Coming Clean about My Twitter Success

Today’s guest blog post is by thriller author and tweeter-extraordinaire Claude Bouchard. Twitter is a writer’s billboard to the world, and Claude talks about his method of growing his followers and reach on Twitter, something that all writers in this social-marketing-madness world can benefit from!

I wasn’t planning to write this post. It more came to be as a matter of chance. It all started a few days ago when author, editor and blogger, C.S. Lakin (@cslakin and @livewritethrive on Twitter), contacted me via my website to ask, “How did you get so many followers?” As I’d done in the past with a few others who asked, I emailed C.S. and explained my process. In response she came back, suggesting this should be a blog post and even offered to put my email into blog format, leaving me with only whatever fine tuning I desired. I said, “Cool,” she said, “Here you go,” and voilà, here it is, I’m coming clean about my Twitter success.

When I joined Twitter in August 2009, I went with the simple logic that the more followers I had, the more people would learn about the thrillers I wrote. With that in mind, I got busy with an easy process requiring little account management time which I’ll now share with you. The basic plan was to follow people, some of whom would follow back. Those who didn’t, I would unfollow. All I did was repeat this process over and over again. It obviously works because I now have almost 250,000 followers.

So What?

Why would anyone want so many unknown followers? Does it make a difference? I’ve found that it does. Sure, I don’t know most of them, and they don’t know me. But many of them are readers, and with having that many followers, odds are some of them like to read thrillers. Numbers play a big part in exposure on Twitter. If 1% of my followers actually read thrillers and like to hear about new books in that genre, then I have a potential of 2,500 new fans that I wouldn’t have reached had they not been following my posts.

Getting Past the Twitter Barricade

If you’re like many, you’re currently stuck at that pesky 2,001 spot. Twitter lets a tweeter follow up to 2,001 accounts without any problems. Past that, the 10% rule applies, which means the number of accounts you follow can’t exceed your follower total by more than 10%. This leaves you faced with two choices—wait until enough people follow you (don’t hold your breath unless you suddenly become a superstar) or unfollow those who weren’t smart enough to follow back, thus making room to follow others who might. The easiest way to do this is with and I suggest you splurge the $9.99/year for the premium service. This site will find all tweeters you follow who aren’t following you back and will list them with the oldest non-follower first. Once you’ve cleaned out non-followers, you’ll have room to follow other prospects, which you can do from the same site with the “Copy Followers” function. There, you enter the Twitter name (without the @) of an account you’d like to follow off of and, bingo, the system generates a list of that account’s more active followers.

Who to Choose?

I follow off of a variety of active accounts, some writing related, others not, just to get a mix of followers. Not everyone writes but many people are going to be interested in what you tweet about—whether you are a writer, artist, dancer, etc. You probably know some more active accounts already, but if you want to find more such accounts, go to and check out “Twitter Elite—Top Users,” which will give you the current top accounts on Twitter.

A Simple Ten-Minute-a-Day Plan

To illustrate, this is what I do:

• Daily, I follow 500 accounts from various other accounts. Twitter allows 1,000 follows a day (not always accurate), so I leave room to follow back people who follow me first.
• Once that’s done, I check my non-followers and unfollow enough to bring my total non-followers down to around 1,000 (i.e. the 500 I just followed plus the 500 I followed the previous day).
• I repeat this process every day, which takes me roughly 10-15 minutes, max.

I’ve never fully trusted auto-tweeter apps and would hate to have one go nuts on me and turn me into a suspended account spammer, so I don’t use them except for the free version of Social-Oomph, which I use strictly for welcome DMs to new followers (which generally works fine) and to auto-follow those who follow me (which seems to work sporadically). I also have all seven of my novels up on Freado, which sends one auto-scheduled BookBuzzr tweet per book daily.

Does This Really Help?

Has all this helped? I’d say yes, as Twitter is definitely my main promotion platform. Through Twitter, I’ve sold books, but more importantly, I’ve developed relationships with others, which has resulted in various cross-promo activities. But here’s the big one-with over 245,000 followers, my reach is nothing to sneer at and when I did my recent Vigilante giveaway promotion, it allowed me to give out 25,617 copies. As a result, Vigilante spent most of the three days on the Top 20 Free Kindle page, reaching a high of #9 in the U.S. and #11 in the U.K.

A Final Word of Advice

One last point I can make about Twitter is the importance of not just promoting your books, music, website, blog or whatever you’re trying to pimp but also promoting others AND actually chatting with people. Many are amazed when they send me a tweet and I reply but why shouldn’t I? I like it when folks respond to my tweets and my followers deserve nothing less. Chatting with people, making jokes, helping others is all part of Twitter success and I can confirm it’s a definite rep-builder. FYI, with this many followers, my Twitter home is my Mentions page, so anything with @ceebee308 in it, I generally see (though even just my Mentions page CAN get busy at times). Remember, it’s not just about numbers and lots of them. This is a social media tool, and if you are an artist striving to build true fans, you want to be present and interact with them. Show them the appreciation they deserve for retweeting your posts or sending you a message. You’ll find a universe of new fans and friends out there if you do.


