Thursday, January 12, 2012

Experiment to Spend $100 on eBooks on Twitter

Yesterday afternoon (central time) I did an experiment to test my twitter network. I called it My $100 eBook Shopping Spree. Over a seven hour period, I tweeted out this:

My $100 eBook shopping spree has begun: I'll buy your YA (adventure, sci-fi, fantasy) ebook today! please RT

It's true. I'm spending $100 on YA ebooks today. Will your ebook be one of them?

Have you written a YA adventure, sci-fi or fantasy novel? I'll buy a copy: No strings attached.

I'm looking to add to my to-read list. Specifically YA adventure, SF or fantasy. I'm spending $100 today.

it's amazing that I can't get anyone to pitch me their YA adventure, SF and fantasy ebooks. I'm ready to buy, buy, buy!

tap tap tap. is this thing on?

I'm shopping for ebooks. YA adventure, sf, fantasy. Tweet me your book! please RT

My $100 shopping spree has begun. Tweet me a buy link to your YA adventure, sf and fantasy ebook. kindle or nook.

I bought ZERO books. Why? Because I did not get even one response.

All someone had to do was tweet "@ekedstrom BOOK TITLE [book buy link] and [link to my original blog post]."

Why I didn't get a response? Well I can tell you. The URL shortener,, keeps track of how many clicks each shortened link gets. The link I included in all my tweets got a grand total of TWO clicks. The blog post itself got nine, so seven were from random surfers.

The second part of the problem might be that I specifically requested YA adventure, sf and fantasy. This was really important because that's roughly where my book fits. I wanted to buy books in my genre, and at the same time pitch my book, get my twitter handle retweeted a bunch and hope to get more followers. So it could be that my followers don't fit my genre.

Lesson: I need to do more work cultivating relationships with authors in my genre.

So here I am putting out to twitter that I'm willing to spend $100 to buy books, and I can't spend even $0.99!

Across all my tweets, I got three retweets, expanding my reach to roughly 1000 additional people. But as any twitter user knows, no one reads every item in their tweetstream. So the true reach might be 10% of that, an extra 100 people. Don't misunderstand. I'm not upset that I didn't get more retweets. After all, most of my followers are polite follow-backers or pot shot networkers like me, they have no reason to RT me. Note: only two of my tweets included "please RT" and it was one of those that got RT'd twice.

The most important lesson I've drawn from this experiment is this: With only 86 followers—and most of them authors seeking to sell their own books—my social network platform basically does not exist.