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

July 16, 2010

Day 32 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 – a new Borders coupon means a new ad for this guy        
  • Having fun with Girls in the Stacks.  

FB ad round-up

You gotta love the big bookstores. Like waves rolling into the beach, one sale ends and another is right behind it. Borders has been good to me, letting me sell myself at their stores around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, so I’m sticking with them for the Facebook ads. Here’s the new one I created as part of their July 16-19 25% off sale. It incorporates last night’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.

I’m keeping my $20 a day budget and I did a $.49 bid CPC (cost per click).  By the way, the 25% off promo code for Borders.com is BHN7798F. Enjoy! But hurry, sale ends 7/19.

Having fun with The Girls in the Stacks

When doing an interview, you couldn’t ask for a better duo than Stacy and Nancy. The Girls in the Stacks (GITS) asked great questions and the Colleyville Borders bookstore was extremely generous in letting us use their store for the venue. Plus, Stacy used a Flip camera to film us, a way cool little gadget. If you’re not familiar with them, it’s a plug and play video camera – just record your video, flip out the USB adapter and voila! Your video’s on the Internet! Okay, there’s a few steps between those, but if I went into them, I couldn’t have used voila! Here’s the link to the video:

While we covered the items that I suggested in an email prior to the interview, they also wanted to know what’s in my “stack.” I am currently reading Heat, an awesome book about a guy who spends a year being a cook (read “slave”) in Mario Batali’s Babbo restaurant. He also tells the stories of some of the other cooks and how they dedicate themselves to their craft, (i.e. spending 6 months at a restaurant in Italy for no pay just to learn how to make pasta the right way) Anyone who cooks would love this book.

But back to the interview. Stacy sent it to me this morning and I put it up on my website ASAP. (As you’ll see, I also changed the headline of my site to reflect the new Borders coupon.) Video is extremely important, and an interview shows a more human side to you. The more people that watch you on video and see who the human is behind the name on the book cover, the more likely they are to buy a book.  Unless you come off like a complete ass, so don’t do that.

By the way, how’d you do on your homework assignment? Did you do your list of 5 uses for videos to sell your books? Did you get 10?  Nice work!

I also emailed the video to my contact at Good Morning Texas. In a previous post, I mentioned how I’m trying to get on that show, hopefully on the same day I’m doing a signing at the Dallas Uptown Borders store (can’t you just smell the cross-promotion?) Why did I do that you ask? I wanted to show her that I wouldn’t crash and burn in front of a camera.

By the way, the interview cost me nothing to do. As Stacy remarked, GITS is a “labor of love” for them. God bless ‘em.

As always, I hope I’ve presented information today that you can use. If you’d like more, or have a question, by all means send it to me at mark@markfadden.com. 

Have a great weekend. No signings this weekend, but next weekend I’ll be busier than a cow’s tongue in a salt lick. We’ll talk on Monday. Till 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 14, 2010

Day 30 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  
  • Podcasts – How can we use them to sell books?  

FB ad round-up

The “chillingly current novel” campaign did very well yesterday, but dropped off today. Here are the numbers:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/14/2010 44,950 3 0.01 0.47 0.03 1.42
07/13/2010 132,073 46 0.03 0.43 0.15 20.00
Lifetime 177,023 49 0.03 0.44 0.12 21.42

After further analysis, the bid range yesterday was $.49-$.59, then I noticed tonight that it had changed to $.72-$.92. I’ve never noticed bids to change like that before. But as you can see, there were far less impressions today then yesterday. So, I sucked it up and changed my bid from $.50 to $.72. Let’s see if the action ramps back up again. And so you won’t have to go back to last night’s post, here’s the “CCN” ad:

 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.

 Both “Next James Patterson?” and “Read a thriller anywhere” were big goose eggs. So, what do we do with eggs around here? Maybe make them into Eggs Carver like Danny’s accomplice does in The Brink?  (Scramble them with some chorizo and serve them on Cajun-spiced hash browns? No, we fry them like they were on death row in Huntsville circa 1980. They’re out. Here they are below. I’ll give you a second to say your goodbyes:

 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.

Podcasts – How can we use them to sell books?

