Nat Davis is an independent contractor for the publishing industry, involved in the process from start to finish. In the beginning, she is the sounding board for ideas; in the end, she helps define a marketing program centered around your needs. While she is ready to offer help where needed, there are a few specific areas where her expertise really shines.
Tag Archives: promotion
Nat Davis — She’ll Circle the Globe, Scour the Earth — Whatever it takes to get you forward on your publishing journey!
Quite awhile back I posted a blog about my beginning to use Twitter to help promote our books. I am still struggling with writing tweets, and I know many others are, so I wanted to share a few “epiphanies” that have come to me in my struggles. Yes, you have to keep struggling, because Twitter works.
Don’t let people tell you everybody hates sales tweets on Twitter. Twitter is becoming the new site for journalism, news, and all kinds of media. It’s not just “I’m bored at school” and “that guy is so cute” anymore. It’s full of Bible study fans, current events fans, fiction fans, homeschoolers, and people interested in every subject you could think of to write about. And don’t let people tell you that you should never follow other authors. People looking at Twitter look for interesting stuff. Readers are looking for writers. I can’t come to any other conclusion, because most of our blog followers and apparently book buyers come from Twitter, and I follow and retweet lots of other authors.
First, both Smashwords and Amazon have tweet buttons on each book page. You can hit that little bird, and an automatic tweet comes up. It’s ok to just send that critter right out as is. You even have some space to edit or add some original things, like hashtags, pricing, or a short quote from the book or a reviewer. But you don’t have to add anything.
Twitter also sends you emails saying “so-and-so retweeted your tweet.” This makes it easy to click the link to so-and-so and go to that profile and retweet a couple of his. Easy return of helpfulness to a person who took the trouble to retweet you.
Another kind of email is the one that says “So-and-so and six others have tweets for you.” These are recent tweets of people you follow anyway, usually, so you can retweet them right from your email.
You can join a tweeting group. There are quite a few on facebook. Some make a file into which people paste daily tweets. You can paste yours there as well if you commit to retweeting the others. They are supposed to retweet you also, Others just make a comment thread with a daily list of tweets. If you add yours, you should retweet the others in the list. A third kind of group makes up a special hashtag, for example #twitgrp, and you can do a search for that on Twitter and retweet everyone in your group who includes that tag. They can also find you and retweet you, without even going to facebook.
If you have many books like we do, and many sites where you book is sold, consider tweeting a group of them from one site. You can tweet your blog if they are linked there. You can tweet from Kobo, for example, where they have our books in a group by each author. I can tweet Sophronia Belle Lyon’s list there, and Mary C. Findley’s list, and Michael J. Findley’s list, and I have let the twitterverse know about all our books in three tweets.
Yes, it’s still a good idea to write original tweets. If you have multiple subjects or genres that you write about, try to concentrate on writing tweets for just one subject at a time. “Historical Romance” tweets Monday, “SciFi” tweets Tuesday, “Bible Study” Wednesday, “Literary Adventure” Thursday, and so on. Keep them generic so you can keep reusing them, but don’t always tweet the same ones.
Tweet lines from your books. Tweet lines from reviews. Tweet hashtags, to tell people what categories your books fall into. Twitter tells you what hashtags are trending. That means people are searching for #offbeatromance, or #electionpolitics or #deathofchild. (I made those up. I don’t know what the real hastags of the day might be.) Take some time to check for those trending hashtags and include them in your tweets for that day.
My next step is going to have to be figuring out some scheduler program like Hootsuite. If anybody is out there reading this blog, I would love to hear your thoughts on the best, easiest, fastest scheduler and how you make it work.
I set up a Twitter account awhile back because that was on my promotional “to-do” list. However, I did not really understand what it was for, so I did not use it much. I tweeted our blog posts, and that was pretty much it. My experience with Twitter was somewhat like Alice staring down the rabbit hole. The White Rabbit is marketing, and I want to go where it goes, but I hesitated looking down that small, dark hole. I know that Twitter resembles email, except that you have to be extremely careful what you say. You only have 140 characters in which to say it. Interestingly enough, this ties in with another part of my writer’s journey, inspired decades ago by Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, my pledge to “Omit needless words!”
