Who’s reading you?

One of the great stories of the publishing world has to be the one about how Tom Clancy was discovered. He was an insurance salesman who penned a manuscript entitled, “The Hunt for Red October,” about a Russian submarine captain who wants to defect to the U.S. Living in Annapolis, Maryland, he published it through the Navy’s press, which is located there. This was after many rejections from the traditional publishing houses. It was around Christmas time and someone put a copy of it under a very special Christmas tree. A few weeks went by and one young reporter saw a book tucked under then President Ronald Reagan’s arm as he strode out to the Marine One helicopter. “Mr. President, what book is that you’re reading?” the reporter asked. Reagan held it up telling the reporter that it was called The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy and that he’d received it as a Christmas gift. It’s “the perfect yarn,” Reagan was quoted as saying. “It’s unputdownable.”

In previous posts, I’ve talked about the “Rule of 250.” It’s the rule stating that the average person knows 250 people. Among those 250 people, you probably know someone that is influential or someone that works with or for someone influential. If you haven’t send them a signed copy of your book, you better be going to your local 99 cent store today for the bubble mailers (much cheaper than at the office supply stores) and use it to mail them a copy of your baby.

But even if you don’t know any Mr. or Mrs. Big Stuff, who says you can’t mail them a copy of your book anyway? Like any business, you as an authorpreneur need to realize some marketing expenses. Take 10 or 20 copies of your book, sign them, and send them out to local celebrities or influential business people. If it’s a book about current events, whether fiction or non-fiction, why not send a copy or two to some national news anchors or the show producers? Now, I don’t want you to land on any FBI watch lists, but you can even send one to the president and see what happens. At the very least, you may get a letter apologizing that he doesn’t have time to read it. But that letter will be on very cool stationary.

And who knows, you may just get discovered this way. Stranger things have happened. Just ask Tom Clancy.  

Thoughts? Comments? To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Send him an email at mark@markfadden.com.  

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Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

August 24, 2010

Day 71 of 365

Books sold so far (May and June 2010): 246

In this issue:

  • Writing topic – To Prologue or Not To Prologue?
  • Marketing Topic – Google AdWords, Day 3 and Yippee!

Writing topic – To Prologue or Not To Prologue?

So now that my kids are back in school, and I have some more peace and quiet around the house (I work from home, which meant a lot of late nights during the summer to churn out freelance projects while I was “Mr. Mom-ing” it during the day – but I wouldn’t have given up a second of it.) That means it’s time to start churning out the next novel. My main intention of this blog was to provide a chronology of my book marketing efforts so you could see which worked well and which crashed and burned. However, since I’ve decided to write another novel this year, I will be blogging about that effort in the “Writing Topic” section. So, if you are a budding novelist, or know someone who is, I’ll be kickstarting the old noggin tomorrow to get it in shape for the next novel.

That brings us to tonight’s topic – you lika da prologue-a? Prologues typically set up the main story by providing some backstory info. Sometimes, it will be an event that happens later in the book, like a juicy murder scene or some breathless action event. Some critics say that prologues are signs of a weak book. Like a crutch, the prologue props up an otherwise lackluster story that can’t stand on it’s own. It is the prologue that hooks the reader, and then drags them through misery for the next 400 pages.

I vacillated back and forth between prologue or no prologue for the next book. It’s a murder mystery and the opening murder scene was, I thought, some of my best work. It was its own separate scene, so I decided it must be the prologue. Then, I thought about what Stephen King said in On Writing, about how you should “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” The scene really didn’t fit because the pace wasn’t there and it had no ties to anything else in the story, so out came the sickle and slice! Thank you again Mr. King for lighting the way.

Marketing Topic – Google AdWords, Day 3 and Yippee!

Yesterday’s post mentioned that I changed up the ads. And viola! It seems I may be getting better at this AdWord stuff.

Here’s the new ad:

I got quite a lot of hits pretty quickly and my $10 a day budget was topped out before I knew it. Here are the keywords associated with this new ad and the # of clicks for each: “Bilderberg” 9 clicks; “Bilderberg Group” 4 clicks; “New World Order” 18 clicks. Again, the sinister secret society in the book that our hero and heroine are running from are based on the real-life Bilderberg Group, which is said to be planning a One World Government through a combination of efforts including bankrupting the world and social engineering. During the Xmas holiday season, I’ll ramp these ads up a bit.

I also created a second ad. With Labor Day right around the corner and people looking for a good Labor Day read, I am trying to direct them to my amazon page where they can get the book 22% off and get it shipped in time for Labor Day.

Here it is:

Why the “finish it on your vacation” part? Simple. One thing that people have been commenting on about The Brink is that it’s so fast paced and “unputdownable.” One customer review stated that he finished it in a day and a half!  If people are looking for something to take them away over Labor Day, which is only 3 days, they want something they can finish. It makes them feel like they accomplished something in those three days. If not, they feel like its yet another task on their to-do list if they have to finish it once they come back off vacation and into the real world. Of course, that’s just my theory, and it could be a naive one. I guess only time will tell if the ad works or not.  

Keywords on this one include: thriller books, crime thriller books, new mystery books, mystery and thrillers, and good mystery books. I just created it in the past hour, so no info yet. Stay tuned until tomorrow’s post.

There is one problem, though. Since the ad is small and doesn’t allow for many words, I can’t tell customers that once they order it, they can then go to markfadden.com to get their book signed for free. And ad about buying a signed book will also be a huge part of the xmas ad campaign.      

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…