Goodreads Blog

Case Study: How Celadon Books Got Everyone Talking About 'The Silent Patient'

Posted by Suzanne on May 30, 2019
The Silent Patient is both a debut novel for Alex Michaelides and Celadon Books. The publisher is a new division of Macmillan Publishing, founded by publishing industry veterans Jamie Raab and Deb Futter. The book was published on February 5, 2019, immediately landing at #1 on The New York Times' bestseller list, and it has remained there for the past 16 weeks.

People are not only buying it; it’s also in the “must read now” category. For the past 14 weeks, it has been on the Most Read list of Amazon Charts (as well as Most Sold), and, as you can see from the chart below, every day 500 to 600 readers are marking it as read on Goodreads, making it the #6 most read book on Goodreads this month.

The Silent Patient

As we’re always looking to learn more about the marketing success story behind bestselling books, we spoke with Rachel Chou, associate publisher at Celadon Books. She shared some insights on what they did—and what they learned—along the way.

“Right from the start, we knew this psychological thriller had the potential to succeed beyond the thriller genre,” she said. “It’s such a fast, engrossing read and is brilliantly put together. Seeing how it was trending with Goodreads members, the growth in pre-orders, and the feedback from readers in the months leading up to publication, we knew we had something special on our hands.”

Goodreads, which has more than 90 million members, was a key part of Celadon’s marketing plan. “This is a book that readers loved and championed, and the Goodreads community played a huge role here,” said Chou. “Building buzz and anticipation is crucial in any book marketing plan, and Goodreads really helped us ensure this book reached the audience it so thoroughly deserves.”

In this case study, we’ll take you on the journey from the initial marketing outreach to post-publication marketing. When you look at the visual below, it appears as if the action all happened in the final few weeks, but we’ll show you how the “breakout” success was the result of a year of work by the Celadon team.

The Silent Patient

First Phase: Seeding with Librarians and Booksellers (February 2018 – June 2018)

The Celadon team started promoting The Silent Patient in February 2018, an entire year before publication (in February 2019). As Alex Michaelides is a debut author, they knew blurbs would play an important role. The team’s first step, therefore, was to ask popular thriller authors to read the book and provide quotes. They got the first hint of just how big the book could be when rave blurbs came back from bestselling authors Lee Child, David Baldacci, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, A.J. Finn, and Blake Crouch.

The Silent Patient

Packaging these quotes on the front cover of the initial ARCs (Advance Reader Copies), they started sending the book with handwritten notes to a small list of librarians and booksellers. The goal was to get a sense of how it would be received by readers and to begin seeding interest in the book for potential pre-orders. “Almost immediately, we heard back that people were loving it. It’s one of those books where you read a few pages to see what you think, get sucked into the story, and then are hooked,” said Chou. “We soon found ourselves giving a friendly warning that people should have a good chunk of uninterrupted time available before starting it!”

The outreach to librarians and booksellers accelerated at BookExpo America (BEA) in late May 2018, when the Macmillan library team gave out 200 ARCs to librarians at the Day of Dialog event and to others who visited their BEA booth. “As this is the first title coming out of Celadon Books, people were already curious, but when they saw so many big names praising The Silent Patient, the excitement really ratcheted up,” said Chou.

Many librarians and booksellers are active Goodreads members and love sharing their love of reading through book reviews. As a result of the initial outreach by Celadon, the Goodreads book page for The Silent Patient began to fill with 5-star reviews from librarians and booksellers that would help convert potential interest into a definite “Yes, I want to read this” in the coming months.

By the end of June 2018, seven months before publication and with no direct marketing to readers, The Silent Patient had 229 Want to Read shelvings and 48 reviews, with an average rating of 4.13. (Only a small percentage of books have Want to Read shelvings before publication. Of the books that have Want to Read shelvings seven months ahead of publication, we see an average of 413 Want to Read shelvings. Because Celadon had not started any reader-focused marketing at this stage, The Silent Patient was still relatively undiscovered.)

