Electric Literature Reflects on Publishing Moody’s Twitter Story


Andy Hunter, co-editor of Electric Literature, wrote a piece for Publishing Perspectives on what he learned from the experience of publishing a story by Rick Moody on Twitter. “We regret that less attention was paid to the content of Rick’s story than its mode of delivery,” writes Hunter, “although that may have been inevitable.”

The literary magazine Electric Literature is something of a phenomenon. It’s published only as an eBook, mobile phone app, or POD book, and, if Twitter is any indication, is doing really, really well for a lit mag, with just over 85,000 followers. That high tally has something to do with publishing Moody’s story, according to Hunter:

“After tallying hundreds of reader responses, we found that positive comments and retweets outnumbered complaints by 10:1–meaning 90% of our followers engaged with the story in a positive way. Over the course of those three days, our web traffic spiked 300%, subscriptions jumped 500%, hundreds joined our email list, and we gained 10,000 new followers on Twitter.”

Hunter also describes how other participating publishers benefited from the project, such as the literary magazine Prarie Schooner, which also added Twitter followers.

And Hunter offers advice for how to effectively use twitter in the book world, suggesting that publishers and authors try to Tweet things people will actually want to read, rather than just advertisements. Seems like Moody’s story was actually both.