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I'm a huge Twitter fiend and it is slowly becoming more a part of the wider publishing business as you will learn in today's interview. Even if you are already using Twitter, you will still find some new tips in this interview.
Jon Reed is the founder and Editor in Chief of Publishing Talk, a blog and online community for authors and publishers. He worked in the publishing industry for 10 years as an author and publisher, and now runs a social media consultancy business. He has recently written The Publishing Talk Guide to Twitter which we're discussing today.
- How Jon worked in publishing and got into the digital side of media and marketing. He started his own company and also teaches social media. His main client group is publishing professionals. Publishing Talk soon became a site for authors as well as publishers. He has also crossed into being an author with a traditionally published book, ‘Get up to speed with online marketing‘ as well as his own self-published work. It helped to get a book deal because he knew what publishers wanted in terms of a proposal and his own online marketing helped with the platform.
- There's a lot of criticism of traditional publishing in terms of new media – have things changed? Publishers have got a lot better and most of them have experimented in some way with social media. They do understand that it should be going on but they are behind the music industry etc. Some are doing more than others and they are investing in training. The key point is that publishers want authors to do social media marketing for books, it is not just the publishers job. Don't wait until you have a book out before you start the marketing. It can help you get a book deal and now it's part of the proposal or pitch. You need to say how you will market a book, and how big your platform is already.
- Specific tips for using twitter. It is a great blog marketing tool and great way to drive traffic to your website. If you write on a specific area, build a newsfeed on twitter about your subject area. (This is what I have @thecreativepenn and I also recommend this) It helps people to get to know you and your expertise. For fiction, you can be more creative. People have experimented with tweeting whole novels, see examples in the ebook. Some people have tweeted in character, for example, @lordlikely You can also create buzz e.g. do Q&As or give away a chapter – check out PayWithATweet.com. You can also tweet tips or tiny pieces of your writing. All this helps connect with the right people. It's critical to keep tweeting though.
- What do people get wrong on twitter? Don't just ask people to RT your posts when you haven't created a relationship with that person. Have some manners. Don't just tweet sales links. It's critical to be useful and/or entertaining. The quality of your tweets will encourage people to follow you. Don't just tweet your own stuff, tweet others as well. People also don't tweet often enough or for long enough. It takes patience and time to grow follows. Tweet at different times of day as well so you will appear in different timezones and streams. Also make the most of your Twitter biography which can now include links to your book. You can also separate a newsfeed profile from a more personal twitter account.
- Do numbers matter? Yes to some point as you are building up a mailing list of sorts. But quality is critical and you must focus on your niche. @publishingtalk currently has over 149,000 followers. Following people at the beginning does increase followers as people will often follow you back, but make sure you focus on those people in your niche. You can also follow the followers of people who are similar to you online. The success of @publishingtalk is perhaps related to the keyword publishing – so make sure you name your account in the most effective way. But the best focus is regular, interesting tweets. We discuss the lack of a tool that identifies followers by location/country – if you know of one, please do leave a comment.
- Is Google+ a Twitter killer? Will the new social networks make the effort a waste of time? Google+ is getting a lot of attention but it is not differentiating as yet. There will inevitably be more products that we use in the future, but twitter isn't going away. It is also important to bring people to your site and create your own list so even if the network changes, you still have your own platform. We discuss how Google+ account is the no.1 search engine result for your name, so it's worth getting a profile even if you don't want to use it in any other way.
You can find The Publishing Guide to Twitter here ($17) – it's full of great examples of how authors and publishers are using and can use Twitter.