Book Signing Behaivor aka A Sure Fire Way to Get Readers Interested in Your Baby

I love book signings. I may have mentioned in past posts that I DO NOT SIT DOWN! And neither should you. When I’m not signing books, I float around the store like a butterfly, but a determined butterfly with a specific mission. Armed with a handful of bookmarks, it is my goal to pass out as many of them to as many customers as possible. I always have one eye on my signing table in case someone is there waiting to get a book signed. 

But here’s something new I learned at my signing at the Lewisville, Texas Barnes & Noble yesterday. It seems so simple. In fact, it’s idiotic that I haven’t been doing it from the start. The wonderful Community Relations Manager Debbe France mentioned it just in passing, in fact she was so matter-of-fact about it, the words almost passed me by. As I was setting up my signing, I told her that I like to walk around the store and hand out bookmarks, and if she’d be okay with that. She said she would, then she added, “make sure to have  a copy of the book with you to hand out to people that seem interested.”

Boom. Show your customer the product. Simple, right? I’ve been so concerned with showing them the brochure of the product when this whole time, the product has been merely feet away and available for a test drive. Oy vey! How dumb could I be?

So, I quickly changed my approach. Now, this takes a little feel on your part. You have to feel out your customer in just a few seconds, but most of us can tell if a person is open to being talked to or not. The ones that were, I handed them a bookmark to break the ice. If they were in the mystery or thriller section, I asked them who their favorite thriller author was. If they were in the cooking section, I asked if they liked thrillers. If they were young people, I asked them if their parents liked thrillers. Those questions let me know if my book was going to be something they would enjoy or want to buy as a gift. If the light was still green, I would excuse myself, jog to my signing table and grab a copy book. I would make sure to give it to them with the promise that the first two pages would totally suck them into the story. More often than not, they ended up buying it. Consequently, I had a very successful signing and nearly sold out of books.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that make all the difference. And it is also those simple things that we often overlook. People are in bookstores because they want to preview books. Getting them to preview your book is probably 75% of closing the sale. A little small talk and a sincere interest in building a relationship with each of those readers will generally take care of the other 25%. Go get ’em, Tiger.  

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

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

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.

Order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate one-of-a-kind gift at http://markfadden.com/buyabook.html

Better book marketing with search engine optimization

Whether you’re a freelance writer with a website that shows potential clients your work, or you have a full e-commerce site that you use to sell books online, I’m going to ask you something that may remind you of the title of an 80’s Def Leppard song: Is your site optimized?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Excalibur’s sword when it comes to you being the king of your web kingdom. I attended an eye-opening seminar about SEO put on by the Colleyville Chamber of Commerce. The seminar was conducted by i5 web works, a Dallas/Fort Worth Website Design, Internet Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization firm. “You really, really, really, really need to have a blog,” was just one of the points Principal and Co-Founder Michael Burns drove home. And that’s not just for writers, but for everyone. Search engines, it turns out, love blogs. But they have to be quality blogs with updated information. “You can’t just post on your blog every few months,” Burns said. “Blogging has to be a daily thing.”

Towards the end of the seminar, Burns and crew looked at a few of the audience members websites and wouldn’t you know they picked mine. Burns offered invaluable constructive criticism about the problems with my site from an SEO and design perspective as well. I’ll be covering these topics over the next couple weeks. Why? Two reasons: One, sticking to one topic at a time allows us to get fully immersed in it. And two, because it gives me more subjects for multiple posts!

For tonight, let’s talk title tags. Title tags are the keywords that come up at the very top of the window (in the blue part). You probably don’t even look at them very often, but those keywords tell the search engine what that page is all about. The title tag for my home page, http://www.markfadden.com, used to read, “Official website of author Mark Fadden.” Sounds important to us, right? But to the search engine, it means nothing. Using what I learned at the seminar, I streamlined the home page to just have a short welcome and a preview of the first 4 chapters of my latest thriller, The Brink. I used Google’s keyword tool (can be found under the “opportunities” tab on their Adwords page), and typed in ‘book preview, new author, and read books online.’ The tool then not only tells you how many global and local searches are made a month for each keyword or phrase, it also offers keywords or phrases that are like yours and those monthly search numbers as well.