Building Buzz with Readers (July 2018 – December 2018)

The Silent Patient

Kicking off the reader-focused marketing phase, the Celadon team started with a series of Goodreads Giveaways. The initial giveaway in July 2018 drove the first two major spikes in people adding the book to their Want to Read shelf on Goodreads, with 2,910 people entering for a chance to win one of 100 copies. A key benefit of a Goodreads Giveaway is the social amplification. Everyone who enters a giveaway automatically has the book added to their Want to Read shelf, which creates a story in the newsfeed for all their friends and followers. The result is a halo effect of hundreds or thousands (depending on the number of entries; the average number of giveaway entries is 900) of mini promotions for a book.

Back in April 2018, the Celadon team had started offering ARCS through NetGalley and Edelweiss (two services that allow people to request digital ARCs from publishers for review), initially limiting ARCs for librarians and booksellers. Throughout the summer of 2018, the requests surged as more Goodreads reviewers and book bloggers heard about the book, and demand grew further after the book was promoted in the September NetGalley newsletter. However, Celadon decided to stagger the approval of requests for ARCs over the months leading up to publication. “We wanted to encourage a steady stream of reviews appearing over time,” said Chou. “The unexpected side effect is that we created an extra sense of excitement that built pent-up interest as people waited for their request to be approved while seeing others reviewing it.”

In today’s social media world, it’s so important to make a book visually appealing and camera ready, so the Celadon team got creative in how they packaged the print-copy ARCs. “Instagram can play a strong role in a campaign like this, so we had some fun with our design. Our ARCs were bellybanded with those amazing blurbs, and then tucked inside that was a mini newspaper with fictional stories about the murder in the book as well as some stories promoting our other books. People loved it and used it when sharing posts about the book. To date, we’ve had 5,000 posts on Instagram using #thesilentpatient,” said Chou.

The Silent Patient

To further promote the book, the Celadon team showcased it on Macmillan email lists, such as Criminal Element, and ran targeted ad campaigns on social media.

The Silent Patient

Unlike other case studies we’ve shared (see here and here), we didn’t see one big breakout review for The Silent Patient. Instead there was a steady drumbeat of reviews that, over several months, built up to a significant cumulative effect.

There were, for instance, some noteworthy reviews in Q4 2018. Chelsea Humphrey, one of the top reviewers on Goodreads, shared a thoughtful 3-star review. “I know we all want to just see 5-star reviews for our books,” said Chou, “but this is a good example of how it’s important to have a variety of reviews and that a 3-star review can be just as helpful as a 5-star review. Readers really do read through a review, not just the rating. The discussion in the comments was a great example of readers sharing different viewpoints, and you can see people saying that the review persuaded them to get the book. It’s interesting to see the bump in Want to Read shelvings that came from this.”

Another top reviewer, Felicia, gave a 5-star review in late November 2018, which drove another increase in Want to Read shelvings. As she and her followers discussed The Silent Patient in the review’s comments, a series of stories appeared in people’s Goodreads newsfeeds that drew further attention to the book.

The end of December 2018 was when all the groundwork done over the previous 11 months to build awareness and anticipation for The Silent Patient turned into the first of a series of huge spikes of Want to Read shelvings. Media coverage was starting to come out, social media posts really took off, and then came the news that Book of the Month (a popular book-subscription service) had selected Michaelides' debut as one of its January picks, providing their members with the opportunity to read the book before publication. We have a lot of Book of the Month subscribers on Goodreads (we have a shared passion for books!), and in the visual above you can see how the announcement of the January pick drove a dramatic surge in Want to Read shelvings.

With just over one month to go until publication, the signals were loud and clear that this was the book everybody was talking about.

The Silent Patient

By the end of December 2018 (five weeks before publication), The Silent Patient had 12,065 Want to Read shelvings and 989 reviews, with an average rating of 4.17. (Only a small percentage of books have Want to Read shelvings before publication. Of the books that have Want to Read shelvings five weeks ahead of publication, we see an average of 729 Want to Read shelvings.) This made it the #2 book on the list of February 2019 new releases.

The Lead-Up to Publication and Post-Publication (January 2019 - April 2019)

The Silent Patient

The amount of traction The Silent Patient was getting on Goodreads easily caught the attention of our Editorial team. All of our editorial articles are based on data—we look at what readers are adding to their shelves, talking about in reviews, and most importantly, what the ratings are. Thanks to the very positive signals they were seeing for The Silent Patient, the Editorial team decided to include it in:


In January 2019, Celadon also ran another Goodreads Giveaway, which, thanks to the degree of reader demand for The Silent Patient, achieved an amazing 11,848 entries for a chance to win one of ten signed copies of the book. The huge number of entries is due to the level of awareness Celadon had built with the book as well as the fact that Goodreads automatically sends an email to anyone who has a book on their Want to Read shelf, letting them know there is a giveaway for it.

