So what does it take for a virtually unknown author to sell books? Get an insider’s look at a book marketing campaign using social media.

July 23, 2010

 Day 39 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010, which is my first official month – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

 In this issue:

  •  FB ad round-up – the goose egg X 3
  • Library conference networking
  • Looking for readers? Let’s get viral

 FB ad round-up – the goose egg X 3

 All three FB ads laid the big goose egg today. I don’t even want to talk about it.

 Library conference networking

Tomorrow is the big North Texas Regional Library System (NTRLS) conference and I’m very excited. This is a chance to meet the movers and shakers of all the libraries in North Texas. So, what have I done to prepare?

First, I have a table at the conference and while I can’t sell copies of my books, I am using this opportunity to promote the book AND most importantly promote myself as an author. We will do the full recap on Monday, but in the meantime, here are the things I’m doing:

  1. Handing out as many bookmarks as I can. I was going to design a bookmark suit where people could just pull off bookmarks themselves, but that would be a little too obvious on the shameless self promotion o’ meter.
  2. There are going to be several lectures and workshops and I will attend them all, acting like a sponge and trying to absorb as much info as I can. I’m especially looking forward to the social media workshop and I will post all the exciting news.
  3. Here’s a copy of the flyer I created to hand out at my table. Again, I’m not selling books here, I’m selling myself as an author in the trenches who can share his experience with others that these folks know (book club members, other writers) that I can give a lecture to. Again, talks and lectures are great ways to sell books:

 I’ve also got a signing in Denton, Texas tomorrow at Hastings from 6-8pm, so if you’re in Denton, I’ll be at the Loop Hole Tavern enjoying a beer with my chicken fried steak beforehand. Swing by before going to the signing and the first round’s on me.

 Looking for readers? Let’s get viral

 By now, some of you are probably saying, “Mark, all this work you’re doing is great, but it seems like an assload of work for not very much return. Why not do a video that goes viral with millions of views?”  Great idea. And I’m working on it. In fact, we all should. To inspire you, here are two that went viral and got millions of views:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUEcG4iH34 – Banned 2007 Super Bowl Bud commercial

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI – Double Rainbow – Oh My God!!! He’s really excited about the double rainbow.

 So, what can you make that will make millions watch? Ponder that one over the weekend and we’ll talk again Monday night with results of the library conference.

 The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

So what does it take for a virtually unknown author to sell books? Get an insider’s look at a book marketing campaign using social media.

July 22, 2010

Day 38 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010, which is my first official month – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:

  • FB ad round-up – the numbers look like our 401ks, new book signing ad  
  • Another fantastic literary blog (really, it’s won awards!)

FB ad round-up – the numbers look like our 401ks, new book signing ad

I won’t even bother with a fancy chart this time for the “economics” ad. It’s another goose egg today. I can’t wait to yank it tomorrow.

The other ad’s numbers are also taking a dive. I would use the term “market oversaturation” if I really knew what it meant. But I will guess that my target audience have already seen it, (it has been posted over 250,000 in 3 days to the dame group.) Here’s the ad:

Electrifying new author

Tired of the same plots & the same characters? Read the intro to this award winning thriller and never see the world the same again.

 And here are the numbers as of 10:45pm tonight:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/22/2010 14,413 3 0.02 0.62 0.13 1.86
07/21/2010 148,407 16 0.01 0.60 0.06 9.54
07/20/2010 87,886 36 0.04 0.56 0.23 20.00
Lifetime 250,706 55 0.02 0.57 0.13 31.40

36 to 16 to 3 clicks today. I still think the verbiage in the ad works, and I’m still trying to figure out how to make it work in later ads.

I’ve also got a signing in Denton, Texas this Saturday at Hastings from 6-8pm, so if you’re in Denton, swing by and we’ll have a beer before or after. I also have a booth at the North Texas Regional Library System conference that day, so Monday’s post should be filled to the brim with all kinds of interesting tidbits and networking hints that I pick up that day. I’m working on a flyer for conference attendees that I’ll post tomorrow night.

Back to the signing. I did a FB ad for the signing targeted to people who like “reading” within a 10 mile radius of Denton, TX. That’s a whopping 600 people. You might think that’s a small #, but if even 10% of those folks show up, Hastings would be way sold out and I would have to revert to the signed bookplates (large mailing stickers with an open book pic watermark and my website address on it) that I take to signings, just in case the store does run out or if someone that I talk to wants to buy a book, but doesn’t have enough scratch at the time. I sign the bookplate and hand it to them, hoping they will in fact buy the book online later and slap the bookplate inside it.

