August 19, 2010

Day 66 of 365

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

In this issue: 

  • Writing topic – Trapped in the ‘Net
  • Marketing Topic – First day of Google AdWords was a scorcher!

Writing topic – Trapped in the ‘Net

We all know that Big Brother’s been spying on people over the Internet since they were doing it to Sandra Bullock in the 1995 thriller The Net. When I say the word ‘cookie’, you probably know it’s 1) a delicious treat and 2) it’s a tidbit of information stored on your computer that tracks where you’ve been on the Internet. But do you know about ‘beacons?’ They are other intrusive trackers that try to determine why you are on a page. On NPR’s Fresh Air program today, the show was “Tracking the companes that track you online.” They were talking about Internet privacy, cookies, and beacons. Now, if you’re a conspiracy lover like moi, there are all sorts of ways to incorporate this story into your novel. Or maybe take it to the next level with a new kind of Internet, one say 20 years from now that has evolved using this tracking technology. What would it look like? What kind of crimes could be committed using it? How would our hero in the story figure out whodunit?

Marketing Topic – First day of Google AdWords was a scorcher!

Well, I hope I’m not a one hit wonder. On my first day with Google AdWords, I got 1 hit. Kick the tires and light the fires! My ad budget is $10/day and my default bid per ad is $.75. Here’s the ad:

 And here’s a screenshot of the ad’s performance:

 

 

The keyword “double-dip recession” got the most impression and also got the hit. If you remember, my Facebook ads were getting in the tens and hundreds of thousand of impressions per day. On Google, I got 1,032. I’m going to up my bid and see what happens, especially since most keywords got very little impressions. More tomorrow night as the Google AdWords campaign rolls on.

 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

 

Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

August 16, 2010

Day 64 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010, which is my first official month – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:

  • Writing Topic –  Should we heed the undead?
  • Marketing Topic –  Cooks n’ Books – new venues to market books

Writing Topic – Should we heed the undead?

Trends. They permeate everything from pets (70s Pet Rock phenomenon, which I’ll never understand) to pants (I’ve still got my parachute pants from the 80s. I’m hoping for a comeback by the time my sons can wear them) to books. Case in point, vampires and zombies. From Twilight to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, there’s the books that started the trends, then there’s the books that try to imitate them, and then there are those who say the ones that started the trend are just imitators to begin with (the whole Stephenie Meyer vs Anne Rice debacle)

So, should you write for trends? I’ve already commented on writing with current events in mind. Of course, I have my political thrillers in mind, so I have to pick current topics. But writing novels that are trying to predict the next literary trends, which, since it will be many months to years before your novel is written and then published, is pretty much impossible. Or is it? Let’s pass the mic, or keyboard, as it were and have some discussion on this one.

Marketing Topic – Cooks n’ Books – new venues to market books

These days, we tend to look for marketing magic bullets in the social media/online world. However, don’t overlook actual, physical places that take up space in the real world. Signings are still the workhorse of any book marketing campaign. And while most signings will occur in bookstores, it’s smart to always think outside the box about signings.

For example, my local grocery store, Market Street, offers a cooking class that’s also a book club. The events manager picks a book that has some kind of food dish in it, and the class reads the book. When it comes time for class/book club night, they cook the dish in the first half and review the book and eat said dish in the second half. For example, for my event, we will be making crab cake sandwiches and drinking them down with Shiner Bock beer. Glorious!

This is a heck of an idea and a wonderful way to pair nourishment for the body with nourishment for the mind/soul. Okay, that was a bit of a stretch. But seriously, think outside the box when planning your next signing. You might come up with a whole new format to get books signed (and sold!). And if you do, make sure to share your idea here.  

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

 

Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

August 16, 2010

Day 63 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010, which is my first official month – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:

  • Marketing Topic – Book signings, the best of times, the worst of times
  • Marketing Topic –  Another fantastic book marketing blog
  • Something funny – Elizabeth Warren Rap Video

Marketing Topic – Book signings, the best of times, the worst of times

Sorry about the lack of a Friday the 13th entry. It would have been great to muse on the influence of Jason Voorhees in our writings, but I had a signing that night at the Dallas Uptown Borders. Which brings us to a very good point about scheduling your signings, make absolutely sure your signing is scheduled during a time when the store has the most traffic. I scheduled my signing with one of the store managers and he said that Friday nights were busy. Their store is located in an urban, downtown setting, and he said that many people come in to browse before going out for the evening. But when I get there, it was a different story.

When I arrived I see my beautiful table already set up. I start arranging my own supplies I’ve brought: Sharpie markers, extra bookmarks, bookplates at the ready in case 1) I run out of books to sign or 2) the person wants to buy the book but needs to wait to get it online for whatever reason. (For those that don’t know, bookplates are basically stickers that authors sign and the customer can affix them to the inside of the book later.) The manager on duty comes over and, after introductions, says, “You know that Friday nights are our slowest nights of the week.” Oy vey! Not to fault the manager with whom I scheduled the signing, he doesn’t work Friday nights and thought they were hopping. And while I did manage to sell 8 books, the experience also taught me a valuable lesson: real estate might be about location, location, location, but book signings are all about timing, timing, timing.

I’m scheduling more signings this week and I’m sticking with the Saturday and Sunday afternoon slots until Thanksgiving hits. Then, it’s a free for all. I’ll take any weekday night that’s offered because Christmas is a different animal altogether. And the closer Dec 25 gets, the more likely I’ll sell 30 books on a Monday night.

And really, I think the Friday night signing was a success. I met some very nice people and, like Joe Girard, the Guinness Book of World’s Records World’s Greatest Salesman, says about his Rule of 250, “everyone, on average, knows 250 people.” So, if I sold 8 books, that means I had the potential to reach 2,000 on Friday night. Think about it, if a friend of yours says, “I just finished this book called The Brink. It’s this action packed thriller that I couldn’t put down. You’ve got to read it,” wouldn’t you?

Marketing Topic – Another fantastic book marketing blog

I wanted to pass along this little nugget about another blog that offers book marketing tips. It’s called, “The Savvy Book Marketer.” The author even offers a free eBook on book marketing and a book marketing plan. The tip I’ve enjoyed the most is the 24-hour Twitter World Tour. Great idea!

Something funny – Elizabeth Warren Rap Video

It’s Monday, so I thought I’d end with something for those who have a case of the Mondays. For those who don’t know who Elizabeth Warren is, her Wikipedia entry states, “is an American attorney and law professor. She is the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School — where she teaches contract law, bankruptcy, and commercial law — and has devoted much of the past three decades to studying the economics of middle class families. In the wake of the 2008-9 financial crisis, she became the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel created to investigate the U.S. banking bailout (formally known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program). In that role, she has provided a critical check on the U.S. Department of the Treasury and has been a leading advocate for accountability and transparency in government. She is also reportedly being considered by President Obama to be the first Director of the new consumer agency.[16] On May 24, 2010, Time Magazine called Warren, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Sheila Bair, and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro the “New Sheriffs of Wall Street” in a cover story.”

As her lifelong fight has been to bring sanity and transparency to the American financial system, something that I hope The Brink does for those who read it, I thought I’d pass it along. Enjoy!

 The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…