How I Got A Book Deal On Twitter

I got a book deal on Twitter.

(Which means you can too.)

In February, I started a personal development blog called How To Get A Grip. I needed a dumping ground for massive and swirly brain mass and I wanted to pass on some no-nonsense advice to people in need of help.

After a few days – and with about five posts up – I started to promote the blog. I set up a microsite – Man The Fuck Up – which appealed to a certain demographic and drove traffic from places like Reddit and Facebook. I submitted one of my posts to Lifehacker – Getting Things Done With The Eight Minute Rule – which drove some more traffic and got me a few subscribers.

And then I started playing Twitter.

I used Tweetdeck to set up searches for people who I reckon could do with some of my hard-nosed advice. Every time somebody mentioned that they needed to “mtfu” or “get a grip“, I dropped them a note with a suggestion for the kind of advice they might appreciate. So far, so spammy, huh?

I also set up a search to let me know when people were talking about the blog itself. Whenever anyone shared some of my stuff, or commented on it, I made sure to drop them a line saying how much I appreciated their feedback.

And that started conversations.

One of the conversations, by sheer coincidence, was with a publisher. Of books. And we got talking.

Of course, being an idiot, I didn’t bother looking up her profile until after our conversation – a conversation, incidentally, in which she asked me if I was thinking of writing a book along the same lines. To which I responded “no”.

Like a dick.

A couple of days later, once I realised that she was in a position to publish my book, I got back in touch. And How To Get A Grip – The Book, was written. It comes out in April 2011. (Buy four copies).

Lessons learned

The campaign to get the blog noticed was deliberate.

The book deal was a happy by-product.

If I was going out now to get a blog turned into a book, I’d do exactly the same thing again, with one major exception.

I wouldn’t end up having conversations with publishers by sheer coincidence. Instead, I’d have conversations with publishers (and editors and literary agents) by careful design.

Who are you having conversations with?