Julie Hyzy‘s goal was to hit the New York Times bestseller list with her latest novel, AFFAIRS OF STEAK (1/3/12). Like all my authors who have this goal, I patted her head and said, “Of course it is.” But when I discovered that her last book had come close, only a few hundred copies off the extended list, I changed my attitude and made it a priority.
Hitting the list takes a lot of strategy; you have to sell a lot of books in a short amount of time. A book’s best shot, unless it wins a Pulitzer or is adapted for the big screen, is always the week of launch. Therefore, we scheduled as many events and as much media coverage as possible during this time. Julie had two launch parties, dozens of blog reviews, and a feature in the Chicago Tribune.
We spent the first two days of launch watching the numbers. The only things to go on during the first week are Amazon ranking, B&N ranking, and Pub Alley numbers. We seemed to be in good shape, but we wanted to ensure we took every possible measure and didn’t leave any stone unturned.
We decided to run some Facebook ads through the end of the week. Using Google Correlate (which is explored on 365 Days of Book Publicity) we targeted regions with the most mystery readers. We also ran some ads that read:
We targeted these ads at people who enjoy cooking in the same regions.
The clicks were limited (we worked on a small budget) but we received hundreds of thousands of impressions. That week, we saw the Amazon and B&N rankings continue to rise and our confidence grew.
Sure enough, we got the call the following week that AFFAIRS OF STEAK by Julie Hyzy was #22 on the New York Times bestseller list, thus fulfilling a dream of this talented, hard working author.