Writing a news release

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you’ll notice I’ve submitted quite a few news releases lately. Press releases and news releases are similar and different. Press releases usually are for businesses that have come up with a new product of service and they want to tell the world about it. News releases are for sharing something newsworthy and are sent to organizations that distrbute the news, i.e. newspapers. Writing a news release isn’t rocket science, but the better it is, the more likely it will get ink. Some people think they can’t write one because they’re not reporters. Nonsense! You can and should write a news release whenever you do something big, small, or anything in between.

For example, in the past week, I had three events concerning my latest thriller, The Brink: one was an evening with the authors event; two, I had a book signing at a quaint, independent bookstore; three, I did a presentation at the Alvarado Public Library on why writers need to think like entrepreneurs to get their books read.

I write every one of my news releases. Now, as part of my freelance writing duties, I do feature articles for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, so I have experience as a reporter. But, again, it ain’t rocket science. Just remember to cover the who, what, when, where, andwhy, take a few good quality pictures (you’ll only use one, but take a few so you can choose the best), and get a few quotes from the event attendees and you’re golden.  The following is an example of a pretty good news release. It got a high number of hits and it will be published in an upcoming edition of the Southlake Journal newspaper:

For Immediate Release:

For more information, please contact:

Mark Fadden

mark@markfadden.com

817-504-3886

 Triple C Ranch book club hosts “the next Dan Brown”

Sept 19, 2010 – Southlake, Texas – Once finishing a book, many readers would love the chance to ask the author questions about it. The ladies of the Triple C Ranch neighborhood in Southlake got that very chance when Colleyville author Mark Fadden stopped by during their recent book club meeting as they discussed his latest thriller, The Brink. “It was an engaging read,” said Patty Jefferson. “I read it in a day and a half. It was a real page turner.” Arlene Dang, one of the group’s founders, agreed with Jefferson and had perhaps the highest praise a thriller writer could hear. “I think he’s the next Dan Brown.” While the rest of the women had similar sentiments about the book, they also had some constructive criticism for Fadden. “While it would spoil the book to mention their exact comments, I can say that they had some specific ideas about the ending and some of the characters in the book. Anytime that we as authors can get this kind of feedback from our readers, it’s invaluable.” 

The Triple C Ranch Book Club, which is comprised of women from all walks of life including housewives, lawyers and educators, began with an idea that sprang from a conversation between two of the women in the neighborhood. Dang and Sipho Gumbo had a conversation about books and found out that they both were active on Good Reads, an Internet website where readers discuss their favorite books with others. “We thought why not do the same thing in our neighborhood?” said Dang. “We knew that several people in our neighborhood liked to read. Creating a book club just seemed a natural fit.” Gumbo, whose husband has written a book of historical fiction about African politics, entitled The Fire Inside, agreed. “We wanted to have a neighborhood group where people could share and socialize.”

The club, which meets the third Sunday of every month, has a dozen members and has even created their own Facebook page. Fadden’s novel, The Brink, was the third book they’ve read. Sometimes, the ladies have different opinions about characters and plots of the books they review, and they each respect the other’s opinion. Other times they all agree about a book, like when they all thought that the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love wasn’t their cup of tea. Lorianne Hartman, who hosted the meeting that Fadden attended, picked The Weight of Water for their next book. “It’s a very informal group of women who like to read and like to share,” said Hartman. “We’ve got a great group and I look forward to spending time with these good friends.”

Fadden will be signing copies of The Brink at the Southlake Barnes & Noble book store on Saturday, Oct 9, from 1:00pm-3:00pm. To preview it, visit his website at www.markfadden.com.

—end of News Release   

 It is very important to include the first part about it being tagged for immediate release so the reporters/editors you are sending it to will know when they can send it out. Also, contact information right up front is critical. Newspaper people are on deadlines, don’t make them hunt to get information to contact you. Again, a high quality picture is a must. And I would try to keep it 500 words or less. And try to make it look like a normal newspaper article you see in your paper. Again, deadlines are the reason why here. The less work a reporter/editor has to put into your article, the more likely it will get ink.

