Shh, It’s The Secret That Isn’t A Secret

dog 4Puppies, they are too darn cute. 🙂

Hey, everyone. Last week I was asked by a friend and a fellow author a question which surprised me.  But what shocked me more, was a best-selling author got in touch with me and asked me the same direct question only a few days later. Then would you believe, two more followed in quick succession.

I’m not kidding you. In a matter of seven days four authors had asked me the same identical question. Well, I scratched my head, because it was as if I had a secret they wanted to know. So here we go, here’s their question.

Joanne, how on earth have you managed to gain 85,000 followers on twitter?

Okay, so my number of followers is up there, but it was still a question which surprised me, because there’s no secret to how I did it at all. For us authors, twitter is one of our social media platforms. It’s where we can reach out and let people know what we’re doing, what we’re blogging about, and so much more.

Before I answer the question though, here’s what happened to me a couple of days ago, because twitter can be a magical place, and surprises jump out around every corner.

So there I was, about to hop onto twitter when my puppy started barking like crazy in the laundry room which is right next door to my office. Off I went to check on him, only to discover him tearing into a beach towel lying on the floor. Yes, you heard me right, he was tearing into a defenceless beach towel. I’d like to point out the beach towel, to my knowledge, did not begin the fight. 🙂 It was just sitting there, doing nothing but being a beach towel. Now, after I rescued the towel, I tweeted about it, and a really cool lady who has a bulldog said that was nothing. Her dog goes all crazy just barking at the wind. Well, I’m glad my puppy doesn’t do that, but it’s amazing what can start a conversation, and where it can lead. We swapped photos of our adorable dogs, and then she visited my facebook page and tweeted that she gave me a “like.” How cool! Love that! And Daveda, if you’re reading this, thank you very much. Every “like” an author gets makes us smile, and this one I’ll never forget just how it came about.

Okay, so next I got a tweet from an actor in the UK who had a Kiwi flatmate. He’d seen my name mentioned on the “who to follow twitter list” (which I’ll explain later in the post), and checked out my bio picture with the fabulous New Zealand beach on it. He tweeted it was cool and showed it to his flatmate. His flatmate joined the tweet stream and told me he was all teary-eyed at seeing the picture since he missed home. He said it was freezing cold in England and he’d never experienced such a thing. My fellow Kiwi asked me to tell him about the weather, and his actor friend tweeted an urgent, “NO, PLEASE DON’T, I’m already trying to console him about living half a world away.” I laughed, and then squinted as I peered out the window and into the dazzling sunshine. Yeah, NZ is in the middle of its summer and it’s a gorgeously warm 90 degrees. And would you believe, for the first time ever, I was stuck for words.

After meeting the UK actor and Kiwi, I put out a tweet asking if anyone lived close to where my sponsor child was. I’ve been worried for a couple of weeks since my sponsor child’s village was recently flooded. Thankfully a lovely lady from the Philippines responded. Ahh, the beauty of twitter! She lives in the city of Manila, about two hours’ drive away and she happily updated me on the area I asked about. Later that day she got in touch with me again, and gave me a wonderful surprise. She told me she was a book reviewer and after tweeting with me, looked for my ebook on Amazon and bought it. Woo-hoo. Now for any author, that’s pretty cool.

Wow, what a day. My dog got to go for an unexpected trip to the beach because I began to actually wonder if he was barking at the beach towel for a reason. I made a fellow Kiwi cry (sorry mate,) discovered my sponsor child’s village is all good and thriving again, and met a major reviewer which still has me smiling.

Ahh, but after all that, let’s get back to the main question of this post.

How did I manage to gain 85,000 followers? It was simple ->I FOLLOW THEM BACK. Yes, I do! (Now, not everyone will want this many followers, but for me it just happened.) So, if this is something that appeals to you, I began by using They have a free option where you can follow/unfollow 50 people per day, or for a small fee, you can pay the $4.99 per annum and follow/unfollow 1000 per day. I’m sure there are many other websites which have similar features, because with twitter itself you can’t actually see at a glance who follows you in return. With websites like the one I’ve mentioned, you can. And that’s the way to grow your numbers.