 Here’s the ad:

Local author book signing

Like thrillers? Need a unique gift? Visit Hastings in Denton this Saturday, July 24, 6-8 pm and get the year’s best thriller signed!

 It links to my appearances & reviews page. $20 daily budget on this bad boy and FB is charging my $.50 per click, so I’ll get about 10 clicks per day out of it. I know you’ll be waiting with baited breath for the results tomorrow night.

 Another fantastic literary blog (really, it’s won several awards!)

 I know last night I talked about researching search engine optimization (SEO), but the clock was against me today. I promise I’ll look at the Inc. magazine SEO article over the weekend and we’ll discuss next week.

In the meantime, I found a new blog that is a tremendous source of info to us writers. It’s by a literary agent, it’s won some industry awards, and it truly rocks. Check it out at http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/07/open-thread.html. I also linked my blog to it, as well as the Pimp My Novel blog, which is where I found a link to Nathan’s blog. So if I did it right, you should see those links in the right hand column on this screen. Just keep scrolling past the sales pitch ads and you’ll see them. 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

 

So what does it take for a virtually unknown author to sell books? Get a front row seat as Mark Fadden blogs about his marketing hits and many misses on the way to sell 5,000 copies of his latest thriller, The Brink, in one year.

July 21, 2010

Day 37 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010, which is my first official month – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:

  • FB ad round-up – let’s look at the numbers  
  • More changes to the website and a preview to search engine optimization

 FB ad round-up – let’s look at the numbers

The “economics” ad just a keeps on suckin’. Here’s the FB ad that was targeted at users who like economics:

 Could a novel come true?

A fugitive lawman uncovers the link between a secret society’s plot for financial Armageddon & the FED, based on REAL economic numbers.

 And here are the numbers:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/21/2010 1,072 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
07/20/2010 7,011 2 0.03 0.57 0.16 1.14
07/19/2010 684 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Lifetime 8,767 2 0.02 0.57 0.13 1.14

 I think folks from as far away as Russia (oh yes, according to my godaddy.com site analytics, I’m huge there) could probably smell the stench of failure on this ad. But, it’s staying up until the end of the week, because I said I would keep it going that long, and by Neptune’s trident I am a man of my word!

 Fortunately, my other ad is still going strong. Here’s the ad:

 Electrifying new author

Tired of the same plots & the same characters? Read the intro to this award winning thriller and never see the world the same again.

 And here are the numbers as of 10:45pm tonight:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/21/2010 133,158 15 0.01 0.59 0.07 8.90
07/20/2010 87,886 36 0.04 0.56 0.23 20.00
Lifetime 221,044 51 0.02 0.57 0.13 28.90

 51 total in two days with 15 new today. The CTR % (click through rate) dropped off, but that’s to be expected since the same group (people who like books) are seeing it over and over (by the way, there are 560,900 people in that group). I asked the question last night how I can leverage the seeming popularity of this ad. I didn’t have a chance to give it much thought today, but it’s still pinging around inside the old melon.

 

More changes to the website and a preview to search engine optimization

I took the opportunity to look at my godaddy.com site analytics last night and saw something interesting. There was a steep drop in the number of visitors over the last few days. It started around the time I changed up the language on the site to reflect more of my personality, which sounded like fantastic advice coming from my social media Moses David Meerman Scott in his book The New Rules of Marketing and PR. So, to make the sight more fun, I sprinkled the site with what I thought were snarky, smart assed, and what I thought were funny comments here and there. But, when people are looking for at a thriller writer, they don’t want Flopso the Clown. Like I said in last night’s post, they are looking to you to solve their problem. They need a good book. They want a thriller to thrill them. They don’t want a thriller writer trying to be funny.

My website is something that I, like many other people that use primarily websites to broadcast their information, continue to struggle with. There are in the neighborhood of 124 million sites on the Internet and literally billions of web pages. We want to stand out and we stand out by providing great content. But how?

