Meet the Booksellers

 

It seems that us “authorpreneurs”, like most entrepreneurs, are always looking for the next website, app, or social media strategy that is both low cost and will give us a good ROI in order to sell more books. Well, I’ve got one “low-tech” option that costs nothing more than a few minutes of your time and a smile.

At your next book signing, head for the bookstore staff and introduce yourself to them. Hand them a copy of your book and give them the elevator pitch description of it. Ask them if you can put some of your bookmarks at their counters. If you’re signing is at a Barnes & Noble, chances are it’s on a weekend which is one of their busiest times. Chances are also high that there are at least ten people on staff at the different counters throughout the store. Go visit every one of them and say hi. And don’t forget about the folks at the cafe counter and the CD/DVD counter in the back of the store. I introduced myself to Liz, who was working the CD counter at the Lincoln Park B&N during my last signing. Not only did she tell everyone that came by her counter about it, she also bought a book herself!  The reason why was because, “I took the time to come back and visit with her. No one ever does that.”

So, fellow authorprenuers, meet the bookshop staff. Chances are, customers are asking them for recommendations. Chances are they will mention your book, even after your signing is over. It’s like having an entire sales team working for you, without putting a single dent in your marketing budget.

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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, and I was left feeling that you have a sequel in mind!” 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!

Escape from New York?

A boatload of work prevents me from a full post today. But I did want to share a link to this article from the Fort Worth Star Telegram, my hometown newspaper, entitled, “Authors see e-books as escape from publishers.” Personally, I think the New York houses are still viable and very much needed and I agree wholeheartedly with one quote from the article about publishing houses being the, “venture capitalists for authors.” As an authorpreneur, that is the perfect way to look at them!

Have a great day everyone!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Signed copies of The Brink are available 20% off the cover price at www.shop.markfadden.com.

New Ereader? Download the eBook version of The Brink in seconds, for less than $8.

It’s the Characters, Stupid

“It’s the economy, stupid.” That one sentence, spoken by then Clinton campaign strategist James Carville during the 1992 presidential campaign, referred to the notion that Clinton was a better man for the job because then President George H.W. Bush had not adequately addressed the economy, which was still healing from a recession.

Those four words still have resonance today and will continue to resonate into eternity because in politics you can talk about your plans for a better future, better education, better technology for the masses, better transportation, better energy that’s cleaner and more abundant, but if the economy is in the crapper, all the other grand plans and ideas don’t mean zip.

Writing, I think, is the same way, a notion I was reminded of during my lecture on being an “authorpreneur” last night. I was giving my “Beyond the Book: how being an authorpreneur will help you sell more books and make lifelong fans” at the Weatherford Public Library in Weatherford, Texas. They are starting a new book club and wanted me to come talk about the writing life, how to get published, how to get an agent, and my latest novel, The Brink. During the end of the lecture, I opened it up for questions and we talked about how I do my research, the formula for a successful thriller, and the conspiracy behind the book. Then, out of nowhere, one lady raised her hand and said that, for her, what made her like the book wasn’t all the action and conspiracy and suspense, it was the characters. The main character, Danny Cavanaugh, who also is the main character in my first novel, Five Days in Dallas, is a troubled soul, to say the least. In Five Days in Dallas, he was a Dallas detective that had some issues that had plagued him for most of his life and that he had dealt with by self medicating with the bottle. In The Brink, he is now a fugitive Texas Ranger on the run for killing a dirty FBI agent. In some respects he’s grown, in some he hasn’t. It’s only when he meets the woman in The Brink, Sydney Dumas, who forces him to deal with his issues while they are running for their lives, does he actually begin to take a hard look at himself for the first time in his life. I must admit, I love his character, and her character, too.

Anyway, her comment about it being “all about the characters” touched off a long discussion about characters and we came to find out that for all the people in the room, it is mainly about the characters. Readers see bits and peices of themselves in characters, either who they are or who they would like to be. If they didn’t care about the characters, and fast (meaning a few pages into the book) they would close the cover and be on to the next book.

“It’s the characters, stupid.” No one actually said those words last night, but I will make sure that no matter how fast-paced, suspense-packed or conspiracy-laced I make my next story, I will remember those words. I’ve already put them on a sheet of paper and taped it up next to my computer.

What about you? Do you agree about the importance of characters? Or is there something else that’s more important? To the keyboards!

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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.

