Dispatches from the literary trenches

September 21, 2010

Tonight’s Topic – Writing News Releases out the Wazoo

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you’ll notice that I’ve been pumping up the number of news releases that I’ve been sending out lately. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Almost on a daily basis, more information comes out from credible sources including Ron Paul, Boston University Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff, and the Congressional Budget Office that the United States is in a severe financial crisis, and the main cause of this crisis is the country’s debt load, which is the foundation of the financial conspiracy in The Brink.
  2. I went back and re-read David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR last week and was reminded that, for authors anyway, there is simply no better bang-for-the-buck promotional piece than the news release.
  3. My schedule of signings and appearances has ramped up lately, so I’ve got more news to release. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, please visit http://markfadden.com/appearancesandpress.html for a schedule of upcoming events.

Remember fellow writers, you can write your own news releases (you’re writers after all, right?) and you can post them in blogs, on websites, on your Facebook, Twitter, Shelfari, and Good Reads pages. You can also email them to the local newspapers to see if they’ll give you some ink. In the case of doing a signing or an appearance in a local store or local library, those are great stories, and exactly the kind most community papers are looking for. If you’ve written a professional news release and included a high-quality pic (or several for them to choose from) then you’ve saved the reporter a couple hours work, something that is always appreciated in a business where deadlines are cast in stone.

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 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

 

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

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.

reat Dispatches from the literary trenches

September 19, 2010

Ron Paul – “This is much bigger than the Great Depression” interview

With this weekend being the 2nd anniversary of the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, here’s a video of yesterday’s Tom Sullivan show where he interviews Congressman Ron Paul, who has long been a relentless champion of fixing the devastated US economy through sound financial principles.

“Capital comes from savings, it can’t come from a printing press,” said Paul. When asked his prediction about the economy, Paul said, “it’s going to get a lot worse. This is much bigger than anything in the history of the world. Never has a world economy been run on a total fiat currency controlled by us, of course by the dollar. It has horrendous debt that has to be liquidated. And so far no one wants to do that. We have to return to sound money. We have to turn off the printing presses.”  

Paul’s latest concern about the role of fiat money in the global economic crisis is just one of the pieces of my latest novel, The Brink. Certain to be the year’s most controversial thriller, The Brink takes readers on a breathless race from the wilderness of northern Mexico to the center of power in Washington, D.C as a fugitive cop and a brilliant beauty try to uncover the link between a lost article of the Constitution and a ruthless secret society whose goal of total global financial collapse has already begun.

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 – Texas author begins book marketing lecture tour

Sept 17, 2010 – Colleyville, Texas – The Internet has changed almost every facet of the way we do business. For authors, the Internet is a powerful tool to reach readers, but few understand how to fully utilize it to maximize their marketing dollars. Fortunately, Colleyville author Mark Fadden is hoping to educate other authors on how to use the Internet, and more specifically social media, to sell books.

“Never forget that writing is a business,” was Fadden’s central message of his Get Your Book Read! lecture last night at the Little Elm Public Library in Little Elm, Texas. Fadden’s latest thriller, entitled The Brink, which was recently published in May 2010, uses the current financial crisis as the foundation of a fast-paced suspense thriller in which a fugitive Texas Ranger helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot for global financial Armageddon. The book was awarded both the Editor’s Choice Award and the Rising Star Award from its publisher and Fadden had the most successful signing of the year at the Colleyville Borders bookstore. “As writers, we wear the artist hat. We use our creativity to do our job. But, if you want anyone besides your mother to read the book, you must take off the artist’s hat and put on the entrepreneur’s hat. You’ve got to think of creative ways to sell books.” For Fadden, that includes everything from talking directly to area book clubs and showing up at their meetings when they review his books, to being a part of cooking classes like “Pots & Plots” at the Colleyville Market Street grocery store. Students in the class cook a meal from the books they read and then talk about the book as they eat.  

Fadden began developing what the publishing industry refers to as his “author platform”, which is basically his marketing plan, long before the book was actually published. He built a website (www.markfadden.com), created a book trailer, which is similar to a movie trailer, and recorded a video interview that can be seen on his homepage. He also designed bookmarks and had them printed through an online print shop, which he hands out by the handfuls at events. With every signing he does, and every lecture he gives, Fadden adds fans to his email database, a list he has backed up on both paper and a hard drive that are stored in a fireproof safe. “People might think adding one fan at a time is tedious, but you have to remember the Law of 250. On average, most folks know 250 people. If they read your book and like it, they’re going to tell their friends about it. If you meet 4 people at a signing or lecture, that’s 1,000 potential new readers that might pick up your book. Like I stress in my presentations, social media and online marketing is important, but word-of-mouth advertising is still the tops.”

