What’s Your 2011 Writing Resolution?

Just a quick sidebar here: I’m a dog lover, but you can’t really argue with a pissed off cat pic.

In a recent blog, we covered what we’re going to do in 2011 on the marketing side to get more book sales and build our author platform (come on, say it with me…speaking engagements). But, what about the writing side?

If you’re like me, trying to sell our darlings has taken quite the bite out of the time we have for writing the next blockbuster. So, with Baby New Year about to fill his new fangled 2011 diaper with a craptastic load of inspiration for us to crank out the Next Big Novel, or the New Gotta-Read Non-Fiction Book, how best to channel that inspiration and excitement so that we actually get things done?

We’re going to stay on this topic for a little while until we can hopefully get some good ideas floating around. That means it’s time to share, people. I’ll get us started with one of my writing resolutions for 2011…

Daily word goal – I know, it sounds basic and boring, but setting goals has worked forever. And I like words better than pages, because with pages we start to dicker with line spacing and margins until there’s like ten words on each page and it’s a column in the middle. My personal goal is 2,500 words a weekday.

What about you? How are you going to make your cute little rump stay in that uncomfortable Ikea chair to knock out some serious work?

To the keyboards!

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BTW, I’ve got around 18 copies left of The Brink that I can sign for your favorite reader and still mail out in time for Christmas. The best part? It’s gonna set you back less than 20 bucks. So, if you need a last minute gift that will grace your friend’s/uncle’s/estranged lover’s bookcase and make them think about you every time they look at it over the years (and believe me, the fact that it’s a signed book, they’ll love it long time, AND keep it more prominently displayed than their own wedding album, which is probably in a box in the attic), you can order one at http://shop.markfadden.com. And, as always, thanks for the love.

Crossing Over to BookCrossing

Ever heard of BookCrossing.com? Basically, here’s what it is and how it works. You write an ID # on the inside cover of your book with a note explaining that it is a free book. You then leave it in a public place (coffeehouse, restaurant, park bench, etc.) Hopefully, the person who finds it will read it, post a review, how they got it, etc. along with the ID # so it can be tracked. Then, they pass it on. String this scenario out a few hundred times and you’ve got a cool story about how a book has traveled across perhaps the world and touch numerous lives in the process.

I think you can tell where I’m going with this one. Time to donate a few copies of your books to the wild social experiment that is bookcrossing.com. Everyone is talking about how to grow your fanbase organically. Bookcrossing.com is about as organic as it can get. Plus, it will be really cool if your book winds up being read by our troops in Afghanistan and become part of the first armed book club ever! 

Speaking of arms, bookcrossing.com doesn’t recommend you leave your book in an airport or other place where authorities are on the lookout for suspicious packages. Let’s not scare anyone this close to the holidays.

Top 5 book marketing techniques that work

Yesterday, we reviewed the dogs of my book marketing campaign. Today, let’s take a look at what works, i.e. what gets you the most bang for the smallest buck.

1. Blog – Properly maintaining a blog is a great way to get your message out and keeping it relevant. Giving good information that people can use (like book marketing that works) is a powerful resource. Making sure your blog is linked up to your facebook, twitter, shelfari, good reads, etc. accounts is CRUCIAL to broadcasting your message, thus building your author platform and selling books. For example, people see my post on my facebook account, remember that they can get a signed book for christmas and BAM, there’s an order on the site. Oh yeah, and all this publicity is 100% F-R-E-E.

2. Facebook – While shameless self promotion is an understood no-no on FB, simply interacting with those from your past, present, and future will keep you “top of mind” and turn your FB friends into customers sooner or later. Just watch out for that old high school siren who may be trying to seduce you into her virtual lair, big boy. What looks good on FB is probably the queen of one-half of a duplex filled with screaming kids and a yappy dog that likes her old man better than you. And he bites. 

3. Book signings – still the tried and true method of meeting people face to face. Plus, you know they are readers, ’cause they’re in a bookstore. Walk the store with your bookmarks. Have an email sign up sheet at your table. Be like a politician on the last leg of the most important campaign of your career. Shake hands, smile, make small talk, listen. No matter how many books you sell, treat everyone you meet at a book signing like you’re on a first date and you’ll have fans for life.  

