Friday, August 16, 2019

The Making of a Bestseller

By Debby Giusti

Dreams do come true.

Have you ever dreamed of having your work appear on a bestseller list? I’m sure most authors would say “YES!” Four of my books have been Publishers Weekly Bestsellers, but I still dreamed of making the USA TODAY Bestseller list.

Then fellow Love Inspired Author Mary Alford emailed me. Mary and I were online friends and had worked together on the Craftie Ladies of Romance blog.  Mary had wanted to publish an anthology of Christian novellas. When she learned Ruth Hartzler and Samantha Price had the same desire, the three writers joined forces to make their “dream” come true. Mary’s email included an invitation for me to join with fifteen other Christian suspense authors in creating an independently published anthology. Seeker Ruth Logan Herne was in the group as well!


I was honored to be included and excited to write my story, “On the Run.” We hired our own editors and then submitted our stories for formatting. We pooled resources, shared the cost of having a cover created and purchased ads to spread the word about the anthology.

In May, I hosted Mary, Ruth and Samantha on Seekerville. They provided a step-by-step guide on how their initial concept came to fruition in a blog titled, The StoryBehind Creating The Summer of Suspense Anthology! What It Takes to Put Together A Multi-Author Anthology From Start to Finish.Check it out, then be sure to come back so you can learn the rest of the story.

SUMMER OF SUSPENSE released on August 6. For a number of months prior to the release date, we encouraged readers to pre-order the anthology on Amazon, Barns & Noble or Apple. The price during the first week of release was 99 cents--a fantastic buy for more than 800 pages of reading enjoyment. The authors promoted THE SALE OF THE YEAR and so many wonderful folks took advantage of the great buy.

An extra bonus was working with Ruth Logan Herne on this project!

We regularly updated readers about our progress in newsletters and created memes about our individual stories that we posted on social media. We blogged and chatted and shared Facebook messages and Tweets so the word would spread…which it did. To add to the fun, we hosted a Summer of Suspense Release Party on Facebook that ran from August 6 to August 9 with lots of giveaways, including books!

In case you aren’t aware of the process, both Publishers Weekly and USA TODAY compile the number of books sold during a one week period. The top sellers that week make the list. The New York Times format includes other variables, but number of books sold is key to their selection process as well.

USA TODAY publishes their list on Wednesdays. Many of us kept checking the paper’s online site this week until the new list finally appeared. We were thrilled to see SUMMER OF SUSPENSE made the bestseller list and ranked  #28 out of all the books sold last week.

 The authors worked hard writing stories and promoting the anthology, but making the USA TODAY BESTSELLER LIST was due to our wonderful readers—TO ALL OF YOU—who ordered SUMMER OF SUSPENSE. 

You are the reason we write and we appreciate 
your support!

Readers often ask how they can help their favorite authors. Buying books, especially the week they release, posting reviews and spreading the word about the stories you love can propel a book and author into the bestseller status.
The 99 cent sale is over, but SUMMER OF SUSPENSE is still
available on Amazon for $9.99 and on Kindle Unlimited.
Readers, how do you spread the word about your favorite stories and authors? Do you enjoy posting reviews? Do you follow any bestseller lists? How important are the NY Times, Publishers Weekly or USA Today lists when you select a book to buy? Writers, do you review the lists? How can readers help you promote your stories? I'm giving away a copy of AMISH SAFE HOUSE to one lucky person who leaves a comment. Let me know if you want to be in the drawing!

Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti


She can’t remember who she’s running from.

Is she safe with the Amish?
Someone wants Becca Troyer dead, but who or why is a mystery to her. Seeking refuge at the home of Amish farmer Zeke Hochstetler is her only hope to stay one step ahead of the killer. With every clue she finds about her past leading to more confusion, Becca and Zeke must untangle the truth before her pursuer discovers where she’s been hiding.

Releases 1 NOV 2019
Pre-Order at Amazon HERE!


  1. Debby, this is so cool! What an accomplishment! What it says to me is that the market is wide open for indie publishing -- and e-books.
    It also says that Christian writing, and publishing, is alive and well. A cliché, but you know what I mean.
    Speaking of anthologies, I got the cover yesterday for my novella in Pelican's "Christmas Extravaganza." There's nothing like seeing your cover to make all of this real. (Well, there's a lot that makes it real, like being on a best-seller list, but you know what I mean.) I don't have the tech skills to put it up here, but it will be on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
    I made the coffee, help ourselves. I don't have or want a Keurig, I brew it the old-fashioned way, and this summer I'm putting in fresh mint leaves from my garden. People put mint in tea, why not coffee? Also blueberry muffins, pie and coffee cake.
    Kathy Bailey
    First to comment for once

    1. Glad it was you first. I haven’t any coffee beans. ;)

      Congrats for your upcoming release!

