Mystery Monday – The Cold Case Center, guess which bestseller uses it?

Sorry this is a day late. I was experiencing a “Migraine Monday” yesterday. Man, do those things hurt. Anyway, here’s the Mystery Monday post a day late…

As I’m sure all you writers have out there, I have been asked more than once, “Where do you get your book ideas from?” For me, it continues to be a mix of the good old-fashioned newspaper, TV police shows and the internet. For a new book that I’m researching, I am looking into how a certain cold case that one investigator could never let go might finally be solved, and how that affects him. So, I googled “cold case” and came across this site called the Cold Case Center : http://www.coldcasecenter.com/cold_cases.htm#New  On it, there is a listing of cold case and missing person sites from all 50 states, Canada, and Interpol.

As I fooled with it, I stumbled upon the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department website on their “Jane Doe” case http://www.sbsheriff.org/mw/janedoe.html.  Not only does it tell how a FBI Forensic Reconstruction Artist was brought in to create a rendition of Jane Doe’s appearance, but  best-selling author Sue Grafton based her novel, “Q” Is For Quarry, on the SBSD’s investigation into the murder.

What kind of information will you find at the Cold Case Center? Better yet, if you find something, let the rest of us know how it might inspire your writing. To the keyboards!

**********************************************************************************************

Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

Is misspelling the path to Internet sales success?

A little fun with words on this pic of Tori Spelling, but nevertheless an important point about how mistakes might help us out in our online marketing efforts.

This month, my online marketing efforts have focused on promoting the ebook version of my latest thriller, The Brink, on the Barnes & Noble website. I did this because I’m thinking there are an awful lot of people that got nook eReaders for Christmas and they are looking for eBooks for it. B&N.com is selling it at $7.99, 20% off the cover price.

I’ve used both google and facebook ads in the past, and it’s been my experience that FB ads just don’t work for me. Once people are on FB, they want to stay on FB. They just aren’t willing to leave it to go to a website to buy a book. I have been getting emails on how to use FB ads to direct folks to my FB author page and to increase the interaction, but alas, time has been at a premium lately and I simply haven’t been able to research that topic. 

So, I am staying with Google Adwords. I used their keyword tool to help me figure out which are the best keywords to use for my ad campaign, and a funny thing happened. Misspellings of Barnes & Noble had almost the same number of hits that correct spellings did.

Case in point, here are the top 5 keywords I used and the coresponding performance data:

“Barnes & Noble” –  69 clicks out of 3,706 impressions

“barnes and nobles” – 53 clicks out of 3,800 impressions

“barns and noble” – 52 clicks out of 2,119 impressions – highest click thru rate at 2.45%

“barns and nobles” – 36 clicks out of 1,539 impressions

“barnes and noble” – 10 clicks out of 1,113 impressions

These numbers are based on a $.50 cost per click ceiling and a $20 a day budget. As you can see, not huge spelling errors here, but it pays to keep in mind that people are not the best spellers. Either they type incorrectly or they simply misspelled the word. Either way, it pays to remember to include misspelled keywords in your online campiagns… 🙂

**********************************************************************************************

Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

Six steps to a sellout book signing

If you’ve never done a booksigning, you’ve undoubtedly seen one. There’s an author sitting in a chair behind a big stack of books on a table. The author is trying desperately to make eye contact with you and you are trying desperately to not make eye contact, especially if the sign next to the author reads, “check out the latest from Romance Author Jane Doe” and you are a die hard thriller reader. And that’s the precise word for it, desperation. Sitting there the author is drowning in desperation. You, as customer, are probably thinking, “look at that poor schmuck with a table full of books that no one’s buying.” Undoubtedly, the author is probably thinking, “I can’t beleive I have to sit here like a schmuck and try to sell books. I’m a writer, not a salesperson!”

But, there are some secrets to having a successful book signing. I was fortunate enough to sell out of all the copies the Barnes & Noble at Park and Preston in Plano had on hand for my signing and it really wasn’t that hard to do. Here’s how I did it:

1. Location, location, location. Be as close to the front of the store as possible. That way, you can greet every customer as they come in. If you’re doing a signing at a Barnes & Noble, see if you can be put near the nook eReader display. A few reasons for this. First, most nook displays are located right dead center at the front of the store. Not only will you be greeting each customer, but many will be hanging out around the nook display.

2. Make the staff your sales force. Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the signing and introduce yourself to every staff member. Tell them about your book so that they can recommend it to customers. One of the staff members will most likely do an announcement (or a few) during your signing. Bring along a script for them to read. Again, this is where being close to the nook display helps. The nook display is manned by a staff member and as you’re walking around the store (more on that below) they can watch your table for you. They can either make an announcement over the intercom (“author to your table, please”) or tell people about your book, keeping them there until you get back.

3. NEVER SIT – “Look at that schmuck sitting there with all those books to sell.” That thought can never enter a customer’s mind if you’re not sitting. Stand. Always. Approach customers with a bookmark (get cheap bookmarks for great quality at www.nextdayflyers.com

4. Be like a shark…keep moving. Walk around the store handing out bookmarks, but don’t stray from the table for too long (2 minutes per stroll max) I can’t tell you how many books I’ve sold doing the stroll. Think about it. Many people visit a bookstore to browse new and different titles. Put something in their hand for them to read.

5. Encourage people to sign up for your email list. Have a email sign-up to help build your fan base and keep Top of Mind (TOM) with the readers you meet.   

6. Write a press release about the signing – Without question, the biggest numbers I get from my blog posts are when I write a press release. I’m still getting to know what keywords work and search engine optimization and all that, but whenever a blog entry is titled “press release – blah blah bah) my numbers go up about three fold. That means more people are reading about my successful signing, and hopefully buying the book that did so well at the signing. Ain’t it funny how books that sell sell more books? It’s a mad, mad world.   

*****************************************************************8

The Brink by Mark Fadden has just been nominated for the Star Award from its publisher! Read more about The Brink and Mark’s writing at www.markfadden.com.

Press Release – Local author sells out at Plano Barnes & Noble

January 16, 2011 (Plano, Texas) – Being a sellout is usually a bad thing. Unless you’re talking about an author’s book signing. Local Colleyville author Mark Fadden had a book signing at the Barnes & Noble at Park and Preston in Plano on Saturday where he sold every single copy of his latest thriller, The Brink, the store had on hand. The book uses the 2008 financial meltdown as the foundation of a taut suspense thriller in which a fugitive Texas Ranger helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a global financial conspiracy. The book, which has already won two awards from its publisher, has also been nominated for a third award based on its sales success.

“He was great with our customers and he was very interactive. Those are two big reasons why he sold out,” said Cody McMan, Community Relations Manager at the Barnes & Noble at Park and Preston. The Brink was also a part of the Barnes & Nobles Special Collection during the month of December, which recognizes up and coming authors. Fadden continues to appear at local signings in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. His next event will be “Pots & Plots” at the Dish cooking school inside the Market Street grocery store in Colleyville, Texas. The event, which allows participants to cook a dish from the book while discussing it, has been sold out for weeks and a second event is being planned. The Brink is also available in eBook format, and Fadden even signed bookplate stickers for those customers that showed up at the signing and downloaded the book on their nook eReader devices.