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

June 27, 2010

The Nightstand Diaries1 year, 5,000 books, and an (almost) anything goes approach to book marketing

It’s named “The Nightstand Diaries” because in terms of publishing a book, it doesn’t mean squat that we’re published. It doesn’t mean squat that our book is on a bookstore shelf. It’s only when someone takes our book home and reads it – as a way to relax on a lounge chair, pass time on a subway, or as the last mental exercise before putting it on the nightstand and going to bed – that we become a part of our readers’ lives. With this notion in mind, I invite you to come along as I try to do that very thing. My goal is to sell 5,000 copies of my new novel The Brink over the next year using mostly social media with a limited marketing budget. And this is an interactive blog, so if you have good marketing ideas, or want to critique mine whenever I do something stupid, let’s hear it! So, without further ado, let the book marketing madness continue…

Day 12 of 365

In this Weekend Edition issue:

  • Is the Internet Destroying Our Brains? Novels to the Rescue?
  • The real story behind The Brink’s villainous Group – video
  • Local news is more than just the community newspaper

Is the Internet Destroying Our Brains? Novels to the Rescue?

If you believe this NYTimes article, then yes, it is. The Internet is sucking dry our creative juices and, um….what’s the word I’m looking for….something bad about what it’s doing to our ability to focus and concen….look out the window! A squirrel on the fence!

Where was I?  Oh yeah, here’s the link to the GOOD blog: http://www.good.is/post/is-the-internet-destroying-your-brain-try-this-test/?gt1=48001 It includes a test you can take to see just how much the Internet has sucked your brain’s abilities out through your eyeballs.

So how does reading novels help to counteract this phenomenon? Here’s a blurb from an article on what Dr. Brian E. Walsh explains in his book Unleashing Your Brilliance, what reading fiction does in terms of mental stimulation:

Walsh says that mental stimulations make brain cells generate new extensions, resulting in richer information processing. He explains, “Reading fiction, especially ranging across authors, pushes our boundaries as we vicariously experience fresh scenarios and identify with the characters. No wonder they call them novels.” Forcing us to create the scenes, the look of the characters, the smells, and the sounds, and prodding our emotions, reading fiction stimulates all of our senses and tweaks our brain. Reading does this so much more than does simply watching someone else’s interpretation on film or in a play.”

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/self-help-articles/reading-fiction-how-it-enriches-brain-functioning-37992.html#ixzz0s66D7f2F
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Who would have thought that we writers could save the world!

 The real story behind The Brink’s villainous Group – video

 In The Brink, the ruthless organization referred to as “The Group” is based upon a real life secret society that is made up of some of the world’s most powerful politicians, international financiers, and monarchs known as the Bilderberg Group. Some journalists and conspiracy theorists say they are the ones secretly running the world’s economies and determining our collective destiny. They get that name because they supposedly first met in 1954 at the Hotel Bilderberg in The Netherlands. Whether this group is real or not is still up to for much debate. Watch this video and decide for yourself:

Local news is more than just the community newspaper

As David Meerman Scott advises in his social media bible, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, we should be issuing news releases all the time. When doing so, you’ll want to focus much of your effort on the local news outlets, since local media likes to do stories on local people and events. In your hunt for these outlets, you will probably come across your local TV stations and newspapers, but there is a whole other faction of news outlets you need to remember: bloggers and websites devoted to your community.

Case in point is www.ourgreatcity.com. Mark Harrison of OurGreatCity.com not only posted the news release I sent him before my book signing at my local Borders store, he came out and took pictures for the website and turned it into a second awesome news release! So when you’re sending out news releases, don’t forget to do a search for bloggers in your area and other folks that run community websites. As social media only gets bigger, more and more people turn to sites and blogs to stay connected to their communities, and find local events like book signings!

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

It’s named “The Nightstand Diaries” because in terms of publishing a book, it doesn’t mean squat that we’re published. It doesn’t mean squat that our book is on a bookstore shelf. It’s only when someone takes our book home and reads it – as a way to relax on a lounge chair, pass time on a subway, or as the last mental exercise before putting it on the nightstand and going to bed – that we become a part of our readers’ lives. With this notion in mind, I invite you to come along as I try to do that very thing. My goal is to sell 5,000 copies of my new novel The Brink over the next year using mostly social media with a limited marketing budget. And this is an interactive blog, so if you have good marketing ideas, or want to critique mine whenever I do something stupid, let’s hear it! So, without further ado, let the madness continue…

Day 10 of 365

In this issue:

  • Say this 5 times real fast…would Wikipedia work well?
  • Editor? I don’t need no stinkin’ editor.  But, yes, really, we all do
  • Working the phones with Borders

Would Wikipedia work well?

