Press Releases are useless. Except during the next two weeks.

Most likely, your press release will be DOA. In fact, it begins having heart palpitations before you hit the send button. A little known fact, a news station in a big news market like Dallas/Fort Worth (where I live) gets 2,500 press releases A DAY. But there is a way to skip to the front of the line and almost guarantee your press release will be read and turn into a few minutes in front of a camera (aka a FREE COMMERCIAL FOR YOUR BOOK) Interested in thousands of dollars in free advertising? Then please read on.

Before I gave my presentation to the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce yesterday, a guy by the name of Jeff Crilley, who happens to own his own PR firm here in Dallas, gave a presentation on how to get free publicity from local news stations. And, as a former local FOX news reporter for 25 years or so, Jeff knows a little something about the subject. In fact, he wrote a book entitled Free Publicity, and gave copies to those of us in attendance.

The book is chock full of useful tips on getting free publicity, but perhaps the greatest advice Jeff had is extremely timely (i.e. it has a very short expiration date) He said that news stations are STARVING  for news over the last two weeks in December. News that would normally be looked over in a matter of seconds on a normal news day at a normal time of year becomes gold to the desperate reporter who drew the short straw and is left stuck in the newsroom rubbing his Santa hat for luck.

Jeff’s advice was to basically do a little research and find out if who’s been covering stories on topics that are similar to the ones in your book. Your novel about ghosts? A local reporter probably has done a recent story about a haunted house/building/forest (you have to go back no further than Halloween time for something like that) Is your book about a historic district in town? News reporters are always doing stories about saving historical places in the face of Big Development and their menacing cranes. Now, here’s where Jeff gets very specific. CALL, do not email or write the reporter that’s been covering those stories. This is, after all, your sales pitch to run your story. You need to talk to a person, you need to make a connection. So call the reporter. Chat up the angle that you’ve seen their story on the historic building that was nearly torn down. You have just published a book on an entire historic district in town that has a history of not just one but several buildings being reduced to splinters. Maybe there’s a group that fights tooth and nail to save it every time someone wants to change it. Maybe something happened there around this time of year in the district’s heyday (making it timely). See where I’m going with this? 

Tell the reporter that you are emailing him your press release as you’re speaking to him. Tell him you are available at his convenience to do an interview. If you have a book signing coming up, it’d be great to have a camera crew come out. Make it as easy on the reporter as possible to cover the story. Chances are they’re up against a deadline. If they can do your story and still have time for lunch, they’ll be grateful.

So there you go. You get some free press that’s worth A LOT of greenbacks. They get some news to fill an otherwise giant hole that is the holiday news cycle. Win-win. No go start writing your release and your phone call script so on Monday you’re ready to punch those digits and sell your story! 


Mark’s latest novel, The Brink, was selected for Barnes and Noble’s Special Collection for a second time! Check it out at

Still looking for a unique Christmas gift? Mark will be signing copies of The Brink from 2pm to 4pm at the Colleyville, Texas Borders bookstore tomorrow (Saturday Dec 18)

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

July 16, 2010

Day 32 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010 – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:

  • FB ad round-up – a new Borders coupon means a new ad for this guy        
  • Having fun with Girls in the Stacks.  

FB ad round-up

You gotta love the big bookstores. Like waves rolling into the beach, one sale ends and another is right behind it. Borders has been good to me, letting me sell myself at their stores around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, so I’m sticking with them for the Facebook ads. Here’s the new one I created as part of their July 16-19 25% off sale. It incorporates last night’s video interview with the Girls in the Stacks (GITS):

Need a good book?

Check out Mark Fadden’s latest interview about his new award-winning thriller and get the promo code for 25% off his books.

I’m keeping my $20 a day budget and I did a $.49 bid CPC (cost per click).  By the way, the 25% off promo code for is BHN7798F. Enjoy! But hurry, sale ends 7/19.

Having fun with The Girls in the Stacks

When doing an interview, you couldn’t ask for a better duo than Stacy and Nancy. The Girls in the Stacks (GITS) asked great questions and the Colleyville Borders bookstore was extremely generous in letting us use their store for the venue. Plus, Stacy used a Flip camera to film us, a way cool little gadget. If you’re not familiar with them, it’s a plug and play video camera – just record your video, flip out the USB adapter and voila! Your video’s on the Internet! Okay, there’s a few steps between those, but if I went into them, I couldn’t have used voila! Here’s the link to the video:

While we covered the items that I suggested in an email prior to the interview, they also wanted to know what’s in my “stack.” I am currently reading Heat, an awesome book about a guy who spends a year being a cook (read “slave”) in Mario Batali’s Babbo restaurant. He also tells the stories of some of the other cooks and how they dedicate themselves to their craft, (i.e. spending 6 months at a restaurant in Italy for no pay just to learn how to make pasta the right way) Anyone who cooks would love this book.

But back to the interview. Stacy sent it to me this morning and I put it up on my website ASAP. (As you’ll see, I also changed the headline of my site to reflect the new Borders coupon.) Video is extremely important, and an interview shows a more human side to you. The more people that watch you on video and see who the human is behind the name on the book cover, the more likely they are to buy a book.  Unless you come off like a complete ass, so don’t do that.

By the way, how’d you do on your homework assignment? Did you do your list of 5 uses for videos to sell your books? Did you get 10?  Nice work!

I also emailed the video to my contact at Good Morning Texas. In a previous post, I mentioned how I’m trying to get on that show, hopefully on the same day I’m doing a signing at the Dallas Uptown Borders store (can’t you just smell the cross-promotion?) Why did I do that you ask? I wanted to show her that I wouldn’t crash and burn in front of a camera.

By the way, the interview cost me nothing to do. As Stacy remarked, GITS is a “labor of love” for them. God bless ‘em.

As always, I hope I’ve presented information today that you can use. If you’d like more, or have a question, by all means send it to me at 

Have a great weekend. No signings this weekend, but next weekend I’ll be busier than a cow’s tongue in a salt lick. We’ll talk on Monday. Till then…

 The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…