I am excited to announce that I finally passed 10,000 followers on Twitter. Now, I know that probably doesn’t mean much to you, and actually all it is is just a number. But it is a landmark of sorts, nevertheless.
I have been involved with Twitter for about three years now, but it’s only been the last year that I have been aggressively pursuing followers for the purpose of building my name as a novelist and promoting my work. What’s interesting that I have found is that the best way to promote your work on Twitter is not to talk about it. Instead, embrace the fact that you are there to establish community, there to get to know other people, who also might be potential readers. The same goes for other social networks, like Goodreads and Facebook.
What I have discovered is that there are some really great people out there in Twitter-land. I occasionally drop a note about my free collection of short stories, and maybe once a week talk about one of my books. And I always make sure that my profile has straightforward links to Amazon where someone can find my books. But for the most part, the marketing is done by those people I interact with.
And because I have learned the value of community, and the joy of interacting with these people, I have realized that they are much more than just another potential sale. I have an obligation, a social contract, with them. I treat them with respect and ideally they will do the same.
I teach my writing students that the same thing exists between writers and their readers. The writer sets down certain rules at the beginning of what they are writing. If the reader accepts those rules–what the world consists of, who people are, and the limitations of the story–then they stick around to read the story. But if the writer suddenly makes a left turn and turns their Western into a space opera, or suddenly their vampire becomes a Christian, well, then the social contract is broken and the reader has no reason to stick around. Think about any book that you didn’t finish, and often you will find that this is the case.
I try to do my best as a writer, and as a book marketer. I don’t know everything, but I am willing to learn. And because I know that there are 10,000 people out there following my moves on Twitter, I feel an obligation to do them justice and treat them as I would like to be treated.