Another idea from David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR (By now you probably think I get 50 cents every time I mention his book, but I don’t. I just think it’s one of those genius things that takes something complex, like social media, and makes it simple to understand), why not use Wikipedia to get your message out? For those of you who don’t know, Wikipedia allows regular folk like us to go in and update the entries if we see something missing or wrong. Now, I say get your ‘message’ because you can’t put in an ad or any direct marketing into your Wikipedia edit, but I wanted to at least show that, as a writer, I am associated with a certain Wikipedia subject.

Case in point, in my book The Brink, the secret society that’s causing all the chaos is known as The Bilderbergers. There’s a Wikipedia page on them, and one of the content chapters in the entry is titled, “Conspiracy theories” and it read as follows:

Because of its secrecy and refusal to issue news releases, the group is frequently accused of political conspiracies. Critics include the John Birch Society, an American economic nationalist advocacy group,[21] Canadian writer Daniel Estulin, British writer David Icke, American writer Jim Tucker, politician Jesse Ventura and radio host Alex Jones. The Bilderberg Group was the topic of a 2009 episode of the TruTV series Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura truTV – List of episodes for Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura.

I went in and added a sentence about how I’m tied to that subject. Again, it’s not an overt sales pitch to buy my book, but rather letting folks know that I used the Bilderbergers as a conspiratorial group in my book. Here’s the new entry (I put my addition in bold):

Because of its secrecy and refusal to issue news releases, the group is frequently accused of political conspiracies. Critics include the John Birch Society, an American economic nationalist advocacy group,[21] Canadian writer Daniel Estulin, British writer David Icke, American writer Jim Tucker, politician Jesse Ventura and radio host Alex Jones. The Bilderberg Group was the topic of a 2009 episode of the TruTV series Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura truTV – List of episodes for Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura. American novelist Mark Fadden also uses the Bilderberg Group as the sinister secret society that is planning global financial Armageddon in his latest book.

It was up for less than a day, and I got a message in my Wikipedia account stating the following:

Welcome to Wikipedia. If you are affiliated with some of the people, places or things you have written about on Wikipedia, you may have a conflict of interest. In keeping with Wikipedia’s neutral point of view policy, edits where there is a conflict of interest, or where such a conflict might reasonably be inferred, are strongly discouraged. If you have a conflict of interest, you should avoid or exercise great caution when:

  1. editing or creating articles related to you, your organization, or its competitors, as well as projects and products they are involved with;
  2. participating in deletion discussions about articles related to your organization or its competitors; and
  3. linking to the Wikipedia article or website of your organization in other articles (see Wikipedia:Spam).

Please familiarize yourself with relevant policies and guidelines, especially those pertaining to neutral point of view, verifiability of information, and autobiographies.

For information on how to contribute to Wikipedia when you have a conflict of interest, please see our frequently asked questions for organizations. Thank you.   — Jeff G. ツ 04:13, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Markfadden

Hidden categories: User talk pages with conflict of interest notices

Oops. So I guess I messed up with my little blurb and that it’s a conflict of interest. I’ll look at some other Wiki pages and continue to research it, because the other names I see in there are all selling things associated with their critique of the Bilderbergers. But all of their links go to their Wiki pages. Maybe I need to create a wiki page for myself and go from there.  Any ideas from you guys?

Editor? I don’t need no stinkin’ editor.  But, yes, really, we all do

I’ll be brief with this point for two reasons: one, the first point in tonight’s blog was so damn long and two, the most important thing I learned from my editor is that brevity is essential to a good read. Everyone needs an editor. So, donate your plasma, cut some neighbors lawns on the weekends or do whatever you can to get the money together for a good editor. Because while we think everything makes sense in our mind, it’s just that, it’s in our mind and only in our mind. We need someone to take the manuscript for a spin and let us know what the thing needs to get it running on all eight cylinders. The editor that I used, who my agent Tris Coburn recommended, is Mark Graham. He’s edited it all – novels, screenplays, non-fiction – and he’s a ghostwriter as well. Plus, he’s extremely intuitive about what you’re trying to do. He whittled The Brink down from a 670-page retired heavyweight sucking on Krispy Kremes to a lean, 425-page middleweight contender with lighting in his fists. Plus, and this is a big part of it, he’s a likeable guy. He truly loves words and truly wants to help you get your best effort onto the page.      

