Getting the Word Out

“Getting the Word Out,” a guest blog post by “Christmas in Wine Country” author Addison Westlake.

That’s the big question on every self-published author’s mind: How do I Get the Word out? I self-published “Christmas in Wine Country” three weeks ago and it’s currently a best seller in two Amazon categories: #8 in Chick Lit (that’s Women’s Fiction/Single Women in Amazon-speak) and #10 in Humorous Fiction. Over 10,000 people now own a copy of my romantic comedy novel, written at my little, cluttered kitchen table. In between cartwheeling and jumping up and down, I’ve paused a few moments to wonder how is word getting out about my book?

The most honest answer is, I’m not sure. But here are my best guesses: 1) Kindle free promo days—and notifying free kindle websites about them (2 days, 8,500 downloads); 2) a title that clearly conveys it’s a feel-good read for the holiday season; 3) positive reviews, a few of which came from people to whom I’d emailed a free copy (e.g. book bloggers who review self-published books) and 4) guest-blogging and doing author Q&As with kind, lovely book bloggers such at Yawatta Hosby. That might be the greatest name I’ve ever heard, by the way.

This morning, someone told me that getting the word out about a new book is all about Amazon’s algorithms. Algorithms? Wikipedia offers the following super helpful definition: “More precisely, an algorithm is an effective method expressed as a finite list of well-defined instructions for calculating a function.” Thanks, that totally clears it up. I get the basic concept that Amazon’s rankings are closely related a book’s number of sales, but how do reviews factor in? And is it the number of reviews, the average rating, or both? I’ve heard rumors that after a certain magic number—of either sales or reviews—something “triggers” something in Amazon’s algorithms and your book gets a leap. Also, there’s this great movie called “The Matrix.” Both make about as much sense to me.

If you ask my mom what’s fueling my book sales, she’ll clear it up. It’s her. She’s told all her friends. I mentioned that I have some sales in Europe. “Yup,” she confirmed. “I emailed Linda in Holland.” The other day she explained to me how she’d told everyone at the dentist office about it and the nice receptionist said she’d share it with everyone who came in for the rest of the day.

Which gave me a great idea.

Picture your typical dental office receptionist. All day long she’s fielding phone calls, scheduling appointments, smiling and greeting everyone who comes into the office, still smiling while she gets coughed on and sneezed at and yelled at when people mess up their appointment time. That’s a long day at work. And she’s not getting paid the big bucks. She’s not driving home in the latest-model BMW SUV. And when she does get home, she’s likely cooking dinner and folding laundry and nagging kids to do homework and, finally, tucking everyone into bed.

And what then? What I hope for this holiday season is that the dental office receptionists of the world change into some comfy PJs, pour themselves a glass wine or a mug of hot chocolate, curl up in their favorite spot and give “Christmas in Wine Country” a read. Because it’ll make them smile.

Seriously, this idea is a win-win. They get to unwind. I get these super-connected, networked ladies to get the word out. I love this idea. Now I just need to talk it over with Amazon and figure out how to give every dental office receptionist in the world a free promotional copy. Maybe Amazon can design a special, secret promotional code “dental-receptionists-freebie.” I’ll get on this and once I have it all figured out I’ll ask Yawatta if I can do another guest blog. Until then, enjoy the holiday season, check out my book and keep reading and writing!

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-Addison Westlake

Thanks Addison for guest posting today! I always enjoy hearing other authors speak about their publishing journey. When my first book comes out, I’ll see if I can contact your mom for networking hee hee.

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2 thoughts on “Getting the Word Out

  1. Addison, I’m curious whether you started with the free program or whether you sold it for a bit first. I’m never sure how the free program translates although I’ve also heard it impacts those crazy algorithms. Either way, congrats to you – sounds like an entertaining read I will get for my Kindle.

    • Hi! Thanks so much for getting in touch. I published the book on 11/18 for 0.99 cents and then did 2 free promo days 12/1 and 12/2. It’s been back to 0.99 cents since then, but I’m planning another 2 free promo days this weekend 12/15 and 12/16. I don’t understand the algorithms either! But thank you for the congratulations and I do hope you enjoy my book! Best, Addison

      On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 5:54 AM, yawattahosby

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