4. Civic group/library presentations – Here you have a captive audience hanging on your every word. Whatever your book’s topic, split the presentation into two areas: the topic of your book and the state of the publishing industry today. Why talk about publishing? Two reasons. One, right now there’s more drama in that industry than in a Real Housewives TV Marathon. And two, there’s probably more than a few people in your audience that have thought about writing a book (Hey, if Snooki from Jersey Shore can do it…). They will want to know what it’s like from someone who’s already been through it. Now, here’s the big part. Usually these meetings are during a meal and people are sitting at tables. Take enough copies of your books to put SEVERAL COPIES ON EACH TABLE! I made the mistake on my first one to just put one copy at each table. I sold out of those copies, but looking back, I could have sold more. People like to look, touch, even smell books they want to buy. Let them.

5. Meet at least 1 new person every day. It sounds a little forward, but everyone you meet is a potential customer. This sales technique is as old as selling itself. But, sooner or later, people you meet will get around to asking you what you do for a living. “Well, I’m a writer who just published my latest book…” Just think, if you meet 1 person a day, that’s 30 people a month. If you follow the Law of 250, which means that each person has on average 250 people that they know, at the end of the month, you have a potential new audience of 7,500. Every month. That’s 90,000 at the end of the year. Boom. You’re on your way to a giant email database of people that want to hear about your next book.  

Not only have these tools techniques worked very well for me, they are all essentially free (not including computer/internet fees for FB, or gas money to get to the various civic meetings) While I’m glad I’ve tried many different ways to market my books, and I’ve spent some money doing so, I’m glad I’ve gone through that exercise. It let’s me know that for 2011, I will narrow my marketing focus on the things that work. It’s also great to know that the top book marketing techniques that work are free. All they take are an investment of time to make them work for you.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

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There’s still time to get your favorite reader a signed copy of The Brink for Christmas @ 20% off the cover price + FREE SHIPPING! Visit www.markfadden.com for more information

Marketing ideas that failed in 2010

This week is dedicated to a review of the marketing tools that worked and the ones that didn’t during my promotion of The Brink since June 2010. Today, let’s talk about what sucked:

1. Facebook ads – I got a big, fat goose egg worth of return on this investment. Although I saw hits on my website surge during Facebook ad campaigns, they didn’t convert into book sales. While I could speculate as to why this occured, my best guess is that Facebook ads are best used for authors that are already brands. (see Johnny Grisham and Jimmy Patterson) After attending several webinars about how little paid ads are even paid attention to hanging out there in the right hand column of the screen, I’m going to to try and stay on the organic side of search results.

2. Google ads – see Facebook ads. Spent some money, sold 0 books.

3. Chamber of Commerce ad – While I am a big proponent of supporting your local chamber by being an active member, the ad that I bought in a recent edition of the magazine produced very little sales and it was an expensive ad. I will continue to be a part of the chamber, but ads in the magazine just isn’t the right place to try and sell thriller novels. Now, if you had a business mgmt book, or a motivational book, then maybe you’ll have better luck.

4. Direct Mail – Again, not enough bang for the buck here. I had 500 postcards made up and bought 500 addresses from a direct mail company. I got a handful of book sales from this promotion, but once again the cost of the marketing campaign far outweighed the sales. I don’t know of any other authors that do direct mail campaigns, and now I know why.

So there you go, there’s my dogs of 2010.  The theme is too expensive, not enough sales to cover their costs. Have you been considering using those tools in your book marketing campaign? Or have you already used them? Let us know your experiences with them.

To the keyboards!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

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Get a signed copy of The Brink 20% off the cover price + FREE SHIPPING! Visit www.markfadden.com for more information.

Here’s what readers are saying about Mark’s latest thriller The Brink:

“I finally had a chance to sit down and read The Brink–all the way through in a day and a half. The story is gripping, even frightening, and you capture the suspense in the rhythm of your prose. In places I was reading so fast I felt like I was in the chase! I’ll put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Lonesome Dove, in the gallery of great contemporary writers!” – Bob H., Amarillo, TX

“[Mark Fadden] is the next Dan Brown.” – Arlene D., Southlake, TX

“Truly a pager turner for me. I could not put the book down. Every time I thought I had figured something out, the next twist came up. If you like conspiracy theories, you’ll love this one.” – Sharon L, Houston, TX

Want to start reading The Brink right now? Download the eBook version from amazon.com for less that $10 at http://www.amazon.com/The-Brink-ebook/dp/B003OYIEPC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284567122&sr=8-2 or bn.com at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210492/?itm=1&USRI=mark+fadden.

