By Dani Kellner

“Great book!”

“A must read!”

“Wow!”

These comments are just a few of the many rave reviews posted on the book recommendation site Goodreads about Cornell Class of 2011 alumnus Kit Lyman’s debut novel, Satan’s Garden.  The novel, a psychological thriller that follows twin sisters as their lives diverge after one is kidnapped, has a five-star rating on Amazon, where it is also ranked #1 in the Top Rated Kidnapping Thrillers genre.

Lyman’s path to authorship began at Cornell, where she double majored in Communication and Development Sociology.  In her spare time, Lyman was a member of Slope Media.

“Slope Media had a huge impact on me not only as a writer but also an author.  It wasn’t just about being inspired through interviews with other artists,” Lyman recalls, “but it also had to do with the creation of content and how we decided to convey our message.  Learning the software and equipment available to us gave me skills that now make me competitive in [the publishing] marketplace.”

As a self-published author, Lyman is in charge of all creative and marketing decisions made about Satan’s Garden.  Not only has this experience been “very empowering,” but it has also allowed Lyman to put many of the skills she learned from Slope Media to good use as she promotes her book.

“Who would have thought all those hours working with Final Cut Pro would one day be used to edit my own book trailers?”

Although Lyman describes her two book trailers as her biggest promotional assets, she’s also been utilizing an array of grassroots marketing techniques to spread the word about her novel.

“I’m focusing more of my time building an audience from the ground and getting the book in front of the right people,” Lyman explains.

Lyman has distributed custom Satan’s Garden bookmarks to libraries and bookstores, and she has targeted avid readers by enhancing her pages on Goodreads and Amazon.  In order to build her audience, Lyman offers all of her readers access to exclusive content, such as book club question responses, on her website.

“I believe that these are the things authors need to do more of. It’s about giving back to the people who take a chance on your story.” And many people have been extremely supportive so far.

“People have reached out to the local newspapers and radio stations about [Satan’s Garden], and it has started the buzz. Word of mouth is truly my most powerful tool,” Lyman says.

All of these marketing efforts are gradually building the book’s popularity.  Satan’s Garden has been selling between four and six copies online each day, which Lyman says is what she expected starting out.  The novel has even been picked up by Bindings Bookstore in Lyman’s hometown of Albion, NY.

After spending two and a half years writing the book, Lyman is thrilled to finally be able to share Satan’s Garden.

“If there is one thing that I can give to my readers, it would be a story that will stay with them.”

Lyman is working on her second psychological thriller, which she hopes to release next year.