Blast your News Release everywhere!

As the premier web news release service, PRWeb.com is a fantastic way to get the word out about you. Remember, we are building a brand here (you as author) so we need to write some news releases about the brand and what the brand has out and what the brand is currently working on. Maybe your new nickname could be “The Brand” ala “The Situation.”

Never written a news release before? It’s easy. Just stick to the 5 Ws – who, what, when, where and why. If you need help writing a news release, PRWeb.com has excellent examples on their site.  

Okay, so you don’t need help writing a news release. You’ve written them before, but you’ve never used PRWeb.com to distribute it? Well aren’t you in luck! PRWeb.com is having a 50% off sale for all us first-timers. Prices range from $40 for the basic to $180 for the premium package. Go to http://service.prweb.com/go/em1010base50pd/?utm_source=base&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=em1010redzonecontrol50pdRemail for more info.

You gotta hurry, though. The deal ends Oct 31. Happy Halloween!

The Birth of the Conspiracy Thriller

As a writer, one of the coolest things I get to do is talk about books with people. Inevitably, one of the questions I get asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Whenever I start a story, my main goal is to create a thriller that people cannot put down. Closely behind that goal is my desire to “edutain” or educate people on subjects that they normally wouldn’t want to read about as the murders occur, chases ensue, and suspense builds.

For my latest thriller, The Brink, I studied Dan Brown’s international best seller The Da Vinci Code. Not only is it a great thriller, it educates the reader on religious symbols and history, something that usually invokes a yawn or two. What Brown did for religious history, I wanted to do with another subject, financial history and economic theory. The Brink uses the story of a fugitive cop who helps a woman running for her life to educate the reader about the history of our Federal Reserve banking system and the fragility of the international monetary system.   When the systems that govern our daily lives are ripe for manipulation and outright conspiracy, it becomes an obvious choice for a novelist to come up with a scenario where exactly that occurs.

Want some more info on the history of the world’s banking system? Here’s an excellent video about the Rothschild family, the world’s first banking family and how they came to be the wealthiest and most powerful family in the world. This is just part 1. Please visit Youtube to see the rest.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

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

Get a signed copy of The Brink 20% off the cover price + FREE SHIPPING! Visit www.markfadden.com for more information. Hurry, offer ends Nov. 15!

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

“[Mark Fadden] is 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.

A writer’s secret weapon

As writers, only the boundaries of our imagination can contain our actions. But, our actions in the book marketing world is a very different story. We have a daily Google Adwords budget. Or a weekly Facebook ad budget. We probably have a budget for how much we’re willing to spend on an ad in the local newspaper to promote a book signing. We probably compare the quote from prweb.com and inewswire.com to see how much bang for the buck we can get on our latest news release. Because we are working with small budgets and razor-thin margins, it is like finding the Holy Grail itself when we discover a HIGH QUALITY way to promote ourselves to our readers that has a SIZZLING ROI (return on investment).

A FANTASTIC tool to use to introduce yourself and your latest book to people that will very likely want to read it is www.meetup.com. The website is a network of local groups, anything from Beer Lovers (of which I’m a member) to a number of book clubs. All you need to do is register, type in your zip code and the words “book clubs” into the search window and viola! You can see which clubs would be interested in reading your book and even contact them. And did I mention that it’s FREE to join meetup.com?

I’ve met several organizers of book clubs through meetup.com. While, in my email, I give the synopsis of the book, I also always ask the organizer if he/she would like a free review copy of my book to see if they would be interested in their club selecting it for an upcoming meeting. To increase your chances of getting your book selected, make yourself available for the meeting when they review it.  Book club meetings are fantastic! You have access to people that will provide quality feedback, wine and/or beer is typically served and the snacks are usually kick ass, even better than a sheep strapped with a rocket launcher.  Seriously, if you haven’t already, join meetup.com. You’ll be very glad you did.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

“TOMA! TOMA!”

Wikipedia defines TOMA or Top of Mind Advertising as, “”When people think of you first to fulfill their product or service needs.” Wiki also goes on to report the following,

“Traditionally, TOMA has been achieved through traditional channels such as newspapers, television, and magazines. Increasingly companies of all sizes are moving towards social media like Twitter and Facebook over against traditional channels. Chicago Now reports, “Close to four-in-ten employers (37%) plan to put a greater emphasis on social media in 2010 to create a more positive brand for their organization.” [2] Therefore, TOMA refers to percent of respondents who name a brand or product first when asked to list companies in that industry sector—including, but not limited to traditional advertising channels.”

But how does TOMA relate to book marketing you ask? How do readers know to think of you when you’re the new kid on the block. How does a potential customer know to ask for your book first in a bookstore, before all others? 

The answer is they don’t. But we’ve got a secret weapon on our sides. The knowledgeable staff at the local bookstores.

By now, you’ve all heard me preach about scheduling as many book signings within a 100 mile radius as you can. So far, I’ve done 17 book signings, 3 of them out of state, with the farthest one awaiy in PA and two in NOLA. They all were to promote my latest thriller, The Brink, and it’s only been out since June 2010.

So, when you have these siginings, there are two simple words to make sure that the staff will recommend your book not only on the day of your signing, but whenver someone comes in, walks up to them, and says, “excuse me, could you recommend a really good thriller?” Hold on to your hat, ’cause here comes the two words. Ready? Are you sure? Here they come:

Be nice.

Shake the hand, or maybe even go in for a hug to the CRM (community relations manager) or sales manager that scheduled your signing. Before the signing begins, walk around and introduce yourself to all of the staff on the floor, behind the cash registers, and even the barista in the coffee bar. Tell them why you’re there. Ask them to tell folks about your book. Smile. Alot. Make friends and influence people. I know you have it in you.

Then, after the signing is over, once again make the rounds thanking every staff member and once again shake hands with/hug/ bow down to the CRM/sales manager. The number of books you sold during your signing will soon be forgotten, but if you make a good impression on the ten people that are working during the signing, I guarantee you will have 10 salespeople potentially working for you to move the copies you didn’t sell.

Then, after the signing is over, here’s three more words to tattoo on your brain: thank you card.

I know it seems old fashioned, and that nobody sends them anymore. But that’s exactly why should do it. You will stand out by sending one. Make sure it’s handwritten, in legible writting, okay Sloppy McInkstains? On a quality cardstock thank you note, not on leftover thanks yous from your son’s Toy Story 3 birthday party.

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

“[Mark Fadden] is 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.

Get 20% off when you order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate one-of-a-kind gift at http://shop.markfadden.com/

Go big or go small?

Street marker in front of NOLA Borders

I was in New Orleans over the weekend for a celebration (is there a better city for such an occasion?) and I was able to squeeze in two book signings while I was there. One was at a big, bold Borders store in a building that used to be a mortuary. I know what you’re thinking, with the state of the publishing industry these days, the irony isn’t lost on any one that a bookstore would be in a former mortuary. Nevertheless, it was a very cool building, and I met several staff members that had helped renovate the building after Katrina and fill it book by book.

The other signing was in a funky little place called Faubourg Marginy Art and Books (FAB). Located on Frenchmen Street, just blocks from Bourbon Street, but literally a world away from the Bourbon Street vibe, FAB had the comfortable feel of a throw back book store from the 70s. It’s filled with an eclectic mix of art and books and nestled on a corner spot where owner Otis Fennell can not only watch the cast of characters that can only be found on a New Orleans street walk by, but feel the energy of the street change each day as the light fades away and night invades the soul of that very cool little corner of the world.

After both signings, a friend of mine asked me which signing I liked better – the signing in the big, beautiful Borders or hanging out on the corner of Otis’s little shop trying to drum up business from the people walking by?

Honestly, I loved them both. A signing in a place like Borders allows you to meet book lovers and introduce your work to them. There’ s the smell of coffee from the cafe, the background of mellow jazz music, and the sight of endless rows of new books fresh off the presses. At FAB, Otis and I hung out on the corner in front of the shop. He talked with people from the neighborhood, introducing me to them. I met a couple fellow writers, a radio announcer from the NOLA NPR station and other characters from the neighborhood. I also talked to a steady stream of passers-by trying to convince them to stop for a moment to take a look at my book, The Brink, and let them see for themselves that it is a good read – something worth their time.

Whether you go to the big stores for your signings, or you want to try your luck with a mom and pop shop, its the same challenge: to convince someone that they need what you are selling. Whether it’s as a unique Christmas gift, a break from the stresses and strains of everyday life, a primer on a technical topic, or as inspiration that might just change their lives, every second we spend at our book signings should be used trying to get our books into the hands of people that haven’t read us yet. Book lovers are everywhere. It’s our job to not look at just one or two places, but to seek them out wherever they may be.

It’s time to leave the Batcave and press the flesh

There are some really great blogs about writing, and more specifically, the art of marketing your writing. Case in point is today’s post from Eric at “Pimp My Novel.” Much like the Texas Rangers have been doing lately, he knocks it out of the park with his thoughts on networking. Writing may be art, but like John Grisham said, “never forget that writing is a business.” So, when was the last time you crawled out from behind your computer screen and did a little schmoozing?

I’ve taken the liberty to copy today’s PMN post here. It really is a great blog and if you’re not following it, you should.

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 07:00 AM PDT

In a perfect world, mes auteurs, the writing business (like all businesses, enterprises, systems, &c) would be entirely meritocratic: everyone would get a fair shake, the best writing would be selected for publication, and talent, discipline, and hard work would pay off regardless of extraneous factors like luck, emotion, nepotism, and social status.

Alas, dear friends, we do not live in a perfect world.

Because of this, you have to do something besides read great books and write great books if you want to increase your odds of getting published: you have to network. And, as the name might imply, networking is… well, work. Details? Why, sure, if you insist.

1. Networking is necessary. While some of you may have a strong negative—yea, perhaps even visceral—reaction to the prospect of spending any of your writerly energies doing anything apart from reading and writing, you need to understand that networking is a necessary part of the writer’s life.

Think of it this way: if you’re interviewing two candidates who are more or less identical on paper and equally impress you in person, are you going to go with the candidate who was initially recommended to you by your Most Trusted Bro, or the guy who walked in because he saw your ad on Monster.com? Exactly. And, unsurprisingly, agents think the same way. This goes back to what I was saying two weeks ago about who you know: there’s a certain amount of prerequsite what (read: good writing) you’ve got to have, and after that, it’s all who.

This is absolutely not to say that you must know someone in the industry in order to get published. All I’m saying is that the more people you know, the more doors you’ll open to opportunities that you might otherwise have missed by being an unknown quantity.

2. Chances are, you know someone. Think about the people you might have a connection to in the industry. Does your best friend have an agent? Is your fraternity brother working in the industry? Do you have friends of friends in mfa programs, literary agencies, independent book stores? Is your aunt a book conference junkie? &c &c. Make a list of the people who you could reasonably ask about the industry, representation, getting your foot in the door, and so on. I’m willing to bet you’ll come up with more than you might at first expect.

3. If it turns out you know no one, don’t despair. Okay, let’s say I’m wrong and you know absolutely no one in the industry (worse, you don’t even know of anyone who might even be related to the industry in the most tangential way). You’re not doomed if you query agents to whom you haven’t been recommended or haven’t met at conferences, so long as you follow their guidelines and send them a well-crafted query. In fact, if you get a “close, but no thanks” e-mail from one of them, you can refer to this if and when you query them with a different project down the line.

In the meantime—and if you can afford it—consider attending conferences, readings, workshops, and other literary events, and do your best to meet industry insiders (authors, agents, editors, librarians, sales(ahem)people, &c) and develop strong professional relationships with them. The publishing industry isn’t really as impossibly huge as you might think, and any given person who’s been in it for a few years will have a lot of connections that might come in handy when you’re trying to sell your book.

4. Relationships require upkeep. A quick note on the above: all relationships require work, and professional relationships (especially in this industry) are no exception. If your friend lands your dream agent, don’t let jealousy consume you: foster your relationship with that friend, ask about him or her, trade work, and hopefully down the line he or she will be able to help you get representation via recommendation to his/her agent, getting you in touch with an agent or editor who may be interested in your work, and so on.

The flip side of this issue is: don’t be creepy. Don’t reply to form rejections from agents in an attempt to be Super Best Bros. Don’t pitch your MS to agents or editors at/in inappropriate times/places (e.g. the bathroom at T.G.I. Friday’s). Don’t corner your friend of a friend’s girlfriend’s brother’s former roommate at a party because he once worked at a publishing house after college. You get the idea.

That’s all I’ve got for today, bros and she-bros. If you have any comments/questions/epiphanies/ideas/vitriol/profound insights/divine revelations, you know where to go.

See what’d I tell you? Great stuff.
BTW, I’m on vacation until Sunday, so we’ll pick up next week. 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

“[Mark Fadden] is 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.

Get 20% off when you order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate unique gift at http://shop.markfadden.com/

 

Direct mail strategies to sell more books, or, really, anything

 

I know what you’re thinking, direct mail is so… done. It went the way of all relics from the 80s, like these two guys and that ‘Choose Life’ t-shirt that’s in the same box up in the attic with your leg warmers and Walkman.

But, a recent study by Exact Target showed that 76% of Internet users are influenced by direct mail when making a purchase online. While direct mail may not close the sale anymore, it can, at least, start the conversation and/or direct people where to go on the web to find you and the internet storefront that sells your books (or jewelry, or leg warmers that might just come full circle and be the next big thing.)

When you get some time, read the post about direct mail strategies on the nextdayflyers.com blog. I use NDF for all of my printing needs (bookmarks, postcards, business cards) Not only are they FAST printers, they have the best prices I have ever seen. (5,000 bookmarks for $165? No one can touch it) AND they have customer service that knocks the bell off every time.

If you’re thinking about doing a direct mail piece to advertise your book as a Christmas gift, now’s the time. It’ll take a few days to create it, and a couple weeks for the turnaround (unless you go the way expensive, overnight route on printing and delivery). That puts us in November. If your book is available at the online stores, it’ll take a week to 10 days for them to ship it out, and don’t forget that shipping gets backed up around the holidays. So let’s say 2 weeks. Yup. Go ahead and order your midnight oil right about now.

If you’re a numbers person, the conversion rate you should be shooting for in your direct mail campaign is 10%. That’s a really high rate, most only get 3-5%, but your goal should be high, right? So get cracking on creating that direct mail piece. You know you want to incorporate some wisecrack about the 80s in it now, don’t you?  That would be totally rad!

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

“[Mark Fadden] is 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.

Get 20% off AND FREE SHIPPING when you order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate personalized gift at http://shop.markfadden.com/