Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Twitter Fiction Fest Brings Smiles and Snickers

Today launches the Second Twitter Fiction Festival. Is this something we should applaud, ignore, or vilify?

Twitter’s users generate over a half-billion tweets per day, most of them useless, egocentric, self-promoting, and repetitious. However, like any tool, it can be used for good or bad. So is this twitterfest surrounding books a good thing?

Penguin Random House and the Association of American Publishers must think so. They teamed up with the micro-blogging site and got USA Today to sponsor it.

The first twitterature event was held in November 2012. Why did it take 17 months to do it again?  Shouldn’t Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have their own book festivals, too?

Authors, publishers and book marketers use Twitter to promote books. Now we’ll use Twitter to publish a book? What’s next --  writing a book to promote one’s tweets? I suspect it’s already been done.

So what exactly is USA Today says this: “The festival invited 27 authors, including comedian Jim Gaffigan and novelist Alexander McCall Smith, to share stories online. Stile and six others will perform onstage as their stories are tweeted and streamed. An additional 25 online submissions will be showcased, including a father-to-be tweeting from his daughter’s point of view in the womb.”

How many books has Twitter helped sell? How many books did people not buy because Twitter gave them free content or distracted them from buying books? Hard to say. But if you know the answer, tweet it.

The Twitter Fiction event is likely a plus to the book industry. Anything that gets people to discuss, buy or read books is usually a good thing. But the book publishing has to be careful in how it embraces social media. There will be a number of times that we hear an author sold a billion books, in part, because they pushed it via social media. But there will also be many instances where authors spend hours on twitter very day and barely move any books.

The right balance has to be struck so that social media drives book sales, not just conversations about books. 


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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