By Vicki H. Moss, Contributing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine
What about Book laundering firms that hire people all over the country to buy books one at a time through many different retailers using different credit cards with different shipping and billing addresses? What about paying a fee for our publisher to have our book placed on the front tables at Barnes and Nobles? Doesn’t WSJ or NYT bestseller = more money?
With those questions and more rambling through my thoughts, the big day arrived for Nailed It! The Nail Salon Chronicles’ book launch. The word was out, now the wait. I kept checking Amazon rankings every 30 minutes and noticed the rankings were updated every hour. I wondered if all this searching the book title on Amazon helped Nailed It! The Nail Salon Chronicles leave page five to rise to page one on the search, staying in either the number one or number two spot – depending on if there was a sponsored book or toy being promoted by Amazon. The rise to the first page certainly had nothing to do with book reviews because there were none. Then the results magically appeared.
Natalie and I were truly stunned when Nailed It! The Nail Salon Chronicles rose to #159 in the rankings, up from around millions of books in the inspirational category. And at one a.m., I went to bed, not knowing if the rankings had risen even higher, since Natalie lived in California which is in the Pacific Time Zone and her friends and family were still making purchases. To my knowledge, Amazon doesn’t notify authors how high in rankings a book may have climbed, so I had no way of knowing final results.
Lessons learned from all of this? Forget about making the NYT and WSJ bestseller lists. Like the stock market—the system is more than likely rigged since there’s no tried and true check list for rising to the top. Bias will forever be a main player. Have your NYT and WSJ bestseller strategy, but concentrate on marketing through social media platforms, word of mouth, TV and radio, speaking engagements, and while standing in line waiting for a table in a restaurant—yes, I’ve made a sale that way. (Once, I sold one of my other books while chatting with someone before mall doors opened and the inquisitive couple visiting from another city asked, “What do you do?”)
Then, if there’s any money available for hiring a publicist, find one who has had proven results in your book genre. The main thing to remember—authors are their best publicists. When someone asks about your line of work—have a printed card ready to share with your book’s information and where it can be purchased. No brainer: Always keep extra book copies in your automobile, briefcase, or purse.
Final tip: Begin working on the next book, for after all, who wouldn’t want the challenges of another marketing campaign?