How did I get more than 20,000 followers? Good question. Here's how:
Twitter helped make my career. (Twitter and Amazon and writing a good book that people seem to like.)
But the way I use Twitter is far different from the way most authors use it. To start with, I began building my following two years before publishing my book. I targeted people to follow that I believed might be interested in my book--1st: people who might want to read the fan fiction that I'd been writing at the time, 2nd: SciFi fans in general.
I specifically follow the followers of other authors on twitter.
I use an app called TweetAdder. (there are lots of ways to do this--ManageFlitter is another one, Tweepi is another.)
I choose an author--someone whose writing has some element in common with mine--and I download their followers into TweetAdder. Then I filter them. I take out anyone who hasn't tweeted in two months, anyone who has the default avi, anyone who doesn't tweet in English etc etc.
Now I've got a pretty good list. Not all of them will be good, but most will. I follow 100-200 per day. If after 5 days they haven't followed back, I unfollow them. TweetAdder and ManageFlitter both help you do that. There may be other services that do that too, that I'm just unaware of.
Any kind of spam that comes into my mentions or direct messages is an automatic unfollow.
Anytime I have a popular tweet that gets retweeted a ton--I follow every single person that retweets or favorites that tweet. Finding people who like to retweet is key. They help amplify your signal.
I amassed a following of 10,000 by the time I published Fluency. In the last six months, since the publication of Fluency, that number has doubled. A lot of that was organic. I now follow about 500-1000 people per week, usually in two sessions. Don't try to follow more than 1000 people in one day, you will be put in Twitter jail (you won't be able to follow, RT, fave, or even tweet for at least 24 hours).
I rarely tweet about my book. (Let that sink in.)
I established myself as an interesting individual (a personality that is not unlike my true personality) by tweeting links to things I felt my twitter following might find interesting. Geeky gadgets I'd found, funny SF spoofs, interesting science stories. I tweet these kinds of things 4 times a day, every day, scheduled by Buffer (an app that schedules social media content). By doing this, I'm giving something back. I'm adding value. I'm giving people a reason to tune into me and what I'm about. I'm generating interesting conversations.
In between, I tweet about the movies and tv shows I'm watching (always SF) and goofy things I'm up to. People literally feel like they know me. I know this because they say they do.
I answer nearly every tweet that is sent to me (if at all possible). I engage my followers. I flatter them when they are clever. I make them feel they are part of a cool club. This all fell into place naturally. None of it is forced. Again, I'm just being me, just doing Twitter the way I do my life.
I did not do any kind of promotion for Fluency leading up to its release. No fanfare. No cover reveal. NO HYPE. Just me: being myself. NOT selling myself. Being myself.
The day I released Fluency I sent a couple of tweets that basically said, "Oh, by the way I just released my book. Here's the link on Amazon if you're interested."
That day 500+ people bought my book.
Since then I only tweet about my book if I have something new to say: i.e. something has HAPPENED THAT IS EXCITING. For example, I've gotten a new blog review. I've achieved a new ranking. I've got a sale going on. I've released a new edition or an audio version.
In between, people frequently tweet to me that they enjoyed my book and can't wait for the sequel: I ALWAYS RT THOSE--AND PREFERABLY DURING PEAK TWITTER HOURS. (Peak hours are well documented. Do a google search for more info.)
Don't book spam. It doesn't work. It only annoys people. Stop trying to sell your book and just enjoy it. It's social media. When you get excited, THEY will get excited. Just be yourself.
My technique won't work for everyone. Since my success people ask me all the time how I did it. When I tell them how simple this was, they don't believe it or they're unwilling to do the work. In all the dozens of people I've told my technique to, only 2 have made any effort to try my technique.
*This space is by invitation only. It's not included in the navigation of my site because I want to choose who I share it with. If I've shared it with you, feel free to leave questions or comments below. I'll get back to you.