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

The Nightstand Diaries – 1 year, 5,000 books, and an (almost) anything goes approach to marketing a political thriller.

July 8, 2010

It’s named “The Nightstand Diaries” because in terms of publishing a book, it doesn’t mean squat that we’re published. It doesn’t mean squat that our book is on a bookstore shelf. It’s only when someone takes our book home and reads it – as a way to relax on a lounge chair, pass time on a subway, or as the last mental exercise before putting it on the nightstand and going to bed – that we become a part of our readers’ lives. With this notion in mind, I invite you to come along as I try to do that very thing. My goal is to sell 5,000 copies of my new novel The Brink over the next year using mostly social media with a limited marketing budget. And this is an interactive blog, so if you have good marketing ideas, or want to critique mine whenever I do something stupid, let’s hear it! So, without further ado, let the book marketing madness continue…

Day 25 of 365

In this issue:

  • More Facebook campaign changes  
  • How important is book cover design?
  • Make your book current – The looming banking crisis, round 2

More Facebook campaign changes

If the number of folks that have clicked on my FB ad about the Lewisville, Texas Borders signing this Saturday actually show up, we’ll sell out of books and I just might go 2 for 2 as far as having the most successful signings at 2 different Borders stores! Here’s the running total:

Campaign Daily Budget Clicks Impressions CTR% Avg. CPC Spent
Lewisville Signing $20 40 155,632 0.03% $0.62 $24.83
US Const Article Found $40 1 22,505 0.00% $0.72 $0.72

Lewisville Signing – I got 29 out of the 40 clicks today, so I decided to change my budget for tomorrow to $40 (since it’s the last day). I also changed the pic on the ad to my mug shot from the book cover.  The copy is the same:


Lewisville Borders Book Signing


Like thrillers? Need a unique gift? Visit Lewisville Borders Saturday, July 10, 1-3pm and get the year’s best thriller signed!

 The other ad was a complete DOG!  A reminder of what it looked like:


 I got 1 stinkin’ click out of 22,505 impressions!  That sucks! So I changed it to this:


US Const. article found!


Join a fugitive cop as he discovers the unthinkable link between a lost Constitution article and a plan for global financial Armageddon

  I stayed with the “reading” target group and when they click on the ad, they will go to my site, but they are not taken to the home page. Rather, I’m taking them straight to the preview page where they can hopefully get immersed in the story right off the bat and then click on one of the store links at the bottom of the page to purchase the book.

 How important is book cover design?

 Tonight I must again reference the “Pimp My Novel” blog. Eric asks a great question in his blog today: Just how important is the book cover? As a publishing industry insider, he comments on everything from size of the cover to the artwork affecting how it will get show on store bookshelves. I, for one, think people can, and do judge books by their covers. Covers need to show a lot about the book, but not give away the kitchen sink. For The Brink, I wanted to show that, at its essence, it’s a story of two people running for their lives. So I’ve got the man and woman running in the center of the book. Pull back from that, and you see the shot of the Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C. looking ominous in the shadows. There’s a reason for that, but you know why I can’t tell you. Then, if you look hard enough, you can barely make out the script from the U.S. Constitution. That’s there because the book starts off with a secret article of the Constitution being found, and almost stolen. Finally, the gold and silver colors of the lettering were used for a reason, those colors mean something to the plot. I was very pleased with the design folks at iUniverse. I emailed them what I wanted the cover to look like with all these elements, and they hit it out of the park.

 My advice is to spend A LOT of time thinking about your cover…draw it out in pencil on a piece of paper, then put it away for a few days, let the image marinate in your mind.  Come back to it, make corrections, then show it to some friends you trust will give their HONEST opinion. Show it to your agent, editor, and maybe even take it to your local bookstore for a “man on the street” survey. Like Eric the novel pimp says, the cover’s gotta pop!

 Make your book current – The looming banking crisis, round 2

 Before I started writing The Brink, I noticed that novels that sold well took advantage of current events. Case in point, one analyst said that one of the reasons The Da Vinci Code sold so well is that it came out just as the stories about the Catholic priest abusing children started breaking. The Hunt for Red October did so well because it came out during the height of the Cold War, and when asked, then President Ronald Reagan said it was the book that he got under his Christmas tree that year. (Talk about right timing!)

 I’ve always been interested/horrified at our country’s financial leadership, or lack thereof. I thought that one of the ways I could make people take notice of just how bad our debt situation is, was to write a thriller about it. I mean, how many people would read an economist’s 400 page thesis on the Ticking Global Financial Time Bomb? But, how many people would want to read a thriller about two people running for their lives as they try to uncover a global financial conspiracy? I’d take door #2 as well.

 If you want to follow the looming disaster that is our current international financial system, a great blog I found is The Baseline Scenario. The blog’s authors also wrote a book entitled 13 Bankers. I’ve yet to read it, but it’s on my list and will hopefully be on my nightstand soon…     

 The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…