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… 

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

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

“TOMA! TOMA!”

Wikipedia defines TOMA or Top of Mind Advertising as, “”When people think of you first to fulfill their product or service needs.” Wiki also goes on to report the following,

“Traditionally, TOMA has been achieved through traditional channels such as newspapers, television, and magazines. Increasingly companies of all sizes are moving towards social media like Twitter and Facebook over against traditional channels. Chicago Now reports, “Close to four-in-ten employers (37%) plan to put a greater emphasis on social media in 2010 to create a more positive brand for their organization.” [2] Therefore, TOMA refers to percent of respondents who name a brand or product first when asked to list companies in that industry sector—including, but not limited to traditional advertising channels.”

But how does TOMA relate to book marketing you ask? How do readers know to think of you when you’re the new kid on the block. How does a potential customer know to ask for your book first in a bookstore, before all others? 

The answer is they don’t. But we’ve got a secret weapon on our sides. The knowledgeable staff at the local bookstores.

By now, you’ve all heard me preach about scheduling as many book signings within a 100 mile radius as you can. So far, I’ve done 17 book signings, 3 of them out of state, with the farthest one awaiy in PA and two in NOLA. They all were to promote my latest thriller, The Brink, and it’s only been out since June 2010.

So, when you have these siginings, there are two simple words to make sure that the staff will recommend your book not only on the day of your signing, but whenver someone comes in, walks up to them, and says, “excuse me, could you recommend a really good thriller?” Hold on to your hat, ’cause here comes the two words. Ready? Are you sure? Here they come:

Be nice.

Shake the hand, or maybe even go in for a hug to the CRM (community relations manager) or sales manager that scheduled your signing. Before the signing begins, walk around and introduce yourself to all of the staff on the floor, behind the cash registers, and even the barista in the coffee bar. Tell them why you’re there. Ask them to tell folks about your book. Smile. Alot. Make friends and influence people. I know you have it in you.

Then, after the signing is over, once again make the rounds thanking every staff member and once again shake hands with/hug/ bow down to the CRM/sales manager. The number of books you sold during your signing will soon be forgotten, but if you make a good impression on the ten people that are working during the signing, I guarantee you will have 10 salespeople potentially working for you to move the copies you didn’t sell.

Then, after the signing is over, here’s three more words to tattoo on your brain: thank you card.

I know it seems old fashioned, and that nobody sends them anymore. But that’s exactly why should do it. You will stand out by sending one. Make sure it’s handwritten, in legible writting, okay Sloppy McInkstains? On a quality cardstock thank you note, not on leftover thanks yous from your son’s Toy Story 3 birthday party.

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.

Get 20% off when you order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate one-of-a-kind gift at http://shop.markfadden.com/

Go big or go small?

Street marker in front of NOLA Borders

I was in New Orleans over the weekend for a celebration (is there a better city for such an occasion?) and I was able to squeeze in two book signings while I was there. One was at a big, bold Borders store in a building that used to be a mortuary. I know what you’re thinking, with the state of the publishing industry these days, the irony isn’t lost on any one that a bookstore would be in a former mortuary. Nevertheless, it was a very cool building, and I met several staff members that had helped renovate the building after Katrina and fill it book by book.

The other signing was in a funky little place called Faubourg Marginy Art and Books (FAB). Located on Frenchmen Street, just blocks from Bourbon Street, but literally a world away from the Bourbon Street vibe, FAB had the comfortable feel of a throw back book store from the 70s. It’s filled with an eclectic mix of art and books and nestled on a corner spot where owner Otis Fennell can not only watch the cast of characters that can only be found on a New Orleans street walk by, but feel the energy of the street change each day as the light fades away and night invades the soul of that very cool little corner of the world.

After both signings, a friend of mine asked me which signing I liked better – the signing in the big, beautiful Borders or hanging out on the corner of Otis’s little shop trying to drum up business from the people walking by?

Honestly, I loved them both. A signing in a place like Borders allows you to meet book lovers and introduce your work to them. There’ s the smell of coffee from the cafe, the background of mellow jazz music, and the sight of endless rows of new books fresh off the presses. At FAB, Otis and I hung out on the corner in front of the shop. He talked with people from the neighborhood, introducing me to them. I met a couple fellow writers, a radio announcer from the NOLA NPR station and other characters from the neighborhood. I also talked to a steady stream of passers-by trying to convince them to stop for a moment to take a look at my book, The Brink, and let them see for themselves that it is a good read – something worth their time.

Whether you go to the big stores for your signings, or you want to try your luck with a mom and pop shop, its the same challenge: to convince someone that they need what you are selling. Whether it’s as a unique Christmas gift, a break from the stresses and strains of everyday life, a primer on a technical topic, or as inspiration that might just change their lives, every second we spend at our book signings should be used trying to get our books into the hands of people that haven’t read us yet. Book lovers are everywhere. It’s our job to not look at just one or two places, but to seek them out wherever they may be.

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

New Venues For Selling Books Part 3, in 3-D!

