One of the brilliant things I did in 2009 is create a Twitter account for the most popular of my books for actors. That account tweets a line a day from the book. Occasionally, it also promotes something we have going on. It follows no one. It retweets no one. It replies to no one. Its entire purpose is: tweet a line a day from the book and post an occasional promo.
Now, in 2009, we were working off the 3rd ed. of my book. In 2014, the 4th edition’s first printing hit the world (we’re now in our 4th printing of the 4th edition — WHOA). I can safely say that Twitter helped make the 4th ed. way more streamlined than the 3rd ed.
Having to scale down advice into 140 characters (pre-Twitter character limit increase, of course) helped me see sections that were way overwritten (or over-punctuated; dear GAWD, I love commas and semicolons way too much). So, during the tweet-selection process, I was redlining my correction copy of the book, knowing a new edition wasn’t too far out in the future.
On that: There was a time in 2012 at which we knew I’d be writing the 4th ed. of Self-Management for Actors in 2013 for it to hit the market in 2014. We also knew we had fans *twitching* to get their hands on a new edition… far before I was ready to write it. (In addition to streamlining the 4th ed., we were also overhauling it to stay evergreen by creating support content online. This has been soooooo wonderful for our books’ sales figures, BTW. We were also waiting for issues within the actors’ unions to settle down, so I could write about ’em accurately.)
Because I knew folks wanted my new book before it would be ready, I came up with a plan to provide a new book for ’em… without having to write it.
I took to my Twitter analytics. Found the book’s most popular tweets from the 3rd edition (~4 years of data). Grouped those most popular tweets into sections that would align with the sections of “the big book” when it would be finished, a year or more from then. Surveyed my lifers about which tweets spoke to them as standalones vs. as kickstarters for doing more reading. Tossed out some of the tweets. Regrouped ’em. Did a little cleanup. Wrote an introduction on “How to Use This Book” in which I described it as a “Bonnie in your pocket,” and suggested that flipping through and landing on a fortune-cookie was exactly the right method. And that there’d be a new edition of their favorite long-form book on the subject coming out soon, there to provide ’em with a deeper dive of anything that intrigues them from the “Bonnie in your pocket” book they’re holding.
While its sales are nowhere close to that of our main book, this allowed for a little boost of book sales to an audience that was hungry for a new book. It kept my author profile high over at Amazon. And this book has become a really sweet little stocking-stuffer or gift-bag goodie for us to use or donate or sell in bulk… all while the total production time was something like 20 hours.
So, if you’ve got a popular book, blog post, or old written product you know still has value — consider having it tweet for you! And then mine that data for the gold that might exist when it comes to creating something NEW and on the fly for your fanbase!
You can even take this further by analyzing that Twitter data to find a new spin on a topic you love to cover in your podcast or livestream vid broadcasts, understanding the need for a new product or service you could add to your offerings, and of course, trends to lean into that may have otherwise passed you by!
In fact, I think I’ll go do a dive on my book’s Twitter account’s analytics again right now! Who knows what I’ll create next! 😉
I’d love to hear what *you* might create using an unexpected tool like Twitter as the VA you never knew you already had. No, this isn’t for The Fast Results Club members out there. Remember, the account had been tweeting for YEARS when we first went data mining. But if you’re a content-generating machine, I’m sure you’re seeing where you could employ this tactic and start getting some yummy data to guide your next projects in just a few months!
Go get ’em!