    2. Kathy, thanks for the coffee and goodies! YUM!

      Congrats on your upcoming release. Love your "Christmas Extravaganza" title! I don't know how to post a pic in the comments either. Maybe one of our tech gurus can explain the process!

      The success of SUMMER OF SUSPENSE has me taking a long look at publishing some indie stories. If only there were more hours in the day! :)

  2. Congratulations! That’s a fantastic achievement. :0)

    As a reader, I post reviews for books I really enjoyed and try to make friends and family read it. Bestseller lists have no effect on my purchases, but customer reviews do.

    As a writer, I appreciate the readers who recommend their favorite books to their peeps. Since word of mouth is what often makes me pick up a book by an unknown author.

    1. Samantha, thanks for supporting authors and the books you've enjoyed reading. Word of mouth is the best promotion a book can have. Reviews are wonderful as well. I rarely rely on reviews when choosing a book to read, but I do listen to what other readers suggest. Again, that word of mouth!

      Thank you so much for all your support!!! We're so glad you're part of the Seekerville family!

  3. Good morning Debby and everyone!

    What a fantastic release for this anthology! And thank you for the background information leading up to this point. All sixteen of you worked hard to make this anthology happen, and then even harder to promote it.

    And Summer of Suspense is on my Kindle, waiting for me!

    1. Thanks, Jan! You're a busy lady right now...moving into a new house and facing your own writing deadlines! Thinking of you...and sending prayers for an easy move into the new house!

  4. Congratulations on your wonderful achievements. As a reviewer I listen to other reviewers who have similar taste in their reading choices. I don’t go by lists as I’ve seen books on there I wouldn’t consider reading. Thank you for sharing. Blessings. I’m having coconut cupcake coffee this am.

    1. Lucy, this is a very interesting take. I do the same thing. Word of mouth means more to me than lists because I'm kind of selective about what I want my brain to see and what I want to support...

      It's fun to see reviewers who see it through a similar lens!

  5. Lucy, thanks for sharing your buying strategy. Having trusted reviewers or fellow readers recommend a book is so important. I'm the same way. If someone tells me about a good read, I'm likely to get the story. And I'm rarely disappointed.

  6. YIKES! When I posted this blog yesterday, I forgot to add a giveaway!

    Leave a comment and let me know if you want to be in the drawing for a copy of AMISH SAFE HOUSE!

  7. Hi Debby,

    I only pay attention to the rankings to celebrate for my favorite authors. I like the Facebook communities for finding new authors to read. If I'm attached to a group, then the books are of the type or genre I prefer. I post reviews after I've read the books and that's when I read other posts. For me Facebook links and groups have been the source of my new finds. My librarians also lead me to new authors because I'm a regular fixture there. Congrats to the Sweet 16. What wonderful stories! I preordered I think in March and it was complete torture to wait until August.

    Yes I would love to be entered in a drawing for your book. I really enjoy j it your stories. You ladies ROCK!!

    1. Lisa, thanks for sharing how you support authors!

      Thanks too for helping SUMMER OF SUSPENSE do so well. I'm grateful! All of us in the anthology are as well.

      BTW, you were a winner at the SOS Release Party and I'm heading to the PO today with your prize! :)

      Plus, you're in today's drawing!

  8. I've been so excited for all of you ever since I heard the news!! Congrats to Debby and Ruthy and to my other writers friends in the collection!

    Debby, thanks for sharing the story!

    1. Missy, thanks for your congrats. I'm still in pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming mode!

  9. This was so exciting to see yesterday! And I will confess to being the weak link the past month because I had an LI being released and my new mystery and it's a tricky business.... publishers really want you to promo the books they paid for AND no one wants to swamp readers with book news.... Then people click "UNFOLLOW" or things like that.... but it was so much fun to be part of this and work with these marvelous ladies. I realize that I really like writing mystery and suspense and that surprises me!

    DEBBY, GREAT SHOUT OUT! Thank you so much for doing this!

  10. I'm in the pinch me stage too, Debby! It was a concentrated effort, but as the saying goes...many hands makes light work. There was definitely encouragement in knowing we were all pushing toward the same goal!

    1. Wonderful working with you, Elizabeth! Bless Mary, Ruth and Samantha was coming up with the idea...and for inviting me to join the group. :)

  11. Woohoo! It can be done and you did it! Congratulations!

    1. Thanks, sweet Carroll!!! Always appreciate your support! Hugs!

  12. Congratulations on seeing all your hard work come to fruition! I love it when writer-sisters work together, sharing the responsibilities and reaping the rewards!

  13. Congratulations!!! I'm so excited for y'all!!!

  14. Congratulations, Debby and Ruthy.

    1. Thanks, Cate! I answered this using my phone yesterday and it didn't go through. Sorry for the delay in sending my thanks!



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