Meanwhile, media coverage continued to pour in, with positive reviews in high-profile outlets like The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Morning America. And all of the work ensuring that so many librarians and booksellers were able to read The Silent Patient in advance paid off when the book was voted as the Top Pick for the February LibraryReads and one of the recommended titles for the February IndieNext list. In addition, it was selected by the Amazon Books Editors for their February Best of the Month book selections, and was a Bets On selection on Bookreporter.

In the critical period around publication, the Celadon team also leveraged one of Goodreads’ most popular book marketing tools: the Author Recommended email. This allows an author to send a personal note to his or her fans on Goodreads, introducing a new author to them. It’s a win-win, as it helps readers discover books from an author they trust and it allows an author another opportunity to communicate with fans in between promoting his or her own books. Celadon arranged for two Author Recommended emails to reach different fan bases: The first, by Blake Crouch, went out on January 28, 2019, and the second, by Lee Child, followed the day after publication on February 6, 2019. Both led to increased interest in the book, driving more spikes in people adding the book to their Want to Read shelf.

The Silent Patient

At the end of January, The Silent Patient was also featured in the Goodreads New Releases email, an Editorial email that goes out to 38 million members. This influential email highlights some of the most popular trending new books published in the upcoming month and is a significant driver of book discovery on Goodreads.

By the day before publication, The Silent Patient had 54,022 Want to Read shelvings and 2,281 reviews, with an average rating of 4.13. (Only a small percentage of books have Want to Read shelvings before publication. Of the books that have Want to Read shelvings one day ahead of publication, we see an average of 874 Want to Read shelvings.) This made The Silent Patient the #7 book with the most Want to Read shelvings on the day before publication out of all the books published in the previous 12 months. The books that had higher shelvings were part of much-loved series by bestselling authors, including Sarah J. Maas and Cassandra Clare. The Silent Patient was the #1 debut book with the most Want to Read shelvings on the day before publication.

Building up an audience of readers who have added the book to their Want to Read shelf creates additional organic promotion on Goodreads. For example, on the day of publication, Goodreads automatically sends out an email to members who have the book on their Want to Read shelf. This meant that 54,022 members received an email from Goodreads letting them know The Silent Patient was now available for purchase.

The Silent Patient

Some serendipity then came into play, which allowed The Silent Patient to benefit from a series of high-profile stories created and promoted by the Goodreads Editorial team. Again, thanks to the very high reader interest in the title and the excellent average rating, it was selected to be featured in:


The Silent Patient

The Celadon team had continued to approve reviewers for ARCs over time, and it’s easy to track when some of the Goodreads Influencers—our most popular reviewers—shared how much they loved the book. In addition to reviewers, including Emily May, Larry H, and Lola, the book was also a group read for the Traveling Sisters on Goodreads. This is a small, private, invite-only group, started by Canadian sisters Brenda and Norma, and includes several popular reviewers. They created a series of spikes of interest in the book as they shared the reviews.

"The Silent Patient was a highly anticipated read for the Traveling Sisters and one that we were extremely excited to read with the group,” shared Brenda and Norma. “It led to a very fun and interesting discussion. We shared our suspicions and our reactions to a twist that left us gasping. The ending left us chatting about those well-layered clues that some of us picked up on and others that we missed. In the end we agreed that it was one of the best psychological thrillers that we have read and a few of us would be adding it to our favourite list."

Today The Silent Patient is the #1 most popular book published in 2019 on Goodreads. (Pro Tip: If you haven’t already discovered our Most Popular Books page, this is really useful for publishers and authors to see what’s trending on Goodreads. It’s a great way to keep an eye on how your upcoming book compares with others published in the same month. On the Most Popular Books page, you can use the menu on the right to search different months and years.)

Being the #1 most popular book published in 2019 on Goodreads is a fantastic endorsement for the book, and Celadon is maximizing that with an ad campaign on Goodreads in May to drive even more discovery and sales.

