Amazon Bestseller Day Amazon Best Seller or Bust? Part 2

Sandy Nathan, award-winning author of Numenon

Sandy Nathan, award-winning author of Numenon

I paid for my Amazon Bestseller Launch Day with ReaderViews on November 3, 2008. My Day was December 9th, a month and 6 days later. I was still on crutches after surgery as I leapt into the world of internet marketing.

“Drive traffic to your web site!”

“Drive customers to buy!”

“If you buy my book on February 31st, you will win $3,974,957 worth of prizes. In addition, we will reduce the national debt a trillion bucks!”

Hurrah! Hurrah! Step right up!

The nomenclature and culture of on line marketing grosses me out. It’s been a problem. Before jumping into the fray with this Amazon Bestseller Day, I’d walk around the ranch shaking my head and groaning. Every time I passed our septic tank, my anguish intensified.

I regarded marketing my book as equivalent to taking a dip in the tank.

Barry Nathan drives them doggies!

Barry Nathan drives them dogies!

Where I live, you drive cattle. If you have spent much time riding along staring at the hind ends of cows, you will know “driving” is not a term to apply to your friends or customers.

But many people do. I Googled “drive traffic to website” and got 36,800,000 sites offering to teach me how to do just that.

Having committed to (and paid for) my Amazon Bestseller Day, I contemplated what I wanted for my day. Did I want Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice to be an Amazon bestseller? Sure, along the lines of books by Liz Gilbert and Stephenie Meyer. A mega bestseller.

Did I think that a book about spiritual practice cruising at the 2,000,000th level would bust into the top ranks? [Marketing tip: Never use the words "spiritual practice" in your book's title or subtitle. People immediately think of Sunday school.] [Caveat to marketing tip: You can use "spiritual practice" if you are His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, or St. Teresa of Calcutta.]

I didn’t think we’d bust into the bestseller ranks, but I secretly hoped to attain position 738 for twenty minutes or so. That would be lovely.

And I had my own ideas about how I wanted the day to go. I wanted the day to be dignified and beautiful. I wanted my invitations to move people and offer them something of lasting value. I wanted the campaign to take off on its own: I wanted my best friends and acquaintances to jump on board and send my invitations to their friends, and those people to forward it on to the ends of the earth.

I wanted the prizes to be things that people actually would want. I wanted to rise above the sleazy impressions I get from the multitude of Amazon Bestseller Day pitches that hit my inbox. Pitches from strangers about books I’d never buy. My Amazon Day would be meaningful in addition to financially successful.

MARKETING TIP: FORGET YOUR OWN IDEAS.

My first idea was involve those close to me. I thought, “OK. I’ve got tons of friends who write. Why not give them the chance to show their skills before a wide audience? How about first chapter offerings––or short stories, poems, whatever––as prizes?”

I emailed a number of people, including a writing group I’d attended years ago, and gave them the wondrous chance to participate in my sales event. I also emailed all the people who’d participated in the creation of my two books, some top professionals in a number of fields.

To my great consternation, some people I knew and was close to, and others I thought would jump to be part of my marketing opportunity, didn’t reply. I emailed them again, and again, and finally  gave up, broken-hearted.

A lot of people DID respond positively and promised TRULY AMAZING GIFTS.

MARKETING/NEGOTIATION TIP:  EMAIL IS A LOUSY WAY OF NEGOTIATING FOR WHAT YOU WANT––OR EVEN COMMUNICATING THAT YOU WANT IT. IF YOU REALLY WANT SOMETHING, CALL THE PERSON WHO’S GOT IT ON THE TELEPHONE.

I REPEAT: PICK UP THE PHONE AND TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS, ASSOCIATES, MENTORS, OR PERFECT STRANGERS AND TELL THEM WHAT YOU NEED AND HOW TO GET IT TO YOU. EVEN BETTER: GO TO THEM AND MAKE YOUR REQUEST IN PERSON.

AS HUMAN BEINGS, WE ARE MOST EFFECTIVE WHEN OUR BODIES ARE PRESENT, COMMUNICATING FACE TO FACE.

It’s much less work to fire off a message to someone and assume your job is done than it is to follow through and make sure the communication was received and understood.

Some really important people are attuned to email communication––or their staffs are. You’ll get a response. Others get so much email that they’re swamped and miss your message, even though they would gladly help you if they’d gotten it.

Make your pitch on the phone or in person, except make it a request between friends and colleagues instead of a pitch (which sounds like it might come out of a tree: as in sap).

Barry Heading 'Em Up!

Barry Heading 'em Up!

Have you gotten how rough this process is? It involves CONFRONTING, AND CONFRONTING, AND CONFRONTING. REACHING OUT EFFECTIVELY, DAY AFTER DAY. Getting committed results from people who may not care about your plans at all.

My experience after sixty-some years of observing myself is that I would do anything rather than what’s most effective and what will make me the person I came here to be. (Which other currently popular writers call “Having the Life of your Dreams.”) I do what I should anyway, but not without massive resistance. (That process is the heart of spiritual practice. Doing what you should anyway.)

