Top 5 ways to make the most of your speaking gig

We’re talking speaking engagements today, people. Why? Because I just did one at today at the Grapevine, Texas Chamber of Commerce, and while things are fresh in my mind, we can chat about how to make the most of the speaking engagement. In fact, let’s run through the top 5 ways to make the most of your speaking engagement:

1. Be Prepared. If you need to borrow a laptop projector, make plans with your contact weeks beforehand. Then confirm days before the meeting. Have a hard copy of your presentation ready just in case your laptop or their projector is on the fritz. Take a bottle of water with you.  Have a “listeners’ kit” ready for everyone there including: info about buying the book today, info about becoming a part of your email list, bookmark and business card. Make sure you know where you’re going. Get there early. Just basically channel your inner Boy Scout and you’ll be fine.

2. Speak to the Group. Don’t talk about the minutiae of story plotting and character development to a chamber group of realtors or bankers. In other words, have a couple different presentations ready to go. Don’t give the writer’s/book club presentation to the chamber/Lion’s Club members. Have a more middle of the road presentation ready for that. First talk about your background. Then move into your current book. Is it a financial thriller that uses the recent economic meltdown? Talk about recent financial information that should make us all be crapping our pants. Follow that with talk about the state of the publishing industry (see crapping pants from previous sentence) Cover those topics and you’ll have blown past 30 minutes and will be ready for the Q&A, then a little time to sign some books and you’re out the door.

3. Be Witty and Interactive. Let’s go back to the chamber meeting for this one. At the opening, ask, “So has anyone ever toyed with the idea of writing a book?” Several hands will probably go up. If not, make the case for those people that need to write a book. If it’s a chamber meeting, you’re probably going to have at least one realtor there. “Jerry with ReMax can publish an ebook on “How to Sell Your House in less than 5 Days” through Amazon’s Digital Text Platform for free and even make it a free download on his website (as a .PDF) to attract more eyeballs.” Boom, those people are now the “characters” in your presentation. If folks are writing/toying with the idea of writing a book, ask a couple of them about their book, their ideas for the story, etc. As you go through your presentation, come back to these folks again and again. “In Susan’s case for example, she can create a blog about and for women lawyers. It will give her an audience with women lawyers and tie in nicely with her legal thriller.” Any tools that you are talking about that people can use to promote/sell books, use Jerry’s made up book on selling a house as an example. Thrown in a few jokes. If you connect with your audience, and can make them laugh, they’ll like you. If they like you, the more likely they’ll buy a book at the end of your presentation.  

4. Pass Out Books To Everyone There – I’m not saying be Oprah here. (You get a book! You get a book!…) Pass about ten out at the beginning of the meeting. No one will buy a car unless they’ve test driven it. Turn the meeting space into a makeshift bookstore. As they sit there, let them touch, smell, get into your book, maybe even read a few pages. You’ll get more sales at the end of the meeting.

5. Send a Written Thank You Card – Like Mom always said, good manners matter. MAIL a thank you card to everyone responsible for hosting you. No email or text will do. Suck up the 45 cents for the stamp and make sure to use your best handwriting and thank your hosts, and mail it out promptly following your meeting. Remember the Law of 250 (on average, everyone knows 250 people) – your host could be at a Christmas party and say something like, “We had this local author at our year end chamber meeting the other day, a great guy, really funny and interesting. His book is called The Brink, it’s a suspense thriller. I simply can’t put it down. You need to read it.” 

Thank you, thank you card. You just gave us another sale.

Questions? Comments? To the keyboards!


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

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 for more information

News Release – Texas author begins book marketing lecture tour

Sept 17, 2010 – Colleyville, Texas – The Internet has changed almost every facet of the way we do business. For authors, the Internet is a powerful tool to reach readers, but few understand how to fully utilize it to maximize their marketing dollars. Fortunately, Colleyville author Mark Fadden is hoping to educate other authors on how to use the Internet, and more specifically social media, to sell books.

“Never forget that writing is a business,” was Fadden’s central message of his Get Your Book Read! lecture last night at the Little Elm Public Library in Little Elm, Texas. Fadden’s latest thriller, entitled The Brink, which was recently published in May 2010, uses the current financial crisis as the foundation of a fast-paced suspense thriller in which a fugitive Texas Ranger helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot for global financial Armageddon. The book was awarded both the Editor’s Choice Award and the Rising Star Award from its publisher and Fadden had the most successful signing of the year at the Colleyville Borders bookstore. “As writers, we wear the artist hat. We use our creativity to do our job. But, if you want anyone besides your mother to read the book, you must take off the artist’s hat and put on the entrepreneur’s hat. You’ve got to think of creative ways to sell books.” For Fadden, that includes everything from talking directly to area book clubs and showing up at their meetings when they review his books, to being a part of cooking classes like “Pots & Plots” at the Colleyville Market Street grocery store. Students in the class cook a meal from the books they read and then talk about the book as they eat.  

Fadden began developing what the publishing industry refers to as his “author platform”, which is basically his marketing plan, long before the book was actually published. He built a website (, created a book trailer, which is similar to a movie trailer, and recorded a video interview that can be seen on his homepage. He also designed bookmarks and had them printed through an online print shop, which he hands out by the handfuls at events. With every signing he does, and every lecture he gives, Fadden adds fans to his email database, a list he has backed up on both paper and a hard drive that are stored in a fireproof safe. “People might think adding one fan at a time is tedious, but you have to remember the Law of 250. On average, most folks know 250 people. If they read your book and like it, they’re going to tell their friends about it. If you meet 4 people at a signing or lecture, that’s 1,000 potential new readers that might pick up your book. Like I stress in my presentations, social media and online marketing is important, but word-of-mouth advertising is still the tops.”

The Brink is Fadden’s third novel. His first novel, Five Days in Dallas, was published in 2003. It received critical acclaim and Fadden himself was even called a “masterful storyteller” by a Writer’s Digest reviewer. Fadden has several book signings and lectures scheduled in the next few months. His event schedule and the first 22 pages of The Brink can be previewed at Email him at to get a copy of his Get Your Book Read! PowerPoint presentation. Fadden has also created a blog about writing novels and book marketing using social media entitled, “The Nightstand Diaries,” which can be read at