The Brink is Fadden’s third novel. 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. Fadden has several book signings and lectures scheduled in the next few months. His event schedule and the first 22 pages of The Brink can be previewed at www.markfadden.com. Email him at mark@markfadden.com to get a copy of his Get Your Book Read! PowerPoint presentation. Fadden has also created a blog about writing novels and book marketing using social media entitled, “The Nightstand Diaries,” which can be read at www.markfadden.wordpress.com.

Dispatches from the literary trenches

September 15, 2010

Day 91 of 365

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

In this issue:

  • Writing Topic – Going outside your comfort zone
  • Marketing Topic – Library Presentations

Marketing Topic – Going outside your comfort zone

Recently, I met a man at a book signing who told me that he had an interesting life story. Not wanting to take up my time at the signing, he told me a few details, which set his “hook”, and then we agreed to meet at a later date so that he could tell me the rest of his story.

Without going too much into it, I sat for 2 straight hours and was absolutely floored with his life story and his struggle, which took him halfway across a very foreign and scary world, all in pursuit of an education. Since then, we have met for another 2 hour meeting and we’re still not all the way finished.

I spoke to my agent about this story and he agreed it was very compelling and for me to move forward with trying to make this a book. This will be my first foray into the non-fiction side of the book world, and it will throw a wrench into the writing schedule for my next novel, but there’s something that feels right about it.

What I’m trying to say is two things: you never know who you’ll meet at signings or appearances, so try to do as many as you can. And two, even though some writing projects may be out of your comfort zone, it’s still an opportunity to write, to make it on to your reader’s nightstand, and that’s why we all do this.

With this project, my blog entries will be sparser, probably a few a week rather than daily M-Th. I hope you’ll stick around, because while I don’t know what’s around the corner with my writing career, I hope I can pass whatever happens along as a learning, or at least a laughter, experience.  

Marketing Topic – Library Presentations

I will be presentingGetting Your Book Read: how writers must think like entrepreneurs if they want anyone besides their mother to read their books’ tomorrow night at 6:30pm at the Little Elm Library in Little Elm, Texas. I’m doing a Powerpoint presentation on using websites, signings, news releases, reviews, and social media to market books. If I can figure out how to post the presentation on my blog, I will do so on Friday. I’ll also provide a review of the presentation and the signing I’m doing afterward. Should be fun for all. That being said, no post tomorrow night, but look for one on Friday.

Till then…

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

 

Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

September 14, 2010

Day 90 of 365

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

In this issue:

  • Marketing Topic – The only constant is change
  • Marketing Topic – International Man of Mystery – the results of Day 1

Marketing Topic – The only constant is change

I completely changed the look of my website, and added a shopping cart that allows people to buy signed books straight from me, since I just got a big shipment of books in. By allowing people to buy straight from me, not only does it give me a larger share of the profit on each book, it allows me to track my sales in real time, which allows me to better manage my advertising campaigns.  

Check it out at www.markfadden.com and let me know what you think.

Marketing Topic – International Man of Mystery – the results of Day 1

Last night I shared my latest ad campaign, aimed squarely at the Asian countries. In my research about the financial crisis, I came across a book called Currency Wars by Song Hongbing. Released in 2007, it sold over 200,000 copies in China and was even bedtime reading selections by some of the highest finance and government officials in China. To quote an article on the book, Currency Wars, “After all, the root of the world’s problems for nearly a century – from the Great Depression to the Asian financial crisis – is Wall Street’s manipulation of the global financial system, he says. China should be prepared to fight ‘bloodless wars’ waged by ‘evil forces’ like the US Federal Reserve aimed at destroying the Chinese economy, Mr. Song’s book concludes.” The book has also had a recent resurgence of popularity. So why all the Chinese attention? Because economic nationalism is at an all-time high in China. Many Chinese think that their country should flex its economic muscles to become the world’s leading superpower.