Hope that helps. Comments? Question? To the comments! 

P.S. You ‘ll see that I changed the title of my blog yet again. I went to an SEO (search engine optimization) seminar today and oh my dear lord, what a mountain of information! We’ll be covering that topic tomorrow night.

Until then,

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

****************************************************

Here’s what readers are saying about Mark’s latest thriller The Brink:

“I finally had a chance to sit down and read The Brink–all the way through in a day and a half. The story is gripping, even frightening, and you capture the suspense in the rhythm of your prose. In places I was reading so fast I felt like I was in the chase! I’ll put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Lonesome Dove, in the gallery of great contemporary writers!” – Bob H., Amarillo, TX

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Arlene D., Southlake, TX

“Truly a pager turner for me. I could not put the book down. Every time I thought I had figured something out, the next twist came up. If you like conspiracy theories, you’ll love this one.” – Sharon L, Houston, TX

Want to start reading The Brink right now? Download the eBook version from amazon.com for less that $10 at http://www.amazon.com/The-Brink-ebook/dp/B003OYIEPC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284567122&sr=8-2 or bn.com at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210492/?itm=1&USRI=mark+fadden.

Order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate unique gift at http://markfadden.com/buyabook.html

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Author shares secrets on selling books

“Today’s up and coming authors must act like an entrepreneur if they want anyone besides their mother to read their books.” That was the central message of author Mark Fadden’s recent “Get Your Book Read!” presentation at the Alvarado Public Library in Alvarado, Texas. With more writers going the self-publishing route, and with publishing houses slashing their marketing budgets to the bone, authors must not only write the book these days, but they must act as their own public relations and marketing managers as well. “The good news is that by using the Internet, there has never been an easier time to get our message out to the masses,” Fadden said. “The bad news is that we’re also competing with the millions of other marketing messages that are sent out every day and vying for people’s attention. There are many ways for authors to be seen and heard, we just have to remain diligent about communicating our message to the world.”

Not only is Fadden a freelance writer and he continues to work on new novels, he is also currently on a book tour promoting his latest award-winning thriller, The Brink. In the book, a fugitive cop helps a woman running for her life only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot for global financial Armageddon. Fadden uses many social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and his blog to spread the word about his books. However, he will be the first to say that when it comes to making fans, it’s still face to face meetings that work best.

“A recent study stated that 71 percent of all communication is still face to face. 21 percent is over the phone. Email, texting and participating in chat rooms and other online platforms like Facebook still account for less than six percent. While keeping an online presence is important, meeting people in the flesh is still key.” Fadden, who lives in Colleyville, Texas, also answered questions from the audience about his experience with publishing, what inspires him and how he got his start. The interaction with potential fans is something he truly enjoys. “I love talking to readers. It also allows me to thank them for taking the time to read my work, which is a huge investment when there are so many other forces tugging at people these days. It also gives me a chance to hear their feedback, which helps improve my writing.”

Fadden’s take-home message from his presentation was that while getting the book published is a huge accomplishment, it is only the beginning of the hard work. “I’ve been a writer for almost 10 years now, and many folks that come out to these presentations are writers themselves that have questions about how to get their work published. While I try to give them as much information as I can about getting published, I try to make sure they understand that the marketing aspect is even more critical, especially since they’ll be doing most of it themselves. While it can seem overwhelming, if you have a good marketing plan, that makes all the difference. It’s all about the three Ps – planning, patience and persistence.”

“This talk was amazingly interesting,” said Cheryl Chaplin of Alvarado, who took copious notes during Fadden’s presentation. “A friend of my son’s is a writer, he’s written a novella and hopes to turn it into a full-length novel. This is priceless information for him.”

