Is misspelling the path to Internet sales success?

A little fun with words on this pic of Tori Spelling, but nevertheless an important point about how mistakes might help us out in our online marketing efforts.

This month, my online marketing efforts have focused on promoting the ebook version of my latest thriller, The Brink, on the Barnes & Noble website. I did this because I’m thinking there are an awful lot of people that got nook eReaders for Christmas and they are looking for eBooks for it. B&N.com is selling it at $7.99, 20% off the cover price.

I’ve used both google and facebook ads in the past, and it’s been my experience that FB ads just don’t work for me. Once people are on FB, they want to stay on FB. They just aren’t willing to leave it to go to a website to buy a book. I have been getting emails on how to use FB ads to direct folks to my FB author page and to increase the interaction, but alas, time has been at a premium lately and I simply haven’t been able to research that topic. 

So, I am staying with Google Adwords. I used their keyword tool to help me figure out which are the best keywords to use for my ad campaign, and a funny thing happened. Misspellings of Barnes & Noble had almost the same number of hits that correct spellings did.

Case in point, here are the top 5 keywords I used and the coresponding performance data:

“Barnes & Noble” –  69 clicks out of 3,706 impressions

“barnes and nobles” – 53 clicks out of 3,800 impressions

“barns and noble” – 52 clicks out of 2,119 impressions – highest click thru rate at 2.45%

“barns and nobles” – 36 clicks out of 1,539 impressions

“barnes and noble” – 10 clicks out of 1,113 impressions

These numbers are based on a $.50 cost per click ceiling and a $20 a day budget. As you can see, not huge spelling errors here, but it pays to keep in mind that people are not the best spellers. Either they type incorrectly or they simply misspelled the word. Either way, it pays to remember to include misspelled keywords in your online campiagns… 🙂

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

Six steps to a sellout book signing

If you’ve never done a booksigning, you’ve undoubtedly seen one. There’s an author sitting in a chair behind a big stack of books on a table. The author is trying desperately to make eye contact with you and you are trying desperately to not make eye contact, especially if the sign next to the author reads, “check out the latest from Romance Author Jane Doe” and you are a die hard thriller reader. And that’s the precise word for it, desperation. Sitting there the author is drowning in desperation. You, as customer, are probably thinking, “look at that poor schmuck with a table full of books that no one’s buying.” Undoubtedly, the author is probably thinking, “I can’t beleive I have to sit here like a schmuck and try to sell books. I’m a writer, not a salesperson!”

But, there are some secrets to having a successful book signing. I was fortunate enough to sell out of all the copies the Barnes & Noble at Park and Preston in Plano had on hand for my signing and it really wasn’t that hard to do. Here’s how I did it:

1. Location, location, location. Be as close to the front of the store as possible. That way, you can greet every customer as they come in. If you’re doing a signing at a Barnes & Noble, see if you can be put near the nook eReader display. A few reasons for this. First, most nook displays are located right dead center at the front of the store. Not only will you be greeting each customer, but many will be hanging out around the nook display.

2. Make the staff your sales force. Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the signing and introduce yourself to every staff member. Tell them about your book so that they can recommend it to customers. One of the staff members will most likely do an announcement (or a few) during your signing. Bring along a script for them to read. Again, this is where being close to the nook display helps. The nook display is manned by a staff member and as you’re walking around the store (more on that below) they can watch your table for you. They can either make an announcement over the intercom (“author to your table, please”) or tell people about your book, keeping them there until you get back.

3. NEVER SIT – “Look at that schmuck sitting there with all those books to sell.” That thought can never enter a customer’s mind if you’re not sitting. Stand. Always. Approach customers with a bookmark (get cheap bookmarks for great quality at www.nextdayflyers.com

4. Be like a shark…keep moving. Walk around the store handing out bookmarks, but don’t stray from the table for too long (2 minutes per stroll max) I can’t tell you how many books I’ve sold doing the stroll. Think about it. Many people visit a bookstore to browse new and different titles. Put something in their hand for them to read.

5. Encourage people to sign up for your email list. Have a email sign-up to help build your fan base and keep Top of Mind (TOM) with the readers you meet.   

