Marketing Experiment # XXX – 140 Character Quotes

Several months ago I got an idea for an online marketing experiment from something Rachel Caine (marvy urban fantasy and YA author) was doing using Twitter.

For her bit, she was linking a partial quote from the about to be released Morganville Vampires Book 7 called Fade Out and including a link to her LJ so readers could see the rest of the selected quote. (MV7 totally rocked, by the way!)

I decided I would try something similar, but with a Twitter twist. I would actually try to make the quotes fit into Twitter’s 140 character limit as well as include a purchase url for Amazon or just the name of the book the quote came from depending on space. (Sometimes nothing as a couple of the buggers were too long!)

For each book, I went and hunted for 20 plus quotes from the beginning chapters. The plan was to Tweet quotes 3 times a day. Reason for doing it 3 times was because people aren’t always on Twitter/Facebook at the same time the quote would be posted. The two different Twitter Utilities I use seem to only buffer about 100 Tweets, so assuming most others were about the same, I wanted to send enough of them out there to hopefully get included, but not so many I would seem to be spamming the netwaves.

I use two different utilities to check Tweets. At work I use TechHit’s TwInbox. (TwInbox basically lets you create a folder for Tweets in Outlook and feeds Twitter into it. It also means I don’t have to have any suspicious software on at work or an internet page up. :P) (I love that I can forward Tweets with interesting links via email automatically too to peeps I know who don’t use Twitter. Somethings just have to be shared!) At home, I use TweetDeck. Tweetdeck lets me see feeds from Twitter, My Space, and Facebook, plus I can upload comments to all 3 at once.

So, armed with a week’s worth of quotes for each of my four books – In the Service of Samurai, Vassal of El, Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles, and Willing Sacrifice – I set off on this mad marketing experiment!

Today is the last day of the fourth week. Since I included urls leading anyone who was interested to Amazon, I figured using my ranking #’s there for each book would let me know if anything happened at all.

I’m afraid to have to report that the impact of this experiment very well seems to be Zero~! But at least now I know. Of course there’s always the possibility that the full impact, if any, is not yet visible. It’s the biggest problem with trying any type of marketing for books as there are time when the effects are felt long after you’ve stopped pursuing that particular strategy.

In some ways too, I was probably preaching to the choir – most of those following me have probably already read some of my work. To get others on Twitter to see it I needed to use hashmarks like #ya #fantasy, but I don’t think I thought of using those until well into week two at least. Doh. (hindsight is 20/20)

Now to think of something else to try!