The Brink has won its publisher’s Editor’s Choice Award and the Rising Star Award. Not only does Fadden have several signings scheduled at book stores in the Dallas/Fort-Worth, Texas area this fall, readers can preview the book and even get a signed copy at http://www.markfadden.com. Fadden’s blog, The Campaign: dispatches from the literary trenches, can be viewed at https://markfadden.wordpress.com/. Copies of Fadden’s “Get Your Book Read” PowerPoint presentation are available for free. Simply email him at mark@markfadden.com for a copy.

News Release – Local author signs ‘absolutely shocking’ book at The Book Carriage

Larry Granados, Treena Carpenter, Mark Fadden, Mercedes Reagan, and Leanne Skinner hold copies of The Brink, Mark Fadden's latest thriller, during his visit to The Book Carriage in Roanoke, Texas

Cooler temperatures make a lot of people want to curl up with a good book. And that’s exactly what customers got a chance to do at The Book Carriage & Coffee Shop in Roanoke on Sunday when Colleyville author Mark Fadden stopped by to promote and sign copies of his latest award-winning thriller, The Brink. In the book, Fadden incorporates a lost article of the U.S. Constitution into the story of a fugitive cop that helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot for global financial Armageddon.

 “It’s a completely gripping thriller, one that I hated to put down,” said Leanne Skinner, who works at the store and read an advance copy. “I appreciated the short chapters, so when I did get the inevitable interruption, I could finish the chapter, take care of the interruption, and then get back to it.”

 During his visit, Fadden talked about the “real-world” economics that are part of the book. “I began researching the book in 2006. Back then, I wanted to do a story that used the country’s exploding debt problem as the basis for a conspiracy thriller. I also wanted to use real numbers and real economic theory to showcase just how fragile our financial system is. Little did I know then that the events happening now, like the government debt bubble and actions of players in the international financial system, like what the Bank of Japan is doing to stabilize its economy, practically mirror what happens in the book. The truly frightening thing is that these actions, in the book anyway, ignite the complete unraveling of the entire global monetary system.”

 “It’s absolutely shocking,” said Angie Granados of the financial realty in the book. Granados, with her husband Larry, owns The Book Carriage & Coffee Shop. “Mark talked about some of the financial numbers he uses in his book, real numbers from the real world. It’s almost too scary to think about what could happen.”      

 The Book Carriage & Coffee Shop opened two years ago. Granados and her husband built the unique building from the ground up, scraping the existing building that once stood there in order to comply with the city’s zoning ordinances for the revitalized Oak Street corridor. The building features a conference room on the second floor that can be rented and a stage that overlooks the main part of the store where bands play on Saturday nights. “Because of the construction, this was our first signing event in a while,” said Granados. “Now that the construction is over with, we are looking forward to having more events and more signings.”

 The Book Carriage & Coffee Shop is an independent general bookstore/coffee shop located at 304 North Oak Street in Historic Downtown Roanoke. Contact them at  info@bookcarriage.com or 817.491.2858. Or visit their website at www.bookcarriage.com.

 Mark Fadden can be reached at mark@markfadden.com. He has several upcoming signings in the DFW area and is available to attend book club reviews as well. He is also giving workshops on how authors can use social media to sell their books at various local libraries. Visit www.markfadden.com to view his schedule of events or to preview The Brink.

News Release – Authors read from works, share own stories at Bedford Library event

Poet Rebecca Balcárcel and author Sarah A. Hoyt listen as author Mark Fadden reads from his latest thriller, The Brink."

As one of the last events at the Bedford Public Library’s current home before it moves to its new location, the Friends of the Bedford Public Library hosted, “An Evening with the Authors” on Saturday, Sept 25. “Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?” “How did you get started writing?” “How long does it take you to write your books?” were just some of the questions fielded by Colleyville thriller author Mark Fadden, local poet Rebecca Balcárcel and author Sarah A. Hoyt, who writes science fiction, fantasy and mysteries. Not only did the authors share stories about their experiences with publishers, their writing processes, and current writing projects, but all three read from their most recent works and signed copies of their books.

