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mountain-edgeIt’s been a year since I launched my author platform.  I’d had a small group of friends and family on a personal Facebook page, and had a website with spotty attempts at blogging over the years, but nothing consistent.  In March of 2012, I got serious.  In 1 year I’ve achieved:

3500 Twitter Followers.  I did it the old fashioned way: one at a time.  I followed interesting people I’d found via hashtags, followed some of their followers.  Here’s what I learned-

  • I follow everyone back.  I believe Twitter is a two-way conversation.  Plus, I’m not the Pope.  I can’t expect people to want to hear what I say if I’m not showing any interest in what they say.  But – I do manage (i.e. unfollow) those who unfollow me or decline to follow back within a week or two.  I have to do this because once you’re over 2000 followers, Twitter insists that your follower to following ratio not be below 90%.  If it does, you can’t follow anyone else.  Which means there are some awesome people who are going to leave when you can’t follow back. Now, there are some Big Dogs who refuse to follow any more than 10 of their select friends.  If I really want to continue to see their tweets, I’ll put them on a list.  Yes, that’s right. I don’t need to follow them to see their tweets – Twitter is wide open.  Just put them on a list.  Which leads me to. . .
  • Lists.  Once you get a few hundred Twitter followers, your head will spin.  Some Tweet a lot, drowning out the less prolific posters.  Around 2,000 your feed starts racing by at the speed of light, and you’ll look like that episode of I Love Lucy when she was working at the chocolate factory.  It’s impossible to read at that speed, let alone respond.  TaDa!  Lists.  Twitter allows you to create as many lists as you want, either public (everyone can see who is on the list) or private (only you can see who is on the list).  With lists, you can segregate those one-post-a-day people so they don’t get lost in the crowd.  You can also pull aside Tweeps who interact personally with you, or sort people by interest area, profession, etc.  I have a Big Dogs list, several lists for writers, two (yes two) lists for erotica folks, and a few for those I want to make sure I keep up with.  Public or private?  It’s up to you, but lists are flattering.  The connect section of Twitter notifies you when someone adds you to a list, and some feed management programs will send you an e-mail.  People notice and will often thank you when they get added to a list – especially if it has a catchy, cool name.  I do have a few private lists.  One where I rotate people in and out frequently and don’t want anyone to get insulted.  Another where I don’t want to seem a fan-girl stalker.  (shhh!)
  • Feed Management.  There are whole blog posts written on this topic.  Suffice it to say I have 3 packages I use to send welcome DMs, auto schedule tweets and unfollow.  Plus I still use the twitter site itself.
  • OMG – Welcome DM?  Autotweet?.  Yes, I went there.  People on Twitter generally hate DMs.  It seems the only thing you get are pictures of people’s private body parts, invitations to perform sexual activity, and spammy welcomes like:  Thanks for following me.  Please like me on Facebook, Linkedin, and Google+.  Subscribe to my blog.  Then buy my new book, and all 40 backlist titles at the link I’ve kindly provided.  Sheesh.  I just followed you.  That’s rushing commitment a bit, don’t you think?  My welcome DM is (hopefully) funny, and does not entreat my new follower to do anything but sit back and enjoy the Twitter ride.  Autotweets are an evil necessity in a world where name recognition correlates to sales.  Let’s face it, even though I love interacting with my Tweeps on a personal level, this is an author platform.  I try to keep the tweets fresh and interesting and not send them out every two seconds.  Right now it’s every few hours during my peak follower times.
  • Tweets – I’ve blogged before about the need to interact with your followers.  In the beginning, I thanked those who re-tweeted (RT) my tweets to their own followers.  Now I return the favor (although I still thank a few times a week, especially on Follow Friday).  It’s polite, and it gets my name in front of them one more time.  Right now, I go to every RTer’s feed and scroll through their tweets.  If they post something personal, in addition to a return RT, I’ll reply to them and hopefully have a conversation.  I’ve met some cool people that way – some I’d even call friends, in an internet sort of way.

600 Facebook Page Likes. I started out by inviting those on my personal profile to “like


  1. I really enjoy social media, but it can really pull time away from other important activities – like actually writing the darned novel! I’m taking some classes this spring in hopes of streamlining activities a bit, and I really need to set myself up a daily/weekly time schedule and make it happen. But that’s next week’s blog post!

    My blog does really well when I’m posting about BDSM or naughty Elf on a Shelf pictures, LOL. Othertimes it’s pretty even, although non post days drop. I’ve been trying to post 3x a week, but I’m finding I dont’ have the time to write that many blog posts and get my other stuff done.

    Clones. Or I need to strike it rich and hire a housekeeper and a PA.

  2. Great recap. I’m so lazy about Twitter. Mostly, I just follow back whoever follows me. In the year and a half I’ve had the account its just at almost 1400 followers. My other account is even worse, but hasn’t been around as long. I do try to chat on there when I can, though.

    Blog hits are so tricky. If I don’t post for a few days (or sometimes longer) then my Mistress of the Dark Path site could drop to only 5-10 visitors a day. Other times, when I have a high traffic post it goes into the hundreds. Ironically, that last writing contest (and the issues surrounding it) gave me the most hits I’ve had in over a year. My MotDP Facebook page got more people viewing it during that time than have actually liked the page. People seem to love drama, but that had certainly not been my intention considering the stress it caused. The other blog is still really low and usually doesn’t get more than a few visitors a day. I need to put some more creative posts on it to help, but have trouble keeping fresh ideas going for two sites. Not to mention time!

    That’s my excuse for now until I get myself better organized, lol. It seems you are doing better than me. Keep up the good work!

  3. Thanks for posting your numbers, Debbie! So many times I see authors with 50k Twitter followers, 3k Facebook likes, zillions of website hits a day. It’s reassuring for those of us starting out to see it’s a process, with gradual positive gains. Good luck to you, too.

  4. Yep – actually visitors, at least by what I can see. The hosting numbers looked much higher (like 10x higher some days), but so many of those were bots or pings (whatever those are). A good number come from Twitter and Facebook posts, but I get some off my Goodreads page, comments on other blogs that link my last blog post title, and search engines. Of course, of some of those 40 are probably the same ones each day/week. I *do* have a few fans it seems, LOL.

  5. Do you mean that you’re getting 40 individual, READING, blog visitors a day (actual people that are reading your articles vs bots, or people that accidentally got there and left? Forty actual readers means 280 readers a week, roughly 1200 readers a month, or 14600 readers a year!

  6. Hey Debra, I think you did great in a year.

    I’ve been on Twitter a little over a year and have a little over 1000 followers, but I’ve gotten better about being more active on Twitter. My FB author page goes up and down like yours. I’m a few short of 400 likes. Did good for awhile, it’s slowed down as well. I also get about 35 hits as an average on my blog, except when I post my monthly feature called CURIOSITIES, paranormal segment where people stop by, mostly authors, and tell us a real life ghost experience or something unexplained that happened to them. Then I get 50 to 60 hits.

    I don’t want to talk about Goodreads 🙂

    Good luck! We’re all trying to find our way through the huge universe called social media.

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