News Release – Texas author begins book marketing lecture tour

Sept 17, 2010 – Colleyville, Texas – The Internet has changed almost every facet of the way we do business. For authors, the Internet is a powerful tool to reach readers, but few understand how to fully utilize it to maximize their marketing dollars. Fortunately, Colleyville author Mark Fadden is hoping to educate other authors on how to use the Internet, and more specifically social media, to sell books.

“Never forget that writing is a business,” was Fadden’s central message of his Get Your Book Read! lecture last night at the Little Elm Public Library in Little Elm, Texas. Fadden’s latest thriller, entitled The Brink, which was recently published in May 2010, uses the current financial crisis as the foundation of a fast-paced suspense thriller in which a fugitive Texas Ranger helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot for global financial Armageddon. The book was awarded both the Editor’s Choice Award and the Rising Star Award from its publisher and Fadden had the most successful signing of the year at the Colleyville Borders bookstore. “As writers, we wear the artist hat. We use our creativity to do our job. But, if you want anyone besides your mother to read the book, you must take off the artist’s hat and put on the entrepreneur’s hat. You’ve got to think of creative ways to sell books.” For Fadden, that includes everything from talking directly to area book clubs and showing up at their meetings when they review his books, to being a part of cooking classes like “Pots & Plots” at the Colleyville Market Street grocery store. Students in the class cook a meal from the books they read and then talk about the book as they eat.  

Fadden began developing what the publishing industry refers to as his “author platform”, which is basically his marketing plan, long before the book was actually published. He built a website (www.markfadden.com), created a book trailer, which is similar to a movie trailer, and recorded a video interview that can be seen on his homepage. He also designed bookmarks and had them printed through an online print shop, which he hands out by the handfuls at events. With every signing he does, and every lecture he gives, Fadden adds fans to his email database, a list he has backed up on both paper and a hard drive that are stored in a fireproof safe. “People might think adding one fan at a time is tedious, but you have to remember the Law of 250. On average, most folks know 250 people. If they read your book and like it, they’re going to tell their friends about it. If you meet 4 people at a signing or lecture, that’s 1,000 potential new readers that might pick up your book. Like I stress in my presentations, social media and online marketing is important, but word-of-mouth advertising is still the tops.”

The Brink is Fadden’s third novel. His first novel, Five Days in Dallas, was published in 2003. It received critical acclaim and Fadden himself was even called a “masterful storyteller” by a Writer’s Digest reviewer. Fadden has several book signings and lectures scheduled in the next few months. His event schedule and the first 22 pages of The Brink can be previewed at www.markfadden.com. Email him at mark@markfadden.com to get a copy of his Get Your Book Read! PowerPoint presentation. Fadden has also created a blog about writing novels and book marketing using social media entitled, “The Nightstand Diaries,” which can be read at www.markfadden.wordpress.com.

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 23, 2010

 Day 39 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 goose egg X 3
  • Library conference networking
  • Looking for readers? Let’s get viral

 FB ad round-up – the goose egg X 3

 All three FB ads laid the big goose egg today. I don’t even want to talk about it.

 Library conference networking

Tomorrow is the big North Texas Regional Library System (NTRLS) conference and I’m very excited. This is a chance to meet the movers and shakers of all the libraries in North Texas. So, what have I done to prepare?

First, I have a table at the conference and while I can’t sell copies of my books, I am using this opportunity to promote the book AND most importantly promote myself as an author. We will do the full recap on Monday, but in the meantime, here are the things I’m doing:

  1. Handing out as many bookmarks as I can. I was going to design a bookmark suit where people could just pull off bookmarks themselves, but that would be a little too obvious on the shameless self promotion o’ meter.
  2. There are going to be several lectures and workshops and I will attend them all, acting like a sponge and trying to absorb as much info as I can. I’m especially looking forward to the social media workshop and I will post all the exciting news.
  3. Here’s a copy of the flyer I created to hand out at my table. Again, I’m not selling books here, I’m selling myself as an author in the trenches who can share his experience with others that these folks know (book club members, other writers) that I can give a lecture to. Again, talks and lectures are great ways to sell books:

 I’ve also got a signing in Denton, Texas tomorrow at Hastings from 6-8pm, so if you’re in Denton, I’ll be at the Loop Hole Tavern enjoying a beer with my chicken fried steak beforehand. Swing by before going to the signing and the first round’s on me.

 Looking for readers? Let’s get viral

 By now, some of you are probably saying, “Mark, all this work you’re doing is great, but it seems like an assload of work for not very much return. Why not do a video that goes viral with millions of views?”  Great idea. And I’m working on it. In fact, we all should. To inspire you, here are two that went viral and got millions of views:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUEcG4iH34 – Banned 2007 Super Bowl Bud commercial

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI – Double Rainbow – Oh My God!!! He’s really excited about the double rainbow.

