Jacqui Castle is a freelance journalist for a local paper and mostly writes articles on health, wellness, and food. She is a self-described political activist who tweets regularly about current events. In this article, Jacqui gives advice on using Twitter for social media marketing to gain followers.
Jacqui is the author of a dystopian future novel formerly called, The Walls Are Closing In, which has been renamed to The Seclusion and reclassified as a YA novel to reach a broader audience. To reach Jacqui, use Twitter. She no longer has a Facebook account and is not active on Instagram. She has two Twitter accounts, however, one for her opinions and general purpose posts, @writesasheville, and one specifically for her writing, @jcastlewrites.
Success With Twitter
As I’ve discussed in other other articles about how to use social media effectively and in interviews I’ve done with Mike Rich and Dean Fearce, Jacqui highly recommends using Twitter for social media marketing to gain followers. Up until a year ago, Jacqui was not much of a social media user, so learning how to use it effectively was a huge learning experience for her. Fortunately for us, she was more than willing to share how she used Twitter successfully to market her book. She tried Facebook for a short time, but Twitter more aligned with her political interests and people who were like-minded. She doesn’t use Instagram, because it is too overwhelming to try and do it all at once, so she picked the lane for Twitter.
Over 17,000 Followers!
Before launching her campaign, Jacqui had about 1000 followers on Twitter. She now has over 17,000 between her two accounts! Her big takeaway was that it was not that difficult to do. About halfway through her campaign, she realized that if she wanted to reach 750 pre-orders on Inkshares, it wasn’t going to happen by emailing people already following the book. She had to find strangers. So, she found authors with a similar voice and followed all of their followers. If they followed her back, she sent them a personal message. She says posts are great, but that only contributed 10% to her sales.
Over 70% of her sales came from Twitter using tweets to individuals.
Social media can be burdensome, so she made herself small goals. She set aside two hours a day for sending direct messages. Her goal was to sell four books a day, and when she hit that goal, she shut her computer down for the day. Sometimes, it took three hours, others only 20 minutes. As a helpful hint, she recommended pinning important tweets so they show up at the top of your homepage. She also said short video clips always do well on Twitter because they force engagement. Further, she said that when you update Twitter, it shows up on your author website without effort. So, whenever you post, make sure you’re sharing the links so that other people can easily share it forward.
What is Your Book Similar To?
To make her messages personal and relatable, she referenced other dystopian works, like 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale, which have hashtag Twitter followings. She also did a giveaway for a set of five dystopian books, which was very successful. People may not have ordered her book, but they shared the giveaway with others, who in turn shared it with more people.
Jacqui reiterates what I’ve said in my blog, that you need to find a way to contribute as a user.
People will resonate with your back story. Just like on Inkshares, individual tweets are the best way to connect. You should read their posts, comment on them, and later ask them to check out your book. You should share the book and a link for it on your timeline. Don’t directly ask them for money, such as asking “please buy my book.” Instead, focus on having something worthwhile to say. She says people follow on Twitter because they really want to hear what you have to say (versus Facebook, who are mostly friends and family, and don’t really care about your work).
She likes to read dystopian fiction that draws from current events, especially books from the 1950s and 1960s, as it’s fun to see what things have come to fruition. She reads daily, and since she has two young children, a lot of her reading is done with a headlight while patting their backs as they fall asleep. She reads a lot of self-published books and ones from Inkshares authors for “review karma”, and she reads historical fiction, such as from author Barbara Kingsolver. She loves how Kingsolver brings nature into her work. She also feels the novels are lyrical, with a moving resonance of voices. Recently, she read The Punch Escrow by Tal Klein and loved it. Her favorite books of all time are 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and everything by Neil Gaiman, especially American Gods, which she describes as a “favorite favorite.” Neil Gaiman writes fantasy, but she makes an exception because he has a gift as a storyteller that’s magical.
E-Books or Paper?
Like many of us, Jacqui prefers paper books—the feel, the smell are hard to replicate. Her grandparents were rare book dealers, and she grew up in a family of readers, so she’ll buy paper books when she can afford it. For long drives, she’ll get audiobooks. At any one time, she’ll have three to four books going, including one nonfiction book along with a lighthearted one to balance it out.
Although she’s found books from friends’ recommendations in the past, most of her books recently have been from Inkshares. She wants to support the community, so if she can afford it, she buys people’s books, reads them, and writes them a review as well. She tries to share other people’s work in her post, and sometimes she asks authors if they’ll send her a free e-copy to read in exchange for a review. Once Jacqui finds an author she likes, she will try to read everything they’ve written.
Giveaways and Gifts
One interesting gift enticement Jacqui shared came from JF Dubeau, an Inkshares author who wrote, A God in the Shed. He’s planning on providing a free e-book of this prior book to anyone who orders his new book. That’s something to keep in mind as I move on to my second book.
Dean Fearce says
Great article! Jacqui’s brilliant and persistent use of Twitter is something an aspiring author can make instant use of in their marketing strategy. Definitely going to put more energy here once Murder Happens is completed. Thanks, Deborah.