Commercial Break: Twitter and Tweet Camp

June 10th, 2009 · 2 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

While it can seem like the move to digital is the only topic consuming publishing industry, online marketing has resurfaced as a trending topic. Once the province of display ads (with a few wild experiments with the evil pop-ups!), online marketing is now, for better or worse, all about social media. Your MySpace, your Facebook, your Twitter.

Just as when the blog craze hit (remember when everybody had to have one, even if the reason wasn’t clear?), social media mania is filling the halls of the publishing business. It’s not a bad thing. Because, social media (and marketing) is, at heart, a return to the most old-fashioned, effective way to sell books: hand-selling.

Hand-selling in the digital age, sure, but hand-selling can be shiny and modern, too. Because when you get right down to it, hand-selling is all about the conversation. Social media is all about the conversation (and sharing funny pictures of cats). Done right, it’s a win for everybody from authors to readers. And when you think about it, that covers a lot of people.

Without a doubt, the poster child for this conversation is Twitter, arguably both the fastest-growing and most misunderstood of social media. By one (disputed) measure, Twitter’s retention rate is only 40%, meaning over half the people who sign up for Twitter don’t stick around and use it. Yet, the media hype, including a push from none other than Oprah Winfrey, suggests there’s something…different about this Twitter thing.

(I’m just going to put it out there: I avoided Twitter because I knew it would be like potato chips; I was right, I didn’t stop at just one.)

As I write this, a lively discussion about the issues surrounding proposed changes to ISBN use is competing with a national conversation about organizing a “Buy Indie Day” on July 14 of this year while a group of readers and reviewers are talking about reviewing books from small press. A bunch of great articles are queued up in my browser, courtesy of the people I follow. Oh, and two friends are touting literary events. My local bookseller told me he’d posted a great interview. I know who’s doing signings in my region.

So now for the commercial: we get that people don’t get Twitter, but we also see it as one of the best tools publishing people — authors, agents, editors, marketers, booksellers, technical people, and everyone else — have going. If you’re plugged in to the right people on Twitter, every day is, as Jennifer Tribe of Highspot, Inc noted, like attending a master class.

As our launch workshop for Booksquare University, we’ve created Tweet Camp — a hands-on workshop designed to introduce you to Twitter and get you involved in the conversation happening right now. If you’ve already signed up but just didn’t get it, this workshop will get you past your initial hurdles.

If you’re not sure you’re ready to take the plunge, here’s a short video that tells the truth about Twitter (or maybe it’s the big secret about Twitter).

Okay, end of commercial. Back to the social thing. Conversations about books and publishing are happening everywhere. You can’t be part of all them, but you know you need to be out there, talking and, more importantly, listening. One thing we know is, when it comes to online conversation, the mountain must indeed move…

File Under: Marketing For Introverts

2 responses so far ↓

  • Karl Lamb // Jun 12, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I viewed the video and (I think) registered for the course. I will have a novel to market. I need also to learn about Myface.

    Life is tweet.

  • Kassia Krozser // Jun 12, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Great! Any questions, just ask. I have made every mistake that can be made, thus (in theory) know how to avoid or fix them. For BSU, next up is Facebook. Even I’m afraid of MySpace — and FB seem to have the most engaged people right now.