or…you get where I’m going with this, right?). Customize it also (see what I did for my latest release Broken Pieces, here.). Why? I can check to see how many clicks I’ve received from Twitter to my Amazon page. Amazon gives no click-through or conversion info, but this is a great indicator!

 

 

Bottom line: Twitter is a great way to build relationships and awareness, a fan base of readers, reviewers, and book bloggers, and interact with all. It’s not free advertising. If you want to advertise your book, there are far more effective options. And it’s only one small part of your author platform. Next post, I’ll break down the platform further.

 

Got questions? Disagree? Do share below!

 

If you’d like to read Broken Pieces, click for a free sample on Amazon (no Kindle required – they have free apps for any smartphone, computer, or tablet). 

 

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About the Author

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs,  #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Leave a Comment:

(61) comments

@KafeCastro March 30, 2013

How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! http://t.co/M2w1WYvO7s via @badredheadmedia no #spam allowed

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@DougSolter March 30, 2013

Amen! Don’t do this. Please!!!!! >>>>>> How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! http://t.co/Kb35OzoJo7 (via @RachelintheOC)

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@EroticRomPromo March 30, 2013

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@juliemusil March 31, 2013

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@twiley1012 March 31, 2013

How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! http://t.co/iotfRcM1Yr

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Kim March 31, 2013

Excellent advice!! Thank you so much. I think I tweet too many URLs! So back to having more fun on Twitter!

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@EroticRomPromo April 1, 2013

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@patricia_sands April 1, 2013

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@ValerieRind April 1, 2013

Please do NOT buy my book. RT @claudenougat: How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! http://t.co/m5RIcpQ9t2 via @badredheadmedia

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Sherry Isaac April 1, 2013

Great timing for what I am going through with social media, Rachel.

Tweeting doesn’t come natural to me, so when I do share tidbits instead of a link, my tweets sound forced or lame–at least that’s how it sounds to me. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that not being good at twitter does not mean I am not a good person or not a good writer. It simply means, while Twitter is a fabulous tool for some, Twitter is not my thing.

And–Eureka!–who says I have to sell my books on Twitter anyway?

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    Rachel Thompson April 1, 2013

    I love good timing! Here’s a TIP: take what you’ve written in your blogs and repurpose lines for tweets. Shhhhh.

    🙂 xo

    Reply
Thomas Hay April 1, 2013

Tks redhead, You have opened mine eyes. No April fool’s.

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@EroticRomPromo April 1, 2013

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How not to sell you book on twitter
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#amwriting #bookbuzz #bookmarketing

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@Jaanamm April 2, 2013

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@FED_ebooks April 2, 2013

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@LukeChess April 2, 2013

This tweet spends more time on how TO sell. #misleading RT@LucindaLitNYC How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter http://t.co/97CMJusVa6

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    Rachel Thompson April 5, 2013

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Reply
@ErinStreamline April 3, 2013

How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! http://t.co/FcnQrDKEz1 via @badredheadmedia

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@shadesofsolveig April 3, 2013

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@GenevieveDewey April 4, 2013

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@SimonHayHealer April 6, 2013

How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! http://t.co/IRv1d1Y4Hk via @BadRedheadMedia #marketing #sales #socialmedia

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@lynskeybooks April 6, 2013

How NOT To Sell Your Book On #Twitter! http://t.co/g0gIg9L0m9 via @badredheadmedia

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D. Hunter Phillips April 8, 2013

I couldn’t agree with your perspectives on this more. I have been guilty of doing many of the things you describe. I have learned better now. I loved reading your article.

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    Rachel Thompson April 8, 2013

    Thank you, David. Listen, we all have to walk that line of promotion of our own stuff combined or better yet, balanced, with promotion of others. Most people understand that and those who don’t learn the hard way. thanks for your comments!

    Reply
Jenny Watson April 12, 2013

Problem with Twitter is odds are all your followers are just like you – an author trying sell his/her book. They are book sellers, too, AND not necessarily book buyers.
It is like you being a car dealer trying to sell your cars to other car dealers. Forget it.

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    Rachel Thompson April 12, 2013

    Yes, very true. That’s why I follow (and suggest other authors do the same) these keywords: #reader #amreading #bookblogger #bookreviewer #bookclub

    Those get you to readers! If you’re strategic with Twitter and use it wisely, it’s a wonderful tool. 🙂

    Reply
Ronald Joseph Kule April 14, 2013

Rachel, most times I think of Twitter as like a trip to my Best Buy store: I go in excited and determined and walk out too soon and hyperventilating because I did almost nothing and got overwhelmed by too many choices. Am I outside of the box on this?

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    Rachel Thompson April 15, 2013

    Not at all. There’s definitely a learning curve to Twitter and what I recommend at first is to focus on finding people who will become your reader base and following them (book reviewers, book bloggers, book clubs) and then slowly make comments here and there. You don’t have to jump in with the big fish right at first. Do what’s called ‘gawking’ — watch and learn (what you like, what you don’t like). Read my blog here. Google stuff. Read Twitter’s (boring but helpful) HELP section.

    Like anything, you’ll get it. Just give yourself some time. 🙂

    Reply
      Ronald Joseph Kule April 15, 2013

      Really appreciate the reply and advice, which I will use. Thanks so much, Rachel!

      Reply
      Ron Kule May 14, 2013

      Rachel, your good advice is paying off for me! I have more following me now and one book reviewer asked to read my book about the late Chef Tell.
      Thanks!

      Reply
        Rachel Thompson May 14, 2013

        wonderful! That’s SO great, Ron. couldn’t be more thrilled.

        and it’s just the start, I’m sure.

        xx

        Reply
Chana Keefer April 22, 2013

Thank you for your article. It’s very informative and, after a bit of time trying to DO Twitter, this was what I was gleaning as well. There have been some very cool contacts and even some reviews gained from tweet interactions, but putting on lists of scheduled tweets pushing a book seem to be a lesson in futility. I too had turned to making tweet titles out of my blog posts.

I’m also grateful for the suggestions of these hashtags: #reader #amreading #bookblogger #bookreviewer #bookclub

A very insightful article.

Thanks!

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    Rachel Thompson April 22, 2013

    Thanks so much for commenting, Chana.

    It can be confusing at first, particularly when we start and see others spamming links. If they’re doing, why shouldn’t I?

    Clearly, it’s not an effective long-term strategy and because of the sheer amount of spam on social, people are tuning out. I suggest to all my clients and fellow authors never to engage in spammy behavior.

    I’ll be writing more next about what exactly that means.

    Best,

    R

    Reply

[…] How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! […]

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[…] How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! […]

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[…] came across this article that actually says to balance tweets between selling and personal opinions. Basically, make it […]

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[…] How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! […]

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Sharon Buchbinder May 13, 2013

Thank you for your great post! I have taken your advice to heart and will spam no more!

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    Rachel Thompson May 14, 2013

    wonderful! that makes my day, Sharon.

    There’s just so many ways to interact and engage with others. It’s so much more effective than constant links. Good for you!

    Reply
@rbakercnn May 17, 2013

How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! http://t.co/EY1fqqc6wz rt @RachelintheOC #writing #writetips #amwriting

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@VioletIvy2 May 19, 2013

How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! http://t.co/gXpGbEIUC5 via @badredheadmedia

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[…] How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! […]

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Terry Tyler May 21, 2013

Sorry, have I commented on this before? Maybe – I’ve certainly read it before, it’s such a great post. What I don’t ‘get’ is how come the people who post endless links and nothing else manage to make the content sound boring, too. Eg: “Check out Boring Book by @boringauthor”, or “Official site of Mr Boring (boring link)”, or even “Boring article about self-publishing (boring site)”. Ha ha, I’ve typed ‘boring’ so often it doesn’t look like a word anymore! But yes – I think everyone makes mistakes at first, and this sort of article helps people not to. I used to do too many RTs, for instance, and got unfollowed a lot. Now I talk to the followers instead of shoving a load of other people’s book links at them…!! 🙂

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    Rachel Thompson May 21, 2013

    Always happy to have you here, Terry!

    I don’t get that either. It’s SO annoying. I’m not sure why people do that. It’s social media, not ‘all about me’ media, as I say in the article. On top of that, people would (hopefully) act this way in real life, right? Why would they do that online?

    It’s wonderful that you changed what you’re doing and understand the process better. Maybe it’s just a matter of education — if people are open to it. That’s what I’m attempting to do with these articles. But people have to read them!

    Thanks for reading and commenting, honey.

    xx

    Reply

Havѵing read this I bеlieved it was really enlightening.

I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this informative article together.
Ӏ once again find mysеlf spending wayy too much time both
reading аnd commenting.But so what, it was still worth it!

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[…] How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! […]

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[…] How NOT To Sell Your Book On Twitter! […]

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