Jesper Schmidt is a fantasy novelist and the author of Twitter for Authors. He’s here to talk about his journey as an author, and how he used Twitter to gather an audience of raving fan readers from all over the world.
Jesper always thought in the back of his mind that when he retired, he’d write a book. But on one of his annual family vacations to Finland, Jesper had an insight that changed his life. He asked himself: “Why do we have to wait to do the things we want to do?”
The next morning, he began writing his first book.
Jesper has always loved fantasy. There was never a question of what genre he would choose to publish in. He’s currently working on his third book in a fantasy trilogy now.
“80% of people want to write a book and never do. Just do it if you want to do it!”
— Jesper Schmidt
Jesper’s Journey to Successful Novelist
After Jesper’s flash of insight, he began writing his first book immediately—literally the next day. It took him six months to write 50,000 words.
But in the end, he scrapped that novel because it made no sense.
Jesper took the next 12 months to study what other successful writers were doing and incorporate that into his own process. After he began plotting, writing his next novel was much easier.
Jesper was frustrated when he had to scrap his first attempt at writing a novel. He’s worked in project management most of his adult life, and the first thing he learned there was that you have to plan ahead. The fact that he didn’t apply what he knew about project management to writing his novel bothered him, but he just started over after learning his hard lesson.
Plotting is what really made the difference for Jesper, and allowed him to successfully publish the books he’s written so far.
He brings the same project management checklist mentality to systematically managing his Twitter account. Jesper started using Twitter in 2012 as a recreational tool, three years before he started writing.
Twitter is a great platform to have fun on. But if you want to use it as a professional tool to grow your audience, you have to use it in a systematic way to attract and engage with the right types of followers.
How Jesper Developed His Twitter System
Jesper did a bunch of research into what other authors were doing to build their Twitter profiles. He took a bunch of notes, then tested everything. He used what worked and dumped what didn’t.
He documented everything he did. Now he has a system of checklists that he goes through on a weekly basis to help him grow his Twitter audience and maintain his engagement level with his followers.
Jesper documented his entire process in Twitter for Authors. Each chapter has action steps and checklists that allow you to easily adopt Jesper’s system.
He also did a number of video tutorials to supplement the material in his book. Everybody who buys Twitter for Authors also gets access to those videos.
Why Choose Twitter as a Marketing Platform?
When Jesper decided to become a professional indie publisher, he took a very analytical approach to the marketing side of things. The first thing he did was decide on three social media platforms he would focus his marketing efforts on.
Jesper knew he could manage three social media accounts and consistently update them with content to build strong connections with his fans.
He decided on:
- Facebook: The advertising opportunities on Facebook for authors are tremendous. That was a no-brainer.
- YouTube: Doing videos was easier for him than writing blog posts. Jesper’s not a native English speaker, and he didn’t want to have to spend all of his time worrying about grammar when writing for his blog.
- Twitter: This turned out to be Jesper’s best medium for connecting with fans, because he enjoys it so much.
“At the end of the day, you have to like Twitter as a social media platform; otherwise you’re wasting your time.”
– Jesper Schmidt
“Facebook ads are great, but it’s the kind of thing where every month, you have to be testing your ad copy, testing new images and testing new ads, changing your bids, and targeting. If you don’t love it, eventually you’re just going to burn out and stop doing it, and you won’t get the same great results with it.”
– Tom Corson Knowles
Major Changes with Twitter in 2017
In November 2017, Twitter did a major update to its terms of service and increased the character limit on tweets from 140 characters to 280 characters. A lot of Twitter users complained about the changes. Jesper believes all the complaints will calm down, and people will go back to using Twitter the way they always have.
How Jesper Uses Twitter to Grow His Fan Base and Sell More Books
If you want to use Twitter in your book marketing process, you have to think of it as a professional tool. That means you have to spend some time to build up your systems.
“Most people are more excited about results than the actual work, but the thing is, you have to work a bit to get the results you want.”
