So there was this tweet saying that retweeting links about other authors’ books was no good, and that it would be better to buy the book – that the RTs were basically useless….
And there I was, gobsmacked and basically “I.Can’t.Even.”-ing all over the place.
Because one of the things that every writer is nagged at in tweets and adverts and writing videos about getting a following and becoming successful is about MARKETING.
And marketing is just how to get your name and work/title recognition out to a significantly large number of people so that enough of the people who would like what you write get to hear about it and consider buying your stuff.
Every day, my email in-box is stuffed full of services wanting – for a price – to tweet out my links to their thousands of subscribers, in order to generate not only sales, but wider reach so that more people who like the kinds of stuff I write have a chance to at least think about buying something. (I know. I’m repeating myself. But it needs stressing, apparently.)
Advertising/marketing is, at its core, pretty simple.
The more people know about a thing that is for sale, the more likely it is that someone will at least consider purchasing the thing.
The more times they see it, the more likely it is that they will consider it more seriously.
The stronger the association they have with “things they are interested in” and “the things you are offering for sale”, the more likely it is that when they do decide to buy a thing, your thing will be the one they choose.
Big corporations spend millions of dollars on this stuff.
Us smaller fry also spend a lot on these things. Bookbub has this reputation of making authors a lot of money by tweeting their book links (plus some other stuff they do) but they are expensive, and an impoverished writer might feel they can’t afford a $500 dollar risk, so they either go with less expensive services, or with the free ones, and hope that it will work a bit.
But really, the #writerslift thing often does just as well, and reaches entirely new pools of readers/buyers, and in a somewhat more organic and less impersonal way.
I began my self-publishing life getting perhaps one or two buys in a month.
Five years on, I sell at least one book most days, and often three or four in a day. It’s not much, but it has grown, and I can see that this growth is at least 80% due to an ever-widening reach, and name recognition.
I never ran a Bookbub thing (I never got accepted, and eventually, I decided the outlay probably wasn’t worth it, anyway) but I’ve used free services a fair number of times, and a few inexpensive paid ones. The tweet thing, though: that’s been incredibly successful for me.
But that’s because I know, now, how this works.
If someone on a “writers’ lift” tweet RTs my link, I don’t expect to see any instant buys. First off, because most people, but especially other writers, cannot afford to buy 40 books every week, let alone every other day. Secondly, the people seeing my link may not like the things I write…but when they RT, it goes out to a couple-three thousand other people, some of whom might look at my link and think “Oh. That’s exactly what I’m in the mood for!”
But not all of them can afford to buy it right then and there.
Hell, a lot of them might not even see that post or link on the same day it goes out (some people are not connected to Twitter by an umbilical cord. Shocking, I know, but there it is.)
And there are days when people buy, and days when they do not. Weekends are better than other days…except not always. Wednesday seems to be the day when people are less inclined to buy my books, and I do understand that one. Wednesdays are the worst – most of us would rather just stay home and weep.
And it often/mostly takes people about a dozen moments of “That looks interesting” before they really are ready to buy an unknown author’s work.
Look, this is not a sprint – it’s a marathon. Word of mouth does more than any fancy ad campaign, and Twitter is the electronic version, with the potential to insinuate your name/book/brand into tens of thousands of complete strangers’ consciousness…for free.