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L.T. Suzuki

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Blogs by L.T. Suzuki

Marketing & Twitter
8/25/2012 10:03:19 PM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

How Much is Too Much?
I view Twitter as a true form of social media; in other words, I use this forum to ‘socialize’ with my follow tweeps! Now, let me make this clear, as authors, we all have books we’d love to share with the world. Undoubtedly, Twitter can be a great place to do this, but when, on this form of social media, is tweeting about our books too much and can be regarded as nothing more than spam? Is it even effective?

During the course of a day, I will tweet about where one can find out more about my books or download free sample chapters about three to five times within a 24-hour period. Why this often? Some of my followers, particularly those on the other side of the world are often coming on as I’m checking out, and vice versa. Some of my followers are on only during the morning, some in the afternoon, while others are night owls.

I found in placing these periodic tweets throughout the day in between my RTs for other authors, editors, book reviewers, etc., my personal tweets and tweets conversing with others, I discovered it’s been particularly useful.

Usually, somewhere along my twitter stream, those curious about my books can easily find a tweet with a link where they can learn more. This has helped to curtail the numerous DMs I used to get from new followers asking for these links. In general, I don’t mind these DMs that show up on my email. They prove to me that people are interested, but with so much in the way of business correspondence I must work through each day, I found it helped to alleviate the quantity of emails. It also helped to reduce the chances of my business related emails getting buried beneath it all.

But does it matter how much you tweet about where potential buyers can find your books? Personally, when authors use twitter to merely spam/advertise about their books and don’t care about connecting with others, I lose interest and will unfollow if I’m already following.

I’m sure there are those who feel that my tweeting about my novels three to five times in a 24-hour period is tantamount to spamming and have no qualms about them unfollowing me. That is their choice.

I know writers who do make their every tweet about their books will protest and make a stand that it’s how they’ve become bestselling authors. If so, hat’s off to you, but that’s just not my style. Some will even argue that for me to tweet about it three to five times in the span of 24 hours is too much and it is as bad as spamming, but I think each author must find a balance that works for them.

In my case, this seems to work out okay. I haven’t had any followers deem me as a spammer, but the question is, does mentioning your books in these tweets even help in generating sales? When you consider how many thousands of writers are out there, each vying for a piece of that readership pie, is it even an effective tool to increase sales?

Well, I have some interesting information to share with you and what has been working for me!

Before you assume that having a fantasy series optioned, and now in development, has helped to generate sales, I’ll tell you flat out: No, it has not. There are still some who won’t touch my novels with a ten-foot pole because I am self-published. And though I’ve done more interviews and guest blogs than ever before, since making the formal announcement about who the producers are and that one of them is affiliated with an Oscar nominated/two-time Golden Globe winning production company, this has done nothing to bolster sales. Instead, the vast majority of those reading the interviews are not interested in the novels at all, but they do tell me they are looking forward to the release of the first movie! If anything, these interviews have helped to spread the news about the movie-in-the-making, which is all very nice.

So what is working for me? It seems that more important than sending forth the periodic tweets about where my books can be found, has been the tweets that actually stand out from the others.

Let’s face it, we’ve all seen the: “My novel is only 99¢ on Amazon or Smashwords! Check it out here: *link*” or the “Download free sample chapters of my novel here: *link*” tweets, but the question is, how do we make this interesting enough to make people want to visit this link or to download free sample chapters?

Even with news of my first three novels being optioned for a major motion picture trilogy was made official, sales were pathetically low. Then, as mid-December approached, I began tweeting this: “Please do not buy my books before reading the free sample chapters first. It is not traditional fantasy so it might not be your cup of tea.”

For some reason, both my movie optioned fantasy series as well as my YA fantasy trilogy began to sell. At the end of the month, in those 15 days, I had more ebooks sales in this period than I had in the entire year!

I thought at first it was a fluke. I thought perhaps it was nothing more than those loading up eReaders they purchased to give, or had received, as Christmas gifts. In the New Year, I continued to circulate this “Please do not buy…” tweet and low and behold, my January sales had more than doubled!

In February, March and April the sales had quadrupled over December’s total ebook sales and now, through May and through July, monthly sales having been holding steady at about triple the amount of December’s sales.

Some tell me this simple tweet was merely tricking people into buying by using reverse psychology, but I think my followers are much too smart for that. Instead, based on the number of tweets I’ve received like this: “Okay, I’ve read your free sample chapters, now I’m hooked, going to buy your book!” I think it had much more to do with actually piquing the readers’ curiosity enough that they took the time to read the chapters, and now wanted to see where the characters were going to take them.

With so many authors politely requesting people to “Please check out my sample chapters” I got the sense my particular tweet stood out from these.

In fact, I had some of my fellow authors tell me I should stop sending my “Please don’t buy…” tweet because it would work against me. One told me that when he saw this tweet, all he read was “PLEASE DON’T BUY!” and that’s it! So why would he want to buy?

When I went on to explain how this tweet was actually encouraging people to read the sample chapters and many were not only buying the first of the movie optioned series, but were returning to buy some or all of my books, he suggested I at least change the wording of the tweet and try that instead for more sales.

In early June, after listening to his advice, I changed that tweet to “Please read my free sample chapters before buying any of my books…” I was going to give this a try for a week, but in the first five days of this revised tweet, I couldn’t take it anymore!

Sales dropped down to zero during this timeframe!

I had some buyers returning to buy the sequels to the movie option series or book two of The Dream Merchant Saga, but this new tweet effectively killed sales generated by first-time buyers/readers. Before my one-week trial period was done, I reverted back to my infamous “Please don’t buy…” tweets.

Guess what happened? Yep! You guessed it, sales for both Book One of the Imago Chronicles and The Dream Merchant Saga climbed back up to May sales figures and probably would have surpassed June’s if I had reverted back to my original tweet sooner, once I realized the significance the wording of this one tweet!

Whether it is reverse psychology or not, just the simple rephrasing of this one tweet had made a major difference in my sales number. I think I found the right one and the right balance that works for me! Now, why don’t you go on Twitter and share what works for you? Thank you so much for taking the time to read today’s post! Catch you on Twitter!










Comments (1)

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