Amazon Bestseller Day Getting Best Selling Sponsors Part 3

Sandy Nathan, award winning author of Numenon

Sandy Nathan, award winning author of Numenon

“I have seen this gaming of Amazon before and take it from it me, it isn’t worth your time. Good writing should float to the top because it’s good writing. I’m sure yours will do that,” Jamis replied to my initial email.

One of the really fun things about my Amazon Bestseller Day was reconnecting with old friends. I emailed my friend, Jamis MacNiven to see if he would be one of my sponsors on my Day. Jamis and his wife, Margaret, own Buck’s of Woodside. Have you heard of Buck’s? How about Woodside?

I used to ride my horse around the Town of Woodside in the 1950s and 60s. This was before Silicon Valley existed and the town became WOODSIDE, home of computer CEOs and Steve Jobs’ guest house. The corner currently occupied by Buck’s was a ham and eggs joint.

Our family lived in Woodside for 14 years. Though it was the 80s by then, the greasy spoon on the corner was based firmly in the 50s. When Jamis and Margaret bought the place and CHANGED IT, the locals howled.

“You’ll lose your existing clientele,” they screamed.

They sure did. Jamis and Margaret made Buck’s Restaurant the Hippest Place on Earth, with decor that has to be the funniest in the galaxy. (Check out the menu on the links above. Hilarious zingers lurk among the salads and desserts.) Given a suitably cool environment, venture capitalists made the place their own and began to write million dollar checks over flapjacks and oatmeal. (Several key scenes in the sequel to the sequel of my book Numenon occur at Buck’s.)

Breakfast at Buck’s is a cultural phenomenon. I’ve been there during the witching hours of 7 to 9 AM. The air crackles with the sound of high IQs being exercised and money being made. You have to have a laptop to be allowed in.  Click here for a video of Jamis explaining it. As Jamis says in the video, “thousands of firms were born from pitches at Buck’s,” including when “Hotmail was founded at Table 15.”

At this point in my development as a red-hot Amazon Bestseller Day creator, I realized that a successful launch required many things. A big one was gifts. Prizes. Positive reinforcements. Bribes. I had to provide prizes interesting enough that people would flock to buy my book to get them. [Note the oddity of this reasoning. Why wouldn't people just buy my book? Doesn't it  have worth? Someone said to me, "Your book sounds like a must read. Why do all that?" Well, no one was buying it, that's why.]

I was weeks into my preparation by this time. I’d asked for and gotten the enthusiastic participation of great friends. The guys who designed my books and wrote copy for them offered AMAZING GIFTS: A 30% discount on the design of a book’s interior, and an hour’s consultation on the title. “Emotional Pro” Ilene Dillon MSW offered a bushel of self-help tools. One of my friends, a gifted writer, offered first chapters of her romance works (hot stuff). Another friend, Jack Vance, offered part of his book about training horses. (Jack is so cool and such a good horse trainer that if you read his book, you’d buy a horse just to have Jack fix him.)

At this point, I didn’t have the benefit of the reading list that I gave you on the first article of this series. (Go back and look at it. Part 1.)  I was working blindly on my own hard-headed and mistaken ideas. Somewhere around this time, I realized that this was a numbers game: Only a small portion of the people receiving emailed invitations to my party would respond. I needed sponsors with high name recognition and huge mailing lists. About the same time, Irene Watson of ReaderViews said (what she may have said earlier): “It’s a numbers game. You have to enlist the people with the big mailing lists.”

Holy moly! I was already approaching the staggering-blindly stage of exhaustion. I was the project––there was no back up team. Not only did I have to solicit the gifts, I had to record them and put them on line. (I did recognize that the sooner people learned of my event, the more likely it was to succeed.) And more, which we will get to in time.) Fortunately, I still couldn’t walk after my ankle-fusion, so sitting at a computer for 14 hour runs was no problem, except for the swelling from my ankle which was spreading up my leg.

