How To Launch a Bestseller: A Guest Post from Mel Sherratt

22 Feb

Today we have a guest post from Mel Sherratt, author of the bestselling Taunting the Dead which she recently self-published in e-book. It’s been such a huge success that everyone wants to know, how did she do it? Welcome to Catherine, Caffeinated, Mel! 

“One question I’ve been asked a lot recently is have I had a well defined publicity campaign for my ebook, TAUNTING THE DEAD. So I thought I’d tell you what I did. Last December, I had a ‘launch’ day on twitter when I tweeted about it as often as I could and lots of people kindly retweeted this blog post for me. I also did three guest posts on book blogs during that same week. Over the next few weeks, momentum slowly built up and sales increased daily until a couple of weeks ago when I had a feature in my local evening newspaper. My sales figures doubled on that day, then doubled again the following day and have increased ever since. So is it social media or my ‘voice’ on Twitter or is it TAUNTING THE DEAD itself that is getting noticed?

I’m not sure if there is any wrong or right way for a writer to approach Twitter. I don’t see anything wrong with authors tweeting about their book – we all need to do it – as long as it isn’t incessantly in my timeline. But I use twitter as my virtual office. It’s my place to go and ‘chat’ when I need a break so I don’t want to alienate people who I enjoy chatting to. I don’t promote my book in the sense of putting a link into several tweets a day but I do tweet out if someone has been kind enough to say something good about my book, out of pure delight that they’ve done so. I’m only human – I want to share. But then I get fearful that I might annoy someone in their timeline too!

I also think book bloggers, as well as people who follow me on twitter, have played an instrumental part in promoting TAUNTING THE DEAD. It’s the only thing I can think of, apart from possibly, word of mouth – or maybe readers of my blog following my writing journey. I run a blog called High Heels and Book Deals and for the past two years have hosted author interviews and reviewed lots of books in between sharing posts about my writing. I’m often told that the blog has become a tool to learn from as there are lots of hints and tips about writing from some great authors.  Before I uploaded my ebook, I had a few crime bloggers/reviewers review the book for me and I think because they were well known and respected, it had a good effect on my sales. People were extremely kind and I hope that’s because I gave my time to some of them when their own books were out. I do my fair share of retweeting too. My followers on Twitter also tweet out things without asking and often do ‘tweet outs’ for me when I have news, for instance when I went to # 5 in the overall Kindle charts.

So I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken time out to write a review, to host me on a blog post or to tweet out my news. Because that in itself has been my promotion. You out there have played a huge part in it.”

About Mel:

Ever since she can remember, Mel Sherratt has been a meddler of words. Right from those early childhood scribbles when she won her first competition, she was rarely without a pen in her hand or her nose in a book. Born and raised in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, Mel now uses her beloved city as a backdrop for her crime thriller novels. A self confessed shoeaholic, Mel also hosts a blog called High Heels and Book Deals. Taunting the Dead is her first novel and she is represented by Curtis Brown Literary Agency. 

About Taunting the Dead:

‘Gritty and atmospheric, Mel Sherratt knows all about the dangers that lurk within those mean streets.’ Niamh O’ Connor

Statistics say nine out of ten murders are committed by someone the victim knows. So when Steph Ryder is found dead with her head caved in, Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton begins investigations close to home, starting with the victim’s family and friends. As each one tries to cover up their actions on that fateful night, Allie becomes convinced husband Terry Ryder has something to hide. Powerful, ambitious and charming, Allie’s attraction to the successful businessman grows with each interrogation, risking both her job and marriage. But he’s not the only one she’s investigating. Secrets and lies begin to escalate as quickly as the body count. Can Allie uncover the truth before her life not only falls apart, but before she ends up a victim, too? Taunting the Dead is a sexy, gritty, fast paced thriller that will set your pulse racing, twist and turn you in every direction and leave you guessing right until the very end…

Thanks Mel! Click here to find Taunting the Dead on Amazon.com and here to find it on Amazon.co.uk.

4 Responses to “How To Launch a Bestseller: A Guest Post from Mel Sherratt”

  1. Toni @Duolit February 22, 2012 at 11:42 #

    Congratulations on your success, Mel! Those quality reviews can be so important to sales, and the more effort put toward acquiring those before a book’s release, the better. It’s hard, for sure, but forcing yourself to be a bit patient and work to build excitement for your book’s release can make all the difference between being a hit right out of the gate and having to work at it for weeks (months? years?). Love your attitude toward selling on Twitter, too — spot on. Thanks for having Mel on, Catherine!

    • catherineryanhoward February 22, 2012 at 12:01 #

      I think you’re spot on there Toni—and that’s really something Mel did amazingly well. I said at the self-publishing course I did on Friday: if the first thing I hear from you is that your book is now available to buy on Amazon, you’ve failed in your promotion of it. I should be hearing about your book for *months* before it comes out, and in ways that makes me excited to read it. I think that’s something the majority of self-publishers miss.

  2. Mel February 22, 2012 at 18:15 #

    Thanks for your comment, Toni! I didn’t actually say I was selling the book until the day that I launched it on twitter but there was a reason for that. I was after that book deal! I think I was lucky because everyone knew I was writing it as they followed my blog, or saw me tweet about the writing process etc. But if I was doing it alone, I would say, yes, start spreading the word. Making friends is really important for every business. Ive made and met some fabulous friends over the past eighteen months due to my writing, loved every minute of it. Fingers crossed my ebook continues to do well.

  3. Nick Thacker February 27, 2012 at 22:47 #

    Thanks for sharing, Mel! Glad you met with success with your social media efforts.

    And Catherine, thanks for hosting this awesome writer!

    One thing, though: I actually feel like there IS a “wrong” way to use social media. There are numerous “right” ways, but specifically using Twitter like it’s a networking event tends to bug me… I like how you mentioned (Mel) that you spent one specific day promoting it, rather than spamming the entire network for a month (AGGHHH!!! READ MY BOOK AND WANT MOAR NOOOWWWWW!!!)…

    Sorry. Anyway, great post, and good luck.

    Oh, and here’s where I talk about the “Twitter is not a networking event” concept, in case you’re interested! http://www.livehacked.com/blogging-business/social-media/

    Thanks (to BOTH of you)!
    Nick

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