“I absolutely love coming to these events,” said Fadden, who was the only first-timer at the event. “It’s great to talk to people about the journey of a story going from an idea in your head to a finished, published novel.” Fadden read from his latest novel, The Brink, which was recently published in May 2010 and has already won several awards. In it, a fugitive cop helps out a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plan for global financial Armageddon.

Poet Rebecca Balcárcel, who is an associate professor of English at Tarrant County College, read selected poems from her book Palabras in Each Fist. “It was great to hear the work of my colleagues and fun to meet readers. A poet being able to read from his or her own work certainly adds a dimension to it.”

Sarah A. Hoyt, who traveled all the way from Colorado Springs, Colorado and has published 17 books, read from her latest book, Dipped, Stripped, and Dead. Besides attending the event, she hosted a writer’s workshop over the weekend at the library where she discussed story structure, how to market and the realities of being a writer. “I made every mistake in the book, so I am very qualified to teach this workshop,” said Hoyt.

“To have three authors that represent such different genres made for a very interesting evening,” said Amanda Green, Vice President of the Friends of the Bedford Public Library. “Being one of the last events at our current library, it was bittersweet. But we are very excited about moving into our new building in just a few months.”

All three authors have websites. For more information, visit www.markfadden.com, www.rebeccabalcarcel.com or www.sarahahoyt.com.

A new look, a new name to the blog

Changes to the Blog

“The only constant is change.” – I forgot who said this.

If you been following this blog, you’ll see that I’ve made some changes to better reflect what this blog is all about. I hope these changes will draw some more folks into the fold so that we can have a more lively discussion about what’s working and not working in the book marketing world.

Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) – is old school still the way to go?

The marketing world continues to praise the Internet as the end all, be all platform to get the word out about your product. However, the numbers don’t agree. In fact, overwhelmingly, the numbers state that good old-fashioned word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is still king:

71% Face to face

21% Phone

3% Email

2% Instant Message

1% Online chatroom/blog

1% Other

Sources: McKinsey & Company 2010; Keller Fay Group, 2009

What is WOMM? Let’s say a friend of yours tells you about a new book. “I just read The Brink by Mark Fadden and it was awesome. It was so suspenseful and fast, I found myself reading as fast I could to keep up with the action. There’s also this part about a lost Constitution article, and there’s tons of Federal Reserve history and a secret society called the Bilderberg Group that I never knew about.  You’ve got to read it!” We all have had that conversation, right? And we all have purchased something based upon that friend’s recommendation, right?

I just listened to the  “Pass It On : Small Business Success Through Word-of-Mouth Marketing” webinar from PRWeb and Fizz Corporation. In it, Fizz’s Ted Wright explains how to identify what he calls “influencers” and to use them to share stories about your products, which will hopefully drive up sales. Wright also talks about how to use social media in WOMM. Whatever you are selling, or whatever business you are in, this webinar will help you with your WOMM campaign. Check it out at: http://event.on24.com/eventRegistration/EventLobbyServlet?target=lobby.jsp&eventid=243086&sessionid=1&key=1C7936E31879AFE35EACDEEB245B2C66&eventuserid=40733644

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

****************************************************

Here’s what readers are saying about Mark’s latest thriller The Brink:

“I finally had a chance to sit down and read The Brink–all the way through in a day and a half. The story is gripping, even frightening, and you capture the suspense in the rhythm of your prose. In places I was reading so fast I felt like I was in the chase! I’ll put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Lonesome Dove, in the gallery of great contemporary writers!” – Bob H., Amarillo, TX

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Arlene D., Southlake, TX

“Truly a pager turner for me. I could not put the book down. Every time I thought I had figured something out, the next twist came up. If you like conspiracy theories, you’ll love this one.” – Sharon L, Houston, TX

Want to start reading The Brink right now? Download the eBook version from amazon.com for less that $10 at http://www.amazon.com/The-Brink-ebook/dp/B003OYIEPC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284567122&sr=8-2 or bn.com at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210492/?itm=1&USRI=mark+fadden.