Looking at what worked with the marketing plan for The Silent Patient, we recommend the following:

  • Start early (nine months ahead) to allow time for your marketing efforts to build momentum and benefit from the “snowball effect.”
  • Invest in getting your book in front of as many readers as possible. And keep sending out ARCs via Goodreads Giveaways and directly to fans over many months rather than all at once.
  • It’s a crowded market; be creative! Have fun with the packaging for your ARC—think about providing reviewers with a way to share photos on social media and in Goodreads reviews.
  • Look for signals of what’s working: Goodreads Want to Read shelvings, ratings, reviews, social chatter, pre-orders. This gives you data on when and how to invest more in marketing.

Summing up the case study, Chou said, “This was one of those books where everything lined up. But it all started with the book. Alex wrote a fantastic story, and we’re so happy to see readers loving it as much as we do.”

The Silent Patient


Comments Showing 1-50 of 56 (56 new)


message 1: by Linda (new)

Linda Richardson I loved this book so much I bought a bunch copies (Hardcover & Kindle) and sent to my friends the first week it was published. So excited to see names of some Goodreads friends mentioned in this article!


message 2: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Kirby This book WAS amazing!


message 3: by Mark (new)

Mark Lawrence What is the "Author Recommended email"?

I've never heard of it.

How do I send one?


message 4: by Anas (last edited Jun 20, 2019 11:52PM) (new)

Anas This was an awesome piece of information. Thanks. It would be interesting to know if the book was published on Bookbub. I am using http://buchdeals.de for the German market.


message 5: by Suzanne, Goodreads employee (new)

Suzanne Mark wrote: "What is the "Author Recommended email"?

I've never heard of it.

How do I send one?"


Hi Mark, You can learn more about our "Author Recommended" email in this blog post: https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/7...


message 6: by Dundurn Press (new)

Dundurn Press What a fabulous case study (and book!)

Thanks for sharing.


message 7: by W.L. (new)

W.L. Wright Reading this I see the massive money and big connections the big publishers have at their disposal. Adding up the money alone on what is said here is thousands of dollars poured into it. Indie authors don't have that kind of money typically so the challenge is different and this can't be reproduced in any regard. But indie leaves readers with more great stories than what traditional publishers can publish and the support of indie authors is the support of the arts without the big bucks and connections = true blue people success.


message 8: by Katie (new)

Katie Mettner ^^ Exactly what W.L. Wright said.


message 9: by Sonja (new)

Sonja Haggert Also exactly what W. L. Wright said. I would add that while the author had someone doing all that publicity a year before we were busy writing.


message 10: by Laurence (new)

Laurence Houlgate Good advice for those indies who have the time and money to market their book and/or have found a publisher who will spend tons of money to get their book in front of an audience. The most important takeaways from this article are: Write a great novel and find a publisher who will spend a lot of money marketing your novel. I suspect that only about 1% of us have the ability to do this.


message 11: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Cumiskey Completely agree with you. There are thrillers out there that's as good. The key is money and connection or luck with big publishers to market such a book. 99.5% indie authors don't have such resources or luck.


message 12: by J.H. (new)

J.H. Tabbott Great article. But "begins with a good book" is also key. Else, you wouldn't get those early–clearly valuable–blurbs by popular authors.


message 13: by Eric (new)

Eric Morse Author endorsements are key. They don’t seem to be as easy to obtain as this article suggests.


message 14: by Doug (new)

Doug Walsh Great article, but the one thing I'm unclear on is how they did a Goodreads Giveaway for an Audiobook? Is there an implementation with Audible that's not advertised? I have audiobook download codes and would love to run a Giveaway for Tailwinds Past Florence but wasn't sure how to do this.


message 15: by Alice (new)

Alice Lichtenstein W.L. wrote: "Reading this I see the massive money and big connections the big publishers have at their disposal. Adding up the money alone on what is said here is thousands of dollars poured into it. Indie auth..."

Thank you, W.L.! My literary fiction novel, "The Crime of Being," is due out in November from a small, but brave independent, Upper Hand Press. The early readers have all said, "This is a bestseller!" Sadly, they don't know the realities of this business.


message 16: by J.H. (new)

J.H. Tabbott For sure, author endorsements aren't easy to obtain. A credentialed publisher solicited those "Silent Patient" endorsements.

