Monday, July 30, 2012

Tweeting Isn't Just for the Birds Anymore

Good Morning. Yeah, I'm liking this title phrase. Two weeks in a row.

(And just so you know this is a long post. It is aimed at newbies and not meant to offend those of you who already know how to do all this. It is only my opinion and what I did. You can take from it what you wish. Also if you have some other great tips, ideas, or information, please feel free to write them in the comments.)

Well, as I said, I was going to share the secret of my success in getting to #1 on the Kindle. First, it was only #1 on the Kindle Free list. I made it to #16 in the Advice>Self-Help>Love and Romance category, and #49 in the Genre Fiction> Romance> Contemporary category. (Which blew my mind all kinds of ways. I was even higher in rank than a few best-selling NYT authors for awhile.)

But all that didn't last. As I mentioned before, I didn't have any reviews, so when it came off of *free* status, the book died. My ranking went from #1 to 274 to 20,745, down to 35,337, to 78,229 within a matter of HOURS. Shocking. However, as soon as the lovely Cindy F. (whoever she is, bless you) wrote a review and posted it (the next day) my ranking shot back up to mid 30k where it's been hovering for the last week.

Lesson #1 -- Before you start your book launch always have at least one review waiting in the wings. Preferably a 4 or 5 star. (I started this launch as a FREE promotion, but you don't have to do free, and on Wednesday I'll tell you why.)

Now, some people are not on Twitter. I know I balked at it for YEARS before I finally succumbed to the madness. It took me a while to figure it out, but once I did, it became a lot easier to use. Also, the key to Twitter is not just using it for promotion. You have to play nice, and be respectful to your following. There are a few "rules" you have to learn, how to use a #hashtag properly, how to shorten your links. (I use but there are a few others out there.) how to RT (retweet -- which I'm still not sure how to do with edits -- it's a learning curve). But all in all, I would say it's a nice place to hang out and talk to people using 140 characters or less.

Lesson #2 -- Join Twitter. Find your blog friends. Find people you want to be friends with. It's all about following. The more the merrier. Usually, if you follow someone, they'll follow you back. (Just be careful. There're a lot of spam Twits floating around too.)

Once you get the hang of Twitter, (took me about a month, seriously, I'm a slow technological learner) then you need to download Tweetdeck. (Okay, I don't know what these apps are actually called -- Twitter feed in real time with columns so you can see who said what as it appears) There's also Hootsuite and one more that I can't remember the name. I use Tweetdeck because it's simple. Like me. It gives me 3 columns -- one for feed, one for interactions, one for scheduling Tweets. Yeah, because that's what you want to use -- the scheduler.

Lesson #3 -- Download Tweetdeck.

Okay, so now you've joined Twitter, downloaded Tweetdeck, looked it over, played around on both. Here's the fun part. Scheduling your Tweets.

I'm going to use my book REMEMBERING YOU as an example (because why would I use anyone else's?)

As I said before (somewhere) this uploading to *free* was an experiment. Because I published this under Robynne Rand, a lot of people didn't know it was me -- Anne Gallagher. So basically I was a newbie author. I decided to offer it free just to see what would happen with a new cover and new edits. I also decided to promote it on Twitter first before I announced it on my blog -- also to see what would happen.

I basically had 4 lines from my book that I pre-scheduled to show up on my Twitter feed (using Tweetdeck) every hour on the hour. If I had just Tweeted:

Remembering You is out now. Free for two days. Get it while it's hot.

What do you think would happen? Nothing. So here are my tag lines and my Tweets.

Optimism was so ugly when it kicked your ass. REMEMBERING YOU #romance #beachread #free

Pete will always wonder if I'm sleeping with Tony no matter how much I deny it. REMEMBERING YOU #romance #free

Missing her parents was something Genna had done for so long it defined her soul. REMEMBERING YOU #romance #free #beachread

Love is a gift from the angels. They smack you upside the head. Pay attention. REMEMBERING YOU #free #romance #beachread

Okay, see the use of my taglines, my #hashtags, the word free and my Amazon tag. Everything is there. No one has to click anywhere other than Amazon to see the book. Then it becomes their decision if they want to download it.

Lesson #4 -- Find some good lines from the book and schedule them with the appropriate hastags and shortened link to Amazon.