The story behind our stories

Advertisers have been doing it for years, using popular celebrities to sell their products. The reason? You probably like the guy that just won the Super Bowl, or you might like their team’s story, (see New Orleans Saints) and you find yourself rooting for that underdog. If the quarterback from that team turns to the camera with trophy in hand and shouts, “I’m going to Disneyworld!” you might just want to go there, too.

But what about authors? While we are spinning our stories, we each have our own life story that influences how and what we write. But how much influence does our life story have on how popular our writing is?

The latest viral video sensation is Ted Williams, the homeless man with a golden voice. He will probably get the second chance that he’s been vying for all these years. Why? Because we like stories of redemption and second chances. He seems very genuine and we want to give him that chance. We like women like Susan Boyle that get to finally live their dream by showing the world their talent. We read JK Rowling, not just because her stories are fantastic, but because we know how she struggled before they were published.

But why do the backstories of these people matter? Do we feel sorry for them? No. We identify with them. We support them because we are them. If we were to fall like Ted Williams did, we would want someone else to help us back up. If we had a talent like Susan Boyle, we would want the opportunity to show the world. If we were a struggling author like JK Rowling was (and many of us are), we would want the chance that she got when her story got into the right hands.

We’ve all struggled in our lives and we like to hear stories about how those that struggled finally acheived their dreams. It is those stories that keep hope alive. And it is those stories that are more important than anything any author could ever dream up.

Agree? Disagree? To the keyboards!

Author’s Note: Speaking of life stories, mine has taken a twist recently. My mother passed away on New Year’s Eve, so please forgive the lapses in blog posts over the next few weeks as my family and I sort out her matters.

Set up the room to sell more books

It’s all about the preperation. In keeping with the “selling books in unusual venues” theme, let’s talk about setting up that venue. You’ve secured a speaking engagement about your book with your local lions club or chamber. You’ve got your presentation down pat. The laptop is working with the projector. Your powerpoint pics are fabulous and your small list of jokes are timed perfectly.

But what about the books?

Most of these community meetings are at breakfast or lunch. Meals mean tables. And tables mean areas to display your book. Here are some helpful tips that worked for me:

1. Have copies of your book on each table – as your talking, people can hold your book in their hand and look through it. Try to put as many books on the table as there are people, so each can buy a copy. The more time each person has with your book, the more likely they’ll be to buy it.

2. Have a giveaway – put out slips of paper at each place and have people fill out the paper with their name and email address. Pass around a jar and have people put in their slips. At the end of the meeting, pick a name out of the jar and give them a signed copy of the book. What costs you a copy of the book will hopefully pay off many times with all these new email contacts.

3. More giveaways– People don’t always like meetings, but they LOVE giveaways. Make sure to put your promotional bookmark (or a few) at each place. One to keep and a couple to share.

4. “Hire” a photographer – persuade one of the people in charge of the meeting, perhaps the one who invited you, to take a few pictures of you during your presentation. Use the best pics for news releases, your blog and website. Just make sure to tell them beforehand that you want them to take some shots and make sure they’re cool with that responsibility.

5. Bring on the interns! – It will be hard for you to both sign books, talk to people while your signing and handle the sales transactions. Consider bringing someone else along to handle the sales transactions (especially if you’re set up to take credit cards). Talk to the community group, they might have someone willing to help you out.  

Hope that helps. If you have some other hints, tips, suggestions, or ideas about what’s worked for you, please comment.

As always, I’m taking the weekend off from the blog, but if you’re in Southlake, Texas on Saturday or Lewisville, Texas on Sunday, I’m having book signings at the Barnes & Noble bookstores in those cities. Visit www.markfadden.com for more information. I’d love to see y’all out there!

Until then,

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

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Here’s what readers are saying about Mark’s latest thriller The Brink:

“I finally had a chance to sit down and read The Brink–all the way through in a day and a half. The story is gripping, even frightening, and you capture the suspense in the rhythm of your prose. In places I was reading so fast I felt like I was in the chase! I’ll put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Lonesome Dove, in the gallery of great contemporary writers!” – Bob H., Amarillo, TX

“[Mark Fadden] is the next Dan Brown.” – Arlene D., Southlake, TX

“Truly a pager turner for me. I could not put the book down. Every time I thought I had figured something out, the next twist came up. If you like conspiracy theories, you’ll love this one.” – Sharon L, Houston, TX

Want to start reading The Brink right now? Download the eBook version from amazon.com for less that $10 at http://www.amazon.com/The-Brink-ebook/dp/B003OYIEPC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284567122&sr=8-2 or bn.com at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210492/?itm=1&USRI=mark+fadden.

Order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate one-of-a-kind gift at http://markfadden.com/buyabook.html