Certainly you'd best establish at least some personal connection first. Otherwise, if your first contact with a successful author is 'would you read my book," you need to understand they probably get 100s of such requests, and simply can't afford the time.


message 17: by A. (new)

A. This article reads like a Goodreads Giveaway commercial—hidden between lines. As such, it doesn't appeal to me because I don't write books to make money—I write them because I enjoy creating plots and telling stories...


message 18: by John (new)

John Abraham-Watne I just can't believe among the many bizarre choices apparently authors must make in this age of info-tainment, that they decided to go with the literal plagiarist as the major blurb on the book. Or does nobody care about stuff like that anymore? "The Perfect Thriller" says guy who literally stole from others to make the most mediocre one ever created. That this does not matter and this book still will be read by millions helps spell out many things wrong with the book industry. As someone who has managed to barely publish two titles under an independent press I will never be able to come up with nine months worth of the funds that it may take to do the "advance" marketing. Nor do I have a string of authors like Lee Child on my Rolodex to send work to. What I do have is a strong mind and a deep desire to create artwork that resonates people in a time of massive upheaval, and not the desire to create the book that literally comes out every six freaking months ("Girl on the Train," "Behind Closed Doors," "The Women in the Window" whoops covered that one already, etc).


message 19: by Jendi (new)

Jendi W.L. wrote: "Reading this I see the massive money and big connections the big publishers have at their disposal. Adding up the money alone on what is said here is thousands of dollars poured into it. Indie auth..."

Exactly - how is any of this useful to the 90% of authors who don't have that kind of budget behind us?


message 20: by Laura (new)

Laura As usual, I clicked on the link with the hope that the case study would have information relevant to an indie author who does not want to run the traditional publishing gauntlet and is bereft of financial resources to launch a major promotional campaign. As usual, there isn't enough relevant information to fill a thimble.


message 21: by Lorry (new)

Lorry Lutz This chat string has been most encouraging to me. I have been feeling like a failure, lazy, too old, out of touch -- you name it. My two historical fiction books about a woman fighting "trafficking" in the 19th century seem dead in the waters. Readers tell me they are fantastic , but won't write reviews to help get Amazon's algorithm moving. I invested almost ten years of time and thousands of dollars. But frankly, I feel better knowing that I'm not alone in this lost wilderness of books no one knows about. Next time it's the BIG publisher or nothing!


message 22: by Dave (new)

Dave Bartell #1 and mentioned last in the blog - "But it all started with the book. Alex wrote a fantastic story."

Thanks for showing a well-articulated marketing strategy. It shows the steps and actions many blogs mention, but don't show how they play out on a real product.

How much budget was allocated? How much was spent? How many agency/people-hours were used on this level of promotion? These data would be enlightening. (I watched an interview with Steve Berry where he said his agency spent $125,000 marketing his previous book.)

As an independent author, I find Goodreads has a large community, but it's a mystery how it works. Unveiling it would be fabulous. Hint. Hint.


message 23: by Edward (new)

Edward Smith Hmmm! Not unlike a political campaign.


message 24: by Jameel (new)

Jameel Davis Thank you for sharing the marketing steps behind “The Silent Patient.” One day I aim to have a marketing and or publishing company to back me. But for now, I will use the information provided here to help with my upcoming book “In Between These Sheets” which I have been marketing for two years. Thank you again for this case study.


message 25: by Michael (new)

Michael Alwill Interesting case study, but not terribly applicable for anyone outside of publishing. "Starting early" and "getting your book in front of as many readers" is pretty no-brainer stuff, as is keying off successful metrics, but your average independent author has little chance in hell of getting big name endorsements without existing connections.

I'd love to see another of these case studies with independent authors--both big name and small--to provide guidance to those outside the big publisher machine.


message 26: by Joel (new)

Joel Ackerman Why not just make a commercial advertising the book?


message 27: by Molly (last edited Jul 19, 2019 02:48PM) (new)

Molly Ringle Agreed with many in the thread here: the ticket is apparently just to have a publisher willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on marketing your book, and who has connections to the top-name authors in your genre. Could happen to any of us!...right.

