NYR iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Debbie Stier

GET UPDATES FROM Debbie Stier
 

But Does Twittering Really Sell Books?

Posted: 11/05/09 08:41 AM ET

The fact that Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk hit The New York Times bestseller list at #2 after one week's sales is great... though not necessarily so remarkable. What's interesting about this story is that he is living proof that the free tools of the Internet do work! I hear over and over, from authors as well as my colleagues in house, "OK, but does Twitter sell books?" (I don't know why they are so reluctant to believe...)

Gary built his brand using these free tools (Facebook, Twitter, Ustream, Tumblr, etc.) and he used the tools that he wrote about in the book to succeed with the book itself. Yes, the mainstream media did play a role, but not at first, and Twitter and Ustream have been every bit as big a driver of sales as traditional media.

If you have not checked out his book site, do it! It is a marketing masterpiece and a lot can be emulated and learned from, for sure: www.crushitbook.com Some of it is just "so Gary" -- I don't know if there's anyone else out there who could pull it off... but even the typical stuff you see on an author's website (i.e. About the Book, About Gary, etc.) is more interesting than what you usually find on a typical book website.

Here are some of my favorite aspects:

  • The Experience -- Be sure to watch the videos. If you're going to watch just one, watch the 35 books video. This clearly has Gary's DNA all over it, but I can think of a zillion supersize bundles for other authors too (e.g. for the self-help author: 35 book gets you an hour session with the author; for the novelist, 35 books gets you a call to your book club from the author; etc. etc. etc.)
  • The Tour -- This is not your run of the mill back-breaking killer book tour. Check out the RSVP links that go to Facebook fan pages and the follow up links so people can post their pictures and comments after the event. And here's my favorite: The Hudson Hustle Tour http://crushitbook.com/hudson-hustle-tour/ 6-cities, 24 hours. Who does that? The man is a maniac. Do not try this at home.
  • Special Offers -- I don't even know where to begin. Gary has partnered with people most of us would never even have considered. Buy a custom Wordpress theme? Get a copy of the book; Fan of Click Time? Get a copy! LOVE the Digital Bonuses. Moral of the story: Think of a partnership for everyone you encounter and make an offer. Clearly people are open to this type of thing.
  • The Street Team -- This is like a political campaign. I'd think you'd need some serious momentum from your tribe to pull this one off. But noted for the future!
  • For Professors -- Think your book is good for college course adoption? Offer a Discussion Guide and Key Points E-book
  • Twitter Avatar for the Book -- Seems hard to pull off, but Gary has 611 people with his book jacket on their Twitter Avatar. Opportunity available for anyone to do on Twibbon.com

There's a TON more in there, from Forums to the World Market Tour -- so be sure to click around.

So while you might not be right for TVs in gas stations , and highway billboards aren't what's going to sell your book, there are a ton of ideas in here that any author can copy and do their own version of what Gary has done. The days of having to wait for the media to give you the opportunity to tell your story are over.