6. Write a press release about the signing – Without question, the biggest numbers I get from my blog posts are when I write a press release. I’m still getting to know what keywords work and search engine optimization and all that, but whenever a blog entry is titled “press release – blah blah bah) my numbers go up about three fold. That means more people are reading about my successful signing, and hopefully buying the book that did so well at the signing. Ain’t it funny how books that sell sell more books? It’s a mad, mad world.   

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The Brink by Mark Fadden has just been nominated for the Star Award from its publisher! Read more about The Brink and Mark’s writing at www.markfadden.com.

Facebook or Google – who should get a writer’s advertising dollars?

As a writer of suspense, my inclination is to tease you, twist things, and inject a bunch of mystery before I answer the title question. But fear not, o’ friend of the pen, ’cause I know we’re all crunched for time. So here it is, hands down, it’s Google.

I scheduled an ad campaign that centered on the fact that lots of people were going to receive eReaders this Christmas. Plus, it was the last week of December, and my latest book, The Brink, had been selected to be part of the Barnes & Noble Special Collections during December, the second time it has recieved that award. The more often a SP book is purchased, the more likely it is to turn the head of a B&N buyer, the more likely it is to be given some more shelf space in more B&N stores. I also linked the ads straight to The Brink’s eBook webpage on B&N.

Here are the ads, first Google:

  • New eReader?
  • Try the latest thriller from
  • “the next Dan Brown” for $8.
  • www.barnesandnoble.com/TheBrink
  • This ad was posted 74,560 times, and it was clicked on 466 times. The average cost per click as $0.23.

    Here’s the Facebook ad:

    New eReader?

    Facebook stats: posted 282,299 times, it was clicked 60 times, and the average cost per click was $1.16
    Let’s analyze the numbers. I got WAAAYYYY more clicks from Google for way less money ($1.16 per click on FB; $0.23 on Google) Also, due to the limitations of not being able to see if the people that clicked ended up buying books (I’ll have to wait until my quarterly report is posted from my publisher) I did see that my ranking on the eBook version of The Brink on B&N’s site did go way up.
    While next time I would run these campaigns at different times to really see how much using Google or FB impacted my eBook sales, I do think that people going onto FB are looking more to “hang out” or connect with friends than they are looking for products or services to buy.  Therefore, whenever I do online ads in the future, I think I’m going to stick with Google. I get alot more bang for the buck, and, in advertising, that’s the bottom line.  

    Top 5 ways to make the most of your speaking gig

    We’re talking speaking engagements today, people. Why? Because I just did one at today at the Grapevine, Texas Chamber of Commerce, and while things are fresh in my mind, we can chat about how to make the most of the speaking engagement. In fact, let’s run through the top 5 ways to make the most of your speaking engagement:

    1. Be Prepared. If you need to borrow a laptop projector, make plans with your contact weeks beforehand. Then confirm days before the meeting. Have a hard copy of your presentation ready just in case your laptop or their projector is on the fritz. Take a bottle of water with you.  Have a “listeners’ kit” ready for everyone there including: info about buying the book today, info about becoming a part of your email list, bookmark and business card. Make sure you know where you’re going. Get there early. Just basically channel your inner Boy Scout and you’ll be fine.

    2. Speak to the Group. Don’t talk about the minutiae of story plotting and character development to a chamber group of realtors or bankers. In other words, have a couple different presentations ready to go. Don’t give the writer’s/book club presentation to the chamber/Lion’s Club members. Have a more middle of the road presentation ready for that. First talk about your background. Then move into your current book. Is it a financial thriller that uses the recent economic meltdown? Talk about recent financial information that should make us all be crapping our pants. Follow that with talk about the state of the publishing industry (see crapping pants from previous sentence) Cover those topics and you’ll have blown past 30 minutes and will be ready for the Q&A, then a little time to sign some books and you’re out the door.

