I often feel that self-publishing success stories are overlooked or downplayed in mainstream publishing news sources.

Thankfully, The Hot Sheet (the excellent fortnightly publishing industry email newsletter for authors run by Jane Friedman and Porter Anderson) has been bucking this trend, and it was in a recent issue that I came across an interview with self-published author Sarah A. Denzil.

Denzil was nominated for a Goodreads Choice award in 2017 and has found major success with her dark psychological thriller Silent Child, which she self-published back in January of that year (and looks to still be selling very well as I write this in early 2018, with agents and publishers reportedly beating down her door).

Note: Denzil has been self-publishing since 2011, but Silent Child is by far her most successful book to date, with over 4000 reviews on Amazon and a whopping 40 000 ratings on Goodreads at the time I’m writing this. (The Goodreads number is especially impressive. Only a fraction of a book’s readership will ever bother to give any sort of rating.) 

Key factors for success

When asked what the key factors to her success were, she stated that: “The story is so important. Readers want a great story more than anything. Hone your craft, do your research, back up your work, keep going, outsource where you can, get involved in the community.”

I couldn’t agree more: networking with fellow authors and writing with a clear idea of who your audience is from the start are cornerstones to success.

In terms of her marketing, Denzil had this to say: “To me, the best marketing strategy is making sure the book has an excellent cover that conveys the genre, the blurb is compelling, and the introductory price is low. For books written in a very popular genre those components are extremely strong.”

Again, I wholeheartedly agree. So, I decided to take a look at her Amazon sales page with a view of analyzing Denzil’s cover and book description to see what lessons I could draw from it and share with you.

What I found was really interesting (I agreed with a lot of her choices). You can download the resulting case study below.

Grab the case study now!

Take a look at why I thought Sarah A. Denzil’s cover and book description were successful (and what I would have done differently in a few instances).

Read the original article on Goodreads here.

Take a look at Silent Child on Amazon here.

Subscribe to Friedman and Anderson’s excellent email newsletter The Hot Sheet here (currently only $59/year and well worth it).