Twitter is one of my favorite pass times, a.k.a. my favorite internet time suck. Some people don’t get it. I didn’t at first myself. I was following celebrities and news channels and it was BORING advertising. I left my account idle for probably a year before I came back to it, determined to try again. It wasn’t until I started making actual friends on Twitter that I enjoyed it. And no, celebrities don’t want to be your friend or follow you.
I saw a lot of people advertising their books on Twitter and I still do. I even do it myself, but I’m willing to bet I actually get very few book sales as a result. I still think Twitter is valuable to writers though and here’s why. The benefit is more indirect and maybe not as easily teased out.
I’ve met friends and writers on Twitter that have supported me when no one else would. I live in a rural area with no writer’s groups or potential critique partners close by, so tapping into the writer’s community on Twitter has been invaluable. Some folks I’ve met directly on Twitter, but others I’ve met elsewhere and found later on Twitter. I’ve met writers, agents, and editors there.
I’ve met small press publishers directly on Twitter, or indirectly through Twitter, that I never would have met in person. Some of those small presses ended up publishing my work. Hush Puppy was requested by an editor at Featherweight Press after I took part in an online pitch event organized by some romance writers I saw advertised on Twitter. I had been submitting the book the traditional way (query) to agents without any luck, but the pitch event gave me the chance to have an online dialog with the editor and really discuss the project in more detail. This year, I took part in another online pitch event directly on Twitter, and was able to make a deal on another manuscript to be published by Month9Books in 2015. So basically, I owe Twitter a lot.
With regards to marketing the book, it’s been a little more difficult to see a direct benefit from Twitter, i.e. actual sales. I’ve been able to connect with some really great bloggers via Twitter, some of whom have provided very kind reviews for which I’m eternally grateful. It’s too early to tell, but those reviews may turn out to be what sells books. I think more than anything, books sell by word of mouth and that’s a slow process without a giant marketing machine behind you, but with every good review, the ball gets rolling a little more and more. We’ll see how it goes.
For now, I’d say the real benefit of Twitter to me is having a supportive community/network of like-minded individuals who cheer you on, celebrate your successes, and pick you up when you’re down. I’d recommend it to any writer. What do you think of Twitter? What have your experiences been? I’d like to know.