    3. Be Witty and Interactive. Let’s go back to the chamber meeting for this one. At the opening, ask, “So has anyone ever toyed with the idea of writing a book?” Several hands will probably go up. If not, make the case for those people that need to write a book. If it’s a chamber meeting, you’re probably going to have at least one realtor there. “Jerry with ReMax can publish an ebook on “How to Sell Your House in less than 5 Days” through Amazon’s Digital Text Platform for free and even make it a free download on his website (as a .PDF) to attract more eyeballs.” Boom, those people are now the “characters” in your presentation. If folks are writing/toying with the idea of writing a book, ask a couple of them about their book, their ideas for the story, etc. As you go through your presentation, come back to these folks again and again. “In Susan’s case for example, she can create a blog about and for women lawyers. It will give her an audience with women lawyers and tie in nicely with her legal thriller.” Any tools that you are talking about that people can use to promote/sell books, use Jerry’s made up book on selling a house as an example. Thrown in a few jokes. If you connect with your audience, and can make them laugh, they’ll like you. If they like you, the more likely they’ll buy a book at the end of your presentation.  

    4. Pass Out Books To Everyone There – I’m not saying be Oprah here. (You get a book! You get a book!…) Pass about ten out at the beginning of the meeting. No one will buy a car unless they’ve test driven it. Turn the meeting space into a makeshift bookstore. As they sit there, let them touch, smell, get into your book, maybe even read a few pages. You’ll get more sales at the end of the meeting.

    5. Send a Written Thank You Card – Like Mom always said, good manners matter. MAIL a thank you card to everyone responsible for hosting you. No email or text will do. Suck up the 45 cents for the stamp and make sure to use your best handwriting and thank your hosts, and mail it out promptly following your meeting. Remember the Law of 250 (on average, everyone knows 250 people) – your host could be at a Christmas party and say something like, “We had this local author at our year end chamber meeting the other day, a great guy, really funny and interesting. His book is called The Brink, it’s a suspense thriller. I simply can’t put it down. You need to read it.” 

    Thank you, thank you card. You just gave us another sale.

    Questions? Comments? To the keyboards!

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    Mark’s latest novel, The Brink, was selected for Barnes and Noble’s Special Collection for a second time! Check it out at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210485/?cds2Pid=24451

    News Release – Local author signs his latest “chillingly current” thriller at Lewisville Barnes & Noble

     

    Mark Fadden readily admits his new novel, The Brink, could be the most controversial book of 2010. Not only does it feature a lost Constitution article, it uses real-world economic numbers to weave an intricate conspiracy tale that takes up where the recent financial meltdown left off. “Great fiction should inspire us to challenge the status quo,” Fadden said, “especially when the status quo involves our country’s truly dangerous financial situation.” It is this dangerous financial situation, which Fadden spent years researching, that becomes the focus of the story after fugitive lawman Danny Cavanaugh helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot to create financial Armageddon.

    Fadden was in Lewisville on Sunday, Oct 10 to sign copies of The Brink and to talk to thriller fans about his books. The Brink is Fadden’s third novel and is a continuation of his first novel, Five Days in Dallas. Published in 2003, Five Days in Dallas received critical acclaim and Fadden himself was even called a “masterful storyteller” by a Writer’s Digest reviewer. Fadden, who lives in Colleyville, then began working on the follow-up in 2006, which eventually became The Brink. “I’m really proud of it,” Fadden said of the book, which has won two awards from his publisher. “It explodes off the first page and maintains that action-packed pace to the very last paragraph. It also delivers the level of suspense that thriller readers have come to expect with a plot that couldn’t be more current. There’s great chemistry between the two main characters. They’re both strong personalities, but each struggles with deep inner conflict that has shaped who they are.”

    While writing The Brink allowed Fadden to navigate the complex world of economics and politics, it’s his lead character that he’s still trying to understand. “Danny Cavanaugh is an interesting guy. He has this unstoppable desire to help his fellow man, but he has also made some bad choices that have put him in a precarious position. When The Brink opens, he’s hiding out in Mexico contemplating suicide; not exactly a typical hero’s situation, but that’s what makes him relatable. We’ve all faced situations where we want to give up, where things seem insurmountable, but something deep inside keeps us going.”

    “The signing went wonderfully well,” said Lewisville Barnes & Noble Community Relations Manager Debbe France. “This is how reputations are made and this is how bookstores stay open, with successful events like this one.”

    Readers can preview The Brink at www.markfadden.com.  Fadden has also created a blog about writing novels and book marketing using social media at www.markfadden.wordpress.com.