FWIW, I've been published by small presses with varying results in sales, and here's what seems to have made the most difference (though honestly I'm not sure):

- The ones with the best (most professional-looking) cover art really do sell better.

- NetGalley is probably worth it. It garners a lot of early reviews, though the demographic there seems to skew more toward YA/NA (New Adult) rather than other genres. Still, you do get a lot of librarians and booksellers reading the ARCs as well as a lot of book bloggers, so I feel it's worth the few hundred dollars for listing a book.

- For blurbs, don't ask uber-famous authors; ask authors who are better-known than you by a modest degree, and of course who write books similar to yours. You have a much better chance of hearing back from them. I can send or post an example of a blurb-request email I sent earlier this year that actually got some positive results, if anyone wants.

- Goodreads giveaways, for the price they're charging these days? Nah. Host giveaways yourself on social media (have people retweet/share/follow to enter), or enlist a friendly book blogger to host one for you. They often have a ton of followers.

...But really, the majority of us aren't going to get rich from our writing, nor famous. Doing it because we love the writing itself is reason enough to continue. And yes, I have to remind myself of that many times a week, especially when Goodreads waves these mighty success stories in front of us and makes us feel we're getting nowhere!


message 28: by John (new)

John Long Check out the #1 New Release on Amazon!


message 29: by Doug (new)

Doug Walsh There's a reason why they say "Bestsellers are made, not written."


message 30: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Kitainik That's all great, but -- how can you market your book if the so-called "author community", the media and the professional reviewers are all implacably hostile to you and your book for political reasons (as is the case with me and my writing)???


message 31: by Dyan (new)

Dyan Quinn I'd like to see the spreadsheet on this book : How much time did the publisher, PR, printer, and author spend making this book a "best seller"? Were the reviews etc. free? Were librarians 'paid-off' to push the book? I'm happy for the author. I'd just like to know the real facts, not the hoopala above. How much did the author, printer, publisher, PR people make per hour spent? I'd rather have the truth on that subject instead of endless accolades. Most of us writing won't strike gold, not because we are poor writers, we just can't afford a loud enough trumpet!


message 32: by H.S. (new)

H.S. Stavropoulos W.L. wrote: "Reading this I see the massive money and big connections the big publishers have at their disposal. Adding up the money alone on what is said here is thousands of dollars poured into it. Indie auth..."

THIS!


message 33: by H.S. (new)

H.S. Stavropoulos "The Silent Patient is both a debut novel for Alex Michaelides and Celadon Books.

This tells you all you need to know. A new publishing line is going to go for broke with their best book first in order to start off big. I'm sure the book is fantastic, but the money and pull of the publisher is not easily replicated by Indie authors.


message 34: by Kate (new)

Kate McVaugh Great ideas for people who have a publisher that can get brand-name authors to read and review. Or have the team and money for all the other methods used.
But indie authors, even with excellent books, cannot take advantage of any of these ideas.
I'm still trying to find a way for Everything to start Talking about even one of my books......it's often quite disheartening.


message 35: by DDMA (new)

DDMA Thanks for the post. it give me some idea to start. so here is my some blueprint to start Best ways start selling your books


message 36: by Deanna (new)

Deanna King I was at first, down trodden- I mean how could I ever get to this point in my writing career? This article was telling me to "give-up" it's not worth getting an ulcer over because I do not have an Agent- and I could never in a million years do this on my own financially- and let's face it- I am a nobody who knows no one of importance. But, after reading every single comment- I feel refreshed and rejuvenated because there is one thing we all have in common- "We are not alone."


message 37: by Nancy (new)

Nancy A. Never give up! Even James Patterson was quoted as saying that 30 publishers turned down his first novel. And, at the time, he was the creative director of the largest advertising company in the country. He quipped, "I kept a list." At a recent MWA Edgar Seminar, a panelist/nominee for an Edgar said he blitzed 400 agents with queries, received two offers, took one who auctioned his manuscript. Persevere!!! You have something to offer and someone will pay you for it!


message 38: by Deanna (new)

Deanna King Nancy wrote: "Never give up! Even James Patterson was quoted as saying that 30 publishers turned down his first novel. And, at the time, he was the creative director of the largest advertising company in the cou..."