In the beginning I gained around 300 per week until I hit 5000 followers. Between 5,000 and 15,000 followers, I gained around 1,000 per week. Between 15,000 and 40,000, I gained around 2,000 per week. And now I’m gaining 3,000 new followers each week and all because I follow back.

So, how do these numbers steadily grow? As I alluded to before, my name pops up more regularly on those “who to follow” twitter lists which are located on our main twitter page. When I follow back it shows I share the same interests as many other followers. Isn’t that cool! Twitter now tells people to follow me, and more often than I can just about keep up with. Thank you twitter. I’m feeling the twitter-love.

Now, for the secret that isn’t a secret, that’s how I gained 85,000 followers in less than a year. It’s also how I make sure I connect with other readers and writers, and you got it, dog owners, actors and their wonderful Kiwi flatmates, and let’s not forget reviewers. Yep, because you never know just who you’re going to “meet with one tweet.”

You know I love hearing from you, so drop me a comment and share. Perhaps you’ve had a fabulous experience which led to something amazing on twitter? Or, and let’s not forget there are the odd bad cookies out there on twitter too. All up I’ve had to “blacklist” seven out of that 85,000 for inappropriate comments. But the good thing is it’s in our hands, and we can make sure our experience remains enjoyable and clean.

So, roll on tomorrow. I’m certainly looking forward to the new connections I’ll make.

Right, now it’s time to announce the winner of the offer I made last week. For those who left a comment asking for a critique, they had their name put into a draw. What could they win? Yours truly will be their second set of eyes to go over the FIRST FOUR PAGES (or 1500 words thereabouts) of their novel. So, for this fabulous critique, the winner chosen by is:

*** R L Sharpe ***

Hey, congratulations, Rochelle. Please email me the first four pages of your novel as a word document attachment so I can insert “review bubbles” for personalized editing advice. My email address is located under the “Contact tab” on my website, or of course it’s

I’ll be making this offer again in the near future. I’m all for writers supporting writers, and you guys rock with the way you support me on my website.

Have a wonderful week. Catch ya all later.

* * * *

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PROTECTOR–BUY THE BOOK: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Lyrical Press / Kobo.

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15 thoughts on “Shh, It’s The Secret That Isn’t A Secret

  1. I was thinking the very same thing about your follower count. Oh, and yay! I won 🙂 This is actually really good because I’m close to sending it away to a publisher. You’ll get my email tomorrow, gotta run now or I’d send it straight away, hope that’s Ok.
    And Thanks.

  2. Hi Joanne,

    Great article though I admit I’m clueless about Twitter. The service you mentioned, is is just hooking you up with random people, or do you input interests? I was unclear on that point. Also, with that many followers, is it hard to follow all those tweets off all those people? How do you keep track of it all so you can answer people back if they ask you something?

    Apologies if these are silly questions. I have no frame of reference about Twitter so I’m sort of groping around in the dark LOL!

    1. Hey Cadence. On twitter you can create multiple “lists.” You can view the regular stream of tweets for sure (that’s all 85,000 people for me), or you can go to one of the lists you’ve created and see just what they’re tweeting. I’ve made lists of people I have fun chatting with (there’s loads on this list and I’m always adding to it), other authors and writers (there’s loads here too). But these “lists” makes it easier to check what’s going on at a glance. You can set the settings on these lists so they are “private” and only you can see them too.

      On twitter though, you have a “connect” stream, and I check this stream every day (it takes about five minutes). These are personal tweets that come into your feed. This is where I chat and meet new people who have sent me a personal tweet to “connect” in some way. (Like the UK actor and his flatmate in the post.) You can spend as much or as little time on twitter as you want. When you respond to a tweet, they may not see it until the next time they’re on, but I’ve found most people respond within 24 hours.

      If you ever decide to try out twitter again (because I’m sure you told me you tried it, but didn’t like it), I would recommend you only “follow” those of interest to you, so friends, family and other writers. I don’t worry too much about who “follows” me, because anyone can, but again, if that’s not something you like, you can set “security” on your twitter account, so you have to approve who follows you. This way you’re safe-guarding your entire experience.

