I’ve blogged before about Jon Reed’s writing, citing him as a social media savvy chap, who generously shares his expertise – and what’s more he does it with style. Jon’s latest (e)book, The Publishing Talk Guide to Twitter, reaffirms those sentiments. In around 100 pages, Jon crams in multiple Twitter success stories and practical tips – all focused on helping aspiring writers, published authors or publishers achieve their goals. Whether you’re looking for your first job in publishing, touting your manuscript around agents and publishers or trying to create the biggest buzz for your author’s latest book, you’ll find something useful inside. And what’s more, this is no glorified Word doc of an ebook – it’s visually inviting, easy to read and as stylish as you’d expect.
If you’re yet to be convinced about the power of Twitter, the book starts with an awe-inspiring example: author Sarah Salway (@sarahsalway)’s six year old book, Something beginning with shot from nowhere to the top 250 in the Kindle charts within a week. Why? You guessed it… Twitter. How? A serendipitous mention by author Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), who just happens to have 1.5 million or so followers, and another by William Gibson (@greatdismal). Of course you can’t plan for that kind of luck. But being on Twitter makes it a possibility.
The book is dotted with these publishing ‘Twitter success stories’, themselves testament to the power of the platform, since Jon asked for contributions by sending out a tweet. And while many of these examples highlight happenstance outcomes, some successes are more directly trackable. Take Rose Ippolito (@IndexerRose01), who gained her first business contract directly from following a recommended list of 20 influential publishing folk on Twitter.
While there’s no doubt Twitter can help you advance your career or sell more of something, these aren’t the only aspects Jon focuses on. In a book that keeps publishing at its core, he suggests authors could use Twitter to research their books or to ask for help or insight – just as he did. He even talks about the possibility of tweeting your entire novel, like Nick Belardes (@NickBelardes), or the thoughts of an individual character. It might sound gimmicky, but that’s how @MrsStephenFry got a book deal with Hodder & Stoughton.
Whatever your aims in using Twitter, it’s essential to be clear on your goals – and Jon takes time to help you work out what you want to achieve, and how you’ll get there, before getting into all the technical detail. Once you’re ready to leap into the Twittersphere, he then guides you through setting up an account, deciphering Twitter jargon, using hashtags, identifying who to follow, deciding what to say and knowing the key dos and don’ts. Everything, in fact, that usually scares Twitter novices off. You’ll even learn about ‘new Twitter’ – putting you a step ahead of many old hands who haven’t got their heads around the updated system yet.
Finally, Jon shows you how to link your real and virtual networks, by using Twitter to host a Q&A session or organize a Twitter meet-up. He also takes some of the hard work out of setting your network up in the first place – by listing 50 influential publishing tweeps (that’s Twitter people, or Twitter ‘peeps’, for those of you who haven’t learnt the jargon yet) – and helps scope out your Twitter action plan. For a man who makes his living selling social media workshops to publishers, Jon’s giving a helluva lot of information away for little more than the price of a good bottle of wine. Generous to the core once again…
My own elearning course on Social Media for Professionals is available from YourCPD.net