My editor isn’t sure if tweeting has any effect on book sales.
What about all the cool YA book blog sites? I ask.
Those people are so enthusiastic about YA that they must surely create a buzz? I certainly find myself caught up in the excitement before a book’s release.
And these aren’t all Mockingjay-type books where a groundswell has built up from prior books, a combination of hand-selling and rapturous reviews.
A lot of them are debuts.
Perhaps twittering etc…..(yes, I know it’s tweeting but I like twittering better. I imagine a huddle of sparrows on a telephone line all going mad) does not directly lead to sales but it does introduce a mass of people all at once to an author and their clever (or not so clever) musings in 140 characters or less. At least there’s some name recognition happening and maybe if the twits (tweets) are solidly entertaining or informative, some of those people (tweeple) may click on the author’s name and check out the author’s blog or website. And perhaps if the author has a new book, they might be inspired to pick it up.
Lots of ifs.
But a lot of book-selling is promotion, and as a former indie bookstore geek I know how many books I hand-sold because of a favorable meeting with an author. Twitter etc…works the same way, just in a virtual realm.
If you follow writers on twitter as I do, how many of them do you feel you know? If you are like me, you’d answer with some surprise, quite a few. Surprise because of course you don’t know them at all. You may know their tweets- which are at least partially thought out beforehand and perhaps edited- and you may be able to guess that so-and-so is funny or kind or informative or powerful or an all-around good egg.
I met Jo Knowles at a book fest, followed her on Twitter and found her to be a very nice person. I picked up a couple of her books and discovered she is also a very good writer. I will, in the future, buy anything she writes. Ditto for Nicola Morgan, Sarah Darer Littman, Lucy Coats, Gillian Philip, Eric Luper, Katherine Langrish, and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich.
There’s a reason politicians kiss all those babies and shake all those hands. And that writers go out on tour (and it’s not because of the hotel mints on the pillow and the towels).
Twitter is just the 21st century version of that, with less travel time.