– Jesper Schmidt
To leverage Twitter to its full extent, you’ll have to use some third-party software tools. If you tried to manage your Twitter account manually, you’d have to spend way too much time on the platform.
Third-Party Tools You Can Use to Make Twitter Work for You
Bitly – Use bit.ly to shorten your links for use on Twitter. You can also use bit.ly links to track clicks.
Canva – Use Canva to help you make graphics to share on social media. You can also use Canva to make book covers for your books. It’s a free tool. Depending on the images you want to use, you might have to pay a small fee for usage rights.
Crowdfire – Use Crowdfire to help you manage your Twitter followers. Crowdfire will help you find Twitter followers who will be interested in your work and engage with your tweets. It does this by analyzing your current network of followers and searching for followers who have similar behavior patterns.
Crowdfire will also organize your followers based on when they followed you and how active they are in engaging with your Twitter account. This allows you to unfollow members of your audience who don’t engage with your account often.
HootSuite – HootSuite is a platform that allows you to automate posting on Twitter and other social networks. You can sign up for a free plan to try them out, while their paid plans start at $19 a month.
You can set up streams on HootSuite to automate posting on Twitter. Once you set up the stream on HootSuite, you can batch your tweeting activity and then have it drip on a consistent basis indefinitely.
You can also start building a social footprint by engaging with people who retweet your tweets.
The reason why scheduling tools like HootSuite are so valuable is that they allow you to batch your activities and remove the distraction of actually being on the social platform. If you have to actually log in and manually tweet 20 times a day, it will eat up a lot more time than you intend it to.
Another benefit of HootSuite is that it saves you from having to think about something to tweet every single day. You can fill up your tweet streams on a consistent basis once a week, set it, and forget it.
Social Oomph – Social Oomph is another tweet scheduling program that allows you to set up queues that are automatically tweeted on a regular basis. Social Oomph is a paid piece of software that is well worth it.
Twitter Best Practices 2017
Whenever anyone replies to one of your tweets, you really do have to reply back to them, unless they are a troll. The key to being successful on social media is interacting with people. It’s best to be as social as you can on social media.
Pro Tip: rather than just replying to someone who tweeted to you, retweet their tweet and add your reply in the retweet.
You should always tweet someone within 24 hours of them tweeting at you.
Using Twitter to interact with your followers is a much more direct and immediate experience than email. It’s also more of a community experience. You can build your fan base much faster by interacting with groups of people on Twitter.
People buy from people they trust. If your Twitter feed is 100% sales tweets, that’s not going to get people to buy your book. You have to be social with them, and develop relationships.
Only 10% of your tweets should be sales tweets.
“If you take the time to build a relationship with people, eventually some of them will buy your books.”
– Jesper Schmidt
You want to establish a connection on Twitter and then funnel as many of those people over to your mailing list as you can. Email is where you can deepen and strengthen your relationship with your reader. The value of Twitter is that it’s a one-on-one connection powerhouse.
Long-term success is about building long-term relationships. If you focus on building good, solid, long-term relationships, you will build a strong foundation for your future success.
The Major Differences between Twitter and Facebook
One of the cool things about Twitter is that you can see who is following the top authors in your genre. That’s something you can’t do with Facebook.
Another difference is if you post something on Facebook, only about 10% of your followers will see it.
Twitter puts no roadblocks in your way. You have greater visibility, and easier access to your target audience. Twitter is a really powerful tool for one-on-one connections for these reasons.
The Twitter algorithm monitors what you like and share. It tries to show you tweets that it thinks you will like and interact with. In that sense, it’s like Facebook.
But Twitter’s platform is much more open, with more opportunity to directly connect with people one-to-one than Facebook.
Links and Resources Mentioned in this Interview
Twitter for Authors by Jesper Schmidt
https://www.jesperschmidt.com/ – Jesper’s website.
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.