As the publishing industry continues to reel under the weight of technological and cultural change, and professional book marketers seem ever more flustered by the vagaries of literary fortune, independent writers are seizing the revolutionary moment, using social media and word of mouth marketing to reach a hungry reading public. Over the Memorial Day weekend, Anthony Caplan launched a stealth attack on the Amazon bestseller ranks. Today, French Pond Road finished up a five-day free promotional offer on Amazon's Kindle Select program as fifty-sixth on Amazon's contemporary fiction list, out-competing titles from such established industry behemoths as Simon and Schuster and Little, Brown and Co. On the strength of over 100 downloads per day of his book, Caplan expects to enjoy future sales to grow from his initial grass roots marketing. Is this the future of book selling?
Henniker, New Hampshire – June, 1, 2012 – FRENCH POND ROAD, the unlikely road story of a father and son reunion, Wednesday finished up a five day run in the top 60 best sellers on the Amazon Contemporary Fiction list on the strength of a word-of-mouth marketing campaign that its author Anthony Caplan hopes will propel the book's future sales and advance the cause of independent publishing.
The title, published this spring on Amazon's Kindle Select eBook program, was initially released in 2008 in paperback. Caplan decided to market it as an eBook this year as he prepared to launch another new book, a coming-of-age novel called LATITUDES- A Story of Coming Home, to be released on June 30.
"The difference this time around was the model I had on how to market using social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook," said Caplan. "But the truth is I decided on Friday night to launch the free campaign, and it wasn't until Saturday morning that I figured out how to tweet about it effectively. The whole idea was to do a dry run for the launch of LATITUDES."
Authors using the free promotional campaign on Amazon have been reporting declining gains in sales boost from the free campaigns, but for Caplan the benefits are numerous.
FRENCH POND ROAD, a story of a roofer reunited with his autistic teenage son after a 16-year separation, had sold virtually no copies in paperback before the free offer. Now, with the exposure on the well-publicized Amazon best-seller list, Caplan has a readership familiar with his name and his previous books as he prepares to release his latest title.
"My stories are about outsiders, so it's appropriate that my marketing techniques are guerrilla," he said. "I just want to inspire other people to follow their dreams. In today's world, anything can happen."
Anthony Caplan is a writer, blogger, teacher and homesteader in New Hampshire. He is the author of the novels Birdman, French Pond Road, and the forthcoming Latitudes - A Story of Coming Home, due out at the end of June from Hope Mountain Press. Find out more about him and his work at http://www.anthonycaplanwrites.com.