Story of a Bestseller: The Power of a Postcard

A recent article in Publisher’s Weekly reported about an author who shot their book up to the #1 spot on where it remained for two days. This new marketing tactic (called “permission marketing”) is becoming very popular.

Unfortunately, it’s not inexpensive and you must also have access to a large database of email addresses. This database is blasted with persuasive emails about buying your book. If you have the database and funds to do this, great! You can get your book to the #1 spot on Amazon. Whether it stays there for one day or one week, you can now call yourself a bestselling author.

Challenging the traditional is the only way to get noticed in a noisy world and there are other ways to launch that challenge. That’s how I got my first book, The Cliffhanger, to the #1 spot on (best selling book within San Diego) where it stayed for three months. How did I do it?

I hung my star on something already in the public eye: the 2000 Presidential election. You remember that, right? How could you forget?! In the midst of chads, hanging and otherwise, our local paper ran a huge headline that read: Cliffhanger! I knew if I couldn’t find a way to position my book around that, I needed to hang up my marketing hat. Problem: The Cliffhanger had nothing to do with politics. It was a love story about people in denial. (No news there.) Still, I knew if I looked hard enough, I could find a way.

I woke that night at 3 AM with an idea so outrageous, I knew it had to work. I raced out to the office supply store the minute it opened to pick up several packs of clear labels. I got out the postcards I had printed with the book cover on them and stuck on labels with the following slogan:

Getting tired of the Presidential cliffhanger?
Try this one.
The Cliffhanger, a novel.
No politics involved.

I mailed 500 postcards out that day while praying the election wouldn’t get called. I mailed these postcards to everyone in the media I’d ever contacted. Ever!

Days after my mass-mailing, I was walking through my living room when suddenly I spotted my book cover on the screen. I was stunned. The local TV anchor was saying, “This has got to be the best thing I’ve ever seen. This lady wants you to go buy her book. I say everyone should rush out and buy it.” And everyone did. That afternoon my book shot up to the #1 spot on Amazon where it stayed for three months. It even beat out Harry Potter (which was #4 at that time) yet Harry got the movie. Go figure.

That single postcard shot my book up the ranks at Amazon and quite literally changed my life and the way I look at marketing. To this day, people in the industry still know me as The Cliffhanger lady. And I’m happy and proud about that.

This week, I charge you to do something outrageous in your campaign. Challenge the norm. Step outside the book and rise above the noise. Remember, sometimes it takes only one thing–just one thing to make a difference.

Wishing you an outrageously successful campaign!

About the author:

Penny C. Sansevieri
The Cliffhanger was published in June of 2000. After a strategic marketing campaign it quickly climbed
the ranks at to the ##1 best selling book in San Diego. Her most recent book: No More Rejections. Get Published Today! was released in July of 2002 to rave reviews. Penny is a book marketing and media relations specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.comTo subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to:
Copyright ã 2004 Penny C. Sansevieri

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *