In April 2012 my debut book, Statue in the Square, entered two best-seller charts on Amazon, the world’s leading bookstore. It peaked at no. 7 in the States and no. 11 in the UK in its listed genre, placing my book alongside renowned international bestsellers. This was achieved without a PR company, a publishing company, or any other third party involvement. The sales were achieved solely on word-of-mouth and from me acting in the role of a self-publicist. This is my story of how my book has gone from a file on the computer to a finished product that is now available worldwide, both on-line and off-line.
Statue in the Square is my first book, it being a visionary fiction story about Destiny. Because of the content of this book, it appeals to thirty something professional women, those whom have established a career but are now realising there is more to life. The story raises questions that we all feel at some point in our lives, questions that cause us to evaluate what we are doing and where we are going. This book teaches that we all have a unique life-plan programmed into our DNA code and, unless we unlock this code, we shall not fulfil the true potential within. Through the use of fiction, we are shown how to do this, with the main character drawing on spiritual and scientific reasoning, as well as positive and cynical attitudes……….aspects we all encounter on a daily basis.
I started writing this book, intentionally, in 2008, although half of it was done prior to this. At every opportunity I would write, starting each day with my mornings pages (which are literally three pages of random, creative writing). At all times I carried a notebook and noted down observations whenever I felt the urge. When I went back through my books in 2008, I realised I had a great collection of material which could be formed into an inspiring, life-changing read.
At first I wasn’t too sure where the book was going, but I persevered with it, just letting the words flow through me. After several edits, I decided to ask a friend of mine, Anne Kershaw, if she would act as an editor (her background was in educational publishing and poetry). At first I was very nervous – sharing your work and hence the inner ‘you’ is quite daunting – but I knew I had to overcome this barrier. Anne was meticulous in her approach, opening my eyes to how the work could be improved and drawing out of me a much finer analysis of the book. Several edits later, and it was ready for the market.
Initially I made the book available as a downloadable PDF via a couple of generic sites, but sales were low and slow. I thought I had struck gold when a daily newspaper asked to publish my marriage story, but surprisingly this failed to generate any sales. It wasn’t until the uptake of Kindle, and then print-on-demand paperback books, that sales began to increase.
From designing the cover of the book to the description on Amazon, I controlled every aspect, ensuring that I fully communicated my vision for the book in the marketplace. This was (and is) important to me so that people know what they are getting by buying the book. The cover has to convey the tone of the book, whilst its description makes it clear what a person can expect to experience from reading it.
In terms of publishing and selling the book, I have not been in-yer-face. Rather, I have allowed people to come to me in their own time and, when they have, they have shouted about the book to others. This has been mostly evident on Facebook. Friends have known about the book, and I regularly upload information about it, but I have never blatantly asked anyone to buy it. They have come to me, deciding to take a chance on it when the moment has felt right to them. It is at this moment that the book has had the most impact in their life; hence sales have increased via word-of-mouth.
This success has led to regional newspapers covering stories of the book and regional radio offering me interviews, which in turn has created more interest and on-going sales. I have found that once the book starts to chart in its genre, especially in the Top 20, then it begins to appear as recommendations in marketing emails generated by Amazon, potentially reaching thousands of people.
Another secret to my success is the fact that I genuinely believe in the content of the book and its ability to have a profound and positive effect on a reader’s life. It is non-intrusive and yet very insightful, and I deliberately make my work easy-to-read and of average length so as to appeal to someone whom wants to have a good read on, say, a two hour train journey or a flight, something that does not require too much time and effort. I am sensitive to the needs of our ‘busy generation’ and am also aware of how many other distractions are an essential part of people’s days. I respect the reader and his time, so a quality product that fits in with his/her habits is a pre-requisite of my work.
Recently I have been given the opportunity of developing a business workshop based on the principles in ‘Statue in the Square’ and my forthcoming book, ‘The Naked Raver’ (release June/July 2012). Acutely aware that this is a prime marketing opportunity (as well as a practical step in personal/professional development), I will step-up-to the mark, fully appreciative of the fact that all exposure leads people to my work and that, by genuine engagement, sales will continue to increase.
If I was to sum up the root of my success, I would call it the four P’s: Passion (for the creative writing process and the empowerment of others), People (knowing who I am speaking to and why I am doing it), Product (ensuring it is the very best I can give at this moment in time), and Prayer (connecting Spiritually to my life’s work and the potential within me). Anyone can adopt these principles and achieve success.
About the author
Joanne St.Clair has a background in aerospace engineering, education and the music industry. The focus of her writing is that of personal empowerment and spiritual development, in a way that connects to an audience not targeted by the current wave of motivational/personal development authors (think Noel Gallagher meets Paulo Coelho; Bill Bryson meets Rhonda Byrne; The Sun meets Sun Tzu).
Further details can be found at www.thenakedraver.com