When friends commented that Split at the Root would become a #1 bestseller, I smiled and followed with the Irish saying, “From your lips to God’s ears.” Well, God must have listened, for last week, my little book hit #1 on Amazon’s Bestseller list, and stayed in that position for close to 48 hours. Not only as an ebook, which is cheaper, but #1 also in the more expensive book form. I have not been the same since that happened, for the joy not only humbled me, but discombobulated a very tight schedule I had imposed on myself for the next few weeks.
Now so many are asking me, how did a hermit living on a hill in a remote corner of Sedona, AZ, with zero notion of marketing, self-publish a book that ends up being a bestseller.
Picture me as The Fool in the tarot card: one who steps into the void with nothing but blind trust and confidence to guide her. I didn’t have the foggiest idea as to how much work and money would be required for publishing and promoting a book.
Here you have the trajectory of my experience: I engaged a website developer to create a website and a FB page for me, and teach me their purpose and how to work them. I followed instructions and blogged, but did not go to any lengths with it. I don’t know too many writers who enjoy blogging.
One of the first things I did was offer the ebook as an Amazon freebie for five days. There were close to 4,000 downloads. One of those readers ended up suggesting Split to her MSW professor at USC… who then assigned it as required reading for her 2013 spring semester. I also decided to engage a virtual book tour group that assured me they’d do “all the heavy lifting,” and I should just sit back and enjoy the fireworks. While the tour was rather impressive, and I followed their process to learn what they were doing and how, the book sales have, to date, not recovered the expense of the tour. A valuable contact the tour secured for me was writer and blogger Karen Pickell who wrote a moving review of Split for her website The Lost Daughters. A few months ago the Lost daughters compiled an anthology in their An-Ya series called The Perpetual Child: Adult Adoptee Anthology, Dismantling the Stereotype. I was asked and am honored to have contributed to the album.
During the first half year post publication I was interviewed or reviewed on a variety of websites, such as: JM Blackman’s Minority Report, SUNY Empire State College’s Exchange, Indie Author News, and Publisher’s Weekly, to mention a few.
Knowing I had to step up my marketing skills, I bought into a program that for my resources, was sinfully expensive. It is turning out to be one of the best ideas of my life, as I’ve gained respect for, and confidence in, an area which, quite honestly, I previously viewed with mistrust. Imagine, going out and beating your drum saying how great your book is and how super fabulous anything you have to offer is… Really, that calls for stainless steel cojones, doesn’t it? And how does an aging hermit grow a pair of those? I’ll tell you how: by staying the course. Mine have not yet hardened, but might get there… Just imagine, in the past six weeks I’ve had six nation-wide radio interviews in which the content of Split at the Root is discussed and the book is promoted. We were on the air in Mississippi, California, West Virginia, Florida, two out of the New York area, and two more are scheduled in the next two weeks. Plus, I’ve been offered to host my own show on internet radio! I declined the very enticing prospect because I just don’t have the time for it. You see, I am in the process of reinventing myself… again. I will share more about this thrilling situation in the near future.
The last three months or so, I’ve been quite active on Twitter and to a lesser degree FaceBook. From there I gather that my readers are a faithful lot, for they buy the ebook, like it enough to then buy the book and some even have bought more than one copies as gifts for friends and family. That explains how on one truly magical day (forgive my exuberance) Split was #1 in both categories.
The heart of the matter is that Split at the Root is a human interest story that has touched many in sometimes very personal ways. Only yesterday, a woman in the supermarket came up to me and tentatively asked, “Are you Catana Tully?” When I answered in the affirmative, she exclaimed, “I know you!” Her reading group has just finished discussing Split at the Root. She then called her husband, and friends who were visiting from back East. She may have been the only one in the reading group, but the others had all read Split as well, and all felt they needed to hug me…
So I’ve been walking on Cloud 9 all weekend!
That is the long and the short of Split’s journey to #1. Much more like the short of it, but you get the gist: it was a lot of work based on my belief in Split, and the enduring support I had from my beloved Fred while he walked this earth. I believe he still supports me from Beyond.