4 Lessons Learned as Bestseller Birthday Wish Came True

A couple weeks before Christmas, I spoke with my buds Beth and Ezra Barany. I was considering running a bestseller campaign for Latinnovating on my birthday, but I wasn’t sure there was enough time. I didn’t know the first thing about running such a campaign. We discussed the possibility of having them run the campaign for me in January; Beth assured me I could probably do it myself.

Latinnovating by Graciela Tiscareno-Sato, bestseller on Jan 25 2012

Due to an ongoing, time-sucking situation with my school district, I didn’t think I had enough time to go at it alone. The weekend before my birthday, I decided to go for it! I stayed up until 2 a.m. a couple of night to create my plan and write the content I would use to ask my circles of friends and supporters to help. The result is here:  Latinnovating made it all the way to #2 in one of its two categories!

I learned many things in the five days that it took to create, promote, re-promote, re-communicate and monitor this campaign. Here are the top 4 things I want to share with authors considering running a bestseller campaign:

4. Aim high, not low. The conversations I had with various people who run bestseller campaigns, some who charge $8000 to help an author get on a list, went like this: “We guarantee you’ll break into the Top 100 bestsellers in your book’s category or your money back. Bestseller means anywhere in the top 100 so understand that if you hit #97 you’ll have a bestseller.” So in my mind, that meant that all I was shooting for was #97 or so and I was going to pay $8000 for #97? Those of you who know me know that was a hard thing to accept, being #97 at something has just not been my style. What I learned was that when you run a campaign and engage all your marketing skill, lose the shyness about asking for help, and ask those who support you to really, really support you, amazing things happen. So next time I will aim for #1, not #97 as I was being led to believe.

3. You don’t need to pay a guy $8000 to become an Amazon bestseller. This is true unless you do not have the asset listed in #1 on this list. Without the next two things on this list, if you’re serious about running a successful bestseller campaign, you should indeed consider engaging the services of someone who has reached the bestseller rankings before (like Beth and Ezra Barany).

2. There is still no substitute for thorough preparation, asking for help and following up. 48 hours before my birthday/campaign day, I began to send personal emails to friends and supporters. The emails contained prepared text to Tweet and share with their social networks, to post as Facebook messages, etc. I also messaged and called key influencers the day before my campaign days. I let them know in advance what I was planning on doing and asked for their help to spread the word into their networks. So by 8:30 in the morning, on my birthday when I first checked the bestseller lists of my book’s two categories, it was shockingly already at #7! Throughout the day, I posted updates about where it was on the list, and this generated even more interest and sharing, which is why it made it to number #2. By the way, at 1130 p.m., one of my friends emailed me that he had seen it at #1. I didn’t see it myself but honestly, it doesn’t matter really. Latinnovating is officially a bestseller and that’s what matters. 

1. Having invested in email marketing tools and skills was a key success factor in this campaign. When I started my content development, publishing and marketing business, one of the first tools I adopted was an established email marketing platform. Why? I’m a girl who likes analysis, measurement and verticalization of content. Like a good little marketer, I made sure to segment my contacts into logical lists: university contacts, endorsers, those profiled in book, those who have purchased the book, students, etc. Having this key business asset in place proved to be a godsend.

As I prepared content for this campaign, for each group I asked for their support in distinctly different ways. This made a huge difference because what I provided for them to share with their own networks was specific to them: in other words, targeted language for specific audiences…marketing messaging defined. I honestly believe this made the biggest difference, because as my friends, family and different groups of supporters jumped in to help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, they used the text exactly as I had prepared it for them. That validated the time I took to create the words THEY would be comfortable and happy to share. This truly made a huge, huge, difference in the end result. I am truly grateful to each and every one of them.

One word of caution, something of which you MUST beware! Monitoring the bestseller rankings becomes an instant addiction. To watch your book baby, your creation, climb (and drop and climb again) on the lists is a special type of high. Thank God for smart phones – I was able to peek at progress on my way to my relaxing afternoon at my favorite spa; it was my birthday after all!

To all friends, family, endorsers, supporters, customers, and stars of Latinnovating, thank you for making my 15th annual 30th birthday wish come true! I could not have done it without you!

Fellow new and aspiring authors: please feel free to contact me if you would like help getting your marketing messaging and operations in place –perhaps you too can run your own bestseller campaign!

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5 Responses to 4 Lessons Learned as Bestseller Birthday Wish Came True

  1. Benjamin Tiscareno says:

    Grace, this was so exciting for me to keep an eye on as well. It was a treat and an honor to help spread the word & engage in conversations with interested parties. Every time a friend messaged me with a question, or showing interest in contributing to your campaign, my pride in you & your work skyrocketed further.

    I love you so much sis, and I am so incredibly happy for you. Congratulations & Happy Birthday again!

  2. Beth Barany says:

    Graciela, Ezra and I are honored to have been a part of your success, if even in a small way. You did all the right things: preparation, asking for support, tracking and follow through. You’re inspiration to me! I’m so happy to hear of your success! Onward and forward!

  3. Pam Wright says:


    I was looking up info for a book I’m working on now, just discovered that you are published. Congratulations!!

    I’m sure the book took longer than you expected, but the first law of book writing and publishing is that they always ALWAYS take longer than you expect – usually much longer. Offhand, I don’t remember how many books we’ve written and published but this single fact continues to amaze. Experience is the best teacher so I’m more peaceful when the inevitable delays occur.

    Pete and I talk about you and your family often. When we do programs, we describe your experiences / journey with Milagro – especially how you focused like a laser on helping her to be independent. She is a “tween” now, so if she’s as strong-willed and independent as her mom, you may write a book about how you raised her in a few years.

    Pete and I continue to work with William & Mary Law School. In July, we will co-sponsor the Second Annual Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA). In addition to training advocates, our goals are to develop a training program that can be replicated by other colleges and universities and a certification process for advocates.

    Wishing you all the best,

    Pam Wright

    • grace says:

      Thanks so much! Yes, I launched the book at Stanford in mid 2011 and have been actively speaking about the case studies to quite a variety of audiences around the country: middle and high school students, teacher conferences, community colleges, universities, business schools, professional associations. I’ve having a blast. We ran a bestseller campaign for my birthday in January and spent 2 weeks on the Amazon bestseller list in the multicultural education category. So my advocacy work continues, but for a different community. 🙂 If you hear of events where a Latina entrepreneur who writes green economy case studies could add value, like at some of the universities where you do work, please let me know. My speaker sheet is right here and I get quiet busy around Earth Week in April. 🙂 http://www.latinnovating.com/uploads/Speaker%20sheet%20Graciela%20Tiscareno-Sato%20Jan%202012.pdf

      Hugs to you and Pete!


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