My consulting experience includes training over 400 authors. However, some people think that I only work on non-fiction books. Allow me to put that myth to rest. I’ve worked with numerous novelists, and my marketing principles apply to fiction just as well as non-fiction. In fact, one of my favorite client success stories is Wanda Brunstetter, a New York Times bestseller of Amish fiction. Don’t snicker at the Amish genre. Wanda has sold over 6,000,000 books, which puts her in elite company.
Even though Wanda was already a successful author, she and her publisher needed help growing her book sales in an increasingly crowded genre. They contacted me for consulting to give Wanda a marketing makeover, strengthen her stagnant brand, and build a state-of-the-art author website. The results have been amazing. Since our project finished back in 2011, Wanda has hit the New York Times fiction bestseller lists 5 times in a row! What led to such amazing success? Here’s four reasons:
1. Strong publisher support
A major reason for Wanda’s success lies in the support from her publisher, Barbour Books. They initiated one-day release dates for Wanda’s novels, scheduled book tours, promoted her books to the retail industry, and allowed Wanda to publish a huge library of books. The rise of self-publishing may makeup most of today’s book industry headlines. But, a solid author-publisher relationship still makes up most of today’s bestseller lists.
2. Powerful author website
After building a world-class website for Wanda (see the before and after), we’ve watched her monthly visitor traffic grow by over 62%. In January, 2013, she received over 12,100 visits. And, a lot of those visitors bought books, because her website stats confirm that her second most visited page is the “Books” page. In addition, we optimized her website to attract and retain visitors through all of the free resources that she gives away in her popular “Amish Life” section.
3. Close relationship with readers
Wanda pours herself into her readers. She regularly travels the country meeting people and signing books. She holds frequent contests that reward readers with fun prizes. Plus, she has a charming monthly e-newsletter with over 12,800 subscribers and a 38% open rate, which is 3 times the normal average. Once readers get connected with Wanda, they stay engaged and continue buying her new books.
4. Genre expertise
Wanda doesn’t view herself as a novelist. Instead, she views herself as an expert on the Amish culture who explains their lifestyle through the power of story. Wanda visits Amish enclaves at least 3 – 4 times per year. Many of her friends are Amish women who trust her. In other words, Wanda is regarded as a top expert on her genre. I built that expertise into Wanda’s brand, which has helped her standout from the wannabe authors trying to jump on the Amish fiction bandwagon.
No matter what type of fiction you may write, it can’t be as obscure as Amish fiction was once viewed. However, that obscurity never dissauded Wanda from writing novels she believed brought value to her readers’ lives. She stayed true to herself, invested in experts to help improve her book marketing, and has since hit the New York Times bestseller list 5 times in a row!
Those are big-city results for a little writer who lives in the country.
If you’re a novelist who wants to start selling fiction like wildfire, contact Rob for consulting options.