Here’s your chance to rip apart a book marketing campaign and caress its beating heart

July 23, 2010

 Day 42 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 library conference – making connections the old fashioned way
  • The Hastings Incident
  • Links to the most important blogs you’ll ever read

 The library conference – making connections the old fashioned way

 “Libraries will be extinct by 2020.” That’s what North Texas Regional Library System (NTRLS) Executive Director and self-proclaimed futurist Adam Wright said during his keynote speech at the NTRLS conference in Decatur, Texas this past Saturday. He was paraphrasing what fellow futurist Richard Watson had said regarding the future of libraries. There has to be some strong opinions on this one. So here’s your chance to sound off in the comments! And speaking of extinction of things, Watson’s extinction timeline is on fellow lover of libraries Christine Rooney-Browne blog.

 As far as the conference went, I suggest, fellow book-writers, run, don’t walk to your local library, do whatever it takes to get your librarian to contact their regional local library supporters group on your behalf and wrangle up a table at their conference. There was so much good information, from using social media to promote books, to promoting things on a shoestring budget. Here’s the link to the site where they have all the presentations posted. Most of it is for library staff, but those same ideas can be used for us writers as well.

While I was at the conference (I had a table there with a display of my books, bookmarks, and a flyer titled “Have a Local Author talk to your group! Here’s the flyer pic:),


I used that old fashioned, outdated, and “extinct” form of communication, you know, the actually holding of another person’s hand and shaking it while I hold their gaze with my own and engage in small talk and witty conversation to build a relationship. I know, sounds crazy these days doesn’t it? But I talked to 9 different representatives of libraries and Friends of Library groups that want to have me come and talk to them about my experience as a writer. That means that 9 meetings where I can sell books.

Don’t forget about your local library when you’re putting together your marketing plan. They are a valuable resource. And I think most of them will still be around after 2020.

The Hastings Incident

Book signings are like kids – no matter how hard you try to make them turn out right, sometimes, for reasons beyond your control, they just don’t turn out the way you want them to. Okay, so that’s a little bit on the “epic” side of things, but what I’m trying to say is that sometimes book signings go bad.

Case in point, my Hastings signing in Denton, Tx was not a success. I sold one book to a nice lady who wasn’t that much into political thrillers, but I told her how there were clues to the mystery in The Brink hidden in the front cover. Actually, they aren’t hidden in the cover, they are right there plain as day, but the important thing is that she thought that was cool.

 There are two take away’s from my failure:

  1. It wasn’t actually a failure because I must have passed out 30 bookmarks. That’s 30 people who may go online and preview it then decide to buy it, or by the ebook, or pass the bookmark to a friend who likes political thrillers.  
  2. Case the joint better than I did. Hastings is primarily a music store that sells some new books, but also buys used books and sells them as well. Customers going there in a college town (University of North Texas is in Denton, Tx) are primarily college-aged, and want to buy music or a used book, not a full priced book by an author they probably haven’t heard of. I should have done my research better and I will next time I do a signing at an independent store.

 Links to the most important blogs you’ll ever read

 I’ve already linked my blog to some blogs I think share some valuable info among us writers. Here’s a few more that I’ll link to:

  1.  John Scalzi’s Utterly Useless Writing Advice
  2. The Rejectionist – today’s post is all warm and fuzzy
  3. Next Day blog – good info on using social media. This is the company I used for my bookmarks (5,000 for somewhere around $160 – a hell of a deal)

 Ahead this week – a library parody of the Old Spice Guy (the power of viral) – and what does Amazon now selling more ebooks than regular books mean for us writers?

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 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…