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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Indie authors ― 180 Factual Numbers from Twitter Promotions You Don't Want to Miss

About two weeks ago, an author friend and I debated Twitter book promotions. I shared my opinion that for the past 15 months the news cycle is so fast that book promotions on Twitter can't be as effective as they used to be. At the same time I also decided to run "my test" to get some factual numbers.

The following method to determine the effectiveness of any book marketing campaign is published in my book Naked News for Indie Authors How NOT to Invest Your Marketing $$$:

First, I picked the following target group:
  • 12 books
  • genre: Romance
  • all books on sale but NOT free
  • 4 different promoters
  • books to be monitored for 5 days
In order to be objective I picked the genre 'romance.' Since I don't read romance novels, I can't possibly be biased.

My only criteria was to select books with beautiful covers, thereby simulating how a potential buyer/reader might choose to buy a book.

Over the course of five days I recorded the books' rankings three times throughout the day (morning, noon, and evening).

The improvements of rankings (sale of book(s)) are highlighted in green.

To see the correlation between number of book reviews and sales I re-sorted the chart according to the number of reviews each book had.

Not surprisingly books with many reviews did better, but one book with 20 reviews did not sell a single copy.

Book K with 45 reviews seemed to show "false positives."
[During the five days Book K fluctuated between sales ranks #507,103 and #513,043. I believe that this book used to sell very well in the past, hence, even though at times hourly sales of other books made it drop in rank, previous sales kept it from dropping any more than it did (5,940 ranks in 5 days).]

  • 4 of 12 books did not record a single sale
  • the 2 books with the most reviews recorded the most sales
  • not all books with many reviews sold well
  • Book G with only 8 reviews outscored Book H with 18 reviews.
  • Book J with 20 reviews did not record a single sale. 
  • Overall, books with fewer reviews scored fewer sales

ROI (Return on Investment)

It looks to me as if only the two top ranked books may have sold enough copies to cover the costs of the book promotions.


While admittedly the week before Easter is not a perfect time to do this evaluation, I believe that other factors may have a much bigger impact.

Twitter is a news-driven platform. Because President Trump likes to tweet, journalists, pundits and bloggers have "set up camp" on Twitter, which allows them to react to the president's and his team's tweets quickly and also to spread their own contents quickly.

"Breaking the Internet"

All of us remember when Kim Kardashian wanted to "break the Internet." Since last summer "the Internet gets broken," almost daily.

These days, major newspapers even provide summaries of the president's tweets.

[Please click the charts to see them enlarged.]

Though it may be only a coincidence, in the hours after First Lady Melania Trump tweeted about the annual Easter Egg Roll which prompted the media, Trump fans and opponents to pick up that topic – again – not one copy of these 12 books got sold.

More note(tweet)worthy events during these five days:
  • On April 12, Press Secretary Spicer's statement about Hitler's concentration camps from 4/11/17 still made headlines, 
  • On April 15, North Korea attempted to launch a Musudan missile,
  • On April 16, Trump supporters and protesters clashed in Berkeley, California.
  • Additionally, social media sites were still buzzing about the United Air incident from April 9, 2017.

Whether we like it or we don't, this is what Twitter is all about. In the words of its co-founder Jack Dorsey:
“Expect the unexpected. And whenever possible, be the unexpected.” 
I believe that the only way how authors can conquer this hurdle is to get featured in the media themselves.
“If you can't beat them. Join them.” ― Jim Henson, American puppeteer, creator of the Muppets

Even the most famous authors do it this way. If you check you'll notice that all famous authors list their media appearances on their websites.

The ROI of getting featured in the media is just incredible. It:

  • adds instant credibility
  • can be re-used and recycled again when the timing is right (obviously, if your book was featured in a reputable publication in the past this fact will still be true in ten years from now) and
  • you and your book are the news, instead of you trying to shout over others' news. 

Does it take work?

Of course, it does.

Doing anything that's noteworthy takes work. But, if you work on reaching this goal you can also influence the outcome.

If unfortunately North Korea decides to do a failed missile launch on the day when your book is featured on an international podcast you simply re-tweet the news later on, when "the air has cleared."

Not only can you retweet newsworthy news, the podcast host will even help you and re-tweet the news for you because their podcast tweet's effectiveness was influenced too. The same goes for every mass media.

Got interviewed on local TV? Retweet your happiness until they put you on, again.

Got featured in Publishers Weekly? It will still be true and noteworthy  in a decade from now.

Best of all, getting featured in the media is a source of pride. You did not pay them to feature you, you explained to them that you had news their viewers and listeners care about and that makes you a star.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” ― Albert Schweitzer

~~ *** ~~~

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 worked in the industry for six years.

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann 

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