Last March I blogged about thriller author Joseph Finder’s entry into the bold new world of Twitter. So far @joefinder (his Twitter handle) has built up a nice following of almost 6000 fans, a number that surely will increase with the August 18 release of his new thriller Vanished. Since he won’t making many personal appearances to promote the book (primarily New York, Washington, D.C., and the Boston area), Finder and his publisher decided to do something a bit different: the Twitter Book Tour. For every day of his virtual tour (Aug. 18, 19, 20), he will be on Twitter for one designated hour (3-4pm Eastern/12-1pm Pacific), answering readers’ questions in real time.
"This is a pretty new concept, and I don’t think it’s been done by many (if any) best-selling writers yet," said Finder in an email to me. While St. Martin’s will be coordinating, Finder credited the idea to a friend who’s an expert in social marketing. "As soon as I heard it, I realized it was something different, totally suited to Twitter because of the immediacy of the interaction, and absolutely worth trying. Given how expensive book tours have become, I think that authors need to figure out ways to connect directly to readers without having to fly all over the country. Nothing substitutes for person-to person contact, but this is close as you can get on the internet."
Moderating the Twitter tour will be former AOL Books editor Bethanne Patrick, who now hosts a monthly Twitter Book Club as part of her WETA-PBS site The Book Studio. At AOL, she had hosted the first "Blogging Book Club" and learned from that experience that readers want to connect as immediately and intimately with authors online as they possibly can. "What we hope to accomplish," said Patrick,"is to give as many people as possible the ability to chat with Joe without waiting for hours or days to get a response. We hope that will get those people excited about getting their own copies of Vanished, naturally!"
Would Twitter Book Tours work for libraries who can’t afford their own author programs? I want to know! Librarians, tell your patrons about Finder’s tour and DM @willywaldo on Twitter with the results.