I’m writing this post as I’ve had a few people ask me about promoting on Twitter and I’m starting to sound like a broken record, plus it’s always a good idea to record methods and strategies with a view to improving them.
I’ve only been promoting books for a month. I’m not even a published author (yet), but I have been trying to help some indie author friends out, and twitter seemed like a lively old place. I reasoned that all the book promoters had to start somewhere, so I donned my ‘research’ cap and studied hashtags and twitter movements, and oh dearie me, I’m almost too ashamed to admit this – five years of using Twitter and I never once realised the importance of hashtags – it’s no wonder my tweets slunk into oblivion.
Whatever you’re tweeting, and especially for book and self-promotion, the goal must be for that singular tweet to reach as many tweeters as it possibly can. This is where hash-tags come in. It’s not enough to hash-tag #fiction #mystery #orwhateveryourgenreis – you need to find the hash-tags that tweeters are visibly searching and watching – and use them efficiently.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have tweeters that tweet like every half hour (and get muted for it). Yes, you can set up a campaign of tweets, but rather then become the latest Twitter spammer, use the hash-tags to your advantage.
I wouldn’t say there are any rules as such to this, but I’ll list the ones I’ve made for myself. Really you’ll have to play around, monitor statistics and see what works for you.
- I decided book titles were boring (no offence to the authors who have no doubt spent hours agonising over their titles), but from a selling perspective, what do titles tell the reader? I mean, really tell them? I don’t think they tell them anything (although there are exceptions to this). Instead, I’ve been choosing a select phrase from the book’s blurb, something I hope will catch a tweeter’s eye.
- The hash-tags. I cannot stress this enough: Do some research. Study how other writers in your genre are tweeting, because there are a fair few genre specific hash-tags out there. Use the hash-tags that not only relate to the book you are promoting, but which will guarantee you the highest potential
- Don’t overuse the hash-tags, aim for three at the most, otherwise your tweets are near on impossible to read. On some devices the hash-tags are lighter than the set text, and yes, I’ve seen some which were pretty much all hash-tags – and it told me nothing about the book..
- I also tag the author in to a tweet, in the hope they’ll re-tweet the tweet (to give it another shot at being seen).
And here’s a sample of a tweet with a teaser from the book’s blurb:
So, with that said: The hash-tags:
Below is a list of a few of the hash-tags I’ve been using. The majority of tweets are being re-tweeted and favourite, some even get a click through to the website link.
- #IARTG (Indie Author Re-tweet Group)
- #BYNR (Be your next read)
- #IFNRTG (Indie Fantasy Re-tweet Group)
For a more in-depth list, you can take a look here. How to live on purpose has a detailed list of book promotion / writer specific hashtags that can be used, but you do need to spend a little time testing them out.
The obvious way to research a potential hash-tag is to use the search box on twitter – see how many results there are for it and if the response seems good (as in favourites and re-tweets). If you’re like me, and like figures, then there’s an alternative method available.
Ritetag is a website that allows you to assess the viability of hash-tags. I use the free version, but you can purchase premium membership for more features. In addition to signing up, I installed the Chrome addon/app, so now when I’m writing posts in either Twitter or Facebook, mini-stats appear – like so:
It shows you potential tweets, retweets, views etc etc. The higher the numbers, the more popular a hash-tag is, and this is a valid tool in assessing which to use. If you find out a hashtag isn’t that great, you can change it before tweeting. You can also send scheduled tweets from Ritetag (five a day for a free membership), and it provides ‘success’ stats, but I use different software for scheduling so have never explored this option.
A Final Note
I shan’t talk about monitoring your tweet progress or how to research the ‘perfect’ hash-tag here or it will turn into an epic of a post. For now, just experiment, play around with teaser phrases and hash-tags and see if you can find the perfect combination for your own marketing needs.