Tweeting your novel

If you keep up on web news, you might have heard that entertainment sites like Netflix account for a vast proportion of internet traffic on any given day.

You’ve probably also heard that social media eats up whatever is left over (not really, but we all know where you waste most of your time).

So, it is no wonder that book promotions on sites like Facebook and Twitter seem to be mandatory fare.

I’ve created a Twitter account, but have eschewed Facebook – for now. My time spent on Twitter is rather low. I have the Twitter app on my Kindle Fire, but I rarely check it there. Instead, I pop in from my desktop during the morning before I start work.

Scrolling through the tweets, I’m usually disappointed. If I see something interesting, I’ll re-tweet it, but mostly I ignore you all (sorry).

Here’s why.

Tweets seem to fall into four categories (I know, there’s more, but I have to limit it somehow):

  • Self-promotion
  • Cross-promotion
  • On-going conversations which are meaningless unless you happen to be around when they begin
  • Sport/celebrity-oriented tweets (i.e. GOOOOOOOLLLL, omg! lorde!, etc.)

Occasionally, someone says something pithy and smart so I favorite it, but essentially, the above covers it and I’m not all that interested. Sometimes, I think writers on social media are just a bunch of people saying, “Read me! Read me! Read me!”

To be sure, I’m guilty of doing the same. I’m not full of profound statements I want to share with the world, nor can I offer the best writing advice you’ve ever come across. I’m just not that clever.

Regardless, there’s no denying that Twitter users promote themselves or others on a regular basis and everyone seems okay with it. Since Tweets are relatively small, your promotional tweet can be easily ignored. While that may seem counter productive, the old adage that if one sees something often enough eventually you’ll buy it may hold true in the Twitterverse.

I know that I’ve checked out book links that seem to crop up over and over. And there’s this one writer I follow that seems to be tweeting one sentence from his novel each day. At first, I was perplexed by his tweets, but now I’m kind-of following along, and the other day I almost clicked on the link. Soon, I’m sure he’ll wear me down and I’ll just buy the darn thing.

So, what is your experience with Twitter? Or Facebook? Have you considered tweeting your novel or posting excerpts on Facebook?


25 thoughts on “Tweeting your novel

  1. I do very few book-related tweets now. My book’s been out for a while, so I mostly just tweet if there’s an update. Even when my book was just released, I tried to be careful to only tweet about it a couple times a week. I will retweet tweets where someone mentions my book though, because that’s so nice of them to do. Most of my tweets are humor-oriented as relates to my kids and daily life interspersed with interesting news or public health articles. The endless promotional tweets of others are white noise to me. I rarely check those lists.

    1. Yes! Note, I have engaged with you far more because of your non-promotonal tweets. Thanks for not being part of the white noise. I’ll try to do the same in future, but I really don’t know what-all to tweet about. :/

  2. Okay, this is insane, but you had me thinking I might actually TWEET THE NOVEL ITSELF. Can you imagine, a novel, 140 characters at a time? Now that would be… something.

    1. That is exactly what he is doing – tweeting the novel one sentence at a time. What I’ve learned the most from it is that taking sentences out of context like that is really bad. I want to read the book just to find out if it is as terrible as I think. :/

      1. I’m thinking this approach would be much better with a short story than a novel, and would need a hashtag for people to find tweets they had missed. But of course, if the story is not good…

      2. Yeah, I’m thinking a flash would work way better because every sentence would have to count and each would have to be nothing less than stellar. Otherwise, I think it’s just…odd.

  3. Oi vey, I try… oh do I try… to like Twitter. But all that seems to pass my eyes is spam and retweets of the same thing. Either I just don’t know how to “use” Twitter (a real possibility) or it’s just…horrible. 😉

  4. Meh, I never got into Twitter for the reasons you state above. I would only link it to my blog which would be a waste. That’s why I set up a facebook page, I can do more with it.

    Either way, I hope you figure out something interesting to do with yours 🙂

    1. Yeah, with the book of face, you have a lot more posting options. I’m thinking I’ll use it to just make announcements maybe. Not sure yet. I may just abandon it.

  5. If I ever write a book on ornithology I may Tweet. Until then…..( If I told you my cellphone lies semi-abandoned in my desk drawer would you go into shock?)

    Have FB’d my first book and also when it gets a new review.

      1. I must be honest I did not push it that much, so it only garnered a few sales. But a few is better than none, right?
        I am crap at self-promotion and marketing….’Please read my book and buy it”‘ jut sounds too awful, like bloody begging! But done correctly or utilizing people who know this stuff, I am sure it would work a lot better than my paltry efforts.
        My children have a baking business and my son pumps it on Facebook and they receive a fair amount of (mostly local) orders through the internet.
        It is like any tool. It is how one utilizes it that count.

  6. I will admit I love Twitter, and spend far too much time on it. I follow a lot of science/astronomy accounts, a handful of bands I really like, my friends (both old and new. I’ve made some wonderful new friends on Twitter that I’ve met IRL), history accounts, languages. I have, however, muted a few who tweet a lot of garbage, or excessive promotional tweets (actually I unfollow those). I’ve learned a great deal about publishing and writing, and book promotion from some of the writers I follow. So for me, Twitter has been very worthwhile.

    Facebook, OTOH, I can barely stand the sight of.

    1. Ah, thank you! I’m glad to hear from someone who does value Twitter.

      I joined Twitter because I didn’t really like Facebook. It just seems so…insidious. Whereas Twitter doesn’t seem to try to integrate itself into every aspect of your life.

      So, I guess, the best thing for me to do is follow your lead – follow the folks I want to follow on Twitter and not just the ones that randomly follow me.

      And you are right about learning about book promotion on Twitter. There are authors I follow that have no qualms saying “Buy my book!”, while also providing engaging content. I guess I just need to figure it out.

      Thanks again. 🙂

  7. It is a weird place – I have no idea if I’m doing Twitter right, but I seem to have the most fun when I stop worrying and just ramble. People constantly self-promoting becoming very grating very fast – I’ve seen people tweeting their novel – but it blew my mind that they didn’t tweet the good sentences, just endless banal interstitial tissue.

    Honestly, I think Twitter is best when I’m having a conversation with someone.

    1. >>but it blew my mind that they didn’t tweet the good sentences, just endless banal interstitial tissue.

      I know! When I realized what they were tweeting, I thought, either they are very very confident in their writing (regardless of reality) or they are clueless (regardless of reality).

      >>I think Twitter is best when I’m having a conversation with someone.

      I’ve found that the case, too. It’s another avenue to connect with people.

      But, to be honest as well, I get that here, on my blog. You all are so awesome. You actually talk to me! 😮

  8. I think it can be a useful way of engaging with your audience and keeping them engaged in the gaps between publication, but it can go too far. Done well it’s a conversation with your audience that projects the writerly persona you want to have. There’s a certain wonderful British author whose re-tweets of his fan worship are cringe-inducing, at times.

    1. Hello Jon! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Yes, I’ve definitely seen folks use it well and others who use it poorly. I’m not sure where I’m at on that spectrum. I suppose I’m somewhere in the middle, not entirely sure what I’m doing. I want to offer my followers (my fellow writers and friends) something other than re-tweets, but what? My fiction? Not everyone likes it and as we’ve discussed, can come across as terrible. I like the idea of engaging in a conversation, so maybe I should start posting stuff there that will start a conversation. But…what? A conundrum I will have to figure out.

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