Claude Bouchard is the author of numerous suspense/thriller books including Vigilante, The Consultant, and Mind Games. Besides writing, editing and promoting his work, he also spends some artistic energy with his five guitars, and his oil paints and watercolors. Other passions include cooking, reading, traveling, and working out just enough to stay fit. It should also be noted that following several years of practice, he now excels at being cat furniture for Krystalle and Midnight, or so they tell him. He hails from Canada. Check out Claude Bouchard’s website here.
And you can see all of his books and learn more about him at his Amazon Author Page.


Search Posts Here

Subscribe to My Blog

Similar Posts


  1. Thank you so much for this blog post, C. S. and Ceebee! Twitter has me so flummoxed. I participate, but know that I’m not using it effectively. This helps to fill in the puzzle.

    1. Hi, Carol,
      Nice to see you here too as I’ve seen you at the WLC as well. I’m happy this clarifies some things for you. I’m proof that this works as, since writing this a couple of months ago, my following has grown to 267.5K+.

  2. Claude makes it sound so easy! I think one of the biggest assets he has is his personal touch. I was amazed when I got a tweet back from a real person. He’s one of the inspirations for us twitter-novices. But then if you’re reading this, you already know that! Thanks for the secrets, though 🙂

    1. Hi, Jemima!
      Nice to see you again. It IS easy once you start doing it. Give it a go. As for you getting a response back from a real person, I have no choice as my cyborg clone refuses to mess with social media… He doesn’t do windows either, the lazy bot. 🙂

    1. Claude, all the WLC tweeters are going to chime in since I posted the link to this blog on the Fostering success Facebook page. And Clare (Rachelle) is right–you are very accessible and responsive, and I’ve been trying to follow your model. After taking your advice about a month or so ago, my followers have gone up from 2,000 to nearly 15,000, and I’ve seen a huge increase in tweeps buying my books, posting reviews, and following my blog, so I can attest it’s great advice!

  3. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone more Twitter illiterate than I am. (Six months ago, I was in the “Grownups tweeting? Oh, please!” camp.) But one writers conference and three months of research later, I realize that without promotion my books are going to gather dust on the bottom shelves of bookstores–filed between Home Remedies for Post Nasal Drip and Bunions Are Us. Your post is the best How-To I’ve read. Now, if I can just figure out How-To-Do what you’ve suggested …

  4. Thanks Claude and Susanne, I will use a few of Claude’s tips. Only 247,000 followers to go to tie Claude’s numbers 🙂
    I am terragarden on twitter.
    Terra Hangen

  5. Claude, may I ask, given the twitter requirement to have almost as many followers as following, you don’t really read messages from those you follow, do you? Mine stream by me at warp speed. But then, is that a problem?

    1. Hi, Dane,
      Actually, Twitter doesn’t require one to have almost as many followers as following. All Twitter does is restrict the number of accounts one can follow to a maximum of 10% above the number of followers. In other words. you could not follow 50,000 accounts if you only had 5,000 followers. You’d be limited to following a max of 5,500. As to your question, I’m never on the general timeline. When on Twitter, I’m on my ‘Mentions’ page so I only see tweets mentioning @ceebee308. I do my best to respond to those, if they require a response, of course. 🙂

  6. I use Tweetdeck and have many columns for different phrases and hash tags. I have columns that catch anyone who mentions any of my novels, my blog, my name, and often will put up columns for genre categories or #amwriting, or others that I want to explore that day. Using has tags and joining in discussions with people who read/write the kinds of books you do, can open opportunities to meet new people and cross promote. It’s a fun, big world out there!

    1. Hi. Could you explain a bit more? You use tweetdeck for only one account but use different columns for the same twitter name, segregating the different criteria you’re tracking?

      1. I have columns for the names of each of my novels, for anyone who mentions my name or my wesbites, for hash tags I want to follow like #amwriting. YOu can create as many columns as you want. For example if you write mysteries and you want to see who is posting what about them, just create a column with #mystery and every post with that hash tag will show up.

  7. Susanne and Claude, thanks for sharing this blog post. I am relatively new to Twitter so I appreciate all the details. I did not know that Twitter restricts the number of accounts that I can follow to a maximum of 10% above the number of my followers. Thanks for that bit of info. ? I really like Susanne’s blog posts. They are always informative. Thanks again!

