Twitter has been the self-publishers go-to platform.
But does Twitter have a future for book promotion?
The news has been bad for Twitter for a long now, with most news articles concentrating on stock market reaction to its failure to attract enough new active users, and asking, ‘will Twitter survive?‘
A recent article in Vox gives a clear picture in its article about why Twitter has stopped attracting new users, and why Wall Street isn’t happy about it at all.
However, all this bad news is of a very general nature relating to the behaviour and preferences of everyday users of social media.
So yes, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are extremely popular, but they are focused on the broad social aspects such as sharing daily events, family photos and of course ubiquitous selfies.
Twitter, however, has always been about information, news and finding answers to questions.
Apart from the well-known issues of spam and over-the-top automation, which experienced Twitter users know how to avoid, Twitter has always been above all else, a source of knowledge.
So what does the future of Twitter mean for self-publishing authors?
From my own reports and data, I can confidently say that I am not noticing any huge stall in new users following my @justpublishing Twitter account.
In fact, new followers average around 3-4,000 per month. From my Twitter Analytics for the last year, new followers per month, impressions and engagement rates are still growing month in, month out, albeit at a slower pace than a couple of years ago.
Of course, the vast majority of the new followers are self-publishing authors, as my posts and blog are specifically about self-publishing.
This aligns with my view that Twitter is about sharing information and providing advice and solutions to problems. In other words, users have questions and look to my feed for possible answers.
With so many people venturing into self-publishing, this is probably not surprising. This is what Twitter has always been good for: finding answers to questions.
However, what Twitter is not very good at, and in fact has never been good at really, is in promoting and selling lots of books.
With the dramatic slowdown in new general interest Twitter users, this means that there are fewer potential book buyers registering with Twitter.
I have no data to support this, but I do keep my eye on the popular @goodreads Twitter account to check its follower growth and the type of followers it is now attracting.
Unlike a couple of years ago, there are far fewer real followers who class themselves as readers in their profiles. In fact, the Goodreads Twitter profile is now a very long list of spam and automated followers.
Gathering all this together, the logical conclusions are that firstly, that Twitter is still a very popular platform for self-publishing authors, and by using the #amwriting and #writerslife hashtags, authors new to Twitter can find their feet very quickly and participate and interact without a painful learning curve.
So the Twitter community of self-publishing authors will continue to grow.
The second conclusion is that using Twitter for book promotion will be less effective. While any publicity is good publicity, perhaps book promotion will need to be more focused and refined and less about ‘buy my book‘.
Lastly. If readers are not coming to Twitter in droves, it might be time to consider going to where they all are now, on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Yes, I can hear you. Who needs more time wasting social media platforms, when there is writing to do?