My name is Adam Glendon Sidwell, and yesterday I was liberated. On Wednesday, no one knew who i was. I had never published a book before. Only two dozen people in the world had read my work. But by the end of Thursday, somehow my young adult novel Evertaster had risen as high as #51 on the overall Bestseller List on Amazon, surpassing the Amazon rankings of many of the current NYT bestsellers.
It rose to #16 overall in Children’s Books, and within its category rose to #1 in Children’s Mystery, settling in nicely right next to John Grisham’s latest novel and the 3rd Percy Jackson Book, which happens to be a NYT Bestseller as well.
And the funny thing is, there was no one to do my marketing but me.
I tried to publish through the Big Guys for years. I even got an amazing agent interested in my work. There were many wonderful editors at the various houses who championed the story. They fell in love with my characters. They fought for them. But when it came down to the final decision from the Bosses it was always the same. You should write something more like Percy Jackson or John Grisham, they said. “We don’t know how to sell your book.”
That’s when I thought: Well I do.
Of course it was naivety, to think I could go up against The Publishing Giants. But I had to try. I believed in the story I was telling. I believed in that little boy named Guster. I believed in his perilous journey. And I felt like whatever it took, however many sleepless nights I might endure, I was going to tell that story because it was fun and I really believed it would make people laugh.
So I planned and I schemed and I worked for months leading up to the launch day. I knew I only had one chance to do it right. Friends from all phases of my life came out of nowhere to help. Friends I hadn’t been able to see for years. They posted all over Facebook, they tweeted, they blogged, they emailed. My brother Jarom and his wife Katie and my wife Michelle worked like it was a telethon, contacting and inviting and reaching out to everyone that came within ten thousand miles. We sent out over 5,000 emails, tweeted to over 16,000 people, and amassed upwards of 2,250 facebook fans. There were phone calls and personal contacts. Sometimes I wonder if I hit that Bestseller List solely based on the fact that everyone in my entire hometown absolutely loves my dad and probably bought a book just because I was his son.
But then there were all the books bought–and this is the magical part–by all those people I didn’t even know and didn’t know me. Perhaps my favorite part of the day was when Evertaster broke into the top 100 and I ran out the front door of my parents’ house screaming into the cul de sac. The neighbor came out, shouting and asking if I needed help. “I just became an Amazon Bestseller!” I cried. I explained what was happening and she immediately went inside and bought two books.
My agent at Trident Media Group was amazed. She’d never seen any debut book from any publisher ever fly so high in the rankings. She’d never seen the kind of marketing that my friends pulled off. Now we’re calling ourselves Future House Publishing.
There’s a feeling of freedom that comes when you hit the Bestseller List. It comes because maybe, just maybe, it might mean that someday I’ll be able to write for a living. That’s liberating.
I hope you’ll forgive my bragging in this post. And I hope if you’re one of those friends who helped me you’ll smile, because you made it happen. I’m not sure what’s going to happen today or tomorrow for Evertaster, but I know this: for at least one day my book became a bestselling novel.