So, after scheduling my Tweets for 12 hours, (I did this in shifts) I sat back and watched. I have a few friends on Twitter, and they also helped by Re-Tweeting to their followers. THAT my friends is key. Retweets. I didn't ask them to, as a matter of fact, no one in my circle knew what I was doing. They just did. And that helps. It's like the chain game -- if you like something and tell two friends, they'll tell two friends etc. and so on. It's all about word of mouth.

Now because I did my first free day on a Sunday, I knew there would be people out and about on Twitter. And because I scheduled my tweets every hour on the hour round the clock, I also knew I would hit all time zones. And once an hour for a Tweet is plenty. There's one girl I know who's promoting her book every 15 minutes with a barrage of scheduled Tweets. She doesn't interact, only promotes. Let me tell you how annoying that is. In between my scheduled promo tweets, I also Retweeted articles I liked, put up tweets for other books I reviewed, and talked with a few of my friends. Yes, the first day was almost non-stop on the computer. But this is how I wanted to do it.

The first day I gave away 1074 copies.

Lesson #5 -- Schedule Tweets 24 hours. One an hour is fine. But remember to also have fun. Share. Invite. ReTweet. Promote others.

So the next day, Monday, I announced it on my blog. I also did the same 24 hour scheduling, but as the day drew to a close and I knew the free promo would be ending, I wrote a few other Tweets to schedule.

Only a few hours left for #free REMEMBERING YOU #romance #beachread

Only an hour left to get REMEMBERING YOU #free #romance #beachread

Only a half hour left to Pacific Standard Time REMEMBERING YOU is #free until then. #romance #beachread

At the close of the adventure I gave away 1411 books. During the course of those two days I watched my ranking rise to hit #1 and stay there for two whole days. Did it do any good? I don't know. Would I do it again? Probably not. And I'll tell you why -- But I'll save that for Wednesday's post.

So to recap book promotion using Twitter -- Write a good book. Get a good cover. Join Twitter. Download Tweetdeck (or another scheduling app). Find some great taglines. Use your hashtags wisely. Schedule your Tweets one an hour. Have fun. Promote others.

Anything I've missed? Please feel free to let me know in the comments. Any Questions? Please by all means ask. If I can't answer them, I'm sure someone else can.

(And I'm sorry, I didn't give you the links for anything because my computer was acting up at the time of this writing and I was afraid I was going to lose the whole article. You can find them just by Googling.)


Jennifer Shirk said...

Wow, I think you covered it all! I agree, once an hour is plenty.
And I love Tweetdeck. It makes Twitter so much easier.

Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks Jen. Once I figured it all out, Tweetdeck is the best.

Talli Roland said...

Fantastic tips, Anne! And I love Tweetdeck. Can't live without it!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

So much good advice, Anne. Tweetdeck makes things so much easier, doesn't it? Great campaign you mustered, Roland

Anne Gallagher said...

Talli -- Thanks. I don't know why I lived so long without it. I'm sure there's more you can do with it, but I haven't learned it yet.

Roland -- Thanks. I hope the campaign works for you.

Emily R. King said...

Great post! I have to learn how to schedule tweets. Thanks for the reminder.

Johanna Garth said...

You're using twitter so responsibly. I think I use it to play and then haphazardly tweet about my book.

Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks Emily for stopping by. Scheduling is easy if you remember the clock.

Johanna -- Yeah, I like playing in the mornings before I'm really awake. Some of those tweets are hilarious.

Bish Denham said...

Great stuff here Anne. I have a hard enough time keeping up with my blog. I haven't even thought about Twitter.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

This has been really interesting!

Lydia Kang said...

Looks like you've been using Twitter effectively! Congrats on the great numbers on Amazon!

jabblog said...

Great advice, Anne. Congratulations and more power to your elbow (or your Tweetdeck)

Anita Davison said...

Great post Anne, I have self-publishing friends who found giveaways effective, and generated pre-orders for their next books. So good luck - it sounds time consuming though. However this post alone has made me want to look up 'Remembering'

Nicki Elson said...

And more sage advice. I've only recently started to pay any real attention to Twitter and it looks like downloading Tweetdeck better be my next move. Your tag lines are excellent, btw.