Work on your 2011 event calendar, post haste!

It’s time to get crackin’ on your 2011 schedule! Don’t get behind in 2011! Okay, that’s all I got for the butt jokes, butt seriously…

Have you started filling up your 2011 event calendar yet? If not, get to work for crying out loud. Your local book stores are probably dying for some signing traffic in the spring. Plus, I can guarantee the following conversation is happening around this time of year at your local library supporters/lions club/chamber board meeting:

“So who do we have on tap for speakers next year? We need to do something different.”

“Oh, there’s that guy who won the eating contest at Big Dave’s Hot Dog Hut!”

“No, he’s on tour with the Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile.”

“Ooo, what about the lady that shoots herself out of the cannon? I hear she’s a motivational speaker now.”

“Let’s put her in the possible column.”

“Let’s do something really different. We’ve done the motivational speaker, the tax guy, the financial expert. Let’s do something that’s timely, that our members would really benefit from knowing more about. Something unique.”

Never fear, your friendly neighborhood “authorpreneur” is here! Not only would most people like to know more about the mysterious world of publishing (especially these days), I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “I’ve always wanted to write a book.” Well, here’s your chance to talk about you and sell some books.

My advice is to start with scheduling presentations to civic groups in your town and move outward from there. In no time, 2011 will be booked and you can start working on 2012. Of course if you believe the Mayans, or John Cusak from the movie 2012, the world will end then anyway and we’re all wasting our time and should be out partying like Prince in 1999.

So, what about you? How are you planning to promote yourself in 2011?  

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

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Final day! The Brink by Mark Fadden goes BOGO!

Buy one signed copy for you, get one FREE as a gift. 

Order your copy at http://shop.markfadden.com

Learning from Mistakes & The Brink goes BOGO through tomorrow!

Just like I’ve told my kids 1,000 times, everyone makes mistakes. The key is to learn from them. 

And so it goes with blogging. As writers, we know very well about copyright infringement, how to quote a source correctly, but since blogging and tweeting and all things social media is so new, it’s easy to forget the rules.

Case in point. In my original post from yesterday, I copied Carol Tice’s recent post on her website about the 10 Best Articles for Writers — November 2010 as part of my blog, thinking it’s the same as retweeting, or sharing via the numerous link services that are out there (Digg, Reddit, Delicious, etc.) But as Ms. Tice informed me after reading my blog, blogging someone else’s full blog ain’t cool, and it’s copyright infringement to boot. I apologized to her and she was very gracious, and told me that it has happened to her many times. I have since edited yesterday’s post by using one of the correct ways to give props to another’s blog.

So, two lessons learned that I will pass on here: 1. if you dig someone’s posting, either just use a part of the post ( a couple paragraphs max) or link to it, just don’t use the full thing. 2. if you’re a writer, you need to check out Carol’s site.  It is chock ful ‘o awesome info for us writers.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

****************************************************

Two days only! The Brink goes BOGO!

Buy one signed copy for you, get one FREE

as a gift! Order yours at http://shop.markfadden.com

Here’s what readers are saying about Mark’s latest thriller The Brink:

“I finally had a chance to sit down and read The Brink–all the way through in a day and a half. The story is gripping, even frightening, and you capture the suspense in the rhythm of your prose. In places I was reading so fast I felt like I was in the chase! I’ll put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Lonesome Dove, in the gallery of great contemporary writers!” – Bob H., Amarillo, TX

“[Mark Fadden] is the next Dan Brown.” – Arlene D., Southlake, TX

“Truly a pager turner for me. I could not put the book down. Every time I thought I had figured something out, the next twist came up. If you like conspiracy theories, you’ll love this one.” – Sharon L, Houston, TX

Want to start reading The Brink right now? Download the eBook version from amazon.com for less that $10 at http://www.amazon.com/The-Brink-ebook/dp/B003OYIEPC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284567122&sr=8-2 or bn.com at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210492/?itm=1&USRI=mark+fadden.