I never really understood writers who needed to write long books. Some people love long books with complex descriptions of places, clothing and every little detail. I like the characters and the stories. Excuse me while I skip the travelogue at the beginning of every chapter of Jules Verne’s Michael Strogoff. I am not quite at the point of writing phone-screen-sized chapters or text-messaging novels, but I keep hearing that echo, “omit needless words,” and so I edit, trim, and refine my work. As a matter of fact, I have only recently learned the art of text messaging, another thing that resembles Tweeting. Our daughter is hard of hearing and our communication is almost exclusively by texting. I refuse to use all the abbreviations, symbols and jargon. It makes it difficult, but I have my limits.
Back to Twitter. Recently I timidly took the step of retweeting posts by some authors I have befriended and admire. I don’t just randomly retweet, and I don’t even retweet everything I agree with. I do, however, tend to retweet my author friends. In the meantime, our blog posts go on Twitter automatically, and the other day I was startled to discover that our blog followers had more than tripled in the last month. I was also startled to discover that our books were beginning to sell a little. Our chosen niche market is niched indeed, more like Scout and Jem’s secret space in the hollow tree where they exchanged treasures with Boo Radley. I don’t expect to have bestsellers. In fact, more than one blogger has refused to read our books for review or carry posts we have written because they are “too…” Well, I’ll let you fill in the blank and ponder what an unfair world it is.
I noticed also that strange Tweeters were beginning to say they were following me. I’m not going to tell you how many followers I have because it’s still embarrassing, but people do notice when you retweet a lot. The next step in my Twitterland journey was when I joined a Facebook authors’ group that seemed to fit better with my niche than those I had previously joined. I participated, talked, asked for advice, as I always do when I join a group. Then I noticed they were posting Tweets for their books or interviews or blog posts. I grabbed them and retweeted them, and everybody said “Thank You!”
Then someone said, “Where are your tweets? We will repost them all sorts of ways.” Aaaggh! I had no tweets. So I have been forced to create Tweets. I am still struggling to grasp the hashtag thing, but I think it makes it stand out more, like tagging your book on Amazon. I still hate having to abbreviate, to leave out my beloved exact spelling and punctuation, but I press on. And, though in some respects I am still staring down the rabbithole, I am getting the hang of this Twitter thing. Because of something I am doing, our blog is getting a higher profile and our books are getting some sales. A recent article said that Twitter will cease to exist this year. Perhaps. But in the meantime, it seems to be working for me. Go through your Twitter feed every day, look for the ones you want to retweet, decide if you want to follow people who say they are following you, and don’t forget to Tweet yourself!
How to create a Twitter Post (from an admitted newbie.)
Look at what other similar posts contain in the way of hashtags. For example, I write #Historical and #Fiction and #Adventure, my husband writes #SciFi and #Nonfiction, and there are TONS of other hashtags. Just add the Hash or pound sign in front of a word and you have a hash tag. They are subjects that people search for that can get your post noticed, and retweeted, and possibly get you followed. Punctuation and correct spelling take up extra characters, so grit your teeth and leave them out. Use a URL shortening program like bitly to cut down your links. HootSuite is a free program that can be used to schedule recurring tweets, I am told,. That’s the next step in my journey, I guess.
Some examples of tweets using hashtags
#SciFi #Christian The future of persecution. Lunar colony, gas-collection in the outer planets, forbidden romance http://bit.ly/x5Doq7
#Nonfiction doesn’t have to be dull! 200 illustrations, Nimrod’s worship foundations to founding fathers’ fears http://amzn.to/tUo6Kb
#Mystery Adventure Series, All Things New Doctor tests, Boarding school, secret society, Christmas ball, twin trouble http://amzn.to/vG8jGW
#romance #suspense #historical Occult attacks, child sex slavery, a lost prince, regain a throne, king’s hole peril http://bit.ly/wnxxpt
#Blog, #Issues, #History, #Education #Science It’s tough but you need it. From a fan, “Need me some elk jerky, I do” http://bit.ly/vfdw8v