Guest Post: How Mel Sherratt Sold 50K Self-Published Books

Today we have a guest post from Mel Sherratt of High Heels and Book Deals who, after long pursuing traditional publication, finally decided to go it alone—and with fantastic results. Welcome (back), Mel!

“One question I’ve been asked a lot recently is did I have 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 about it for me. I also did a few guest posts on book blogs during that same week. Over the next few weeks, momentum slowly built up and sales increased daily until five weeks after its release and then things went crazy. TAUNTING THE DEAD went to number three in the overall fiction chart and number one in police procedurals, mysteries and thrillers. It stayed in the top ten for four weeks and has sold in excess of 50,000 copies. So is it social media or my ‘voice’ on Twitter or is it TAUNTING THE DEAD itself that was instrumental in getting me 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, played an instrumental part in promoting TAUNTING THE DEAD. It’s the only thing I can think of, apart from possibly, word of mouth. Before I uploaded my ebook, I had a few crime bloggers/reviewers review it for me and I think because they were well known and respected, it had a good effect on my sales. People were extremely kind as 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 first went into #100 in the overall Kindle charts.

Now I’ve just released another ebook. SOMEWHERE TO HIDE is the first in a new series, The Estate. It’s an emotional thriller – think Shameless meets Bad Girls with the odd murder or two. Am I scared? Hell, yes. This time I haven’t asked anyone I know to review it. I’m looking to see how readers react to it. So far after two weeks, I’ve had nine excellent reviews and only two of them are from people I ‘know.’ Most of these reviewers have read TAUNTING THE DEAD first and then downloaded SOMEWHERE TO HIDE. I’m also getting new reviews for TAUNTING THE DEAD that say the reader is going to download SOMEWHERE TO HIDE too. That for me is incredible – and I think the ultimate test.”

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 and only writing competition at the age of 12, she was rarely without a pen in her hand or her nose in a book. Born and raised in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, Mel used her beloved city as a backdrop for her first novel, Taunting the Dead, and it went on to be a Kindle #1 best seller.

Mel’s new series, The Estate, is set in the fictional place of Stockleigh because she wanted to create a sense of place on the estate itself. She also believes that the Mitchell Estate can be found a few miles from anywhere in any town or city…

You can find out more at www.melsherratt.co.uk and on twitter as @writermels

About Somewhere to Hide:

With the death of her husband and a tragic secret she’s desperate to bury, Cathy Mason opens her home to young women who need a roof over their head and a sympathetic ear. From victims of domestic violence to drug addicts, no woman is beyond Cathy’s helping hand. The only problem? She lives on the notorious Mitchell Estate, where temptation and trouble lurk on every corner.

When precious things go missing, her belongings are vandalised, and a homeless teenager is found murdered, Cathy reckons it’s just part of daily life on the estate. But when those she cares about most fall prey to violence, she begins to suspect her past mistakes are catching up with her. Can Cathy finally confront her own troubled history before it engulfs not only her, but also the women struggling to rebuild their lives?

Welcome to the Estate – Real life. Real problems. Real crime.

Somewhere to Hide on Amazon.com and here to find it on Amazon.co.uk

Taunting the Dead on Amazon.com and here to find it on Amazon.co.uk.

15 thoughts on “Guest Post: How Mel Sherratt Sold 50K Self-Published Books

  1. Linda says:

    That was a nice bit of encouragement because as I am editing my novel, Laughing Hawk, I find myself overwhelmed by all work that will be involved in self-publishing. It makes me take a deep breath and keep plodding forward.

  2. Laura PepWu says:

    Congrats Mel! I think you are using Twitter exactly how it’s meant to be used – for chat and the occasional self promotion in a more-than subtle way 🙂 And I think book bloggers deserve a gold medal on behalf of all the authors they promote – they’re the best and so under-appreciated!
    Also, I believe you have an excellent book (and a cover to die for) which is obviously the core reason behind your success 😉 If I wasn’t such a wimp I would have read it long ago. Laura, fellow Staffordshire lass!

  3. L. Palmer says:

    I’m just beginning to experiment with social media to build ‘a platform’. Glad to hear your honesty. I’m always looking for good examples and advice on how to be a genuine person while still promoting what I’m doing.

  4. djpaterson says:

    Nice article, and yes, I think Mel has got the balance of using social media just about perfect. Having read Taunting The Dead, there is an important element not mentioned that has helped the book exceed the 50,000 mark, and that is that it’s a great book – good story, great characters and has been well edited. It’s a self-pubb’ed book that doesn’t come across as such. Well done, Mel.

  5. yasminselena says:

    I am a huge believer in good behaviour on social media and ditching the hard sell. I know how hard it is to get your voice heard, but there are right ways and wrong ways to go about it. Writers need to see social media ( and their careers if they are serious) as a long-term relationship. Those take time to foster.

    I couldn’t have asked for a more heartening read on a Saturday morning, pre-bath time. Thank you so much for that : ) And congratulations on your amazing sales! Thanks also to Catherine for hosting this aces post on her blog x x

  6. Mel says:

    Hi here. I’ve been away to Harrogate this weekend to Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival or I would have been here sooner to say thank you for all the lovely comments. It always makes me feel humble when people say lovely things.

    I was asked twice this weekend if I had a background in sales and marketing. I haven’t. Some people couldn’t understand how the book took off without it. I like to assume that reader’s enjoyed the story and told others about it. I tweet about anything and nothing on twitter but that may be because I’m a natural chatterbox…

    VJCorfield, I find the images for my book cover, add the text I need, and a friend then adds the wow factor. I spend hours, sometimes over a week or more, trying to find the exact right image and if I can’t find what I want, I try to ‘stumble’ across something else instead.

    Thanks so much Catherine for hosting me.

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