About 15 years ago my husband and I had a bright idea one day. He was busy doodling on our Mac and I thought, “Those are really cool designs and I bet we could make them into coloring books.”

We ended up creating and self-publishing two mandala coloring books. We were sure this was going to be a huge money-making deal (totally naïve). Instead we were shocked to find out that they were not so easy to sell. Bookstores ordered a few at a time and we managed to sell some on our website (websites were still new). The rest we sold at a Saturday Market and then let it go. People who bought them loved them but we barely broke even.

It was one of those learning experiences. I am sure you all have had similar stories about developing a product, being so passionate and excited and then realizing afterward that you neglected to do a marketing plan. We must have thought we were immune and our books were so amazing that people would want them in truckloads.

In retrospect, I can now see that the main value was for he and I to do this project together. Making money wasn’t the point, but it would have been a nice side benefit.

Now, I have just finished writing my first real book, “ Clear Your Focus Grow Your Business,” and it will be out in print very soon. I thought I was smart this time and began setting up my social networking platforms three years ago so they would be solid when my book was done. Marketing is one of my areas of expertise so I felt confident.

Twitter was the one site that puzzled me. I joined Twitter and tried to figure it out. It’s not like any other site and I was baffled at how and why people had 15,000 people they were following. It felt daunting and overwhelming so I didn’t really jump into it full force. I still have only about 900 followers, I’m embarrassed to admit. I was not following people back unless I liked their website. Uh-oh- big problem. I couldn’t get my head around developing relationships with 15,000 people, most of whom I wasn’t interested to know.

One night, suddenly, 200 people drop off of following me. I tried to recall what I may have tweeted that could have offended 200 people in one night. It was ludicrous and again I thought, “I don’t understand this at all!” I went back to just putting my energy elsewhere.

And then my son gave me this book, “101 Ways to Market Your Books,” by John Kremer. I found John online and began following him on Twitter and befriended him on Facebook. Facebook is more my style. I understand it. I decided to check out John’s Book Marketing Network site. It’s a Ning site with a lot of great information and a forum. http://bookmarket.ning.com/ One question he poses there is, “What’s working for You?” He goes on to share that the hottest tool he is using right now is Twitter.

I read that and I immediately felt a knot in my stomach, knowing that I had totally missed the boat. He says his websites Alexa ranks and visits have been rising because of Twitter.

He publishes a free Twitter Manual, which is a guide to success on Twitter. I know there are thousands of people offering to sell Twitter support tools. I picked this one because John is a successful book publisher and I like what he has done.

Here are a few things I learned from John’s manual.

1. Find interesting people to follow. For me that would be small business owners, publishers, authors and marketers.

2.It’s important to offer something free in your Twitter welcome message.

3. Post at least 10 tweets per day, including useful tips.

4. Include 3-4 quotations as they get retweeted the most often.

5. Retweet other people as this helps you build relationships.

6. Read other people’s tweets and visit their blogs and websites.

As it turned out I was doing some of this but very inconsistently!

The morals in this story.

• Develop of good marketing plan and don’t shy away from what you don’t understand.
• Stretch your comfort level.
• Get help. You don’t have to do everything yourself.

Maybe next year I’ll be able to tell you how Twitter worked to market my book!

Author's Bio: 

Kaya Singer of Awakening Business Solutions, Business-coaching services, helps you clear your focus and grow your business. http://www.awakeningbusiness.com