How an Unknown Indy Novelist Became An Amazon Bestseller in a Single Day

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.

2012.06.15 12.16 AM Best Sellers in Childrens Mystery Detective Spy Evertaster 1 How an Unknown Indy Novelist Became An Amazon Bestseller in a Single Day

Evertaster: #1 in Best Sellers in Children's Mystery, Detective & Spy

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.

 

Order Evertaster on Amazon

32 thoughts on “How an Unknown Indy Novelist Became An Amazon Bestseller in a Single Day

  1. Well I have been crying at the “soy un americano” commercials and I almost cried when my husband suggested a restaurant the other day that gives off a barbecue smell that during this pregnancy has transformed the establishment into a nevertaster for me. But your article definitely brought some tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I really mostly know you from a few epic parties at college and some other shenanigans your group would pull off and I loved that everyone was welcome in your group and truly valued. You guys did the funniest, awesomest, funnest stuff and it all was aimed at helping people have a good time and have some real joy. Always creative, always good clean fun. So now you are doing that same thing through the stories you create. It doesn’t surprise me a bit that you are met with success and I can’t think of a better person to deserve it. I so look forward to the book and thanks for the article. I like a happy cry once in a while.

    • Natalie, I just read your comment to my brother. He and I were both very happy to read it. It’s amazing that you said it that way — you hit the nail on the head — that’s how we really look at this book: a chance to share fun and good times with everyone! It’s so great because now this book gives us a reason to throw fun parties for kids and their parents all over! Let’s set one up near you too!

      • That would be stellar! Are you sure you guys would want to come clear over here to paradise? The weather is always so perfect and all– if you do let me know and I’ll do what I can to help throw a tasty party. Also my bro in law just started up an incredible waffle wagon called waffle love in Provo if you guys want to work out a party with him. Let me know and I’ll link you all up. Thanks! Aloha!

  2. Congratulations on your success. Your story is very inspiring. After I looked at Amazon for Evertaster, I was surprised that it was a physical book only. When will the ebook version come out?

    A lot of self-published authors are having success with ebook. More than 1,000 self-published authors sold more than 1,000 ebooks each month on the Kindle according to Amazon.

    And this list might be of interest to you (170+ authors who have sold more than 50,000 self-published ebooks)

    http://selfpublishingsuccessstories.blogspotdotcom

    • Oh thank you Rachelle! The bio was fun to write. Congratulations on your success too! I see you were nominated for a Whitney Award!

  3. Way to go Adam!! I was reached out to by your goofy brother that I haven’t seen in… I don’t 13 years (Go Beyer ’99!!!)… you have a wonderful marketing team! ;) Everyone should be able to “live the dream”, I am glad that you are getting your chance!!

  4. Congrats to you! I actually just added your book to my TBR pile when I was searching for new reads and found you on a listopia list on Goodreads. Your book sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to read it!

    Christy

  5. My boys and I just watched your “Will it Blend” video… three times in a row…SO funny! Lots of laughter. Best of continued luck!

  6. Hello,

    I am printing your article and highlighting the parts of what you did to publicize. You had a simple but brilliant plan and it worked.

    This is an amazing story – I am so glad I read it.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Fantastic. I love to hear stories like this as a self-published author of a book that does not fit into a category, screams taboo, and makes a marketing person deaf & blind as a result (the title says it all “A Great Place for a Seizure”). At first I was nervous and embarrassed about being self-published, but gradually I’m getting confidence from stories such as yours. Your marketing was fantastic. It really is great to hear. I’m going to share your story with my friends in the Cambridge Writers Group here in the UK.

    Get a good lawyer I think you have to sell movie rights next.

    Good luck,

    Terry

    • Thanks so much for your enthusiasm Terry! It does indeed feel great. I’ve actually been approached by a few people about movie rights already, so we’ll see! Could be very exciting. Say hi to the Cambridge Writers Group for me. Luckily the Kindle version just went live so you should be able to get it across the pond.

      Adam

  8. Pingback: Interview With Best Selling Author – Adam Sidwell « Jen's Thoughts

    • Thanks KC! Well, it is kind of surprising! I guess I’ve been wandering back and forth though – New Zealand, San Francisco, back to LA, chasing VFX films for fun and profit. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Hi, I just came across your post and I’m so happy I did. I’m about to self-publish my debut women’s fiction novel, ON GRACE, at the end of June. I love your story of your grass-roots marketing efforts. Just goes to show how we indies can do it ourselves! I really hope to be able to report as successful a launch as you. Thanks for the inspiration. I needed that today! Continued success to you!

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