I was thumbing through the July/Aug issue of Inc. magazine today and it was like the editors were reading my mind. There in front of me was a whole pull-out section on website search engine optimization, or “SEO.” How to get your website seen! Drive more traffic to your site! Fantastic. I’ll need some time to really dig into it, so that’s hopefully a topic for tomorrow night. Until then… 

 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

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

July 20, 2010

Day 36 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010, which is my first official month – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

 In this issue:

  •  The Diaries get a facelift
  • FB ad round-up – Did we finally hit a winner?         
  • Making Friends work for you

 The Diaries get a facelift

You’ll probably notice that I’ve changed my blog’s appearance. I received a few comments that it was hard to read before with the light text on the dark background. I have to admit the old color scheme wasn’t my favorite either. So I hope this new look is easier on the eyes.

 FB ad round-up – Did we finally hit a winner?

Okay, so here’s the ad I created last night that went out to the “economics” crowd on FB:

 Could a novel come true?

A fugitive lawman uncovers the link between a secret society’s plot for financial Armageddon & the FED, based on REAL economic numbers.

 And here are the numbers:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/20/2010 6,613 2 0.03 0.57 0.17 1.14
07/19/2010 684 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Lifetime 7,297 2 0.03 0.57 0.16 1.14

 2 people clicked on it. God help me if the cat jumped up on the desk and made them accidentally click it. Not exactly knocking the bell off the book marketing world with that little nugget. So, while I am going to keep that winner in the rotation all week, I stopped for a second and thought about who I’m trying to reach with my ads. I am trying to reach readers, but not just readers, fans of suspense thrillers. Those folks respond to bold language. Then I thought about the thrillers that I’ve read lately. Most of them have been letdowns, all fizzle and no sizzle (oh yes, that phrase will be used in a later ad). I’m sure I’m not alone here when I say that most of the entertainment that I digest does not live up to the hype. And there it was – as marketing people will tell you, customers could care less about your product; they only care about what problem of theirs it can solve. So, I thought what problem would a suspense thriller fan have that my book could alleviate? With that in mind, I give you my pièce de résistance:

 Electrifying new author

Tired of the same plots & the same characters? Read the intro to this award winning thriller and never see the world the same again.

 I’d love to take a poll and know what you guys think, but I haven’t learned how to do that yet. But I’ll keep trying and get a poll in here sooner or later.

Again, thriller readers respond to electric language and bold declarations. That’s why they like thrillers! That’s the thing my ads have been missing. And it seems I may be right, because here are the numbers since 4:00 pm today (It’s 10:00pm now) when the ad went live:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/20/2010 72,316 34 0.05 0.56 0.26 18.95
Lifetime 72,316 34 0.05 0.56 0.26 18.95

 34 people! That’s the most clicks I’ve had in a six hour time frame by far and the highest CTR % (click through rate) of any ad I’ve done so far. So, I think we’ve hit on something here. But if I have, how can I leverage it?

 Marketers also talk about revolving an entire campaign around one message. Don’t confuse people with several messages, just deliver one and repeat it over, and over and over. If the numbers for this ad keep going like this, I may have just found the one message that finally fits.  

 Making Friends work for you

 This weekend is chock full of book marketing events. Saturday is the North Texas Conference for Library Supporters. It is an event for members of Library Boards, Friends of the Library and Library Foundations, library volunteers and other supporters, and library staff that work with any of the above. Needless to say, it’s a huge audience of book lovers and a great place for an author to network. I found out about the conference from the director of our local city library and, since I held a lecture for the Friends of the Colleyville Public Library (FCPL), which incorporated a book signing where I donated all the profits from the evening to the FCPL, my registration for the event was free. I will have a table there, and while I am not allowed to sell books, I will have a contest to give away a couple signed copies of The Brink. Contestants only need to fill out their contact info to put their ticket in the hat. (a great way to beef up the email list, no?)  

After the conference, I’m headed to the nearby Hastings in Denton, Texas for a signing from 6pm-8pm. While I performed my normal promotional duties of sending all the local press a news release, I also talked to the City of Denton director of library services about inviting their Friends group to the signing. I am offering them the same deal I did for FCPL: all profits from books they buy during the signing will go to their Friends group.  Bottom line is this: people that get involved in Friends of library groups love book and love their communities. If you’re a local author and do something nice for them, they will talk about what you did and your book to their friends and neighbors. You get that many more possible buyers that otherwise may have never heard of you. Einstein may have said that there’s no force in the universe like compound interest, but there’s no force in marketing like word of mouth.   