Absolutely!


message 39: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Ali Amazing


message 40: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Cumiskey I thought I was alone regarding the publishing industry, so glad there are so many of you here I agree with. The best book is made not written is so true. Granted the story line has to be good, but marketing resource is one of the most important factors in publishing. One newspaper editor once told me that the publishing industry is a "dirty little business". Now I am writing myself I know what he meant. We indie authors have to work ten times harder to get just noticed. Trying my best to stay upbeat.


message 41: by Groovy (last edited Aug 01, 2019 01:36PM) (new)

Groovy Lee This article is all good and well for someone backed by a publishing team with great media contacts and money; not to mention handing out 200 ARC's to the top reviewers willing to give them the time of day.

My question is: How does this article help Indie authors on a tight budget; can barely get anyone to review our books, much less by top reviewers; and have to price their books at $2.99 only to have to lower the price to .99c, or better yet FREE, before readers would even look at it?

I agree with others here, the writing part is exciting, trying to get a fair chance is very frustrating. Write articles that will bring just as good of results for Indie authors.


message 42: by Walter (new)

Walter Stoffel I fully understand the frustration expressed on this thread.
I work a day job to finance my money pit of a night job-writing and self-publishing. I'm determined to plod ahead and let the chips fall where they may. With no big publisher or literary agent to assist me, I've decided to keep on keeping on. I've enjoyed little financial success but sufficient artistic success(good reviews) to make my effort feel worthwhile. www.lanceaspiritunbroken.com


message 43: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Cumiskey Dave wrote: "#1 and mentioned last in the blog - "But it all started with the book. Alex wrote a fantastic story."

Thanks for showing a well-articulated marketing strategy. It shows the steps and actions many ..."


I am relatively new to Goodreads, it's a huge mystery to me and not very friendly to indie authors.


message 44: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee Jennifer, you hit the nail right on the head. My advice is don't join Goodreads if you're an Indie author with high expectations of attention, sales, and reviews. Only join if you want good advice from other Indie authors and learn from one another.


message 45: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Cumiskey Good to know Groovy, thanks!


message 46: by A.E. (new)

A.E. Fuhrman Michael wrote: I'd love to see another of these case studies with independent authors--both big name and small--to provide guidance to those outside the big publisher machine.

I agree. Can we please see a similar success case study with an indie title!!!


message 47: by Alex (new)

Alex Silver While this is good and well for this particular author and the publisher, the 'information' presented here does very little for independent publishers. Zero mention of the budget it took to make this book pop the way it did. How many thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours were invested by how many people? Thanks for the big build up and the monumental letdown. This was more an advertisement for the book than a blueprint for success...


message 48: by Jina (last edited Aug 21, 2019 06:08AM) (new)

Jina Bazzar W.L. wrote: "Reading this I see the massive money and big connections the big publishers have at their disposal. Adding up the money alone on what is said here is thousands of dollars poured into it. Indie auth..."

You took the words right off my mouth! Completely agree. I think this case study would benefit other publishers, as opposed to authors.


message 49: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee Alex wrote: "While this is good and well for this particular author and the publisher, the 'information' presented here does very little for independent publishers. Zero mention of the budget it took to make th..."

Hear Hear, Alex! Hear Hear! Well said!


message 50: by L.A. (last edited Sep 09, 2019 09:59AM) (new)

L.A. Pontes I read the comments of some indie authors here and I share your pain ;) I am an indie author and a new one in this international scene of Goodreads but I think we not only can but most learn from and try to emulate these examples. We just have to do it on a smaller scale and use resources that dont depend so much on money. We gotta be way more creative than these big names or these big companies. But many advices on this article can be followed, like starting very early and trying to build interest in your book via Goodreads readers and reviewers. Also, a couple of giveaways and perhaps an add or two is not so far out. The big names naturally evoke more buzz, but Im surprised by how welcoming and open minded people here are with indie authors. There seems to be a tremendous amount of people here who are really thrilled by books and don't really care too much about the names behind them, only about the quality of whats in it. They even are specially enthusiastic about discovering new authors. Also, if a big name slips, he gets smashed here like everybody else. Its just a dificult trade we got ourselves into, one that takes a tremoundous amount of persistence. And if big names go through all this trouble to make a hit, imagine what we have to do. Extra-extra doses of endurance, friends and never give up.


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