      Out of interest though, I also have a “list” of current world news names, and when I check out this stream of tweets, I see the second there’s been a major earthquake somewhere, floods, tsunami warnings, etc. There’s a lot to twitter than just chatting to others. It’s a great source of instant information.

  3. Joanne, I subscribe to a lot of blogs, but yours is the first one I open to read. Love your candor. And the Twitter advice is appreciated! Question: do you unfollow everyone who shows up on as a nonfollower? How much time do you give someone who didn’t follow you back before you unfollow them?

    Thanks in advance. Be looking forward to your next giveaway 😉

    1. That is so cool you open my email first. I love that. *grinning*

      Also on Twitter, you’re only allowed to follow 2000 more than who follow you, so if you want to grow your numbers, you have to unfollow those who don’t follow you back. I usually unfollow those “unfollowers” after 3-4 days.

      If there are some people I follow who don’t follow me, and I really want to see their tweets, then I “whitelist” them. This means they never show up as an “unfollower”, and I never accidentally unfollow them. These are people like best-selling authors who follow very few people, or news-world sites, where they follow no one, but I want to see any unfolding world news events.

      I also use the “copy followers” option under to follow people who are of interest to me. I simply put in an author’s name and follow their followers. They’re going to have followers who have the same interests as me. Another good example for me (since I write YA) is to “copy the followers” who buy YA books. I’ll put in the name of “@thehungergames @twilight” etc and copy their followers.

      This way you can connect/tweet with people who want to see your tweets.

      Definitely keep an eye out for the next giveaway critique. I love these, and it’s so much fun getting to know others and their work. There should be another in about 2 weeks.

      Thanks so much for dropping a comment. Yours made my day. 🙂

  4. Congrats to Rochelle the winner and the best of luck. Joanne, I just finished reading your post on your dog and the beach towel. I had to laugh because we have a weird tale too.
    Our 1 year old Cocker Spaniel whom we love to pieces, goes bonkers whenever we slide the lanai doors open. Now she has never been hurt nor was she afraid before all this began a few months ago. She shows no fear and passes through in and out when they are open. She barks at the same doors when they are closed and she can’t get out….but when we slide it to open ( ever so slowly and quietly), she attacks the track as if there was something to be angry with lurking in it, licking its chops to eat her up. As soon as we release the button to slide, she runs to it from wherever she is, screeching a high pitched bark. When the door is barely open she pushes her way through, makes a complete circle in place, and attacks the track by showing her teeth, and screeching. When she stops after several seconds, all is right in her world and she goes about doing her thing, which usually is laying in wait for a small gecko to appear outside the screened lanai.
    What we don’t do for our pets. They jump on the furniture ( kids were not allowed.) Sometimes pee on the floor, (kids were not allowed.) whine for something until we either give in or at least give up and put it out of sight. ( kids were not allowed to .) Oh well. Thank you for letting me vent; any help from anyone who might know what disorder Lucie has is appreciated. lol, Pat

    1. Hey Pat. Oh my goodness. Your story had me laughing. Dogs are so adorable. You gotta wonder sometimes what on earth they’re thinking. That poor sliding door track. What did it do? Probably nothing but be a sliding door track. Give Lucie a hug from me–she sounds so cute.

  5. 85,000! I’m speachless, or, I guess I’m not. Still, I can see where the lists would come in handy! I use tweet deck on occasion, but sometimes it makes me crazy–perhaps if I actually sat down and figured it out…hmmm. I used to be so good with lists, now all my new follows/followers are jumbled together. I have a lot of work ahead.

    1. Hi Amy,
      I’ve heard of tweet deck, and I know exactly what you mean, because figuring everything out can make us crazy. There’re so many things we writers have to learn–it’s mind-boggling at times.

      With those “lists” I even have one of my favourite bloggers/reviewers”. I should have mentioned this in the post because I’ve found it to be crucial. I don’t want to miss when they tweet about an open invitation to “guest blog” or “spotlight an author.” I quickly take advantage of the offer and sign up.

      Another great list I have is “publishers/agents” and it’s surprising how often they tweet about open submissions for certain lines, or competitions to enter.

      Ahh, the wonderful world of twitter.

      Talk to you later.

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