Tyrese Gibson’s bestselling self-help memoir How to Get Out of Your Own Way (Grand Central) may be his first book, but thanks to more than 1.8 million Twitter followers (@Tyrese), he’s an old hand at connecting with fans through social media. Three months after its April 7 release, the book is in its tenth printing, with 61,000 copies in print.
There were 5,991 e-book sales of the title as of June 1. And on July 24, How to Get Out of Your Own Way was back on the New York Times Bestseller list at #6, as well as landing at #16 on the previous week’s PW’s Bestseller list.
An introspective memoir, How to Get Out of Your Own Way chronicles how Gibson evolved from a tough, inner-city child in Watts, California to a thinking, spiritual man by asking himself hard questions about his damaging habits, environment, and friends. He shares his methods with readers so that they can “get out of their own way” just as he learned to. “It’s not a fake celebrity book,” Gibson asserts. “I put my heart on those pages.”
A much-in-demand television and film actor, among Gibson’s many projects is a recurring role as Robert Epps in the Transformers trilogy, whose third installment, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, was released this summer. He also stars in Fast Five–the fifth movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise–which opened in late April. Gibson is also a Grammy-nominated R&B singer and songwriter with four albums and a new CD, Open Invitation, coming out soon.
“We knew that Tyrese was a Tweeting maniac! And we knew he had a whole bunch of followers on Twitter and Facebook,” explained Linda Duggins, director of multicultural publicity at Hachette Book Group. “Plus, he was doing two movies, so his movie publicity company did a lot of social media with his films. But every time he went out to do publicity for the movie, he mentioned the book.” Duggins said accounts began demanding the book and no wonder. “Other People–like Oprah and P. Diddy–were tweeting about him too. So it was a viral thing.”
Duggins reported that the book “debuted at #10 on the New York Times list, stayed on three weeks, dropped off, and came back higher than the debut.” She attributes the book’s position at #6 this week to the correlation with the release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Gibson told PW that for years, he’s been using social media to connect with his fans, beginning with MySpace, then Facebook, and now Twitter, which he considers his favorite. “They’re following you for a reason–they want to know about your life, your thoughts, your feelings, the things inspiring you. So whenever I’m doing a video, or a new song, I think of them as my audience. I tend to tweet about things that will catch their attention. My followers are spoiled–they’re just there waiting!”
All those fans translate into potential sales. “I don’t think there’s anybody who follows me on Twitter who is not aware of the book,” Gibson pointed out. “People are passionately writing testimonials about the book. I’ve never done anything in my life that’s impacted readers so much.”
Gibson’s not resting, though. He’s already tweeting, with Rev Run (aka Joseph Simmons, MTV star and founding member of hip hop’s Run-DMC), about their forthcoming book Manology (@Manology), creating buzz for a book that hasn’t even been written yet. But what a tweeting team up, as Gibson hastens to point out, “Rev Run (@RevRunWisdom) has 2.3 million followers.”