In the past six months, I’ve been thinking a lot about social media and marketing in general. I’ve spoken to several bestselling fiction authors who’ve built their followings based not on social media strategy but by simply writing more books. More books sell more books, and that is the mantra I’ve adopted.
That’s the reason for the change in my blogging. I’ll be doing the occasional Thriller Thursday when it strikes me, but my time is very limited, and I need to spend it writing. And you know what? True crime isn’t the only thing I’m interested in. So when I do blog, I’m not going to follow any preset rules. I’m going to write about what I want to.
And to the point of this post: Twitter hashtags. Let me say first I speak from experience on this, as an author with only two books out. It is VERY easy to get caught up in tweeting about your book several times a day, or by joining a group who will do it for you in exchange for your pimping their book. But guess what? Nearly everybody does it, especially the newer authors, and the vast majority of those Twitter links are ignored, because they are nothing but white noise. I know this because I’ve used bit.ly to track my click-thrus, and despite many, many RTs, the click rate was dismal.
Even worse, I’ve used hashtags like #FridayReads, #bookworm, #mustreads, #Goodreads, and those hashtags, to my knowledge, were created for readers to talk about the books they loved. Not for an author to promote their own work. Same with many of the groups on Facebook. They’re supposed to be for support, networking, or just chatting up books, but they quickly become laden with desperate authors eager to get a sale or two.
It’s happened on Goodreads as well. I know authors get frustrated with Goodreads, but there’s a reason most groups are strict about promotion. The mods are protecting their online safe place, one of the few locations left to simply chat about books without a salesman coming in.
I say this pointing fingers only at myself. I’ve done it more times than I would like to admit. It’s only in the past couple of months I’ve backed off, and guess what? Sales didn’t change. August was lousy all around for most of us, but September is picking up. And I’ve done nothing differently because I’ve been working hard to write more books.
So here’s an apology to all Twitter users who just want to chat about books. I’m sorry for hijacking your tags and promoting, and I won’t be doing it any more. It’s bad business and not a way to build a following. When I do tweet anything about my books, I will be sticking to the appropriate hashtags: #amazon, #kindle, #nook, #indie, etc.
I’d love to take back my Twitter feed from the endless spam of links and be able to chat a few minutes every day. Leaving those hashtags alone is a good step. Easing off the link spam is another. Sending out conversational tweets and joining hashtag conversation is another–if I have time to do so, and simply for the sake of chatting about like-minded interests, not selling a book.
For me, the bottom line is this: my books will sell my books. Great word of mouth and praise like TIN GOD’s being a finalist in the Best Indie Book Awards will sell my books. Bombarding people on Twitter about it produces poor results, makes me look bad, and makes me feel less than professional.
How do you use Twitter? Do you believe it’s overloaded with links? Is that how it should be, or should it be about connection?