Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

July 29, 2010

Day 45 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:

 

  • Writing topic – Does setting matter?
  • Marketing topic – News Releases, the evolution

 

Writing topic – Does setting matter?

 

In the wake of international blockbusters like The Da Vinci Code and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I’ve been thinking, does setting matter? Do novels need to cover sweeping areas of the world, like vast portions of Europe (as both of the aforementioned novels do) and do so in mindboggling detail to hold a readers interest? Then I think of Faulkner and Eudora Welty, who both focus on the simple worlds of the Deep South and then I think no, it’s the story that matters.

 

My latest thriller, The Brink, takes readers on a race from the wilderness of northern Mexico, to the center of power in Washington, D.C. The settings include the US-Mexico border where a firefight takes place as the hero and heroine try to cross the Rio Grande on a hand-powered ferry, and a D.C. bar I used to frequent in my mid-20s where our dynamic duo hold up for the night. Here is your chance to chime in, dear reader. Like clothes making the man (a cliché I don’t believe in), do settings make the story? And does the author need to have intimate knowledge of that place? Or like JK Rowling, do writers only need to depend upon a dynamic imagination to paint the setting for their reader? To the keyboard, dear reader!

 

Marketing topic – News Releases, the evolution

 

I just sent a news release to my former boss at the Weatherford Telegram about my upcoming radio interview and book signing. I haven’t done many news releases lately (August is my PRWeb month – more in August) but they have evolved. Here’s an early version:

Local author’s latest thriller chillingly current

Mark Fadden readily admits his new novel, The Brink, could be the most controversial book of 2010. Not only does it feature 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 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 10 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.”

Starting in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where he lives, Fadden will conduct a book tour promoting The Brink this summer. Readers can log on to markfadden.com for tour dates and locations. The Brink is available in hardcover and paperback at most major book stores and online booksellers. The eBook format will be released this summer. The first 22 pages can also be read at markfadden.com. 

 

 

And here’s the one I just sent to WT. Notice it’s shorter and the part about my agent not finding it a home and blah, blah, blah. I yanked. I realized I needed to make it shorter and to keep it positive:

Local author to sign his latest “chillingly current” thriller at The Book Case

Mark Fadden readily admits his new novel, The Brink, could be the most controversial book of 2010. Not only does it feature 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, which Fadden spent years researching, 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, then began working on the follow-up in 2006, which eventually became The Brink. “I’m really proud of it,” Fadden said of his latest thriller, which has won two awards from its publisher. “It explodes off the first page and maintains that action-packed pace to the very last paragraph. It also 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 writing 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 made some bad choices 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, August 7, 2010 from 11am to 1 pm at The Book Case, located at 109 N Main Street in Weatherford. Fadden will also be a guest on QXFM’s Books n’ Authors show on Saturday, August 7, 2010. The show will be broadcast at 10:00am on 89.5 KYQX and 88.5 KMQX radio, and on the Internet at www.qxfm.com.

The first 22 pages of The Brink can be read at markfadden.com.  Fadden has also created a blog about writing novels and book marketing using social media entitled “The Nightstand Diaries,” which can be read at markfadden.wordpress.com

 

 

Again, this is supposed to be an interactive blog, so your thoughts (positive and negative) are highly sought after.

 

I’ll be doing a book signing at the Allen, Texas Borders book store tomorrow night (Friday 7/30) between 6-8pm if you want to stop by, so the next post will be Monday 8/2. Till then,

 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

 

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