Your 2011 Writing Resolution, part II

Since we’re so close to ringing in the New Year, let’s keep rolling with another topic for 2011 Writing Resolutions. Last night we kicked things off with striving for a daily word goal. Mine is 2,500. Tonight’s topic: joining a writing group.

Now, I’ve got a bit of a bias against writing groups, which I must say is nowhere near what one of my favorite writers, Anthony Bourdain, says about being in the company of other writers in his latest book, Medium Raw: “If you’ve ever spent ten minutes in one of those [writer’s bars] – a bunch of bitter, snowy-haired, bilious f**** with gin-blossomed noses and ballooning guts talking too loud and laughing too hard and secretly hating each other – you’ll reconsider ever putting another word to paper. I’ve found that hanging out with more than one of them at a time is about as much fun as being thrown into a cage full of hungry but toothless civet cats.”

My opinion on writing groups has always been that, besides the fact that being the father of 2 young boys and having barely enough time to talk to my wife these days about anything more than soccer game schedules and what to get the teachers for Christmas let along carve out several hours a week for to prepare for and meet with a critique group, what if the advice you’re getting from them is wrong? NY editors, the Word Gods themselves, have a hard enough time figuring out what will sell and what won’t. What makes Benny the furniture salesman, or Anita the lady who works at the county licensing office, an expert on your blood, sweat, and tears?

Well, here’s the thing. Benny and Anita are readers. Your readers. My readers. And if they say something like, “You know, there’s just too many characters to follow in the opening pages,” and that sentiment is about the 20th time you’ve heard it, then tuck that little nugget in the back of your brain for the next novel.

So, while I still don’t have the time to formally join a writing group, I am attending my local group’s annual conference. They’ve got some pretty good classes and breakout sessions listed. Who knows, maybe they’ll crack my crusty exterior with their warmth and congeniality and I’ll investigate the group a little further. Besides, I hear Anita makes killer brownies, which she brings to every meeting.

What about you? What are your thoughts on your local writing/critique groups? Do you regularly attend writing/critique groups? Do you plan to in 2011?

To the keyboards!

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

It’s named “The Nightstand Diaries” because in terms of publishing a book, it doesn’t mean squat that you’re published. It doesn’t mean squat that your book is on a bookstore shelf. It’s only when someone takes your 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 you become a part of your 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 try and sell 5,000 copies of my new novel The Brink over the next year using mostly social media with a limited marketing budget. Let the madness begin…

 Day 9 of 365

 In this issue:

  • Email signatures – short, sweet, and selling your book
  • Food books to read – as selected by the bad boy chef himself
  • Do secret societies exist? A poll

 Email signatures – short, sweet, and selling your book

 I had actually decided to go all in on the shameless self-promotion a long time before I read David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR and use my email signature to let anyone and everyone know about my book. Here’s the latest version of my email signature:

 Best,

 Mark

817-504-3886

 My latest novel, The Brink, is a Barnesandnoble.com Rising Star Award winner!

 Other reviews:

“{Mark Fadden] is a masterful storyteller.”  – Writer’s Digest
“Action and heroism keep readers turning pages. A nicely crafted thriller.” – Foreword Clarion Review of The Brink.

 Preview the first 22 pages and order your signed copy at http://www.markfadden.com

 And I change it based upon what’s going on with the book. I just inserted the “Other reviews” section, where before my signing at the Colleyville Borders there was a blurb about that in it giving the date and time – and it was the most successful signing of the year, maybe in the history of their store! Remember, it’s easy as ABC – Always Be Changing your email signature depending on what’s going on with your book – new reviews coming in, new signings, etc – keep it fresh!

 Food books to read – as selected by the bad boy chef himself

While I don’t necessary like the term “Foodie”, it sounds like you should be dressed in a cute sweater your mom knitted and shaking broccoli pom-poms as the school lunch ladies review the Food pyramid, I am a man who likes to eat. One of my favorite celebrity chefs is Anthony Bourdain. Not only did I really enjoy reading Kitchen Confidential, and I love his attitude, what draws me to him is his philosophical musings on how food should be related to in our lives. It is vital to us, but not just in the nourishment for the body sense. It can, and should be, an essential piece of our well-being, nourishment for the individual soul and the collective heartbeat of a society, no matter how big or small. We certainly have lost that sense of what food can and should do for us here in America. We’re just so damn busy trying to fit in every bleeping thing into our schedules, that the simple joy of preparing a meal for family or friends has been lost, or has never been something experienced altogether by masses of people. Sad.

Anyway, here’s a link to the Goodreads site that has an interview with AB and he shares his top 5 food books. Heat is listed as one of them. I wanted to read it when it first came out, but life got in the way, and I forgot about it. I just put it in my iPhone scheduler to pick it up on Thursday during the “Snake Dude” show at the library. Yup, slithery snakes will keep about 300 kids glued to their seats for an hour, a feat not easily attained. Did I mention the Colleyville library rocks???

 Do secret societies exist? A poll

 Dan Brown made his mark with secret societies. My new book, The Brink, also has this secret society as the bad guys. What do you think? Do you think sinister secret societies exist?