Sex sells. At least that’s what we hear over and over again, and it does to an extent. Erotica sells quite well to a specific audience, but then mystery sells well to a specific audience, too. With over 950 books being published every day in the USA alone, the trick is getting your book seen by that specific audience. The key to Twitter and any social network is finding that specific, or niche, audience and making a personal connection with each and every person. The more you can identify and connect with your niche market, the more successful you will be. The more you can build and maintain relationships with that following, the better your sales will be.
I’ve been on Twitter since 2009. Under my original name, @christinerose, I made the top 100 authors on Twitter for 2009, sharing that title with names like Neil Gaiman and Meg Cabot. It was quite the honor. I learned how to use Twitter relatively early, before it became the massive social network it is today. I now have over 10,000 followers on both that account and @omgrey.
Since 2009, social networking has become part of daily life, both professionally and personally, for millions of people around the globe.
A harsh reality: No one cares you wrote a book unless you are already a well-known author. However, the people who already care about you as a person or colleague are interested that you wrote a book. Social networking is building an extended family and professional base, people who care about YOU. When they care about you, they’ll be interested in your books.
Social networking isn’t about marketing your book. It’s about marketing YOU. Brand yourself, not your book, as it won’t be your only book, likely. Your Twitter name, FB profile/page, blog, etc., should all be your author name, not your books. Not your characters. YOU.
The best strategy in Twitter, as in all social networks, is to be yourself and focus on your strengths. Again, social networking is about making a *personal* connection with readers and followers. Although we’re talking mostly about Twitter today, your complete social networking marketing strategy should all lead back to your blog and/or website. I advise in my Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author book to turn your blog into your website. Two in one. This is for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) placement and frequent new content, which helps new readers find you and keep others coming back, respectively. The optimum plan is to update your blog three times a week, but at the very least once. Don’t blog about your book, except very rarely for announcements like a new review or new release or an award. Don’t blog from you character’s POV. Don’t blog about the writing process.
Blog about what your niche audience would be interested in. As a writer of romance and erotica, choose one day a week, for example Wednesdays, to post relationship advice, a sexy picture of the week, how to spice up one’s sex life, or tips on deepening intimacy with your spouse. Choose another day, like Mondays, to post something about you, your book, or a free steamy short story or piece of flash fiction. Then, on the third day, say Fridays, post reviews of other romance/erotica books. This helps build author networks for cross promotion (Cross Promotion is GOLD) and helps new readers of romance/erotica find your site. You want your blog to service and benefit your readers, not you. Have very visible links to purchase your books on the sidebars with big, beautiful cover images leading directly to Amazon using your Amazon Associates, so you make a few pennies whether the reader buys your book or something else on Amazon. More detailed and step-by-step information on how to do all of this in my Publishing & Marketing Realities book, written under Christine Rose.
Now, Twitter. This along with Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr, LinkedIn, whatever-other-network-you-
all lead back to your hub: your blog/website. Similarly, with Twitter
you can’t just post links to your books and hound people to buy buy buy.
You can’t only talk about your characters or your plot. You must build
Twitter is like a big party, the biggest party in the world with millions and millions of people all talking about different things at the same time. You cannot talk to everybody; your voice will get lost in the din. You must find the clique of people talking about BDSM or LGBT or Historical Romance or whatever. You do this by using #Hashtags and joining ongoing conversations that discuss things relating to your niche audience.
You must not tweet every five minutes, or even every hour, about your book. People shut you out. This is about creating a human, personal connection with other human beings.
I developed my 4-Fold Twitter Approach to build and maintain relationships with your target audience on Twitter while letting them know you are an author, you have a great book for sale, and you have much to add to the conversation.
Personal Tweets. These can be anything about you, as a person. Tweet about enjoying that frothy mocha at Starbucks. Tweet about being stuck in traffic. How your cat is interrupting your typing by laying on your keyboard. This is how people get to know you. Use your strengths, especially if you have the gift of humor. These tweets, remarkably, get the most replies because people can identify with needing a cup of coffee or treating oneself to a mocha or being frustrated and late for a meeting. People can relate to not being able to work because the kids are screaming. When people can relate, you’ve just made a personal connection.
ReTweets. This is when you tweet someone else’s tweet, essential because it shows you are paying attention to what other people tweet and showing the value of their words by reposting them. This also makes a connection. It says: I see you. When you see them, they see you.
@Replies, or Mentions. This is similar to tagging in Facebook when you mention a person in your tweet or it starts a one-on-one conversation between you and that other person. Again: I see you. What you say is important, valid, valuable. Even moreso, it’s joining in on the conversation. It’s deepening that initial connection by forming a relationship through dialogue and sharing ideas, thoughts, dreams, experiences, complaints, whatever.
Marketing Tweets. You obviously have to have some marketing tweets, otherwise, no one will know you wrote a book or where to buy them, but it is only one prong of the 4-Fold Twitter Approach and should not be more than 25% of your tweets. Many of these tweets can be automated, and I go into great detail about the time-saving benefits of automation in my Publishing & Marketing Realities book. After all, you still need time to write.
By using this strategy, a NY Agent found me and my Steampunk Erotica novel Avalon Revisited, which went on to be on Amazon’s Gothic Romance Bestseller list for four months. Because of Twitter, I have representation in NY. Because of Twitter, I get hundreds of new hits on my blog every day. Because of the content on my blog, which benefits my readers more than me, I have readers come back for more and more.
Olivia M. Grey writes Steamy Steampunk, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.
Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com
O. M. Grey is the alter-ego of Christine Rose, both Amazon bestselling authors. Pick up Christine Rose’s Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author to help define and execute your publishing path and marketing strategies.