Search This Blog

To never miss a blog follow via email:

Friday, February 24, 2017

Does Twitter still work for authors?

This morning I looked through the tweet feeds of a few book promoters and checked how often individual tweets got retweeted and liked.

Please note that this was not a scientific study; I just looked at some feeds I know and follow. Personally, I stopped buying Twitter-book promotions a while ago.

The tweet that received the most attention got shared 7 times and was "liked" 3 times. The book is a multiple award winner AND also #free.

Not much else is happening, but – why?

In reality, Twitter does not reach tremendously huge numbers of Americans.

Pew Research reports that 21% of all online U.S. adults use Twitter.

Pew Research also reports that only 18% of the U.S. adults who used Twitter logged in daily, that's only 12.4 million people, many of whom are not avid readers...

... but, many are – news junkies!

Today's reality is that many thousands of the 12.4 million US Twitter users are sharing their good and bad opinions about President Trump, the GOP, the DEMs, Obamacare, illigal immigrants, Syrian refugees, and other issues.

In my blog from February 1, I detailed the problem the first time. Not much has changed since then. Even on a day "when nothing extraordinary happened" 4 out of 10 trending topics are related to President Trump and his policy issues and topics.


So, what's a solution?

One way how authors will find themselves in the news is if they become "part of the news."

Lt. Gen. McMaster, President Trump's new pick for National Security adviser is also an author.

His book "Dereliction of Duty : Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam," published in 1997 (twenty years ago), is currently listed #54 Paid in Kindle Store (overall)
even though the Vietnam War ended 42 years ago.

The top tweets about Lt. Gen. McMaster's book were retweeted 77 times, on average, and liked 196 times, on average (that's where the sales numbers are originating).

Often, when I mention this fact/situation to an author they tell me, "Well, they (or you) have it easy. He/she/you/they write nonfiction."

But, getting media coverage is really doable – for authors of all genres!

At my local Barnes & Noble store, there are half as many poetry magazines, an equal number of Sci-Fi and gizmos magazines, and twice as many women's magazines as business publications; and all women's magazines feature at least one love story.
Somebody is pitching these magazines.


Instead of spending  $20-$50  on Twitter book promotions, indie authors can pitch media outlets for #free, thereby gaining tweet-worthy news!

Indie authors can also "RE-USE" the media coverage. It's the #1 marketing tool to get self-published books in public libraries.

Librarians are experts on media coverage because libraries also collect magazines, newspapers, trade publications etc. Hence, librarians know how important it is to "get seen" in the news.

Does Twitter still work for authors? – YES & NO!

What's your experience?

~~ *** ~~~

Gisela Hausmann is the multi-award winning author of "BOOK MARKETING: The Funnel Factor: Including 100 Media Pitches" and "NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews."

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, in Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg (podcast), on NBCNews, and in other fine publications.

Gisela is a mass media expert who graduated from the University of Vienna, which, founded in 1365, is the 22nd oldest university in the world. She also worked in the industry for six years.

Follow her on Twitter:

To receive a summary of Gisela's blogs every two months please subscribe here. 


© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann

If you think that reading this blog will help your friends, please share. 


  1. Thank you for sharing this. I too have come to the conclusion that paying for a saturation campaign on twitter is not effective. I used a well know firm out of UK that offers money back guarantee. Results of round one zero increase in the sales of the book promoted. I got my money back. Sales are now above normal with no advertising, just using my G+ Community and Web Page.

  2. I'm afraid I don't quite follow you on this:

    "Instead of spending $20-$50 on Twitter book promotions, indie authors can pitch media outlets for #free, thereby gaining tweet-worthy news!

    Indie authors can also "RE-USE" the media coverage. It's the #1 marketing tool to get self-published books in public libraries."

    Could you please elaborate? Thanks!

    1. @Chris and @Richard.
      The market is flooded with "Buy my novel"-tweets and "It's free"-tweets, hence that's not an attraction any longer. Who has time to filter through the clutter?
      Also, can we read all the books our FB and twitter friends want us to read?
      In other words , "traditional concepts like offering a book for free or asking your friends to recommend your book" don't work anymore.
      PLUS: Even is your book is attractive catch, you may be out of luck if, in the day of your book promo, President Trump tweets something that enrages 50% of the nation, and prompts every journalist to comment on it. Obviously, this has nothing to do with your book, but the fact that the nation is divided and the new US president loves Twitter adds an additional complication.
      Hence, it's a good to look for other venues!
      E.g. 47% of all people who watch the news on TV watch local TV. That's an audience of at least 5,000-10,000 people even in a smaller city. Typically, these viewers buy paperback books, which helps to raise a book's BookScan score, which again is helpful with getting book buyers' and librarians' attention.
      Also, people who spend a few bucks on a magazine or even subscribed are more likely to buy the books this magazine features because they are "buyers who don't try to 'get free stuff' all day long." Also, magazine buyers know what they want. Women's topic (including romance), Sci-Fi and latest gizmos, business, outdoor... every topic under the sun is presented in at least a dozen magazines. I don't read poetry but I know that my local B&N sells 8 different poetry magazines.
      Once an author gets media coverage they can "market their book" as a NEWSWORTHY book, "do speaking engagements (obviously, every organization would rather introduce the speaker as 'XYZ who you may have seen on (local)-TV station and whose books you may have read about in (publications)'", etc.
      Best of all this "quality seal" seal never goes away. If your book was featured in whatever magazine that fact is still the same three years from now and you can tweet this "quality seal" whereas a paid twitter campaign from last year is irrelevant.

      For more details please look into my book.

  3. I do not use Twitter, but have read a lot of the statistics. It seems clear to me that the Pareto 80/20 rule applies here. 20 percent of the users create 80 percent of the messages and in the case it is probably more in the area of 85/15. Breaking into this storm is very hard and I simply do not consider it worth the attempt. Therefore, it would be nearly impossible to convince me that any Twitter campaign would be worth the time and money.

  4. I have not had much success with Twitter. I basically just post stuff and don't network much. It seems like everyone is trying to sell something and nobody is buying.

    1. Hello @Jessica, things changed around March 2016. Now politics is dominating Twitter. Library tweets still work. Pls see my feed @Naked_Determina.
      If you want to learn how to pitch the media and to use this media coverage to get your book in public libraries please check out my book. You could "Look inside the book" on Amazon.