It has been an amazing week.
First, I discovered that Amazon bracketed BREATH OF AFRICA with Daphne Sheldrick‘s new book, An African Love Story, inviting readers to buy both together as a package.
It was an honour to be thought of in the same breath as this world famous lady, and mention of her on my Facebook page set a record “reach” and number of “hits.” I was caught up in a frenzy of responding to “likes” and comments, and watching my Amazon Sales rankings rising and dipping and rising again. Goodness knows what my blood pressure would have been like, had I not had to carry on with the daily obligations of my week. As it was, my computer went into overload, and even hung once or twice.
As a business mentor, I have tried on occasion to practice what I preach, and have learned much from forcing myself, against a natural grain of diffidence, to experiment with forms of marketing. Results have been various, to put it mildly.
Attempts to sell first class products with popular promotion techniques ended in disaster and a lot of wasted investment. I still use some skin care and cleaning products, and cant understand why no-one else I know appreciates them. Or perhaps it was my embarrassment at daring to try and persuade others to part with their money for my own gain. And the battering I received from rejections and – even worse – being utterly ignored by agents and publishers, did my ego no good either.
It was the Authonomy peer review website, that gave me another opportunity to try and overcome my natural reserve and use the experience to set myself apart from my book, so to speak, and see what systematic marketing and cultivation of supporters could do. I surprised myself, BREATH OF AFRICA reached the top of the tree, won its Gold Medal, and for four months even Harper Collins hummed and hawed about taking it on. Their rejection hurt me not one jot, for the Crooked Cats were waiting in the wings, and pounce they did. I could never wish for a more friendly and supportive collection of people.
But that’s not all. Following on from my successful authonomy marketing plan, I’ve been tackling the social media. It’s been a long learning curve, and I’m only a short way along that road as I stumble up blind alleys and trip past significant pathways. Twitter is still a bit of a mystery, but I have experimented by promoting my book as a good #holiday read for #travellers to #Africa and #Kenya. My targets have been holiday makers, travellers, readers (and aren’t all authors also readers?) travel agencies, tourism, travel journalists, even animal lovers, conservationists and #kindle owners. Come to think of it, the list seems endless.
And then, a couple of days ago I discovered that the book has silently been rising up the ladder in hitherto unnoticed Amazon categories. Now I can shout to the world that BREATH OF AFRICA is an AMAZON BESTSELLER occupying a top ten place twice over!
Yes, I know there are thousands of Amazon bestsellers around. I never bothered to try and understand the meaning of this meaningless term before … but it’s amazing how a person can change.
Just thought you’d like to know.
Great article Jane. Food for thought!
There’s hope for me yet! I’m waiting for you to sneak me in through the backdoor at the Cat’s lair… 😉
There’s work to be done first, AJ! And then no back door for you… I have great hopes
Wonderful, Jane. Some great tips for twitter, which I shall put to good use if I ever finish my stories set her in The Gambia.
Great to hear from you, Saffina. And good luck with your stories.
Not been having much success with my writing. But, congratulations on your success and for this blog – some good tips for twitter.