Working the phones with Borders

After the success of my signing on Saturday at my local Borders, I took about 2 hours today and contacted every other Borders within a 50 mile radius (there are 10 of them) to schedule a book signing. I was able to schedule two over the phone on the spot, several of them told me the event person was not working that day and to call back and the rest need me to email them a marketing package (examples of all docs in that package are in blog post #2 dated June 15, 2010). It’ll probably take me another hour to customize those packages for each store and then another 30 minutes to call the other stores back and schedule signings so let’s call it 4 hours worth of work to hopefully schedule signings at every Borders store in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Well worth it since signings are where we get to sell to book lovers face to face. Again, if you became a writer to hide behind a computer screen all day, then you’re in the wrong business. Writers need to talk to people, because that’s what fans are…people. And without fans, writers can’t put food on the table.

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

It’s named “The Nightstand Diaries” because in terms of publishing a book, it doesn’t mean squat that you’re published. It doesn’t mean squat that your book is on a bookstore shelf. It’s only when someone takes your book home and reads it – as a way to relax on a lounge chair, pass time on a subway, or as the last mental exercise before putting it on the nightstand and going to bed – that you become a part of your readers’ lives. With this notion in mind, I invite you to come along as I try to do that very thing. My goal is to try and sell 5,000 copies of my new novel The Brink over the next year using mostly social media with a limited marketing budget. Let the madness begin…

Day 8 of 365

In this issue:

  • Pictures hopefully get a thousand hits
  • News Releases the David Meerman Scott way
  • You gotta love the book clubs

Pictures hopefully get a thousand hits

So I got a pic that Mark Harrison from Ourgreatcity.com took of me at my book signing on Saturday.

Mark Fadden, author of "The Brink", signs a book for Rachel Curry, CHHS Junior.

Mark’s gonna run it on his site and I sent it out to the local paper, the Colleyville Courier, too. Again, my somewhat wet-behind-the-ears advice is to try and milk every signing for everything it’s worth. The signing may be over but the pic and the news release I whipped up (see yesterday’s blog post) might just nudge someone into making a trip into the Borders store and pick up a signed copy left over. Again, as rookies, we’re trying to sell one book at a time here, so this work is necessary.

News Releases the David Meerman Scott way

 And speaking of necessary work, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve heard me preach the message of DMS – David Meerman Scott. He’s my social media GOD, and his book The New Rules of Marketing and PR has made this blind man see. You must read it, and start right now. Seriously, if you’re reading this, then you’re on your computer, so order it and pay for the overnight Fedex delivery. Knowing what’s in this book, I would and I’m one of the cheapest bastards you’ll ever come across.

I just finished chapter 17 and I’m a bit flummoxed because he recommends that we write press releases for everything, (even, I assume, if we have an impressive bowel movement) and that we pay for a press release distribution platform. I’ve been looking at the ones he mentions in his book and the one that makes most sense for writers is prweb.com. But, taking into consideration my aforementioned cheapskatedness, each release that you send out through that service is $80!  Not exactly a bargain if you want to tell people about the gout that may be forming in your foot from horking down cheeseburgers as you finish your Great American Novel.

 So, does anyone know of a more budget-minded PR distribution service for writers?  

 You gotta love the book clubs

 At the Colleyville Borders signing, I met a couple ladies that were in a book club. They live in different cities in Texas, but they hook up with their club through thereadingroom.com. They invited me to be a part of the discussion when they review my book, and we’ll do so online. How cool is that! Another group is girlsinthestacks.com. Although they didn’t make it to the signing, my Border’s staff liaison sent me an email telling me that they wanted me to email them about The Brink being one of their selections. Furthermore, the girls in the stacks are pretty keen on technology – they do podcast interviews with the authors they select for the club!  So I’m delivering their president a copy of The Brink tomorrow.

 But think of it, book clubs are a great way to sell books. There’s a group of them, usually around 10 or 15, they love discussing books and would love to have the author there as part of their discussion. I mean, who better to explain what the writer was thinking than the writer himself? In fact, I just Googled “Dallas Book Clubs” and got a bunch of hits from clubs that have their info online. So, can you guess what’s first on tomorrow’s book marketing to do list???