Order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate unique gift at http://markfadden.com/buyabook.html

Want a side of thriller with that financial analysis?

We are literally awash in non-fiction books about the current financial crisis. James Kwak and Simon Johnson, who run the excellent blog The Baseline Scenario, wrote 13 Bankers, a book that “identifies many causes of the recent financial crisis, from housing policy to minimum capital requirements for banks. The authors lay ultimate blame on a dominant deregulatory ideology and Wall Street’s corresponding political influence. Johnson, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Kwak, a former consultant for McKinsey, follow American finance’s rocky road from the debate between Jefferson and Hamilton over the first Bank of the United States through frequent friction between Big Finance and democracy to the Obama administration’s responses to the crises.” – Publisher’s Weekly review.

Arianna Huffington, of the famed Huffington Post, has written Third World America. According to her publisher, Random House, Huffington, “has her finger on the pulse of America, [as she] unflinchingly tracks the gradual demise of America as an industrial, political, and economic leader.  In the vein of her fiery bestseller Pigs at the Trough, Third World America points fingers, names names, and details who’s killing the American Dream.”

Raghuram Rajan, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, has added to the financial crisis list with Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy. Princeton University Press, the book’s publisher, has this to say about Rajan and the book: “Raghuram Rajan was one of the few economists who warned of the global financial crisis before it hit. Now, as the world struggles to recover, it’s tempting to blame what happened on just a few greedy bankers who took irrational risks and left the rest of us to foot the bill. In Fault Lines, Rajan argues that serious flaws in the economy are also to blame, and warns that a potentially more devastating crisis awaits us if they aren’t fixed.”

Finally, there is former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s Aftershock. Again, here’s a blurb about the book from its publisher, Random House: “Reich’s thoughtful and detailed account of where we are headed over the next decades reveals the essential truth about our economy that is driving our politics and shaping our future. With keen insight, he shows us how the middle class lacks enough purchasing power to buy what the economy can produce and has adopted coping mechanisms that have a negative impact on their quality of life; how the rich use their increasing wealth to speculate; and how an angrier politics emerges as more Americans conclude that the game is rigged for the benefit of a few. Unless this trend is reversed, the Great Recession will only be repeated.”

Just from doing a little research into their backgrounds, it’s obvious each of these authors knows what they’re talking about. But, honestly, show of hands here, you don’t even have to go so far as to fill out an online poll – would you read any one of these books?

The answer is probably no. Yet, something like 50 million people read Dan Brown’s thriller The Da Vinci Code, which, at its core, is about subjects almost as boring as economics for most people: Italian art and religious history. Why? The answer, at least in my eyes, is simple. To paraphrase political strategist James Carville, “it’s the story, stupid.”

Story drives everything. That was my idea when I first conceptualized my latest thriller, The Brink, which is based upon the current financial crisis. Much like Reich, Huffington, and Rajan, I wanted to educate people about America’s precarious financial situation, but I knew that people also don’t want to be nagged or preached to. Most readers would rather sit down and crack open a compelling thriller than a fairly dry textbook-like read. So, I used real-world numbers and real economic theories within a thriller format when I wrote The Brink, and it works. It entertains and educates. Some readers and reviewers alike have even called it, “faction” – the meeting of fact and fiction.

