As a writer who is only just beginning to break into publishing, I face the same problem that most ordinary mortals do: I don't actually know that many people.
I'm not a hermit or anything. I have a day job that puts me in contact with hundreds of people each week. I know my neighbors, my kids' friends' parents, and I have a decently-sized family. But when I stop and think about potential book sales, I realize that I don't really know a lot of people and, even if I sold a book to every person I knew, it wouldn't really be an impressive number.
Now, if each of my friends told another person to buy a copy, that number might double. And if they told two people? Do the math. The Tell A Friend system would really increase the size of my potential audience.
Writers depend on extended networks to sell books. Why else would we spend so much time building our networks with online communities and writing organizations? We watch our Twitter Follower counts and our Facebook Friend numbers almost as much as we stare at our email inboxes. I'm not Jedi enough to mind-trick myself instantaneous success, though, and so I continue to look for ways to build my network and increase the size of my audience.
Then, a few weeks ago, my friend and fellow author Tricia Schneider (@triciaschneider) introduced me to Triberr.
Triberr: The Reach Multiplier
"Have you ever heard of Triberr?" she wrote. "It's basically groups of people that help each other promote our blog posts on Twitter. I have nearly a 100% increase of hits on my blog. I belong to 2 tribes and have 58 members who promote my blog posts--which means I have roughly a 56,000 reach. That's more readers, more chances for my books to be purchased."
She had my full attention. Like a lot of start-up bloggers, I've been scraping together my readership any way I could: by commenting on other blogs, by participating in blog hops, and by cross-posting my entries to my other online accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Red Room.) I set up as many automatically posting cross-links as possible so I can spend more time writing and less time cutting-and-pasting my blog entry's URL.
So when Tricia said she has a "reach" of 56,000 people…shoot. I needed some of that.
Off to Triberr.com I went.
A Way to Share and be Shared
Tribes are groups of bloggers with similar interests who band together and combine their resources: in this case, Twitter followers and blog posts. This pool of Tweeps is calculated and called the Tribe's reach.
The Tribal Stream shows a list of your tribemates' blog posts. You simply go down the list, clicking the approve button next to the articles you want to distribute. Triberr then sends them out through your Twitter account at a rate of one post every twenty minutes.
How does this help writers? The author of the post gets his work Tweeted out to the followers of everyone in the Tribe. If the Tribe has a reach of 30,000, that's potentially 30,000 people who are going to see the Tweet of your blog's link. (I say potentially because that many people will share a number of the same people as followers.)
The person approving the posts benefits, too, by having regularly-scheduled content going out via Twitter posts. Since everyone in my Twitter Follower list isn't in my tribe, any retweets of my Tweets will expand the reach of the Tribe as well as get me extra Twitter mentions, thereby increasing my name recognition.
Content. Distribution. Twitter. What a wonderful mix for writers seeking to distribute their work.
Ease of Use
Signing up was free and easy. It did take a while to figure out that my name wasn't showing up because I'd missed a hard-to-see link (extra thank you to the oh-so-patient Laurie (@lauriej170) for her tutelage) but, once that was fixed, my account ran quite smoothly.
I also read one of the moderator's blog posts on creating a branded Twitter app and had to give it a try. In a very easy-to-follow set of instructions, Dino Dogan (@Dino_Dogan) shows you how to rig your Triberr/Twitter interface so that the Tweets appear to come from you rather than the Triberr website. This provides two benefits: it gets your name out there even more and makes the links look more original, instead of just passed along posts.
There have been drawbacks to using it, though; I've had to re-do the app twice since I started, as it likes to suddenly stop working. It's a glitchy thing but not big enough of one to make me forsake the program. Thankfully, the Triberr gods are very attentive to their website and they work tirelessly to smooth out the kinks as they come up.
Bonfires are various topics on the community message board, which range from requests for tech support to open calls for new members. Most of my questions were answered by other Triberr folk (and I found new Twitter friends, too.)
Each Tribe has its own message board, too, where members can greet and chat with each other. The Tribal member page displays the names of your tribemates and makes it easy to follow them on Twitter--which is a requirement for the entire Triberr program to work.
The nicest thing is that Triberr isn't just a web program, it's a community of people who all want the same thing I do: to promote our work, to network with other bloggers, and to share the load. It's a healthy symbiotic relationship, one that definitely makes it easier to get the job done.
Does it Work?
Apart from the tiny hiccups, I have to say that, after only ten days of Triberring (my unofficial verb), I've gained a ten percent increase in Twitter followers. That's amazing for me. They are prime followers, too, since they most likely found me through my Tribes—and therefore sharing my interests.
I added a new post to my blog and saw it Tweeted out more than 25 times in six days. Guess how many Tweets my posts regularly got before I started using Triberr? Answer: only as many as I churned out myself.
While a week may not be a very long time to form an educated opinion, I'd have to say: Yeah. It looks like it's working pretty well.
I joined two established Tribes and even started my own. After a week of being on Triber, my reach has climbed to nearly 140,000. All I have to do is post to my blog and away it goes, with a little help from my friends.
Think about the potential size of that audience. Don't you need some of that?
Ash Krafton is a speculative fiction writer who resides in the heart of the Pennsylvania coal region, where she keeps the book jacket for "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" in a frame over her desk. Visit the Spec Fic Chick website at www.ashkrafton.com for updates on the release of her debut novel, Bleeding Hearts: Book One of the Demimonde, forthcoming in March 2012 through Pink Narcissus Press.