Monday, March 31, 2014

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author @cherylbradshaw

I believe there are many authors out there, myself included, who treasure the craft and publishing industry, view it as the business it is and want to take it to the next step. That includes hitting The NY Times or USA Today Bestselling lists, but for most of us, the question comes up, how can we make our dream a reality?

Today, Cheryl Bradshaw has taken the time to give us insights into her journey and provided five things she feels were instrumental in reaching that goal. In fact, she’s not just reached the USA Today Bestseller list once, but twice.

First, a little bit about Cheryl.  Tell us about yours books that hit the list.

I’ve made the USA Today bestsellers list twice in the last seven months, and I will make it again this week. My first book to make the list was my Sloane Monroe Series Boxed Set, Books 1-3. The second time was last week with a group I’m in called The Twelve. Our boxed set was titled Deadly Dozen.

It’s common for books to take a number of years before hitting the bestseller list. For example, Jack Canfield’s first book didn’t hit the list until 10 years after it came out. What was your experience?

My boxed set had been out for a year, and it had consistently sold well. It would have made it when it was first released, but at the time, I had it in the Amazon KDP Select program, and it wasn’t eligible. Deadly Dozen made it after being out for a month. The time frame of when a book makes the list is dependent on how the book is promoted.

Social media has a very important role in marketing these days, but how did you extend your reach beyond that, or did you?

I have a Twitter following of almost 50,000, a Street Team, and I try to keep up with all the various kinds of marketing. I find author friends I’ve made in the business are also key. We promote each other.

If you could provide 5 integral steps that you took to reach bestseller status, what were they and can you elaborate on each step?

1.      When I published my first book, I created Indie Writers Unite, a group for writers on Facebook. I now have over 2,200 writers in the group. The group enabled me to make several author friends and to learn a lot about the business.

2.      Twitter. I love to interact with Fans, and Twitter is a great way to do that. I see most authors on there for the wrong reasons—just to promote their books, and not much else. I like to talk about all kinds of things that aren’t related to my novels. I try to keep my promoting to once a month when I run an ad.

3.      KDP Select. The program was fantastic when it first started. The ability to make my books free for a few days enabled readers to take a chance on me when they otherwise wouldn’t have. This is how I gained a following and devoted fans who read anything I put out. I am no longer in the program, but it was a good stepping stone to get me where I am today.

4.      Promoting. One can never stop promoting. I run one big ad each month, and smaller ads here and there. I am always running contests, engaging my readers, getting involved with other authors, doing anything and everything to further my brand.

5.      A good work ethic. I give myself deadlines. I set goals. I meet them. I never stop writing. I never stop trying to improve myself. I never stop learning, growing, doing what I need to do to continually get better.

Of the 5 steps listed above, if an author would apply even one which would you place the greatest value on?


Last, but not least, I am a firm believer in the law of attraction. Did this play a role in your journey and if so, please tell us more about it.

Yes. I have this quote on my blog: “Follow your bliss, and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” –Joseph Campbell.

What an inspiring message. It reminds me that not only can I make a better life for myself, I can inspire others to find bliss in their own lives. We all have a role in this life, the chance to help each other. I use my words, my writing, to do this. Last week I was given the opportunity to speak to a group of girls at a troubled youth center. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. If I can inspire even one to seek out a better life, it will make all I have achieved worth so much more.

I have the words “Follow Your Bliss” tattooed on my foot in cursive writing. I want to see it every day. I want to remember that I can do anything, I can be anything. I truly believe there are no limits to what I can achieve in this life. It’s this belief that has allowed me to get where I am today.

I’ve watched The Secret several times over the last six years. I still remember the first time I saw it. I was at a low point in my life, dealing with something out of my control. Hearing about how I could use the law of attraction to draw the right things into my life really transformed me. Since that time, I’ve applied many of its principles to my life. I believe in meditation and in things like vision boards. I also believe in myself. Even when it’s hard. Even when I’m not having the best day. My fans lift me up. The emails I receive and their comments about my work empower me to keep writing stories. 

CHERYL BRADSHAW is a USA Today Bestselling Author.
Born and raised in Southern California, Cheryl Bradshaw became interested in writing at a young age, but it was almost two decades before she put pen to paper. In 2009 Bradshaw wrote Black Diamond Death (Book One: Sloane Monroe series). Within six weeks it entered the top 100 in two different categories and remained in the top 100 for over a year. Since that time, Bradshaw has written four additional novels in the series, and is busy penning two additional novels this year.
In 2013, Bradshaw introduced a new paranormal thriller series: Addison Lockhart, the first book titled Grayson Manor Haunting.

Bradshaw is the founder of IWU on Facebook, a writers group with over 2,000 members. In August 2012, Bradshaw was named one of Twitter's seven best authors to follow. In 2013, Bradshaw's novel, Stranger in Town, was chosen as a Shamus Award finalist in the category of best P.I. novel of the year. She was the only female nominated in her category.