  8. Wonderful post Claude! Thanks so much for your help. I am also new to the twitter world and I have a question. How do you set up hash tags and use them to your benefit? I am new to the social media trend and a friend suggested to me to use hash tags. I’m not really sure how it all works. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy life to help those of us who are still in the rookie stage. Also, thanks for answering people, I am following some ‘big’ names in twitter and also other sites, such as Facebook and I am even on one ‘big’ author’s email list, but he seems to feel that it is only about him. I guess no one ever helped him get where he is in the writing world. (note the sarcasm) Thanks again for being personable and helpful!

    1. Hi, Lisa, Setting up a hashtag is as simple as adding # before the tag you want to create. For example, I could include #kindle in my book tweets and anyone doing a search for #kindle would see my tweets listed (along with all other tweets containing #kindle). A number of writers and I are involved with the World Literary Cafe and RT each other for cross-promo purposes. We include #WLCAuthor in our tweets, permitting anyone to find them grouped together for quick RT purposes. Hope this helps. 🙂

  9. Very good article and something that I should practice. 10 minutes a day is not bad but it always stretches out to more and then nothing gets done. Thanks for the well written info.

    1. Greetings, Jennifer, Let’s keep in mind that the 10-15 minutes per day is for the following/unfollowing only. Past that, yes, Twitter can stretch into much longer than that. 😉

  10. Amazing post… was always under the impression (maybe read it somewhere) that you could only unfollow 50 people a day before getting flagged… is there actually a limit? I’m doing 50 unfollows a day and adding those 50 back plus about 50 more per day, creeping to 10,000 followers after months of daily work on it. Doing more per day would be wonderful, lol.

    Armand Rosamilia

    1. Hi, Armand, Yes, as Susanne mentioned, premium service allows you to do more than 50. You ‘could’ do more than 50 without premium by 1) clicking on an account’s twitter handle on the ‘justunfollow’ page. This opens another column with only that account. 2) Click on ‘Visit full profile’ in the new column and a new Twitter page opens where you could unfollow (directly in Twitter). However, that becomes time consuming so the $9.99 investment really is worth it as far as I’m concerned.

  11. I always wondered how you did that, Claude. Interesting. Everyone has their own strategies and this one seems well worth the investment.

  12. Claude,

    Great blog post with great advice. I appreciate you taking the time to help others. This social networking stuff is new to so many writers, and I see it handled badly every day. I’m a thriller novelist, as well, but I have only 600 followers–mostly other writers. My Twitter is constipated by them tweeting only about selling their own books, making it essentially useless. I need to find REAL people, who tweet without hocking their wares!

    I’ll be using your Twitter tips, and I’m sure they’ll help!

    1. Hi, Gordon, Pleased to help. Yes, an advantage of having a larger following is the wider, varied audience. I’m at 268,140 followers as I write this comment and I’m relatively sure they aren’t ALL writers. Best of luck and drop by to say hi at any time. 🙂

  13. Thanks for this post! I’m starting out and this information could not be more timely. I was happy to get 250 my first month. Good luck and see you on Twitter.

  14. Thanks for sharing your approach. This is exactly what I am trying to do, even b4 I read ur post. Thx for sharing ur success. … already a FAN

  15. As a newby author, this was very helpful! I have to admit that there is something about Twitter, especially with so many people, that makes me very anxious. However, you have made it sould doable. Thanks!

    1. I add 500 followers in about ten minutes by doing what he says: I use justunfollow and copy followers. Choose someone who has the kind of followers you want and just click on each one. It goes very fast.

    2. Hi, Jane Ann, Yes, honestly. As Susanne mentioned. Once you know who you wish to follow off of, it’s very fast indeed. I actually timed it a couple of days ago, followed 500, unfollowed close to 300, all in 8 minutes.

  16. Thanks so much for sharing your success secrets. I pretty much follow the same Twitter usage patterns you do, though on a much smaller scale, and I put some effort into unfollowing those who don’t follow back, though admittedly not that much. I’m about to sign up on Freado too – I haven’t heard of it before, but it looks good to me, and if it works for you, it’s worth a try. Thanks again for sharing 🙂

    1. Hi, Vanessa, It all boils down to common sense, regardless of the scale. Some (like me :)) are more aggressive than others. I don’t know how helpful Freado is but it’s easy to set up and runs by itself afterward barring changes you might want to make along the way. Every little bit helps. 🙂

  17. With respect, though, Claude, you mentioned getting 26,000+ free downloads on a book after tweeting it to so many followers. I recently had 35,000 free downloads of my women’s fiction novel Cafe du Jour, with a twitter following of only around 400.

    I’m not questioning how well Twitter worked for you, or your ideas on the whole subject, but I do think it can be really hard to know for sure which efforts are leading to which results. I would caution anyone against questing for magic bullets in any of this.