A REALLY BIG DON’T-DO-IT-YOURSELF POINT: GET HELP WITH THIS. GET HELP THAT WILL ACTUALLY COME THROUGH FOR YOU.

My husband pledged to help me and I knew that he would. It’s just that he runs our little family enterprise and it has more important parts than Amazon Parties. He was called away to serve a higher power.

My daughter was going to do a video for Stepping Off the Edge. She’s an amazingly talented artist and web person, ZoeNathan.com, Everything she does is beyond A+ quality. So it was very exciting when a local winery gave Zoe and her sister, Lily Nathan, also an artist, a sisters’ show for December. The opening reception was the Sunday, just two days before my Amazon party! Wow!

The only person busier than an author getting ready for an Amazon Day is an artist getting ready for an art show opening.

Zoe did get the slide show from the Gathering spiritual retreat done, which was the retreat’s contribution to my Day. I owe the book Stepping Off the Edge to the Gathering. The book was born the first time I attended the retreat. Zoe finished the slide show and it was Wow-ser! Over the top.

The slide show is done, and I’m sure that whenever I get the video for Stepping Off the Edge and the other one for Numenon, they’ll be prize winners. It didn’t happen for the Amazon Day. Or this writing.

At this time, fearing that the prizes on the prize page weren’t enough, I decided to do up a story I’d written years before for my grandchildren as an e-book. That would be a major party prize. I was ably assisted by Lewis Agrell and his wife, Kathryn. They form The Agrell Group, doing editing, illustration, and book design. Even with great help, adding the e-book to the line up was not a trivial undertaking. [2011 update: I put it into book form this year. Thought it would take about two weeks to do. It took a year. Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could. So far, it's won 2 national awards and garnered rave reviews.]

The proverbial donkey’s back was reaching the “a toothpick will break me” stage.

When my husband was done with slaying the most immediate dragons,  he was available to  help me. By this time, I was blathering incoherently. He “volunteered” to take over contacting horse people. We’ve been in the Peruvian Paso world for twenty years. I thought folks would love to showcase their horses on my Amazon Day. We’re modern people, we horse lovers. We have videos, downloads, lots of cool things.

I sent around a preliminary e-mail. I am attaching the entire text of my initial email to the secretary of a local Peruvian horse club. I sent similar messages to many other people. A friend, Deborah McCormick PhD, the author of two bestselling books on horses and spirituality and a psychotherapist who leads life-changing retreats involving horses and spirit, called me, wanting to participate. I sent her the “what I need from you” portion of the email below and haven’t heard from her since.

I didn’t know what my unnecessary detail and fussiness was doing. It wasn’t until my husband called an old friend back that we discovered what my OC (obsessive compulsive without the disorder part) had done. Tammy Rimes and William Holzhauer bought my horse, Vistoso. Vistoso is the horse I rode in the famous horse show that resulted in my breakthrough about  WHAT DOES WINNING REALLY MEAN? on my other blog.

Tammy and William have created an incredible vineyard and Peruvian Paso ranch near San Diego, Hacienda de las Rosas. Wine and horses? What could be cooler? Tammy wanted to participate in my Amazon day. And then I sent her the e-mail. Silence.

Barry called her and straightened it out. She and William offered a complimentary wine tasting at their San Diego winery or a free bottle of wine, depending on how far the winner was from San Diego. “Your directions blasted her out of the water,” said Barry. Oops.

Sandy Nathan

Sandy Nathan, still the award wining author of Numenon.

IF YOU’RE SMART, KEEP IT SIMPLE.

With that, I’ll close. You can peruse the email below at your peril. I am going to kick back and wait for my books to rise in the Amazon rankings on their own. I can feel them bubbling up right now.

Good writing should float to the top because it’s good writing. I’m sure yours will do that,” as Jamis MacNiven said. He also said, “You adventures in fiction are compelling. I will check out chapter and verse.”

Here’s the actual email I sent out to lure those who had prizes into participating: [Italics added by me after the fact.]

Dear Debbie, [I wrote to our local Peruvian Paso horse club secretary]

I’m doing an Amazon Bestseller Day on December 9th. That’s one of those things where an author puts together a packet of prizes. If someone buys their book on Amazon on that day, they use the receipt number to key into a special page which lets them download the goodies. I’m hoping to break into the bestseller region with my book, Stepping Off the Edge. It has a Christmas element, which is why I’m doing it now.

The Los Amigos membership can get involved with this in two ways: First, buy the book from Amazon on December 9th. It’s a great Christmas or holiday gift and contains lots about Peruvian Pasos. Hopefully, the newsletter will be out in time to let people know about it. Those who buy on December 9th will win a ton of free prizes.

Here’s a page I put up with some of the prizes that have been offered down so far. I have more to list:
Link to the gifts. [Now pulled off the 'net.]

The other way Los Amigos members could get involved is by being my sponsors. All the people giving prizes are sponsors. You can see from the page above, I’ve organized the prizes in terms of prizes for writer/authors, readers right now. I’ll add in the Peruvian community and horse people.

Since Stepping Off the Edge is loaded with horse stories and two or three of its illustrations are Pasos. I am hoping to have a section of prizes about horses––specifically Peruvian Paso horses.

The prizes can be anything downloadable, or something that can be given away by lottery at the end, like a book.

I’ve got about 100,000 people who are going to receive my Amazon Party invitation at this point. I hope the final number of invitations that go out will be many more than that.

Everyone listed on that invitation will have all those people look at their product or ranch. It’s perfect, free publicity.

To be included in my “Party”, a ranch needs something downloadable to be the prize. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE NEW! There’s the beauty of it. Many of the people receiving the invitations are new to Pasos. Many of the people on the prize page are using chapters and articles that they’ve already got on their websites as prizes.

So if you’ve got a video, slide show, promotional materials, articles you’ve written for magazines, anything that can be downloaded, you can offer it as a prize. I would not offer a a sales list or video as a prize. Too commercial to start out with. People can ask you about horses once they’ve contacted you.

People can also offer books or discounts on services or individual items that will be raffled off at the end of the day. See my prize page for examples.

If individual ranches want to participate, what I need is a description of the prize and an image: A logo or a photo that captures your ranch so I can write up the ranch and prize like the one on the Prize page above.

Participants also need to have a spot or page on your website where book buyers can download your prize. (This is new info to me.) That way, you capture all the new emails and your email list isn’t shared with anyone else’s. I’ll have more details on that. Apparently it’s easy to do if you have a website and web master/mistress or technically skilled kids like I do. For those who can’t manage this, I’ll be providing a page set up by my web-mistress daughter.

Anyway, that’s the bit of news here. If ranches want to be offer prizes––and I hope they do, I want to blow readers’ minds with the beauty of our horses––I need to get their info and commitment by December 3rd. [Which was 6 days after I sent the email.] ASAP is best for me, due to needed to write things up.

December 5th is the “drop dead” date by which the whole thing has to be together and sent to the company setting up the software and invitations.

If you could send an email around with that info right away, ranches and owners could respond to me. We’ll arrange things. If that can’t be done that can’t be done, maybe we could tell everyone about the Party Day on the 9th?

All the best,

Sandy Nathan

[Would you believe that I coached negotiations at the Stanford Graduate School of Business for a few days every spring quarter for 18 years? This is not good negotiation. The letter is way too long, and too complicated. And the What I need? These are horse people, not computer people. They may have web sites, but it's unlikely they do them themselves. Call your web master? Sure. How much will that cost? And you want it in 6 days?]

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

5 Responses to “Amazon Bestseller Day Getting Best Selling Sponsors Part 3”

  1. [...] 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 [...]

  2. [...] 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 [...]

  3. [...] 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 [...]

  4. [...] 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 [...]

  5. [...] 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 [...]

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