SWEET TWEETS & BARGAIN EBOOKS! THE GREAT TWITTER EXPERIMENT REPORT by Valerie Laws
|Tweeting is not just for birds, though this little guy does it so beautifully in my garden just now|
|Surgically tweeted, my second thriller|
|We scientists are not like other folk|
|Snowball - only drink ironically|
This effect is massively increased by learning to use hashtags. Apart from obvious ones like thriller, janeausten, kindle, beachreads, there are more cryptic ones I’ve learned to crack. I’ve met some very kind, delightful tweeps, often fellow authors, and I was invited to join a couple of cliques which has more than made up for the mental scars of being picked last for netball, hockey, athletics and pottery at school. The lovely AP Dahlke (whose ‘Dead Red’ thriller series features Ag pilot Lalla Bains) has her own hashtag and if I use it, she’ll automatically RT my tweet to her 11.5k followers. There are several other similar or bigger RT groups I’ve joined. Indie Author Retweet Group has 34.5k followers and RTs any book tweet when you follow and use their hashtag #IARTG. There is the ASMSG group which supports its members on Twitter.
This does all take time, however. Tweeting each book twice, once a night, from my list of tweets, takes only a few minutes. But each day, I have to go through my ‘Notifications’ on Twitter and RT each and every one who’s RTd me, which means clicking their icon, clicking the last tweet in their shortened profile to open it, click retweet, click retweet again on the button, and then click Notifications to find the next. This takes time when there are lots of them. Now the burning question is, has this worked in terms of promoting my books and increasing sales? Twitter has one big limitation – your tweet or someone’s RT of your tweet goes onto the Twitterfeed of all their followers, but it drops fast down the list as tweets arrive incessantly in millions, so they’d have to be looking at their phone/screen at the actual few seconds it’s visible. The sheer number of authors tweeting about their books is overwhelming, so the competition to be heard is pretty damn fierce unless you were one of the earliest Twitter users and have millions of followers and a Twitter readership.
|'LISTEN TO MEEEE!!!!!!!'|
Now, KDP has given authors a useful tool on our Bookshelf page, namely ‘Reports’ which gives various options for checking your sales (and loans). ‘Sales Dashboard’ gives you figures for up to three months back across all platforms and titles. ‘Prior months royalties’ gives you downloadable PDFs for any month for the last new years. Shamefully for a scientist, I didn’t record the date I began tweeting thus regularly, but I started including ALL THAT LIVES on 18th June. So I looked at sales figures over the last three months, for all four Kindle titles, three tweeted, one tweetless. And the result is clear. THE ROTTING SPOT,
|Tweetless, yet selling best!|
|Marmite in ebook form|
|Successful award winner in paperback, on Kindle, not selling - don't people LIKE dissected brains?|
|It's all about the bottom line|
So what to do? I’ve decided to REDUCE THE PRICES OF MY BOOKS to match, approach or even undercut THE ROTTING SPOT. Another experiment, if you will. Not sure if I'll stop tweeting my books, after I’ve tweeted about the new prices, and this blog post of course. It’s nice to feel connected to other authors worldwide. And I still like tweeting fun bits of news and about my gigs. But perhaps my experiment shows that Twitter for authors is like birds on a wire. We tweet and share our and others’ songbursts but do enough people listen or have ear-room for more than a few tweets a day?
|Feeling bitter? Complain on Twitter!|
Look out for my new prices on Amazon Kindle Store:
THE OPERATOR (Bruce and Bennett Crime Thriller 2) US UK
THE ROTTING SPOT (A Bruce and Bennett Mystery) US UK
LYDIA BENNET'S BLOG (the real story of Pride and Prejudice) US UK
ALL THAT LIVES (CSI: Poetry of sex, death and pathology) US UK
STOP PRESS: Tweeted the new prices last night, many RTs from kind Tweeps - checked today, and LYDIA BENNET'S BLOG has had an overnight sales spike like never before, almost all on Amazon UK! Was this my new use of the #99p hashtag? if Twitter's not getting the word out, what is?!
Visit my website www.valerielaws.com
Follow me on Twitter @ValerieLaws
Find me on Facebook
I've found the best way to boost sales is to regularly put the prices of books down to 99p/99c. As soon as you do that, they are picked up by numerous sites trawling for bargain/free books and for a few days, you will see a sales spike. After a week or so I'll put the book back up to its normal price and take another down to 99p/99c and it all happens again.
I wonder if there's a way to prove that the best way to boost sales of the backlist is to publish a new book? I'm convinced this is true which is why I focus on writing, not social networking.
Some self-promo is fine and expected, but beware those who just treat Twitter like a car with a loudhailer. It's like sitting next to a bore who won't shut up.
My recent Twitter experience has been a huge spike in RTs as a result of interviewing an Australian and a Canadian author on my blog, both writer-friends and both with lots of followers. It doesn't seem to have made any difference to sales but at least I know I exist now.
Also interesting that my best-seller in print does virtually nothing on Kindle, whereas the book that publishers gave up on in print and had a really rocky road to publication via bookstores is consistently my best-seller despite being priced higher than the others. I'm pretty sure nothing I do in social media actually sells my own books, it's what others do on your behalf that counts. So all those RT's maybe?