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Catana: How Did You Become a #1Bestselling Author on Amazon?

Catana: How Did You Become a #1Bestselling Author on Amazon?
A Selfie

A Selfie

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 ExchangeIndie 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.

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Discussion

  1. Dawn  February 17, 2014

    Congratulations! It’s so nice to see very talented writers getting the attention they deserve!!!! 😀

    (reply)
    • Catana  February 18, 2014

      Thank you Dawn. You saying this means a lot to me! 🙂

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  2. Katherine  February 17, 2014

    Catana, I really enjoyed reading your post and learning more about Split at the Root and the marketing strategies you have used. It has been great to get to know you on Twitter, but your blog elaborated on some key points. I hope your book continues to do well! I look forward to reading it soon. Best wishes! Katherine

    (reply)
    • Catana  February 18, 2014

      Dear Katherine, thank you for taking the time to read my post and to comment on it. I, too enjoy seeing you on Twitter and am glad we have connected. Sheltered by an Angel’s Wing is also on my “to read” list! After all, that could also have been my title as I have always felt blessed and protected. Hope your week is coming along splendidly!

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  3. Lisa Reiter  May 11, 2014

    Taking a break from Sunday chores, a nice cup of tea and a quick glance at Twitter, I saw your enticing tweet, retweeted by Coffey Brown, which read “I was determined to find out who my mother & father really were & why I was taken from them”. Sensing a memoir, I thought I’d give my 5 minutes to reading this post. I’m amazed at the happen chance of twitter. I’m moved by your story but also the sharing of the way you’ve created your own ‘luck’ in reaching #1 on the Amazon best sellers lists. I’m finding the last stage of finishing my own first draft exhausting, but this little 5 minutes has been well spent for I’m inspired to start again tomorrow and ‘grow a pair’ !

    Wishing you continued good luck with sales and hugs from book groups – equally rewarding when you’ve put your heart on the page. Warm wishes, Lisa x

    (reply)
    • Catana  May 11, 2014

      Thank you, Lisa, for taking the time to write to me and have a look at my website! Is it a memoir you are writing? If so, it’s very rewarding, particularly when clearing out and addressing issues one is sometimes stuck with. The first draft is always challenging, so keep at it… It’s all you can do! 😉 My very best wishes to you, and do let me know when your book is out! A hug, Catana

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  4. http://niven-lucuss.Blogspot.Com/  May 23, 2014

    Thanks for finally writing about >Catana: How Did
    You Become a #1Bestselling Author on Amazon?

    (reply)
    • Catana  May 23, 2014

      Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and comment! 🙂 Good luck with your music, and have a great weekend.

      (reply)
  5. Karen Charlton  October 22, 2014

    Oh, Catana. We have shared the same journey. I too believe that I have had enduring support from my beloved Chris while he walked this earth. I believe he still supports me from Beyond. After leaving traditional publishing, I self-published in February this year and my novel, ‘The Heiress of Linn Hagh’ started to take off in April. I haven’t quite reached the dizzy heights that you have enjoyed, but I have sold nearly 15,000 copies and am supporting myself and my two kids from my writing. I’m hoping that the Amazon revenues will continue to pay them both through college. Maybe your Fred and my Chris are enjoying a beer together right now? If they aren’t, then they need to get together. 🙂

    (reply)
    • Catana  October 23, 2014

      How heartwarming to hear from you Karen! Thank you for contacting me in such a reassuring way: there is guidance from beyond… And yes, Chris and Fred are probably comparing notes and sipping something great. You’ve made me smile all over. A hug… 🙂

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  6. imani larry  March 13, 2016

    Absolutely fabulous so happy for you and your success with this awesome book documenting your journey.

    (reply)
    • Catana  March 14, 2016

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Imani!

      (reply)
  7. Irma Bartak  November 13, 2017

    Liebe Catana Tully,
    Können Sie sich noch an Ihre Zeit in München bei der Firma Giesecke & Devrient erinnern?. Wir saßen zusammen in einem Zimmer, Sie haben für Frau Oui gearbeitet und ich für die Herren Müller und Frank. Wir haben zusammen sehr viel Spaß gehabt, obwohl es mir damals recht schlecht ging. Ich muß immer noch an Ihre Worte denken “Kopf hoch, es kann nur aufwärts gehen. Durch Ihre fröhliche Art haben Sie mir damals sehr geholfen. Durch Zufall habe ich Sie im Internet entdeckt, fantastisch, daß Sie so einen Riesenerfolg haben. Ich würde mich sehr freuen, wenn Sie mir mal ein Email schicken würden. Liebe Grüße aus München, Irma Bartak

    (reply)

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