This week, I’m highlighting the success of WildFire Marketing client, Wanda Brunstetter. Wanda is a prolific novelist whose book sales just surpassed the 8 million mark! In addition, she has sold over 1 million copies per year for the past two years in a row. Wanda found her niche writing stories about the Amish culture and has succeeded way beyond anyone’s expectations. Congratulations to Wanda on reaching such an incredible milestone.
In 2011, I worked with Wanda to help her build a new brand, author website, and online audience. Since then, she went on to hit the New York Times fiction bestseller list six times in a row. Her book sales show no signs of slowing down. Here are three reasons why I think Wanda’s been so successful:
1. Wanda is an expert on her genre
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. She travels across America and visits Amish enclaves at least 3 – 4 times per year. Many of her friends are Amish women who trust her.
Wanda has spent years honing her ability to write stories that accurately portray the Amish way of life. Amish people even credit Wanda for giving outsiders a deeper understanding of their culture and customs. Wanda also likes to juxtapose the peaceful Amish lifestyle and close family ties with the chaotic and stressful way that many modern families live today. If someone wants to better understand how the Amish act and think, Wanda is the go-to expert.
2. Wanda has a powerful author website
Before I consulted with Wanda, she had a boring author website that hindered her book sales. In April, 2011, I built Wanda a world-class website that helped her monthly visitor traffic grow by over 62%. Click here to see the amazing before-and-after transformation.
Even better, many of Wanda’s website visitors buy her books, because her website stats show that her second most visited page is the “Books” page. In addition, her website is optimized to attract and retain visitors through all of the free resources that she gives away in her popular “Amish Life” section.
3. Wanda maintains close relationships with her readers
Wanda is one of the most dedicated authors I’ve ever seen at pouring herself into her book readers and giving back to fans. She regularly travels across the country meeting people and signing books. She holds frequent contests that reward readers with fun prizes.
In addition, Wanda has a monthly email newsletters with over 14,000 subscribers, a 35% open rate, and a 13% click-through rate, which is almost three time the normal average! (Email has proven to be 40 times more effective than Facebook at acquiring new customers.) Once readers get connected with Wanda, they stay engaged and continue buying her new books.
If you’re an author who wants to maximize your book sales, follow the same successful strategy that Wanda uses. Become the expert in your genre, invest in building a powerful author website, and maintain close relationships with your readers. Maybe you’ll be the next author to sell over 8 million books.
Sheri Schofield says
This was very helpful, Rob. Seeing how another author arranged her website helped me see what I need to do as I redesign my own.
Priyanka Yadvendu says
Great post! I heard you speak at the Writer’s Digest Conference in LA in 2012. I recall you mentioned Wendy Brunstetter as a case study and specifically said these points. Since then, I bought your book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire and have implemented your strategies. I just signed on with a literary agent for my debut novel and already have my website up! I can personally tell you starting to connect with my readers as early as possible is important and also key to spreading your book like wildfire.