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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Enter via Japan

Just a short post to bring out into the open some intriguing facts that have come to my attention concerning a recent competition I've been running on Twitter.

For those of you familiar with Twitter, you've no doubt seen the occasional "retweet" appearing in your feed from someone you follow who has entered some competition or other on Twitter via the quite common method of "following and retweeting" a tweet posted by whoever is running the competition. Quite often the competition prize is some item of monetary value (for example, a Kindle or Amazon vouchers) and obviously the prospect of winning these items is fairly appealing to a proportion of the general tweeting public. Indeed, such is the prolifigacy of such competitions on Twitter, there is a growing army of people who have twitter accounts solely for the purpose of entering as many as they can find, retweeting merrily a hundred times a day or more, and tweeting nothing else save the odd "thank you" when someone tweets to tell them they've won a pair of shoes or some such.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that - entering competitions is fun and. after all, we're living in financially awkward times at present - but, as I say, some very intriguing facts have come to light arising during the course of running my competition.

Firstly. hand in the air, the reason behind the competition was a simple marketing exercise for my Kindle book on Amazon. Included in the "competition announcement" tweet was a bit.ly link to my book, which was there to gauge how effective the marketing campaign was at directing traffic to view the book on Amazon. Users of bit.ly links will know that this system captures some useful geographical detail about where in the world someone is when they click on the link (just the country, not the city or exact street address!). Given the "competition tweet" talked about vouchers in UK currency, my thinking about those most likely to be interested and also click on the link was people within the UK. But what I discovered was that while the UK was the 2nd highest country of click origin, it was dwarfed 3 to 1 by Japan.

Yes, that's right - Japan.

This somewhat unexpected statistic got me thinking. Of all the follows and retweets that were attributable to the competition, 99% did indeed appear to be claiming UK as their location in their Twitter bio; given that 75% of all clicks on the bit.ly link were from Japan, something wasn't adding up.

Now, so far, I haven't dug too deeply. But a couple of thoughts spring to my over-active mind:

1) well, maybe there's a lot ex-pats in Japan, who just like clicking the link on my competition tweet;
2) bit.ly's country indicator might be pants;
3) there's some sort of organised crime network at play here who have people working in teams, entering and winning competitions with any kind of monetary value, and then using patsies local to the UK to collect the gains, then use these for whatever nefarious deeds they get up to.

So, over to you - what do you think?

I should add that there are many genuine "compers" out there, but as with any demographic, there are some bad eggs and even a few engaged in suspicious activities.

Thanks for your time.

* update (2012-01-07): interestingly, there have been no "Japan" based clicks since the competition ended.

Friday, 25 November 2011

What next after NaNoWriMo?

You've been working hard all November.  You've been writing at an average of 1,667 words a day.  You've excused yourself from dozens of invites and blithely ignored friends and family alike.  But now, as we approach the end of November, the end is most very definitely in sight.  Come close of play on 30th November, successful NaNoWriMo work uploaded, verified and approved, question is: what next?

For some, it's easy.  File the work away, forget about it, and maybe at some point in a few years, look back and think, I did that (swell of pride).

For others, it'll be a case of put it away for a while (a month or so) then come back, read it over, think about it, and then start editing, re-writing, adding more to it, until you've got something you think is closer to a work that maybe, just maybe, someone out there might want to read and maybe - whisper it - even buy.

Of course, for a fair number out there, getting to the end of NaNoWriMo with 50,000 words done might not even happen.  Many give up in the first week, some drop out by week two, and for some it just becomes a chore that, even with the end in sight, loses its lustre and the project gets abandoned, thrown to the wind and never discussed.  Until next year.  When the writing fever returns.

I wasn't participating myself this year, but my good lady wife was taking part and - alas - appears to be drifting short of the 50,000 word mark.  Hopefully, she'll keep going and finish (even if it takes months to do) and I can only say the same about everyone else out there who's gamely struggling to the end.

So, back to the question, where we'll end this post, what are you going to do next with your NaNoWriMo work?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

To Tweet or not to Tweet...?

Not so much a post as a query of sorts.

I've been on Twitter a while now and in the course of tweeting and reading tweets, it's clear that Twitter can be a useful marketing tool for those out there that have gone down the self-publishing route.

Question is, though, how effective has Twitter proven to be as a marketing tool?  In simple numbers, how have tweets translated into sales?  How active on Twitter do you have to be to generate some sales?

And for those getting sales off the back of Twitter marketing, what are the best methods for getting those sales?  A repetitive stream of links to your ebook?  Letting people navigate to your ebook via your bio link?  Or something else completely different...?

Answers, thoughts, opinions - all welcome.