Self-Published Author Markets Her Way to Bestseller List

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a fascinating article outlining how author Darcie Chan's marketing efforts catapulted her book, "The Mill River Recluse," onto bestseller lists.

Chan has sold more than 400,000 copies of her book, in large part thanks to paid reviews and banner ads on well-known websites.   

According to the the newspaper, Chan spent $1,000 on marketing. She bought banner ads on blogs and websites devoted to Kindle readers. She also paid for a promotional spot on, which has more than six million members.

Once she learned self-published authors can pay to get their books reviewed, Chan paid $35 for a review from and $575 for a review from Kirkis Reviews, a book review journal and website.

"The Mill River Recluse" is the story of a wealthy reclusive widow who leaves her fortune to the townspeople who barely knew her. More than 100 agents and a dozen publishers rejected it.

Chan, a 37-year-old lawyer for the United States Senate, priced her ebook at $.99, hoping to draw a few readers and some helpful feedback.

Now she's dealing with offers from foreign publishers and movie studios.

According to the Journal, Chan has made about $130,000 before taxes and continues to receive royalties every month.

Read the full article by reporter Alexandra Alter.


Joanna Shupe said...

Very interesting! I would have thought the marketing costs to be higher. Wonder what she outlaid for editing/formatting?

Diana Quincy said...

From what I understand, there are free software tools that let you DIY so that formatting an ebook won't cost anything. In the article, the author mentions getting feedback from friends but doesn't say anything about getting anyone to professionally edit it for her.

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