Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

August 9, 2010

Day 56 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 – Writing, The Drinking Game – the results
  • Marketing Topic –  Radio, Radio, where for art thou? Does thou even matter to scribes henceforth?

 

Writing topic – Writing, The Drinking Game – the results

 On Friday, I shared the thought that wrapped around my head as I waited to hear from my publisher about June’s sales #s. (Got an email late today – since most sales came from 3rd parties and not direct from publisher, the lag time is 60 days!!! That means Sept for June’s #s! There’s got to be a better way.) Why are many of the great writers also great drinkers? I came across the Reader’s Drinking Game and thought I’d put a twist on it to come up with the Writer’s Drinking Game. To review, here are some introductory rules:

  1.  Chug a beer after you come up with a title (a good one, not just some lame filler to be changed later)
  2. Drink at every new paragraph
  3. Drink at the end of every page
  4. If your novel’s setting is anywhere south of Dallas, Texas, make a mojito (here’s the video)

turn on some Tito Puente (RIP) and dance around while you finish it. North of Dallas? Enjoy some Scotch to Led Zeppelin.

5. If there’s a redneck character in your story, shotgun a Keystone. If it’s a woman of means who knows who she is, perhaps the matriarch of the family, how about sipping a Rob Roy?

6. Any 5 syllable or more words? Drink whatever’s handy. Not vanilla extract. That’s a little too desperate.

7. A semicolon deserves half the beer; a colon: down the whole thing.

8. If you’re sitting in a Starbucks while you’re working, get up, go to the nearest bar that has wi-fi (for research, not to watch movies or go on Facebook while your half in the bag) and get 3 shots of Cutty Sark and a PBR tall boy (which now costs $44 in China!) and just let all that ride over you for the next hour or so while you bang out four pages of excellence.

9. This one was for you to come up with, call it a homework assignment…

Okay, so I must admit, I didn’t follow through with even attempting this game this weekend. I had a radio show (subject of tonight’s marketing topic) and a signing, then a 25 mile bike ride sponsored by our town’s newest bike shop, and then some work to catch up on Sunday afternoon. Did anyone else try it? There’s no shortage of reading drinking games, but I do believe this is the first one for us writers. We are breaking new ground here people! Making history if you will.  I’m talking Wright brothers and Neil Armstrong territory. Don’t think of it as a waste of time, think of it as the great literature experiment. I’ve got 2 signings this weekend, so maybe next weekend would be the perfect time to experiment. If you’ve got a free day tomorrow, try it tonight. And let us know how it goes in the comment section.   

 

Marketing Topic – Radio, Radio, where for art thou? Does thou even matter to scribes henceforth?

 

Does anyone listen to the radio anymore? I’m not talking the Top 40 kind that has a playlist of six songs and Ryan Seacrest seems to be talking on it most of the time. I’m talking about the community, non-profit kind that has shows like “The Trading Post” where people can call in and go on the air with what they’re selling or wanting to buy. How about “The Noontime Jamboree”, or “Nighttime Noir.”  Radio is yet another format in which to spread our message for not a lot of money. Simply contact your local community radio station and see if they have a show where they interview local authors. Get booked and go on and talk about your masterpiece. But you may be thinking, “No one listens to community radio anymore. Why bother?” For several reasons, my young Jedi. One, many people listen to community radio in our digital age. Two, GET A COPY OF THE INTERVIEW AND TREAT IT LIKE THE BAR OF SOLID GOLD THAT IT IS. First, put a version of the interview on your website so people can listen to it. Many readers want to know what makes an author tick. The more interviews you can put on your site, the better. Second, write up a news release about the interview and send it out to the local papers. Make sure to take a picture of yourself with the headphones on in front of the mike like this one:

 

  And then make sure to include it in the news release. Here’s mine I did after my interview:

The next economic crash is subject of former resident’s latest thriller

 

Former Weatherford resident Mark Fadden was in town on Saturday promoting his latest thriller, The Brink, on QXFM’s “Books and Authors” radio show. During the show, Fadden shed some light on the enormous, and real, problem that could topple the United States any day, which is the underlying plot of the book. “Many experts predict that the next economic bubble waiting to burst is the federal government debt bubble. The US is $14 trillion in debt. We have a $1.5 trillion deficit. We need to borrow $2 billion each and every day from foreign countries like Japan and China just to keep the federal government running. For a writer, the basic question we ask ourselves is “What if?” So I asked, ‘What if China and Japan stopped their investments? The story, which has evolved along with our own dangerous financial situation, just grew from there.” 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 now 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.”

 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.

  

 

Finally, want to get on your local news station’s morning show but never been on TV before? Send them the radio interview, providing you didn’t suck, to show them that you can talk with a mike in front of you. If you’re radio gold, chances are you’d be TV gold as well.

 The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

 

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2 Responses

  1. Mark, I like the drinking game for writers. As you know, Christmas and I are not writers, but we would be happy to play sometime!

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