Okay, so I lied about this post being in 3D. Maybe if you do a few shots before reading it, then get your kids to smudge your glasses, it may seem like looking at 3D, without the 3D glasses on. I figured everyone is using 3D to capture eyeballs, and I didn’t want to be left out it the cold. Plus, tonight’s topic is a pretty good one.

Okay, so as an author, you’ve managed to schedule a book signing at every bookstore within driving distance, you’ve talked to every writers group, and every librarian knows your name from one end of the county to the other. You are developing your shopping cart on your website and are hopefully gearing up for the Xmas push. So, how else can you sell books? What about your local chamber of commerce? Are you a member? You should be, and here’s why.

Chamber members are constantly seeking new opportunities to network. They are also typically small businesses that care more about holding on to their customers who may be neighbors and friends than larger companies that are based thousands of miles away. These small business owners often need unique and personalized gifts for those special clients and customers and typically you are probably one of a few local authors that they know. More importantly, you are probable THE ONLY AUTHOR who’s a member of the chamber. Like shooting fish in a barrel, huh?

Join your local chamber, and doing it now with Christmas around the corner would be a great time. Business people get tons of gifts from vendors at Christmas. But a signed book, from a local author? Now that’s a unique Christmas gift. That’s how to stand out from the crowd of chocolate covered coffee beans and the jelly of the month club memberships.

Signed books as the ultimate unique christmas gift

My last post was about having book signings in unusual venues. In keeping with that theme, I wanted to share where I’ll be tomorrow. I am giving a presentation on my books and on how to market books using social media to the North Richland Hills, Texas Lions Club. As most of you know, Christmas is less than 3 months away, 81 days and counting. Everyone and their mother will be looking toward Christmas to help add some black to their spreadsheets, and so should authors.

One feather we have in our cap is that we can offer people unique gifts. In fact, a personalized Christmas gift, the signed book, would be fantastic – and classified as one of the relatively cheap Christmas gifts out there – to give as a business gift. Therefore, as this Christmas rolls around, I will be offering signed copies of my latest thriller, The Brink, as the ultimate unique and personalized Christmas gift.

Let’s say that a salon owner wants to send a unique gift to her top 20 clients this Christmas. As authors, we can sign each book to each individual with “Merry Christmas 2010.” The salon owner can also affix her logo to the inside page across from the signature page. Every time the client shows the signed book to a visitor to his home or office, that visitor will see that it was a gift from the salon owner. Wallah, another prospective client not only sees this unique gift, but the story of how the client came to receive a signed book will be retold again and again, keeping the salon owner on the client’s mind. And with all the crap out there that we have to think about, staying in someone’s head (especially when you provide them a service) is critical.

Here’s the flyer that will be at each and every seat before the meeting starts tomorrow (along with a few bookmarks, of course). It allows people to sign up for my email database (very important) and purchase both individual books for themselves or as personalized Christmas gifts. It also allows them to make a bulk order for business gifts. Since we’re still a little bit away from Christmas, some people may not be ready to think about Christmas gifts just yet. That’s why I have the check box toward the bottom that will allow me to follow up with those folks at a later date to offer the Christmas gift bulk book deal again.

 Thoughts? Comments? To the keyboards!

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

A Glimpse into the trenches of a book marketing campaign

Writing Topic – First or Third, and no it’s not my Shrek movie preference

Marketing Topic – Taking it on the road

Writing Topic – First or Third, and no it’s not my Shrek movie preference

When you read a book, do you pay much attention to what voice it’s told in? Is it first person (I, me, my) or second (you) or 3rd (he, she, they)? When you go back and look at these books again, looking for the perspective from which it’s told, does it change the book’s feel? It’s personality? What if you were to take a story told in the first person and change all the I, me, my’s with third person he, she, they’s. Would that change your opinion of the story?

I’ve often thought that first person is a very emotional, very in-your-face kind of storytelling. I’ve shied away from it. It also limits the storyteller’s ability to tell the story from multiple perspectives. However blasphemous this sounds, I’ve decided to do my next novel as a hybrid of 1st and 3rd person perspective. This isn’t a new concept, writer’s have been doing it for a long time. But I think in this case, where I’m trying to fuse a coming of age story with a murder mystery, those two perspectives will be able to carry the load of the story quite nicely.

Thoughts? Experiences with first person? Opinions of the third person? To the keyboards!

Marketing Topic – Taking it on the road

How far are you willing to go to sell books? Now I’m not asking that you streak your local B&N carrying a flag that features your website address on it. I’m talking about physical miles. Ho far are you willing to travel during your book signing tour? And how long  will your book tour be? A few months? A few years?

I’ll be traveling to Houston a few times this fall and to New Orleans as well. I am going to make time to stop in to several book stores in Houston to introduce myself and to see if I can do a signing at a later date. While I’m on vacation in NOLA, I’ve already talked to the Borders there and they’ve agreed to host me during my trip. Another small bookstore’s owner is reviewing The Brink and will soon decide whether he can host me.

Point is, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, try to carve out some time for a book signing. At the very least, you can write off some business expenses!