What about you? Have you been researching something from “the real world”, maybe it’s something like global warming, that you think would make the good basis for a novel? Would you ever write a book of “faction?” Do you trust the things you read in fiction to be the truth? Or should fiction writers no try to educate? Should they just entertain and that’s it?   To the keyboards!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

****************************************************

Here’s what readers are saying about Mark’s latest thriller The Brink:

“I finally had a chance to sit down and read The Brink–all the way through in a day and a half. The story is gripping, even frightening, and you capture the suspense in the rhythm of your prose. In places I was reading so fast I felt like I was in the chase! I’ll put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Lonesome Dove, in the gallery of great contemporary writers!” – Bob H., Amarillo, TX

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Arlene D., Southlake, TX

“Truly a pager turner for me. I could not put the book down. Every time I thought I had figured something out, the next twist came up. If you like conspiracy theories, you’ll love this one.” – Sharon L, Houston, TX

Want to start reading The Brink right now? Download the eBook version from amazon.com for less that $10 at http://www.amazon.com/The-Brink-ebook/dp/B003OYIEPC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284567122&sr=8-2 or bn.com at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210492/?itm=1&USRI=mark+fadden.

Order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate unique gift at http://markfadden.com/buyabook.html

News Release – Booked for Murder Book Club meets author of latest selection

Sept 21, 2010 – Lewisville, Texas – Once finishing a book, many readers would love the chance to ask the author questions about it. Members of the Booked for Murder Book Club at the Lewisville Library got that very chance when Colleyville author Mark Fadden attended their monthly meeting as they discussed his latest thriller, The Brink. “I probably wouldn’t have selected this book,” said Lana Bragg of Lewisville. “I normally don’t go for political thrillers. But I really enjoyed this book. It was very timely and suspenseful. The short chapters made the story really move.” While the rest of the club members had similar sentiments about the book, which follows a fugitive Texas Ranger as he helps a brilliant beauty running for her life, they also had some constructive criticism for Fadden. “While it would spoil the book to mention their exact comments, I can say that they had specific ideas about some of the characters, as well as some remarks on the mix of romance and action. Anytime that an author can get this kind of feedback from our readers, it’s priceless.”

The conversation about romance in thriller novels quickly sparked a thoughtful discussion about the future of books, which had nothing to do with the eBook versus traditional print books debate that is the current topic du jour of the publishing world. “Are male writers becoming extinct?” asked James Whittington of Flower Mound. “I’m an aspiring writer and all the writing magazines I read say that as a male writer, you can’t get published. I mean, look at us here. Besides the author, I’m the only man here.”

Debra Levesque of Lewisville, who read The Brink on her Kindle eBook reader, disagreed with Whittington. “The publishing industry has been a male dominated world since its inception. Women had to write under men’s names in order to get published for a long time. I read Memoirs of a Geisha and that was even written by a man. I think it’s just finally leveling out.”

Another topic that was brought up was about the fact that Texas cities aren’t well represented in the mystery/thriller genre. While Fadden uses locations from his native state as settings in his novels, he is well aware of the reason why Texas is often left out in the cold in mystery and thriller novels. “Chicago has the political machine, the mobs, and a gritty past. New York is New York; there are so many different avenues to use when you have New York as your location. Washington, D.C. is the heart of global power. Texas, and Dallas in particular, has gotten a bad rap as a gleaming place that’s only known for big hair and J.R. Ewing. Many writers think it doesn’t have that dark edginess that mysteries and thrillers need to move the story forward.”  

Kelly Brouillard, Adult Services Librarian was the moderator for the book club meeting. “It was great having Mark here. Not only did we have a lively discussion, but we had a large turnout, the most we’ve had ever for this group.” The Booked for Murder Book Club meets every third Tuesday of the month at 2:00pm at the Lewisville Library. For more information, contact Kelly Brouillard at (972) 219-3570, or visit http://library.cityoflewisville.com

The Brink is Fadden’s third novel and has won both his publisher’s Editor’s Choice and Rising Star Awards. He will be signing copies at the Lewisville Barnes & Noble book store on Sunday, Oct 10, from 2:00pm-4:00pm. 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. To preview The Brink, view his event schedule or read his blog about writing novels and book marketing using social media, visit http://www.markfadden.com.