Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

August 23, 2010

Day 70 of 365

Books sold so far (May and June 2010): 246

In this issue:

  • Writing topic – Could I have a side of pommes frittes with my bildungsroman?
  • Marketing Topic – Google AdWords – the only constant is change

Writing topic – Could I have a side of pommes frittes with my bildungsroman?

I was actually going to talk about the topic, “Should novelists try to educate through their work?” But after going back through old posts, I realized we already covered that one. But as I was researching one of the greatest ‘teaching novels,’ To Kill a Mockingbird, I came across a fascinating word: bildungsroman. The official definition of bildungsroman in Wikipedia is, “is a genre of the novel which focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood.” We Americans refer to it as the ‘coming of age’ story. Now, the YA genre is filled with novels dripping with bildungsroman: the aforementioned To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn, Treasure Island, the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson novels, and Great Expectations, just to name a few. But, does that mean that it must only occur in YA novels? I never found the German word for adult novels where the characters also “come of age” during the story, but as I thought about it, I’ve always connected with those characters that mature psychologically and morally during the story. What about you? Are the flawed heroes your favorite? What are the books that contain their stories?    

Marketing Topic – Google AdWords, the only constant is change

Last week, I started doing ads on Google AdWords. As I mentioned in a previous post, while Facebook allows you to include a pic with your ad, Facebook doesn’t track which keywords are working for you, and which aren’t. Facebook only allows you to send your ad out to one group of people, say ones that listed, “reading” as a hobby. With Google, you can get really specific. For example, my ad last week was:

The keywords I listed, in order from most to least clicked were: “double-dip recession” 7 clicks; “financial crisis” 4 clicks; “award winning thriller” 2 clicks; “best political thrillers” 0 clicks; and “US bankrupt” 0 clicks. My daily budget is $10, and I have a maximum bid of $1 per click.

I’m changing up the ad and the groups of people that will see it.

Here’s the new ad:

The Bilderberg Group, which is the secret society referred to in the novel, has been in the news lately. Both Rush Limbaugh and Fidel Castro are talking about them. Anyway, I’ve changed the keywords associated with this new ad to “Bilderberg”; “Bilderberg Group”; “New World Order”;  and I’ve kept “financial crisis”; “award winning thriller”; and “best political thrillers.” I’ll have some new numbers for this ad in tomorrow’s post.

Until then, I’ve got to go play tooth fairy tonight. Anyone got a good idea about the going rate for the 2nd tooth?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  


The Nightstand Diaries – 1 year, 5,000 books, and an (almost) anything goes approach to book marketing

June 27, 2010

The Nightstand Diaries1 year, 5,000 books, and an (almost) anything goes approach to book marketing

It’s named “The Nightstand Diaries” because in terms of publishing a book, it doesn’t mean squat that we’re published. It doesn’t mean squat that our book is on a bookstore shelf. It’s only when someone takes our book home and reads it – as a way to relax on a lounge chair, pass time on a subway, or as the last mental exercise before putting it on the nightstand and going to bed – that we become a part of our readers’ lives. With this notion in mind, I invite you to come along as I try to do that very thing. My goal is to sell 5,000 copies of my new novel The Brink over the next year using mostly social media with a limited marketing budget. And this is an interactive blog, so if you have good marketing ideas, or want to critique mine whenever I do something stupid, let’s hear it! So, without further ado, let the book marketing madness continue…

Day 12 of 365

In this Weekend Edition issue:

  • Is the Internet Destroying Our Brains? Novels to the Rescue?
  • The real story behind The Brink’s villainous Group – video
  • Local news is more than just the community newspaper

Is the Internet Destroying Our Brains? Novels to the Rescue?

If you believe this NYTimes article, then yes, it is. The Internet is sucking dry our creative juices and, um….what’s the word I’m looking for….something bad about what it’s doing to our ability to focus and concen….look out the window! A squirrel on the fence!

Where was I?  Oh yeah, here’s the link to the GOOD blog: http://www.good.is/post/is-the-internet-destroying-your-brain-try-this-test/?gt1=48001 It includes a test you can take to see just how much the Internet has sucked your brain’s abilities out through your eyeballs.

So how does reading novels help to counteract this phenomenon? Here’s a blurb from an article on what Dr. Brian E. Walsh explains in his book Unleashing Your Brilliance, what reading fiction does in terms of mental stimulation:

Walsh says that mental stimulations make brain cells generate new extensions, resulting in richer information processing. He explains, “Reading fiction, especially ranging across authors, pushes our boundaries as we vicariously experience fresh scenarios and identify with the characters. No wonder they call them novels.” Forcing us to create the scenes, the look of the characters, the smells, and the sounds, and prodding our emotions, reading fiction stimulates all of our senses and tweaks our brain. Reading does this so much more than does simply watching someone else’s interpretation on film or in a play.”

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/self-help-articles/reading-fiction-how-it-enriches-brain-functioning-37992.html#ixzz0s66D7f2F
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Who would have thought that we writers could save the world!

 The real story behind The Brink’s villainous Group – video

 In The Brink, the ruthless organization referred to as “The Group” is based upon a real life secret society that is made up of some of the world’s most powerful politicians, international financiers, and monarchs known as the Bilderberg Group. Some journalists and conspiracy theorists say they are the ones secretly running the world’s economies and determining our collective destiny. They get that name because they supposedly first met in 1954 at the Hotel Bilderberg in The Netherlands. Whether this group is real or not is still up to for much debate. Watch this video and decide for yourself:

Local news is more than just the community newspaper

As David Meerman Scott advises in his social media bible, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, we should be issuing news releases all the time. When doing so, you’ll want to focus much of your effort on the local news outlets, since local media likes to do stories on local people and events. In your hunt for these outlets, you will probably come across your local TV stations and newspapers, but there is a whole other faction of news outlets you need to remember: bloggers and websites devoted to your community.

Case in point is www.ourgreatcity.com. Mark Harrison of OurGreatCity.com not only posted the news release I sent him before my book signing at my local Borders store, he came out and took pictures for the website and turned it into a second awesome news release! So when you’re sending out news releases, don’t forget to do a search for bloggers in your area and other folks that run community websites. As social media only gets bigger, more and more people turn to sites and blogs to stay connected to their communities, and find local events like book signings!