Friday, August 21, 2009

Joseph Finder's Twitter Book Tour

My apologies to any of my readers who aren't Twitter fans, because some of this post will make no sense. Even so, if you're a published author, I recommend you read on.

I know some authors hold launch parties on Twitter by grouping exchanges under a hashtag title (often the author's name or book title such as #josephfinder or #vanished). Friends and fans gather to tweet (send messages), win prizes, and ask questions. The author stands by for the duration of the party and feeds the dialogue, awards prizes, and monitors the tweets.

Joseph Finder's Twitter book tour, however, is the first time I've seen this particular approach. Under #josephfinder, at scheduled times (one hour each day) over a period of three days, fans were able to engage @JoeFinder directly, to ask questions and receive answers real time.

Compare that type of activity and its short exchanges to a full-fledged blog book tour. Think about all the negotiation to arrange guest appearances, to write and submit the blogs, the need to check in throughout the day to respond to blog comments. I gotta say, a Twitter book tour is looking mighty good. You can give away prizes, answer questions, make new friends, and do it in an hour a day for three or four days. I love Twitter. This is a no-brainer.

Except for one big thing: We're talking about Joseph Finder here.

So what's special about Joseph Finder, and why might he have a lot more success at a Twitter book tour than, say, a Patricia Stoltey? Might be the fact that his new novel, Vanished, is the ninth novel listed on his website. Or that his novels are incredible best-selling thrillers. The fact that he has over 5,900 followers might help. And look at his appearances schedule. He must have unlimited energy. Don't discount the fact that he was once a Whiffenpoof.

So what do you think? Would an author who's not well known benefit from this kind of promotion? Would retweets adequately make up for a small following? Would the promise of giveaways make an author's frequent tweets less annoying to his followers?


Terry Odell said...

You're right, Pat. I don't Tweet, and I still can't seem to bring myself to add that additional bit of time-suck to my day. I might have fewer followers with my blog, but I feel it's more personal. I've got hundreds of Facebook and MySpace "friends" but I'm not sure how many of them would actually remember my name out of context. Having thousands of followers on Twitter? I still can't comprehend that more than a handful or two would actually care beyond the superficial level--or they're just out to accumulate the biggest number of followers possible.

I don't see much of a difference between having to respond to Tweets as having to respond to blog comments. It's not an all-day thing. And the discussions get interesting.
I'll be curious to see the other responses.

Karen Walker said...

I truly can't see how an unknown author would do well on a Twitter tour. And I have to say I'm with Terry regarding Twitter in general. I guess I'm just missing something. I follow 100+ folks and 100+ folks follow me. When I sign on I see the same folks each day with tweets that have no meaning. I never see your tweets, for example. If I have to go into each one of those I'm following to see their tweets, it's way too much trouble and time. Either I'm missing the boat somewhere with Twitter, or it's just not for me.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good morning, Terry.

Twitter is definitely a time-eater, like e-mail, Facebook, and all of the other places we might have a web presence and need to update from time to time. I don't think anyone knows yet how useful social media is in book promotion, but when a bestselling author such as Joseph Finder embraces the tool, I'm thinking there must be a reason. I'm also thinking it would not be all that helpful to beginning and midlist authors.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Karen. Even with only 400 followers, and the habit of scanning rather than reading tweets, I still miss a lot. I pick up good information every day (including content for blog posts), and have made some very nice new friends. I'm just not sure it can sell books. Although I was thinking about buying Finder's Vanished now.

Anonymous said...

Interesting way to market/promote. That's the second promo idea I've heard this week. The other one, leaving your book in a public washroom, I blogged about. People are getting... creative?

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I dislike Twitter, think it’s overrated, and am on the verge of dumping it…particularly since my last 20 or so “followers” have been porno sites that I have to block. Having gotten that rant out of the way, how about this…a hybrid Twitter FaceBook tour.

You could tweet about it, but get the folks to come to your FB page instead. You’d have to do a bit of tweaking since you’re “FaceBook selective,” but, it could be done. Here’s how. Set up a Fan Page, then, people could become fans, but not friends. Or, set up a FB Book only site. FB offers a little better interface for interaction with longer questions and answers. I was gonna blog about this, but, thought it was appropriate for comment here.

You might want to look into it.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Terry Odell said...

Just to rock the boat here, for discussion only: Fan pages on Facebook. If the invitation is from the owner/creator, it's an auto delete (I've heard some say it's grounds for 'de-friending' for them.) I don't have the cojones to say, "Hey, Be my Fan". The whole concept of "friending" seems so high-school. After all, friends help you move.

To me, having 'fans' means someone is of much higher stature than I. Maybe it comes from growing up in Hollywood/Bevery Hills, where there were the kind of people who actually had fans, and fan clubs.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm getting more from Twitter than I thought I would, but I don't think a Twitter tour would work for me. I just don't have the Big Name for it. Maybe some day! :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I enjoy Twitter, but I'm not obsessive about it. It's great for links to blogs or articles I might otherwise have missed, but for actual serious publicity I'd need a great many more followers than my current rather feeble number. On the plus side, I have won 2 Scribner Books writing contests and have got in touch with several fascinating fellow-authors!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I'm trying so hard to get Twitter, but I don't. I do have a friend who had a Twitter party for her book and ended up with lots of new followers but I don't know if it translated to actual sales.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I've found most folks either hate Twitter or love it (although even the latter agree one must ration the time spent there).

Galen, I've been having the same problem with a bevy of new followers that must be blocked. If it gets any worse, I may have to jump ship.

I'm with Terry on the fan pages. But I limit my time on Facebook to checking and answering a few posts and following links to blogs. I have opted out of polls, surveys, food fights, pokes, etc. etc. No time, no time.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Carolyn, One wonders exactly where in a public restroom one would leave that book.

I have heard of leaving them in airport waiting areas, which I think is a cool idea (but I haven't done it...yet).

I also heard of a writer who used to put her own book cover on whatever book she was reading at the time, and then read it in public (prominently displaying the book's cover, of course). I don't think I'd have the nerve to do that. What if someone wanted to take a look at the book? Wouldn't that be embarrassing?

The Old Silly said...

I twink a Twitter Tour is a twonderful twidea! Hey it's all the rage right now, Twitter, why not use it?

Marvin D Wilson