A client of mine, Tom Garvey, recently hit what most would consider the author’s jackpot. His book, The Secret Apartment, hit #1 in three categories on Amazon, has been interviewed on radio programs and podcasts locally and across the country, and has offers to buy the TV and film rights to the book. He did all of this within three months of publication.

How did he do it?

There are several things that Tom did right:

  1. Great story that resonated with a specific and enthusiastic fan base
  2. A well-written book
  3. A custom cover and book layout
  4. The courage to reach out to influencers
  5. A great interview and storyteller
  6. Hired a publicist to fan the flames once the fire was lit

The Secret Apartment

Garvey’s book, The Secret Apartment, is the true story of his adventure as a recent Vietnam Vet living (without permission) in Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia in the late 1970s and early 80s. He shares anecdotes of various encounters with players, coaches, and security guards, all while living in an abandoned concession stand in the stadium. For the millions of diehard Philadelphia sports fans, this is a story worth reading.


Garvey’s telling of each story brings every Philadelphia sports fan back to their old Vet Stadium roots. Imagery and drama invite the reader to turn over page after page. We live vicariously through his brash and bold decision to flaunt norms and the law to live an extraordinary existence for more than 2 years. He brings the vignettes to life as if he just lived them the day before.

Custom Cover and Book Layout

To attract potential readers, he chose a custom-designed cover featuring the now-demolished Veterans Stadium. The interior layout extends the professional look of the book and brands him as an established writer.


With encouragement, Garvey reached out to the top DJ at Philadelphia’s sports radio station WIP, Angelo Cataldi. Cataldi devoured The Secret Apartment in a matter of hours. He was so enamored with the stories that he invited Garvey for a 15-minute slot on his popular WIP Morning Show. That act of courage lit the fire for what was to come. Over the next four shows, Cataldi mentioned Garvey and The Secret Apartment that fueled book sales and the top spot on the Amazon charts in his category.

Great interview and storyteller

When Garvey got his shot in the spotlight, he made the most of it. He was well prepared to bring his best stories and worked seamlessly with the host to allow for a conversation and not just a monologue. He gave the host and the listeners something to remember and delivered it with humor.

Hired a publicist

Once the proverbial fire was lit, Garvey enlisted help. He hired a publicist to push The Secret Apartment and its author to media outlets around Philadelphia and further afield. Once the Philadelphia media giant Philadelphia Inquirer printed his story, media outlets from around the country and the world started knocking. It has even piqued the interest of the TV and film industry. Not bad for a boy from Ridley Park.

While everyone won’t have this kind of success, I applaud Tom Garvey and his work to bring The Secret Apartment to life. He took a great story, added literary flair, and reached deep down to find the courage and help to make it a reality.

If you’d like to read the incredible stories, you can get your copy of The Secret Apartment here.

This post contains an affiliate link. If you buy the book, I’ll receive a few pennies from Amazon. I just thought you should know.




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