Based upon how many searches were made for certain keywords, I’ve now changed the home page title tag to read: “Read books online – New Author Mark Fadden book preview.” Incidentally, Burns mentioned that each page of your site needs to have unique title tags, and don’t go past 65 characters. I just changed the tags today, so I won’t have any information on how they have impacted traffic until tomorrow. Godaddy.com, my web hosting service, has a 24-hour lag time in posting site statistics, so we’ll review them in tomorrow’s post. Until then,

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

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

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

“He’s 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.

Order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate one-of-a-kind gift at http://markfadden.com/buyabook.html

Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

September 2, 2010

Day 79 of 365

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

In this issue:

  • Writing topic – The Writing Life, better as fiction than as fact
  • Marketing Topic – Fewer clicks for more sales?

Writing topic – The Writing Life, better as fiction than as fact

The recent announcement from writer Christopher Hitchens that he’s battling cancer, a cancer that started in his esophagus, got me thinking about writers and what the Writing Life, or “the life” as many writers call it, does to one’s health.

While Hitchens states in the article “Topic of Cancer” in the Sept 2010 issue of Vanity Fair, that his father also had esophageal cancer, and died from it, I can’t help but think that Hitchens’s lifestyle upped the chances of getting a sickness he was already in line to get due to his genes.

Hitchens is a notorious drinker and a chain-smoker. Did these “hobbies” contribute to his cancer? Probably. But did they also make him the larger-than-life character that we see in our mind’s eye when we read his stuff? Definitely. And do we still need figures like these in our world? Absolutely!   

Hitchens is not a lonely man in the ‘hard living writers’ category. Many of the great geniuses had intimate relationships with the bottle and the pipe. Off the top of my head, Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson come to mind. Certainly these two men were great writers. But is being just a great writer enough to make a lasting impression on the world? Would Hemingway have been Papa if he drank tea at four o’clock everyday with scones and Devonshire pudding? Of course not. If I mention the name Hunter S. Thompson, does your head fill with passages from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Or does it fill with visions of the author blowing things up on his Woody Creek ranch, or the author sitting in a wrecked hotel room surrounded by enough drugs to make a dealer’s entire fiscal year?

Sadly, the images these people portray is the “hook” that grabs us to read their stuff. Hitchens played the part of the intellectual Brit who unapologetically loves his drink like a master. Whether it is a part that was the real him, or just a part he was playing, we may never know. Either way, I think he knew it is a part that all of us who like him and enjoy his stuff would love to play. And that was, in part, our attraction to him. Hopefully, it won’t be a part that will end in tragedy, for if Hitch loses his battle with cancer, a wonderful character in the play of Life will have been lost. And the world, especially the literary one, needs as many characters as it can get.   

So, the question for discussion that comes out of this is, should we judge writers solely on their words and ideas? Or, like we expect of our modern day heroes i.e. sports figures, should we hold them, behavior included, to a higher standard because they are living in the public spotlight?  

To the keyboards!

Marketing Topic – Fewer clicks for more sales

I was reviewing my website analytics page the other day and noticed two troubling things: one, I get many visitors to my site (average about 300 a week), but they don’t stay very long (avg length of visit is 40 seconds). Two, 80% enter and exit from the homepage. While I’m in talks with a web designer to change up the look of the site to make it more attractive and flow better, I was thinking about what web marketing folks say is most important: content. While my home page has links to my blog, the book trailer, a couple video interview links, and a link to read a preview of my latest book, The Brink, it doesn’t have the one thing that could suck people into the book – the sample of the book.

My book preview is over on “the novels” page, but that’s like the appe-teaser lady at the grocery store giving you a map to the sample at her booth instead of the sample itself. People don’t like jumping through hoops. They don’t like clicking and then having to click again. They should get a sample of your stuff right away! So, I’m adding my book preview to the homepage so it’s one of the first things they see when they visit my site. I’ll review if this adjustment ups the numbers next week.

Until then have a fantastic holiday weekend.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…