 So, what can you make that will make millions watch? Ponder that one over the weekend and we’ll talk again Monday night with results of the library conference.

 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 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 15, 2010

Day 31 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 – is it getting ‘chilling’ up in here? 
  • Getting ready for the podcast, which is now a video interview 

 FB ad round-up

I think I need a jacket, ‘cause the “chillingly current novel” campaign is charging ahead like gangbusters. And yes, you do have to monitor your bid numbers, because they can change.  I had only 3 hits yesterday, but then I noticed the bid range changed from $.49-$.59, to $.72-$.92. So, when I changed it from $.50 to $.72, the number instantly rocketed up! Again, 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 15th.A

 So here are the numbers from the campaign:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/15/2010 154,824 27 0.02 0.70 0.12 18.94
07/14/2010 157,660 31 0.02 0.65 0.13 20.00
07/13/2010 132,073 46 0.03 0.43 0.15 20.00
Lifetime 444,557 104 0.02 0.57 0.13 58.94

104 clicks over 3 days isn’t bad. I just wish I knew if those folks bought books.

 Along those lines, I’m going to contact outside help to see if I can track down that info. More on that in tomorrow’s post.

Getting ready for the podcast, which is now a video interview

 The lovely and talented ladies from girlsinthestacks.com informed me today that the podcast is really a video interview. So I’m off to take the hedge clippers to my eyebrows in a bit. To get ready for the interview, I sent them a few suggestions of the topics we could cover. (As a freelance reporter, I find it very nice when your subject does this) I also spent some time doing research online about those topics.  So, tonight’s homework is to learn how to embed a video into tomorrow’s blog.

 Last night, we talked about how you can incorporate podcasts into your blog or site to get book sales. Well, videos are an even better way to do that. On my site, I have a book trailer on the home page that starts automatically. While it’s pretty basic, the music is really cool, very ominous and gets people in that thriller mindset.

 Try to make a list of 5 uses for videos to sell your books. Then expand that to 10. It’ll be easier than you think. Then all you need is a 17 year old to tell you how to edit and embed the thing into your blog and website and you’re good to go!

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 marketing a political thriller.

July 13, 2010

Day 29 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:

  • Hello, my name’s Mark, and I’m a FB ad-dict
  • Changes to the website 
  • Double-dip recession – will it make The Brink prophetic?  

Hello, my name’s Mark, and I’m a FB ad-dict

My day started with creating two FB ads. By tonight, I got 6 hits on one (The next James Patterson?) and zero on another. So I took out the dead weight and changed back to my most successful ad so far (Read a thriller anywhere!) and created another one. So, I’ve got three running currently. Here they are:

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.

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.

 The James Patterson ad is targeted at people that like James Patterson, about 360,000 people. The other two are targeted at people who like to read, about 4 million each.

I went on my godaddy.com (my web host company) account and tried to look at the site analytics to see if the facebook people are buying books once they leave my site, but I have yet to find information on that. UUGGHH!  Does anyone know how to get that info?

Anyway, all told, I’m in for about an hour on jacking around with these ads today, which includes creating them as well. Budget is $20/day for each. I promise I’ll let them ride until tomorrow’s post so we can analyze the numbers.

Changes to the website 

I also visited my godaddy.com search engine optimization page last night and today. What a butt whoopin’. 3 hours of slogging through the steps to get the right keywords associated with the site so that search engine “spiders” will recognize them when people search for books. You might say 3 hours seems like a lot for just coming up with keywords, but I’m old and I have to learn what the heck I’m doing before I actually do it.

I also made some changes to the site, mostly the home page to make it more like my personality. I reread some of David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR last night and today and he said that you should put some of ‘you’ into your site. So I did. Check it out and let me know what you think.   

Double-dip recession – will it make The Brink prophetic

Take a look at this recent article from Robert Reich about the probability of a double dip recession. If that happens, it will cause the U.S. government to come to the rescue with more bailouts, and that means more deficit spending and more debt.

Without giving too much away, (I already gave a huge hint as to who’s involved in the conspiracy in the book on the front cover) the double-dip resembles the ‘event’ the bad guys in the book use to begin their plan to take over the world. Funny how life resembles art, right?      

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 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 www.markfadden.wordpress.com. “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 www.markfadden.com 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 www.blogs.chron.com/leonhale.

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 markfadden.com.

 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 www.markfadden.com. 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.

 Best,

 Mark

 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…