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Wow…yesterday was quite a ride. 6 months of work for me and my group were about to face up to our marching orders: best seller or bust.
So, it’s 8 AM and the first sales start trickling in, placing us somewhere in the remote badlands of #800,000 in Amazon.com Sales Rank system. We get to wait a full hour before our next update, but the war has only begun.
At 8:15 AM, the first barrage of emails are let loose upon our large “pre-launch” lists, informing all that today is “THE DAY!” Facebook statuses are updating, Twitter-holics are tweeting, and MySpacers are posting. It’s an all-out attack.
By 8:55, we’re huddled around my computer as if we were at Lord Amazon’s altar, waiting to be judged on the last hour’s sacrifices.
And so began the next 60-minute crucible.
Another wave of email artillery was called in, and cell phones were burning up from calls to our best agents in the field. Email inboxes were burgeoning with buyer praises and things were looking good.
But the 10 AM litmus test was just around the corner…
The page refreshes and that’s what we see. We have to knock off at least 1,872 opponents before we can say we’ve triumphed.
Round 3 was kicked off with our joint venture partners working their lists with another email campaign and our West Coast forces were beginning to appear in the fray.
Sales were flying in at hundreds per hour at this point, but nobody knew how strong Amazon’s Sales Rank’s defenses were. How many blows would it take to breach their walls?
#612. The air is becoming rarefied as we ascend Mount Amazon and we expect rugged terrain ahead. Reaching the summit is deviously hard, I was told. Many make the highlands, but only the best prepared can scale the treacherous peaks.
Yet another surge of emails, instant messages, texts, tweets, and phone calls go out, and confirmed orders are continuing to flood in. And then the silence before the 12 PM storm. What would it bring?
Okay, we’re pretty excited at this point. “Only a measly 148 spots to go!” we think. Well, we were about to learn why Amazon’s Sales Rank system is a deeply respected warrior.
We would soon learn if the 2 months of marketing, list building, interest-building, and partner-hunting was going to give us enough fuel to continue defying the list gravity…
At 12:40, we get word that several buyers happen to own large email lists of their own and they’ve decided to promote the book to them. A loud “hurrah” rings out, and the next update is just around the corner…
The page updates and we nervously look at each other. Either our sprint was slowing to a jog, or we were learning about Amazon’s fabled oasis mirage that so many succumb to. This much was obvious: the final 100 spots weren’t going to be easy.
We took a lunch break and rushed back for the next update…
60 spots in one hour! We were back on track! Our Self-Help ranking is forever lost because my screenshot cut it out.
Best seller status was so close! 31 measly spots and our little experiment would be a success! Our final round of emails went out to thousands and the West Coast orders were now flooding in. We were sure that 3 PM would be “THE MOMENT.”
We’re literally at the doorstep of the Inner Sanctum, battering ram in hands. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM.
Were we going to break in or would we have to break down and beg? 4 PM would be the deciding moment.
4 PM and we’ve made the BEST SELLER LIST! A cry of joy erupts. An email immediately goes out to our lists and our partner’s lists to inform them of the great news and urge anyone who hasn’t gotten a chance to pick up a copy and find out what the buzz is all about!
Sales continue strong and we continue to drive forward. How deep can we push into the belly of the beast?
How far will our dog and pony show take us?
In the distance we see Amazon’s demi-gods on their thrones–Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer–and we stare longingly. Could we ever hope to step foot in those gilded halls?
Sales were still coming in, but our tank was getting low.
Alas, the roller-coaster ride was about to end. We knew we should cherish our time in the exclusive Citadel of Best Sellers because all good things must come to an end.
At 7 PM, we finally felt the resistance as we fell back to #81. It was our first step backwards, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little disappointed. The little guy can always dream, right?
But there was a silver lining…
That’s us in the #2 spot for Hot New Releases in Self-Help!
And just like that, the day was over and we learned a lot from our first tangle with Amazon. The book was officially a best seller and we’re already planning our next assault.
Next time, it’s #1 best seller or bust…