    1. Hi, Lilian, Never did I state or suggest any guarantee of any kind. I simply shared the method I use to increase my following. There are successful writers and other artists who’ve never heard of Twitter so, obviously, there are other ways to promote one’s work. Twitter is only a part of it for me as well. A variety of efforts go in marketing my novels.

  18. Hello Claude,am writing to you from a dark and overcast London. Well it is mid summer.
    Thank you very much for all your great tips and advice on using Twitter. Terrific for writers of a certain age like me!
    All best wishes to you.
    Harry (Dunn)

  19. Claude, thanks so much for passing this information on. I knew I wasn’t using Twitter to anywhere near its full potential but was unsure of how to improve.

    And Susanne, thanks for introducing Claude. It’s the best advice I’ve read in quite a while.


  20. I am so in agreement with what you say here and have been advocating similar thoughts since my early days of blogging. Those who say numbers don’t matter to them are either not serious about marketing or don’t understand the game.

  21. When I started twitter I followed about 500 people who were fans of wattpad thinking that they would be interested in the same things but twitter suspended my account almost immediately afterwards! I got the impression that they don’t allow you to follow so many people in one day? I didn’t unfollow them, just followed them and I got suspended. How many follows can you make without twitter getting narked and kicking you off?

    1. I found a similar problem to Lisa. When I follow/unfollow large (500) twitter accounts Twitter suspended my account. How do you get around this without hacking Twitter off?

      1. I’ve never run into this even when I’ve done it every day for weeks. I was told you should take a few days off between unfollowing 500 and don’t go over that amount on one day.

  22. Thank you so much for this advice. I’m just starting out and with my 93 followers, I’m feeling a bit lonely. And since one good turn deserves another, once I filed your advice away, I went on to your Amazon author page, read a few reviews and said, ‘by golly (okay not really those exact words), this is an author I’d like to know more about.’ So I one-clicked Vigilante and I can’t wait to dig in.

    Thanks! Elizabeth, blogging, teaching and trying to tweet in Paris with 2 toddlers.

    1. I can’t find anything on the site saying you have to pay monthly. I paid only once and have never been required to pay again. So it seems it is still a one-time fee.

    1. FYI – just unfollow’s cost has changed.

      I sent them this message a couple days ago:

      “An article I read said the premium service was $9.99/year – but this page says $9.99/month – did that change?”

      and received the following reply:

      “Yeah, we changed it a few months ago. But if your only intention is to remove the limits then you can download our iPhone or Android app and upgrade for $5 per year”

  23. I wish I would have stumbled on this plan earlier. I found justunfollow a few weeks ago and began the inevitable cycle to build a base. I was shocked this evening when after adding 700 users my account was suspended for ‘aggressive following’. The note above the page mentioned that several users had blocked my account or reported as spam (though I am sure the adding was the deal). Total bummer as tomorrow is a scheduled kindle promotion and I had intended to drop/add again during the day to stimulate. As of now I am afraid my account will be shut off permanently if I continue the service.

    1. Odd to have that happen. Although if you follow or unfollow more than the limit of 500 a day I have heard you could be flagged. I have never had that happen even when, early on before I knew about the limit, I added and unfollowed 1,000 a day. Maybe they are getting tougher.

  24. I’m less than computer literate so my grandniece may be able to help me do a little of this stuff. I’m trying to get readers for my Adult Paranormal Romance novels, “Immortal Relations” and the sequel, “Immoral Relations, Love and War” (on Amazon & Kindle). Anyway, I’ll try to get her to help me “follow you” and maybe I can get a few folks interested in what I feel are some killer stories (but I’m sure all authors think their books are as good as Twilight or 50 Shades of Gray, don’t they)? (-;

  25. Nice of you to help newbie twitterers like me here.
    Thank you for taking the time.
    Vi xxx

  26. I think there is some great advice here, and I intend to follow it (pun intended.) However, I was disappointed also to find that the $9.99 per year thing is a thing of the past. It’s now at LEAST $9.99 per month, and as much as $199.99 per month (seriously? Who wants Twitter followers *that* badly?)

    Anywho, because I didn’t want to spend $9.99 per month, I have now reached my unfollow limit for the day, so I seem to be … well, limited… with what I can do now.

    But still, lots of good ideas here.

  27. Great post! So helpful! I’ve been feeling like I’m spinning my wheels on twitter and this really gives me some good things to work with. Just two things, though: The paid account on justunfollow is $9.99/month, not per year, and you can’t send DMs on twitter with the free account on social oomph. 🙁

  28. I followed this strategy for one day, but it made my heart sad, so I stopped. It feels like an incredibly cynical strategy, adding people when you don’t care about what they have to say, and in fact have no intention of even reading what they have to say.

    There are lots of strategies for achieving success in life, but only some you can follow while still respecting yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *