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

 This blog’s named “The Nightstand Diaries” because in terms of publishing a book, it doesn’t mean squat that you’re published. It doesn’t mean squat that your book is on a bookstore shelf. It’s only when someone takes your book home and reads it – as a way to relax on a lounge chair, pass time on a subway, or as the last mental exercise before putting it on the nightstand and going to bed – that you become a part of your readers’ lives. With this notion in mind, I invite you to come along as I try to do that very thing. My goal is to try and sell 5,000 copies of my new novel The Brink over the next year.

June 15, 2010 – Day 2 of 365 

I’ve tried to get my official # sold to date from the iUniverse website, but it keeps coming back with an error, so I’ll call them tomorrow. In the meantime, as promised, here’s a summary of my marketing efforts to date:

  1. Publisher’s Marketing Package – The Brink was published in May 2010. Way back in December 2009, I worked with my publisher, iUniverse, to set up a marketing plan. While the plan involves doing many local book signings around the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, I purchased the following items from iUniverse:


–         Book signing package – Includes a poster to hang in stores before/during the signing, postcards to send out to people who live around the store inviting them to the signing, and a flyer about the book. I ultimately got a refund on this package because I didn’t like the designer’s poster. I came up with a poster and flyers myself, which I think are pretty good. Also, whenever I do a signing, I reach out to the local newspapers and bloggers with a press release. (Examples of each are below.)

–         Social Media Portal – At the time, I knew less about social media than I do now, so I purchased this package which allows me to post my blog on WordPress and it goes out to my Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Feedburner, Shelfari, Goodreads, and LibraryThing accounts. A real time saver.

–         PublishersWeekly Banner Ad – Impressions will begin running on their website on June 15th and will finish on June 30th.  The ad will also appear in the Daily eNewsletter running on June 23rd.  To view it, go to  If you would like to subscribe to the Publishers Weekly eNewsletter and receive a copy directly to your inbox, you can go to

–         ForeWord Clarion Review – When I see a book in a bookstore, I immediately flip it over and read the jacket synopsis. Then I look at the reviews. Because writing is such a solitary act, the more reviews, both positive and negative, the better – it makes us better writers. Hey, if you can’t handle someone critiquing your stuff, then you need to go back to kindergarten and wait for your participation metal. My ForeWord Clarion Review is below.

  1. “A Night with Mark Fadden” – Friends of the Colleyville Library speaking engagement. Local groups are always looking for guest speakers, and if you’re a writer it makes sense to make friends with your local library’s support groups. I only had to make contact with their president and she was more than happy to help me set up this event. I am very fortunate that our library not only has a wonderful staff, but the Friends of the Colleyville Library are very supportive of local authors.


  1. Bookmarks – The centerpiece of any book marketing campaign. It’s the author’s business card. I got 5,000 printed from for around $160. The did a great job, excellent customer service, and they were delivered fast!  


  1. Cold calling local bookstores – “I’m a writer, not a salesman.” You better get over that real quick. Call every chain bookstore, mom and pop bookstore around your house and ask them to host a signing.  I’ve been contacting every book store in DFW. I have several signings scheduled, including one at the Colleyville, Texas Borders this Saturday June 19 from 1-3 pm. I even did a signing at the Bucknell University bookstore in Lewisburg, PA during my 15 year reunion. When you’re talking to the bookstore manager or owner, tell them you’ll send them a marketing plan. (example is below)


  1. Tell everyone you come in contact with about your book – If you became a writer because you don’t like talking to people, then get ready to not have any fans. YOU MUST TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR BOOK!  Don’t be pushy, be subtle about it. Think of it this way, most if not all of the people you come in contact with every day can read – and they should be reading your book. Why? Because it kicks ass! Be positive about your book. Even if you do all sorts of prep work and don’t sell one stinking copy at an event. You should be thankful you even get to chase your dream. Most people don’t get that chance.

Example of Marketing Plan for Book Signing


Marketing Plan for Borders Colleyville Book Signing

June 19, 2010 1-3pm

  • Article in the June 2010 edition of 360 West magazine highlights the book signing.
  • Press release sent to local media including, Colleyville Courier, and (example attached)
  • Posters to be hung in store before and during event (example attached)
  • Flyers available before and during event (example attached)
  • Postcards sent out to various Colleyville community leaders (example attached)
  • 200 bookmarks delivered to Borders store (enclosed)
  • Email blast to Colleyville Chamber of Commerce members
  • “Evite” sent to subscribers of Colleyville Borders email mailing list (to be done by Colleyville Borders staff)
  • All local friends, colleagues, and acquaintances will be invited 


Advance Praise for The Brink:

“This story has everything – it hits the ground running with an ingenious and timely plot, the sharp dialogue produces megawatt size tension between the characters and the superb pacing and breakneck twists deliver a knockout ending.” – author Mark Graham

“Mark Fadden’s novel is a gripping tale filled with mystery, romance, and suspense. The story literally grabs the reader by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final page. The Brink is a page turner that even a seasoned reader will have trouble putting down.” – film producer Don Phillips


The Brink is the winner of its publisher’s Editor’s Choice award.

Mark has also been awarded his publisher’s Rising Star award.



Example of Press Release


Colleyville author’s latest thriller chillingly current

Mark Fadden spins a clever conspiracy tale focusing on America’s dire financial condition.

Mark Fadden readily admits his new novel, The Brink, could be the most controversial book of 2010. Described as The Da Vinci Code meets the movie National Treasure, it not only features a lost Constitution article, it uses real-world economic numbers to weave an intricate conspiracy tale that takes up where the recent financial meltdown left off. “Great fiction should inspire us to challenge the status quo,” Fadden said, “especially when the status quo involves our country’s truly dangerous financial situation.” It is this dangerous financial situation that becomes the focus of the story after fugitive lawman Danny Cavanaugh helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot to create financial Armageddon.

The Brink is Fadden’s third novel and is a continuation of his first novel, Five Days in Dallas. Published in 2003, Five Days in Dallas received critical acclaim and Fadden himself was even called a “masterful storyteller” by a Writer’s Digest reviewer. Fadden, who lives in Colleyville with his family, then began working on the follow-up in 2006, which eventually became The Brink. His agent, Tris Coburn, shopped it around to several publishing houses in 2009, but couldn’t find it a home. Undeterred, Fadden decided to publish it with iUniverse, the world’s largest independent publisher. “It’s been quite a journey since I began writing in 2001. It took a long time just to find an agent who believed in me enough to pound the pavement with my manuscripts. Now, with the economy the way it is, the big publishing houses are being very conservative with what they will greenlight. But it’s great that there’s an outlet for people to publish something that they believe in.” With Fadden winning both the Editor’s Choice Award, which is only awarded to the top ten percent of the 5,000 books iUniverse publishes annually, and the Rising Star Award, which is only awarded to the top 2 percent and will therefore be presented to national, regional and local booksellers as part of a nationwide sales campaign, it seems that he is right to believe in The Brink.

“I’m really proud of it,” Fadden said. “It explodes off the first page and maintains that supercharged pace to the very last paragraph. It delivers the level of suspense that thriller readers have come to expect with a plot that couldn’t be more current. There’s great chemistry between the two main characters. They’re both strong personalities, but each struggles with deep inner conflict that has shaped who they are.” While The Brink allowed Fadden to navigate the complex world of economics and politics, it’s his lead character that he’s still trying to understand. “Danny Cavanaugh is an interesting guy. He has this unstoppable desire to help his fellow man, but he has also done certain things in his life that have put him in a precarious position. When The Brink opens, he’s hiding out in Mexico contemplating suicide; not exactly a typical hero’s situation, but that’s what makes him relatable. We’ve all faced situations where we want to give up, where things seem insurmountable, but something deep inside keeps us going.”

Fadden will be signing copies of The Brink on Saturday, June 19, 2010 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at the Borders bookstore in Colleyville, located at 5615 Colleyville Blvd. The first 22 pages can be previewed at 


ForeWord Clarion Review


The Brink

Mark Fadden



Three Stars (out of Five)

Drawing from current events, economic fears, and conspiracy theories, Mark Fadden crafts an entertaining political thriller on the theme of good vs. evil. Action and heroism keep readers turning pages as Texas Ranger Danny Cavanaugh returns in Fadden’s second action-adventure novel. The story begins with a thwarted theft at the Library of Congress. The thief’s booty is recovered and taken to the White House where it reveals a previously unknown eighth article of the constitution. From there, the story jumps to Danny Cavanaugh who is on the brink of suicide. He postpones his own death long enough to investigate strange lights coming from a nearby monastery. Nearing the structure, he encounters Sydney Dumas, a tall gorgeous French woman clad only in skimpy underwear. She is fleeing a detail of security guards determined to kill her. Danny saves her and listens to her conspiracy tale about the Group, an alliance of powerful, wealthy men and women who are planning to force the United States into bankruptcy and take over its leadership.

Danny and Sydney, a law professor, judge, and avid swimmer, head to Washington, DC, to tell the president what they have found. Sydney’s nemesis, Stefan Taber, trails them and changes sides several times. The line between good and evil becomes so blurred that nearly everyone looks like a villain at one point or another. In fact, readers may not feel heartened at the end; it is unsure whether good has prevailed.

This is a nicely crafted thriller, and the author deserves his “Rising Star” status, but he doesn’t quite deliver with this novel. The writing and the plot are pocked with errors and amateur mistakes. An overuse of similar names in the opening chapters may send readers rushing for paper and pencil to write up a who’s who list. Many of these names are never seen again. The awkward handling of relationships, romance, humor, and character development may elicit more than one groan.

Uneven writing sometimes surprises readers with unexpectedly graphic descriptions. For example, in the opening chapter, a cop chases the thief into a fountain. The cop yells, “‘Hands up!’….Joel nodded. He spread his jacket wide to show he had no weapon. As he did, the book inside tumbled down his body into the water. The cop’s eyes exploded.” The author means that he widened his eyes with horror, but readers will visualize the actual eyeball gore. Such awkward phrases jerk readers out of the scene more than once. Still, the dialogue works well, flows smoothly, and moves the story forward. Action scenes usually unfold in easy to follow increments with mildly suspenseful descriptions.

Predictable plot points and amateur mistakes undermine a promising read; yet anyone looking for another tale of a secret organization conspiring to overthrow the world will enjoy Mark Fadden’s second novel.

Dawn Goldsmith


book signing poster 


















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