Other people have noticed how hard it is to follow the good road. Alan Watts, the Zen philosopher, wrote The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. This book has a 1989 copyright. It’s the #1 seller of the 698 items featured under “Alan Watts,” and sells at the 28,000th level on Amazon, a level that many (including this writer) seek to achieve with new books.

Why does it sell so well? Because what Watts says REALLY HELPS. Its TRUE in the highest sense of the word.

A one sentence synopsis of this book is: Human beings will do ANYTHING rather than look at the truth of who they are and bust out of doing the same thing and expecting a different result. (Some of Alan Watts’ other titles would be far more useful to readers than currently popular self help books. Try The Wisdom of Uncertainty, Become Who You Are, and This Is It.)

I found the Amazon Bestseller Day a massive overload of my weakest links. I’m essentially a hermit with occasional social outbursts. I like to contemplate, write, and think. I like to meditate. I like silence and horses and serenity. I like my computer. I like to draw the images in my head. I don’t like to reach out. I’m not a joiner, networker, or even particularly friendly. I’m a writer.

I was lucky when my OC kicked in.

Don’t know what OC is? It’s the first two thirds of OCD. That stands for obsessive compulsive disorder, portrayed so beautifully by Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a very good book, I understand. Habits are definitely part of personal success, but the value of psychopathology is grossly underrated.

“With a little bit of OCD and a little bit of mania, people can go very far,” said a friend who is a psychiatrist. Just a touch of each, not too much.

OC is the obsessive compulsive part without the D, the disorder. People with advanced academic degrees and histories of success tend to have OC. We kick in and kick butt when needed.

Boy, did I need it. We’ll discuss how much next time.

Barry & La Beba Head 'em Up & Head 'em Out.

Barry & La Beba moseying along. Don't expect to do much of this if you're planning an Amazon day. Drive them dogies! Or your readers!

Sandy Nathan

Sandy Nathan, Award winning author of Numenon & Stepping off the Edge


So long for now. I’m sixty three in the photo to the left, 46 up above. Doing this series, I keep thinking about the Beatles’ great song. “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four.”

I hope so.

Sandy

2011 update: All the best,

Sandy Nathan
Who kept going and by 2011 was the winner of seventeen national awards for her books

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link for more information. All links below go to Kindle editions.)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

Two sequels to The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy are in production with an early 2012 release date planned. If you liked  The Angel you’ll love Lady Grace and Sam & Emily.

SERIES INDEX:
Amazon Bestseller Day 1–Bestseller or Bust
Amazon Bestseller Day 2–Forget Your Own Marketing Ideas
Amazon Bestseller Day 3–Get Top Sponsors!
Amazon Bestseller Day 4–Recap of 1-3 + Do Your Homework
Amazon Bestseller Day 5–How Many Books Will You Sell/Dealing with Amazon
Amazon Bestseller Day 6–It’s a Numbers Game: Have a Giant Mailing List
Amazon Bestseller Day 7–Blow by Blow of THE DAY
Amazon Bestseller Day 8–Was it worth it? Post-game Recap

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7 Responses to “Amazon Bestseller Day Amazon Best Seller or Bust? Part 2”

  1. Peter Quinn says:

    Hi. I am a long time reader. I wanted to say that I like your blog and the layout.

    Peter Quinn

  2. [...] On Part 2, I talked about the need for person to person contact in obtaining support from your spons…. You are the best ambassador of your work and yourself. Pick up the phone. Go in person. Don’t rely on email to enroll sponsors or anyone else on your drive. And handle your personal issues about marketing. Get reliable, skilled help. [...]

  3. [...] INDEX: Amazon Bestseller Day 1–Bestseller or Bust Amazon Bestseller Day 2–Forget Your Own Marketing Ideas Amazon Bestseller Day 3–Get Top Sponsors! Amazon Bestseller Day 4–Recap of 1-3 + Do Your [...]

  4. [...] INDEX: Amazon Bestseller Day 1–Bestseller or Bust Amazon Bestseller Day 2–Forget Your Own Marketing Ideas Amazon Bestseller Day 3–Get Top Sponsors! Amazon Bestseller Day 4–Recap of 1-3 + Do Your [...]

  5. [...] INDEX: Amazon Bestseller Day 1–Bestseller or Bust Amazon Bestseller Day 2–Forget Your Own Marketing Ideas Amazon Bestseller Day 3–Get Top Sponsors! Amazon Bestseller Day 4–Recap of 1-3 + Do Your [...]

  6. [...] INDEX: Amazon Bestseller Day 1–Bestseller or Bust Amazon Bestseller Day 2–Forget Your Own Marketing Ideas Amazon Bestseller Day 3–Get Top Sponsors! Amazon Bestseller Day 4–Recap of 1-3 + Do Your [...]

  7. [...] INDEX: Amazon Bestseller Day 1–Bestseller or Bust Amazon Bestseller Day 2–Forget Your Own Marketing Ideas Amazon Bestseller Day 3–Get Top Sponsors! Amazon Bestseller Day 4–Recap of 1-3 + Do Your [...]

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