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

July 12, 2010

Day 28 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:

  • Recap on the Lewisville Borders signing
  • A new FB ad with a new angle
  • Good Morning, Texas!  

 Recap on the Lewisville Borders signing

 First, the numbers:

2 hours (1-3pm) – time spent at the signing

# of books sold – 10

# of stars of the restaurant where I could take my wife for dinner with my profits from the signing – 3, but we went to Twisted Root Burgers instead and saved the rest for running shoes to run off the fat-tastic calories of said meal.

But, here are arguably the most important numbers:

# of bookmarks handed out – 38

# of news outlets that got the following news release after the signing – 4:

 Lewisville is on ‘The Brink’

Lewisville Borders hosts local author for a book signing


Stephanee Talley of Lewisville with Mark Fadden

Even though there’s already a copy of Mark Fadden’s latest thriller in his house, Bret Talley had to buy his own copy. “My wife already read it, and has been on me every day, telling me I’ve got to read this book, but she keeps lending it out to other people,” Talley said. “So I came here to buy my own copy.”

As part of his summer DFW book tour, author Mark Fadden stopped by the Lewisville Borders book store on Saturday to talk about and sign copies of The Brink. In it, a fugitive cop and a brilliant beauty must race from Mexico to Washington, D.C. to stop a secret society’s plan for global financial Armageddon. The plot, which relies on real-world economic theories and financial numbers, took Fadden over a year to research before he started the rough draft. “I wrote the book a few years ago after I began listening to economic experts telling us how dire our country’s financial condition is. It’s truly frightening how some of the aspects of the book are actually coming true as the condition of the world’s economy gets worse.”               

The Brink, which is Fadden’s third published novel, is not only enjoying stellar reviews from critics and readers alike, the book has won two awards from its publisher and Fadden has been called a “masterful storyteller,” by a Writer’s Digest reviewer.

 “The signing went really well,” said General Manager Marion Orso. “Mark sold several copies and brought in a lot of traffic.” During the Lewisville Borders visit, Fadden talked with several customers about the writing process. He also got many questions about what he’s doing to market the book, a subject that he covers in his blog The Nightstand Diaries, which can be read at “While getting a book published is an enormous achievement, it is only when our books become part of our readers’ lives, when they enjoy them during their commute or read them as part of their ‘me’ time ritual before going to bed, that we as writers have truly reached our goals.”

The Lewisville Borders staff already invited Fadden back during the month of October, when people begin shopping for Christmas. Fadden has several more stops throughout DFW on his book tour, including The Book Carriage in Roanoke and the uptown Dallas Borders store. Readers can log onto for tour dates and to preview Mark’s books.  

And let me share a little nugget here. A few years back, I attended an evening with James Patterson at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. One of the stories he told is about one of the first signings he ever did at the World Trade Center. He was sitting behind a table in the middle of the busy hallway with books stacked around him, and not one person stopped. And speaking of zero sales, my mother clipped an article for me about book marketing. Leon Hale, a long time writer for the Houston Chronicle recently shared this memory of signing of similar success:  “I appeared for a book signing and two people came, and one of those was the publisher’s rep. And the other one didn’t buy a book.” Hale’s blog is at

I see signings as a way to reach people with more information through 2 ways: one, through news releases and two, periodically wandering through the store and handing out as many bookmarks as you can during the event. Not only can you get coverage from local papers and PR wire services alike before the event, the real money shot comes after. A signing gives you a chance for a photo op with a fan and a quote from the book store manager, which is PR gold. Plus, I updated my FB wall with the news release and had one person buy an ebook from that and it reminded a friend of mine to buy a couple of books as well. The news release is my favorite marketing piece because it works on so many levels.  

All told, I spent around 8 hours on the Lewisville signing, which is broken down as follows:

  • Scheduling the event (time on the phone)
  • Creating the news releases (pre and post event)
  • Creating and getting in-store posters printed
  • Contacting local news outlets and sending them the releases
  • Taking the posters to the store and meeting the staff before the event
  • The book signing itself

 Just remember. The signing isn’t just about the signing. It’s another way to get your name out there in media-world.


A new FB ad with a new angle

As July is my Facebook ad month, I ran an ad for the Lewisville signing. And while 62 people clicked on it, not one who was there mentioned anything about the ad. I might try one more for the Borders signing I’m doing in Allen, Texas on July 30, but if that doesn’t hit, then ads for signings are done.

I also changed the “US const. article found!” ad, which went nowhere fast, with the following one:

read a 5-star thriller!

Get Mark Fadden’s latest, a 5-star customer reviewed thriller, in eBook for $9 or get a signed copy at

 It’s still being reviewed, but it should get some significant #s by tomorrow.


Good Morning, Texas!

 A little birdie told me that she and her business partner got on Good Morning, Texas, a TV show on our local ABC affiliate. The birdie’s name is Alicia Segal and their business is called Simply Done Gifts. Anyway, here’s the email I sent to the GMT contact (for the sake of brevity and your eyeballs, news releases are not included, you’ve already read them in previous blogs):

 I’m a local author (Colleyville resident) who is currently in the midst of a book tour in the DFW area. Alicia Segal of Simply Done Gifts has been on your show and gave me your email as the person to contact about coming on Good Morning Texas.

 My latest political thriller, The Brink (published in May 2010), follows a fugitive Texas Ranger as he helps a brilliant beauty race from Mexico to Washington, D.C. to stop a secret society’s plan for global financial Armageddon. While I began the novel over three years ago, including completing a year’s worth of research into economic theories and real-world financial numbers that I use to make The Brink more realistic, the financial firestorm that continues to sweep across the planet dovetails almost directly with the plot. Chillingly current to say the least.

I have a signing coming up on Friday, August 13th from 5-7pm at the Dallas Uptown Borders store and I thought an appearance on GMT that morning would be perfect way to promote it. To get a better feel for an angle you might use in a segment, I’ve included a few recent news items below:

  1. The press release for the Uptown Borders signing.
  2. The latest news release from a signing I did on Saturday at the Lewisville Borders bookstore.
  3. An article about me winning Saks Fifth Avenue’s “Father’s Day Honors” Award in 360 West magazine.

 I’d love to visit with you about a possible appearance on the show. You can check out more about me and even preview the first 22 pages of The Brink at Please let me know if I can provide you with any more information.

 Thanks so much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.



 The email took me about an hour to put together, so not much time for what could potentially be a huge ROI. It would be awesome to get on TV. I just hope I don’t puke on the set from nerves…

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…