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

July 7, 2010

 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 24 of 365

 In this issue:

  • Facebook campaign changes
  • Get sales info or die tryin’
  • A cool plot device for a mystery
  • ‘Pimp My Novel’ – a blog name I wish I had thought of

 Facebook campaign changes

 I’m just going to go ahead and call July my Facebook ads month. Although I’m still flying blind as to how effective they are in the sales dept., I can see that some folks are clicking on my ads. Plus, as I change and tweak them, I can see which ones at least peak interest and which don’t so I can use them during my ‘search engine ad’ month, which will be August or September.

Here’s today’s ad campaign #s:

Campaign Run Status Last Updated Budget/day Clicks Impressions CTR (%) Avg. CPC Spent
ActivePausedDeleted
07/07/2010 1 21,669 0.005% $0.72 $0.72
ActivePausedDeleted
07/07/2010 9 54,504 0.017% $0.60 $5.43
CompletedDeleted
07/04/2010 43 196,924 0.022% $1.16 $50.00
CompletedDeleted
07/07/2010 60 354,461 0.017% $0.72 $43.04
CompletedDeleted
07/02/2010 67 218,665 0.031% $0.76 $50.92
  Totals       180 846,223 0.021% $0.83 $150.11

 

I had 9 people click on the Lewisville Borders book signing invite, but they didn’t actually RSVP. Do people normally do that on Facebook invites of people they don’t know?

 I also stopped the eBook ad and started a new ad entitled “Fiction come true.” Here’s the screenshot with it:

 

When folks click on it, they are taken directly to my homepage.

 Get sales info or die tryin’

 This title is my homage to Fitty.  Have you seen the pics of him after he got so freakin skinny for that movie role? It reminded me of the dude in the movie Seven who got strapped to the bed for a year and eventually swallowed his tongue. Christian Bale (aka Batman) also did a similar mad diet for the movie The Machinist. These guys are something else. What they’ll do for their art form.

 On the last blog, I explained how I found out how to get current sales info from barnesandnoble.com through Nielsen BookScan. Being so used to getting free information over the web, I thought it’d be gratis. Oh no. Each report is $85. Damn! And eBook sales reports aren’t available yet. I have an email into my publisher about getting some info that isn’t “historical” (i.e. month old sales reports) by Internet standards, so again, we play the waiting game.

 A cool plot device for a mystery

 I saw this article about the “Grim Sleeper” and then read about how he was eventually caught through his son’s DNA. What a cool plot device for all us mystery writers! 

 ‘Pimp My Novel’ – a blog name I wish I had thought of

 I will readily admit that Eric’s blog is waaay better than mine. He works in a sales dept. of a publishing house. A direct quote explaining his blog: “There are a lot of blogs out there that cover the agenting and editorial aspects of book publishing, but here you’ll find out what happens to your book after it’s been acquired.” Check it out, it’s a cool blog packed with good information.  

 And as always, 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 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 9 of 365

 In this issue:

  • Email signatures – short, sweet, and selling your book
  • Food books to read – as selected by the bad boy chef himself
  • Do secret societies exist? A poll

 Email signatures – short, sweet, and selling your book

 I had actually decided to go all in on the shameless self-promotion a long time before I read David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR and use my email signature to let anyone and everyone know about my book. Here’s the latest version of my email signature:

 Best,

 Mark

817-504-3886

 My latest novel, The Brink, is a Barnesandnoble.com Rising Star Award winner!

 Other reviews:

“{Mark Fadden] is a masterful storyteller.”  – Writer’s Digest
“Action and heroism keep readers turning pages. A nicely crafted thriller.” – Foreword Clarion Review of The Brink.

 Preview the first 22 pages and order your signed copy at http://www.markfadden.com

 And I change it based upon what’s going on with the book. I just inserted the “Other reviews” section, where before my signing at the Colleyville Borders there was a blurb about that in it giving the date and time – and it was the most successful signing of the year, maybe in the history of their store! Remember, it’s easy as ABC – Always Be Changing your email signature depending on what’s going on with your book – new reviews coming in, new signings, etc – keep it fresh!

 Food books to read – as selected by the bad boy chef himself

While I don’t necessary like the term “Foodie”, it sounds like you should be dressed in a cute sweater your mom knitted and shaking broccoli pom-poms as the school lunch ladies review the Food pyramid, I am a man who likes to eat. One of my favorite celebrity chefs is Anthony Bourdain. Not only did I really enjoy reading Kitchen Confidential, and I love his attitude, what draws me to him is his philosophical musings on how food should be related to in our lives. It is vital to us, but not just in the nourishment for the body sense. It can, and should be, an essential piece of our well-being, nourishment for the individual soul and the collective heartbeat of a society, no matter how big or small. We certainly have lost that sense of what food can and should do for us here in America. We’re just so damn busy trying to fit in every bleeping thing into our schedules, that the simple joy of preparing a meal for family or friends has been lost, or has never been something experienced altogether by masses of people. Sad.

Anyway, here’s a link to the Goodreads site that has an interview with AB and he shares his top 5 food books. Heat is listed as one of them. I wanted to read it when it first came out, but life got in the way, and I forgot about it. I just put it in my iPhone scheduler to pick it up on Thursday during the “Snake Dude” show at the library. Yup, slithery snakes will keep about 300 kids glued to their seats for an hour, a feat not easily attained. Did I mention the Colleyville library rocks???

 Do secret societies exist? A poll

 Dan Brown made his mark with secret societies. My new book, The Brink, also has this secret society as the bad guys. What do you think? Do you think sinister secret societies exist?

The Nightstand Diaries: what works and what doesn’t in a book marketing campaign

Just starting your magnum opus? Kudos to you. Almost done with your manuscript? Fantastic! Keep going! Your book’s been published? Outstanding! But all that really doesn’t mean squat in the real world. Not if you want to put food on the table by putting words on paper. You gotta sell it, for it’s only when someone takes a chance on us, the virtually unknown writers, and takes our books home – 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 can become a part of our readers’ lives and truly be successful authors. 

My goal is to try and sell 5,000 copies of my new novel ,The Brink, over the next year using every kind of marketing that I can think of and afford. I’m sharing my experiences on a daily basis as a source of information and, hopefully, inspiration to you. I’ll share the amount of time and money each marketing endeavor costs and I’ll post examples of each marketing piece as well. I will also update my sales reports monthly. Our time together should be an informative and, at the very least, fun ride, and I expect some feedback from you, my fellow brothers and sisters of the mighty pen.  So strap in and let’s get to it…

Day 5 of 365 in this Issue:

–         Library Friday

–         A stop by the local B and N pays off

–         Gimme a hug in Colleyville tomorrow

Library Friday

I’ve already said how much the Colleyville, Texas Library rocks. Not only do they have over 900 kids from our community registered in their summer reading program, but Director of Library Services Mary Rodne and her staff continue to amaze everyone with what they do to keep kids interested in reading. Last summer, our first summer in Colleyville, was a Wild West theme and for each 8 books kids wrote they could go to the Wild West-inspired prize room to spin a wheel for a prize. There were also tons of programs including Mad Science, a Yo-Yo trick artist, Nana Puddin, and much more.

This year, the theme is “Bank on Books” and the kick off breakfast last weekend included an appearance by both Oink the Pig, and Daisy the Reading Pig. Again this year they are having numerous programs to get the kids into the library and reading.

I actually hooked up with the Friends of the Colleyville Library several months ago to let them know that The Brink was coming out in late Spring 2010. They graciously had me to one of their meetings to tell my tale of how I became an author and to talk a little about the book. I am going back to their meeting this Tuesday to update them on how the book is doing, and to tell them about this blog. (Time cost: 3 hours including prep for presentations and the presentations themselves. I sold 16 books at the first meeting.)

Mary Rodne also let me know of the North Texas Regional Library Partners (NTRLP) 2nd Annual North Texas Conference For Library Supporters on July 24, 2010 at the Decatur Civic Center in Decatur, Texas. While it’s mainly geared for companies who provide support for libraries, it is also open to authors who can visit with Library Board, Foundation and Friends Group members, volunteers, and staff – all in one day. There are regional groups like this one all over America and they all need books to read, so if you don’t at least look into registering for something like this event, then I may have to get out the Spankin’ Spoon and come find you. You will never get a better chance to make contacts with such a huge cross section of people devoted to the written word than at one of these conferences. If you’re an author or someone who works with libraries in the North Texas area and would like to attend this event, email Elizabeth Stewart at estewart@ntrls.org. (It’s an all day event, and there’s some prep work involved – so I’m thinking 8 hours of work + gas money and cost for lunch and gas – since I’m an author who’s presented at a library, my registration fee is free)

I also stopped by the library in Southlake, Texas today, after holding my squirming three year old through Shrek 3, which is part of the summer movie program at Harkins Theaters in their gorgeous town center development. I wanted to inquire about giving a presentation and doing a signing at one of their Friends meetings as well. One of the delightful staff members told me to send an email to their library director, which I did this afternoon. I call these endeavors the “Friends Circuit,” as I plan to at least try and gain an audience with every Friends group in the DFW area this year. An important note about doing the Friends Circuit – I donate all the profits from Friends signings to the respective Friends group. Not only do I believe in what they are doing by supporting our libraries, I think it’s good karma as well. (Cost: 15 minutes)

A stop by the local B and N pays off

So after the Southlake library visit, where I got a steaming hot cup of Starbucks coffee that they serve gratis (in the spirit of full disclosure, I put a buck in the donation tray), I stopped by their stunning Barnes and Noble store and talked to Angie, who is their community relations director. I sent her a similar marketing packet that I sent to the Colleyville Borders store (see post # 2 from this series for an example) back on June 7, but they were having computer problems and she never received it. Anyway, while they are booked through the summer with signings, she graciously let me be part of their Educators’ Week in October where several authors will be there signing books. I’m not sure where The Brink fits in with educators – maybe I’ll play the whole it teaches kids about the Constitution since it deals with a lost Constitution article, or the whole using-a-thriller-to-teach-people-about-economics-and-our-dire-economic-plight-thing angle. Hey, anything to get me behind a table and opening my sizeable mouth, right? I also resent Angie the marketing packet this afternoon to make sure she knows what I plan to do to market the signing. (Cost: 30 minutes)

Gimme a hug in Colleyville tomorrow

And yes, dear readers, here it is, the shameless self-promotion. I’ll be signing books in the Colleyville, Texas Borders bookstore tomorrow, Saturday June 19 from 1pm-3pm. If you’re going to be in the area, it’d be awesome if you stopped by and at least say hi. If you live out of state, I’d love to fly you in for it, but I don’t even think Dan Brown or Grisham would do something like that – and they have the scratch to hire a G5 to come pick you up. But I have been toying around with the idea that if I do indeed reach my goal of 5,000 books in one year I would rent a beer joint somewhere around here for a night, like the Ginger Man or the Flying Saucer and just leave the taps open all night. I’m actually going to call sometime next week when I have the time to inquire about that to see just how much it would cost. Any guesses?