So I’m doing my first podcast tomorrow night about the book for girlsinthestacks.com. It’s an online book review site run by two very nice ladies that just want to inform readers about the good books that are out there. Isn’t the Internet a great place full of nice people?

To prepare, I’m brushing up on my podcast rules from  New Rules for Marketing and PR by DMS (I refer to the first initials in his name now because I read so much of his work, I feel I know the guy) and came across the story of ‘Grammar Girl.’ This is a woman who uses podcasts to “provide short, friendly tips to improve writing.” When I Googled “grammar”, her site was #7 in my results. Not bad for such a generic search word. By providing tips (i.e. valuable info) to people, her FB fans have grown to 26,365 as of today. That also translates into fans of her book Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. Here’s her quote from NRFM&PR about how the podcasts allowed her to have an existing fan base, which affected (or is it “effected?”) book sales:

 “When I went out on my book tour, the crowds were much bigger than expected, and I believe it is at least in part due to all the groundwork I laid on social networks for over a year before the book came out…A lot of people who came out were people I connected with on Twitter or Facebook, and I posted messages about where I was going to be on both those services multiple times.”

 When thinking about your book, what could you podcast about it? I’ll agree that fiction is a little harder to podcast about than, say, a non-fiction topic like how to perform your own house energy audit and then, a year later write a cool book about it. But, you could select a topic from your novel, and talk about that.  Like during tomorrow night’s podcast, I’m going to highlight the fact that The Brink uses real-world economic theories and financial numbers to propel the plot forward. What about you? What topics propel your writing forward?

 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 8 of 365

In this issue:

  • Pictures hopefully get a thousand hits
  • News Releases the David Meerman Scott way
  • You gotta love the book clubs

Pictures hopefully get a thousand hits

So I got a pic that Mark Harrison from Ourgreatcity.com took of me at my book signing on Saturday.

Mark Fadden, author of "The Brink", signs a book for Rachel Curry, CHHS Junior.

Mark’s gonna run it on his site and I sent it out to the local paper, the Colleyville Courier, too. Again, my somewhat wet-behind-the-ears advice is to try and milk every signing for everything it’s worth. The signing may be over but the pic and the news release I whipped up (see yesterday’s blog post) might just nudge someone into making a trip into the Borders store and pick up a signed copy left over. Again, as rookies, we’re trying to sell one book at a time here, so this work is necessary.

News Releases the David Meerman Scott way

 And speaking of necessary work, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve heard me preach the message of DMS – David Meerman Scott. He’s my social media GOD, and his book The New Rules of Marketing and PR has made this blind man see. You must read it, and start right now. Seriously, if you’re reading this, then you’re on your computer, so order it and pay for the overnight Fedex delivery. Knowing what’s in this book, I would and I’m one of the cheapest bastards you’ll ever come across.

I just finished chapter 17 and I’m a bit flummoxed because he recommends that we write press releases for everything, (even, I assume, if we have an impressive bowel movement) and that we pay for a press release distribution platform. I’ve been looking at the ones he mentions in his book and the one that makes most sense for writers is prweb.com. But, taking into consideration my aforementioned cheapskatedness, each release that you send out through that service is $80!  Not exactly a bargain if you want to tell people about the gout that may be forming in your foot from horking down cheeseburgers as you finish your Great American Novel.

 So, does anyone know of a more budget-minded PR distribution service for writers?  

 You gotta love the book clubs

 At the Colleyville Borders signing, I met a couple ladies that were in a book club. They live in different cities in Texas, but they hook up with their club through thereadingroom.com. They invited me to be a part of the discussion when they review my book, and we’ll do so online. How cool is that! Another group is girlsinthestacks.com. Although they didn’t make it to the signing, my Border’s staff liaison sent me an email telling me that they wanted me to email them about The Brink being one of their selections. Furthermore, the girls in the stacks are pretty keen on technology – they do podcast interviews with the authors they select for the club!  So I’m delivering their president a copy of The Brink tomorrow.

 But think of it, book clubs are a great way to sell books. There’s a group of them, usually around 10 or 15, they love discussing books and would love to have the author there as part of their discussion. I mean, who better to explain what the writer was thinking than the writer himself? In fact, I just Googled “Dallas Book Clubs” and got a bunch of hits from clubs that have their info online. So, can you guess what’s first on tomorrow’s book marketing to do list???