Anyway, I’m hoping to capitalize on the popularity of this book and I placed the following ad in a Google AdWords campaign:

The results? I got 150 clicks today and maxed out my daily budget. Again, I’m going to start selling signed books straight from the site through a Paypal shopping cart, so we will now hopefully see sales numbers in real time, which can help determine what kind of advertising is working.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

Ahhh, vacation. Alas, it was with the kids, so not a real vacation, merely a “trip.” Anyway, vacation is over. Did you miss me? I hope not too much. I’ll stop yammering because we’ve got two great topics tonight…

September 13, 2010

Day 89 of 365

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

In this issue:

  • Writing topic – Characters, Story and Sly Stallone
  • Marketing Topic – International Man of Mystery

Writing topic – Characters, Story and Sly Stallone

One of the “best of” blogs tonight on WordPress was from Kristen Lamb’s blog entitled, “What Star Trek Can Teach Us About Writing.”

Lamb makes several very interesting points about J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek movie, including that:

  1. Star Trek proved that imperfect characters resonate with audiences.
  2. Star Trek perfected showing, not telling
  3. Star Trek employed parsimony.
  4. Star Trek showed character via relativity
  5. Star Trek relied on character and story

Basically, Lamb reminds us that no matter how much CGI or how many gadgets are in the story, it’s still ABOUT THE STORY, and the characters. We should never forget that.

Lamb also invited comments about other movies that are good examples of keeping the focus on character and story. I wrote the following reply:

I know I’m going to get A LOT of grief for this, but I’m putting it out there anyway. You want a movie(s) that are all about characters and that are concentrate on the story between them? How about the Rocky series? Better yet, except for Stop or my Mom Will Shoot, how about anything done by Sylvester Stallone? Go beyond the muscles and the one-liners of the Rocky movies and even Rambo, and you will find movies that explore the depths of REAL human emotion – love, anger, regret, despair, ambition, and achievement. Rocky is basically a love story, first with Rocky and Adrian and then with Rocky and his family, especially his son (in the last one). Talk about flawed characters…Rocky starts out as a leg breaker for a local loan shark who gets a once in a lifetime chance to use the only skill he has to pick himself up out of his rotten existence to make something better for himself. He is someone we cheer for because, like Kirk in Abrams Star Trek, he is the underdog, a short, slow, southpaw with only his incredible will and heart to keep him going. In the Rambo movies, Stallone shows us a man who is a perfect killing machine. Rambo recognizes this characteristic in himself and, when he tries for any kind of normal existence, he is not allowed to have it because of his fate. Time and again, when the powers that be call on him to come to the rescue, he begrudgingly does it because he realizes that war is his home, killing is what he does. In Cliffhanger, Sly must deal with the pain and regret of dropping his best friend’s girlfriend during a high mountain rescue, which leads to her death. After hiding out in another life for years, he comes back for the woman he loves and decides to help stranded climbers, and ultimately faces his fears and his friend, a tale of regret evolves into one of forgiveness…with a really cool story about thieves among the backdrop of some incredible mountains. A fantastic combination that makes for a heck of a story.

I will go on record as saying that Sly Stallone is one of the greatest storytellers of modern time! Once you really think about many of his movies, you might find yourself agreeing with me.

Comments? Thoughts on my sobriety after reading the above entry? A fellow Stallone fan? To the keyboards!

Marketing Topic – International Man of Mystery

Since things are still heating up on the global financial crisis front lately, with the Bank of Japan warning it’s going to do something big soon to help save the country from deflation, and many other countries trying desperately to keep themselves from going Greek, I’m trying to keep The Brink in the news by creating news releases with a financial, if conspiratorial, angle. In my research about the financial crisis, I came across a book called Currency Wars by Song Hongbing. Released in 2007, it sold over 200,000 copies in China and was even bedtime reading selections by some of the highest finance and government officials in China. To quote an article on the book, Currency Wars, “After all, the root of the world’s problems for nearly a century – from the Great Depression to the Asian financial crisis – is Wall Street’s manipulation of the global financial system, he says. China should be prepared to fight ‘bloodless wars’ waged by ‘evil forces’ like the US Federal Reserve aimed at destroying the Chinese economy, Mr. Song’s book concludes.” The book has also had a recent resurgence of popularity. So why all the Chinese attention? Because economic nationalism is at an all-time high in China. Many Chinese think that their country should flex its economic muscles to become the world’s leading superpower.

So, how does this situation affect little old me? Google. It always comes back to Google. I am targeting a Google AdWords campaign in China with the following ad:

I’m doing the ad for 2 days, with a CPC of $.40 and a $25 daily budget. So we’ll go fishing and see what we get. Since The Brink covers similar topics from Currency Wars, it only makes sense to use that relationship in the marketing effort. People are always looking for books on similar topics, and using other book titles is a great way to do a little marketing piggy-backing.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…