Local versus National and all the numbers in between

I usually reserve Mondays for “Mystery Monday” where we discuss all things mysterious, but I got an intriguing e-newsletter today about the power of social media – specifically, should we, as writers, use social media to cast our net as wide as we can across the nation or the world, or should we use SM to build better relationships with the “locals?” Most folks live in an area where, within 50 miles, there are 50,000 or more people. Well, guess how many books you have to sell to get on the NY Times bestseller list? That’s right, 50K.
 
Anyway, here’s the link to today’s edition of the Search Engine Land newsletter. BTW, if you are thinking of, or already are, in the midst of using SM to get more readers, take a look at the SEL site. It’s chock full o’ good stuff. And best of all…’tis gratis.
 
Oh, and if you’re wondering how our first NANOWRIMO meeting went at A Real Bookstore, stay tuned until tomorrow night!
 
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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at http://www.markfadden.com

Mystery Monday – Could Britney Spears help you sell more books?

As this is the first post after my birthday, I wanted to thank all the peeps on Facebook that gave me a birthday shout out. I had an awesome one, surrounded by great beers, awesome German food and my wonderful family. The only one that I missed having around was my mom, who passed last year, but I know she was laughing and smiling along with us all weekend long. Now, on to business…

For this Mystery Monday, it still boggles my mind, as it probably does may writers out there, what makes a successful online marketing campaign. Here’s the screenshot of a recent Facebook ad that I ran promoting The Brink as a $2.99 ebook:

 
 best selling author Sandra Brown
 called “a hell of a read.” The Brink by Mark Fadden

I subscribe to the Search Engine Land newsletter and today’s was a great one for those of us that have ever used Facebook to advertise. Titled “3 Types Of Facebook Image Ads That Work” the article suggests that one of those images is a “happy woman.” Here’s the part that clicked for me:

“The best types of images to use in Facebook advertising are of happy women. Women who look overjoyed, free and are looking directly at the camera convert best. Images of woman can tie into almost any product like health nutrition, wellness, etc.”

The example in the article is Britney Spears smiling with text about how she lost weight. But I was thinking that a pic of a woman smiling, perhaps happy because she’s just finished a kick ass thriller that she can’t wait to tell her friends about, might just be a great ad. So, I’m gonna try one in my next FB ad and see how it goes. I’ll make sure to post the results here.

The SEL article also suggests not to use an image that can’t be recognized from a few feet away. Plus, there’s just something about a smiling woman that catches the eye of both sexes. Why? I don’t know. But once we crack open the secret of this marketing trick, maybe then the mystery of Britney helping make people more literate can finally be solved!

Thoughts? Opinions? Have you used similar pics in your FB ads? To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at http://www.markfadden.com

2011 Writing Resolutions – Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Author Website

“That’s a great website!” Not exactly the best four words a writer can hear. “Here’s your book deal,” “Random House wants you,” “Please meet Mr. Patterson,” are all four word phrases that rank much higher in the writer’s scale of awesome-ness. (I’m a huge James Patterson fan and would love to sit and chat with him about the craft and, more importantly, the promotion of writing.) But having a website that people like spending time on, can interact with, and, most importantly, FIND, is key to turning yourself into a Brand (see yesterday’s post on Branding), building your author platform, and selling books. We all need to improve our websites. No matter if your website has won the Al Gore “I Invented the Internet so I Deem This Website Perfect” Award, your website needs to be updated constantly to remain something that provides fresh content and keeps people coming back. Therefore, as we continue the 2011 writing resolutions, I give you the Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Author Website: (By the way, these go in order from easiest to most difficult in terms of time and money.) 

5. Tag Your Site Properly. Let’s say little Tommy wants to get his parents a book as a last minute Christmas gift. He has no idea what authors his parents like, but he knows they like suspense thrillers. He whips out his iPhone, taps the Google app and says, “Thriller author” into the voice search. Ideally, we’d like our name to pop up first. But how to make sure that happens? By tagging our site with the right keywords. On my home page, my tags are “thriller, author, suspense, Mark Fadden, The Brink, writer, fiction, book.” My home page gets around 300 hits a week. Not bad, but when someone types in “thriller author” my website isn’t in the Google Top 10 results. I need to do better in 2011.

4. Have relevant content. It’s all about search engine optimization these days. What is SEO? Wikipedia defines it as, “is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.” I attended several talks this past year on SEO at my local community college and, as I understand it, the more often there is mention of the search term on your site, the more likely it will be toward the top of an organic search results page. Why? Because the search engines basically count how many times they see it on your page or site. Oh, and they also take into account how “fresh” your site is, so update often. Let’s take the “thriller author” term as an example. If that’s a key search term for you, then the words “thriller author” needs to be all over your site.  

3. Balance the words and pics. Back to the advice I got from an SEO presentation – your site should be pleasant to look at. As writers, we like words. But, we also need to have pictures and videos on the site. When was the last time you spent any time on a site that looked like a page from the dictionary? Sorry, your grandfather’s dictionary. No one has an actual dictionary in their house any longer.

2. Keep up to date on the latest SEO tips and tricks – Designing websites for SEO is always changing. As the technology gets better, so do the applications, tools, and techniques used to support that new technology. I get email updates from Search Engine Land. If you want to know about what’s going on in the world of SEO, this site has it.  

1. Hire a website designer. We’ve got to realize our limits. Chances are you have a day job, maybe a couple kids, and want to have some alone time every once in a while where you can spend some “me” time trying to finally get the blasted ship in the bottle! If you’ve got the scratch and you know a good designer, you may want to have some outside help in creating/updating your website to make it better and be SEO-ready. Just a tip here, make sure your designer builds it so you can update it whenever you like with your content and not screw up the entire design or break into some NSA computer by accident and launch missles at Russia. That would be a bad thing.

***REMINDER – ‘Beyond the Book’ will go dark from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day. We’ll be back in 2011 with fresh ideas for all of us to be better ‘authorpreneurs’ in the new year. Happy Holidays to all!

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 My latest novel, The Brink, was selected for Barnes and Noble’s Special Collection for a second time! Check it out at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210485/?cds2Pid=24451