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

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

July 19, 2010

Day 35 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 – Did I pee in FB’s Pepsi?  
  • Wikileaks – the perfect site to prime the plot pump

 FB ad round-up – Did I pee in FB’s Pepsi?

As you may recall from the last posting, I went with the following ad on FB to take advantage of the Borders July 16-19 25% off sale.  It incorporated last week’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.

 

So I check in with the results over the weekend, and I see something funny; FB ain’t showing it:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/17/2010 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
07/16/2010 40,397 4 0.01 0.46 0.05 1.83
             
07/19/2010 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
07/18/2010 27 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Lifetime 40,424 4 0.01 0.46 0.05 1.83

 

FB, doth mine words offend thee?  My bid was in their suggested bid range (it was even on the high end) but the love wasn’t there. What gives? I’ve got an email in to FB HQ to solve the problem, but I’ll keep chugging on, because it’s FB ad month here at Author Mark Fadden central.  Here’s the next ad going out this week:

 

Could a novel come true?

A fugitive lawman uncovers the link between a secret society’s plot for financial Armageddon & the FED, based on REAL economic numbers.

 

I thought I’d change the target audience up a bit, so the audience is people who like ‘economics.’ You might laugh that some people actual admit to liking the dismal science, but there’s 93,940 of them. We’ll see. I’m gonna let this ad roll for a week.

 As always, if you have any suggestions for tweaking ad copy, please email ideas to mark@markfadden.com.  

 Wikileaks – the perfect site to prime the plot pump

 If you haven’t visited wikileaks yet, go there ASAP. If you’re a mystery or thriller writer, drop everything and go there right now. It’s chock full of the stuff that will make your mind wander in luscious fields of conspiracy. A truly great source of inspiration. It was the recent topic of NPR’s show Fresh Air, and the founder of the site is supposedly wanting to build the headquarters in Iceland, where he can run the site free from persecution.

 The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

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

July 13, 2010

Day 29 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:

  • Hello, my name’s Mark, and I’m a FB ad-dict
  • Changes to the website 
  • Double-dip recession – will it make The Brink prophetic?  

Hello, my name’s Mark, and I’m a FB ad-dict

My day started with creating two FB ads. By tonight, I got 6 hits on one (The next James Patterson?) and zero on another. So I took out the dead weight and changed back to my most successful ad so far (Read a thriller anywhere!) and created another one. So, I’ve got three running currently. Here they are:

Chillingly current novel

Preview the year’s most controversial thriller and get a 40% off coupon at your local Borders bookstore good through July 17th.

Read a thriller anywhere!

Get the most controversial thriller of the year delivered to your desktop, laptop or smartphone in seconds for $7.13. eBooks rock!

 The next James Patterson?

“Action & heroism keep readers turning pages.” – ForeWord Review. Uncover the most staggering conspiracy of our time, & get it 28% off.

 The James Patterson ad is targeted at people that like James Patterson, about 360,000 people. The other two are targeted at people who like to read, about 4 million each.

I went on my godaddy.com (my web host company) account and tried to look at the site analytics to see if the facebook people are buying books once they leave my site, but I have yet to find information on that. UUGGHH!  Does anyone know how to get that info?

Anyway, all told, I’m in for about an hour on jacking around with these ads today, which includes creating them as well. Budget is $20/day for each. I promise I’ll let them ride until tomorrow’s post so we can analyze the numbers.

Changes to the website 

I also visited my godaddy.com search engine optimization page last night and today. What a butt whoopin’. 3 hours of slogging through the steps to get the right keywords associated with the site so that search engine “spiders” will recognize them when people search for books. You might say 3 hours seems like a lot for just coming up with keywords, but I’m old and I have to learn what the heck I’m doing before I actually do it.

I also made some changes to the site, mostly the home page to make it more like my personality. I reread some of David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR last night and today and he said that you should put some of ‘you’ into your site. So I did. Check it out and let me know what you think.   

Double-dip recession – will it make The Brink prophetic

Take a look at this recent article from Robert Reich about the probability of a double dip recession. If that happens, it will cause the U.S. government to come to the rescue with more bailouts, and that means more deficit spending and more debt.

Without giving too much away, (I already gave a huge hint as to who’s involved in the conspiracy in the book on the front cover) the double-dip resembles the ‘event’ the bad guys in the book use to begin their plan to take over the world. Funny how life resembles art, right?      

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…