Tools for Tuesday – The Big Idea

I was traveling this weekend, driving to Galveston, Texas to help my older brother celebrate his 40th birthday. Like you probably do, whenever I’m on a road trip, I try to find something good to listen to. So, I dropped by our local library before my trip and found a few audiobooks that sounded interesting. One of which was marketing guru Donny Deutsch’s The Big Idea. No dummy when it comes to brand recognition, Deutsch also hosts the popular The Big Idea TV show on CNBC.

On the show, and in the book, Deutsch gives us lessons in life and in marketing, but he also highlights numerous “case studies” – people who had an idea, a dream, and worked hard to make them become reality. Deutsch’s biggest strength is that he never tires of asking the question “so, how’d you do it?” to entrepreneurs, like the woman who came up with Spanx undergarments, or the lawyer making six figures who quit his job to become a Lego designer. Yeah, Legos, the building blocks kids play with.

I highly recommend The Big Idea, both the show and the book ,as a tool for writers to tap into their “authorpreneurial” side. Perhaps even better than the great information that we as authorpreneurs can take away from reading and watching The Big Idea, is Deutsch’s point that he comes back to over and over and over again….Do what you love and the money will follow. I know that I gave up a career of something that I hated doing 10 hours a day for a smaller paycheck and the chance to do something I love, which is writing. What about you? What will you sacrifice, or what have you sacrificed, for your writing career?   

A little housekeeping note – I will be on vacation starting tomorrow and won’t be back at the keyboard until next Tuesday, July 5th. My best wishes for a safe and happy 4th of July!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at http://www.markfadden.com

Meet the Booksellers

 

It seems that us “authorpreneurs”, like most entrepreneurs, are always looking for the next website, app, or social media strategy that is both low cost and will give us a good ROI in order to sell more books. Well, I’ve got one “low-tech” option that costs nothing more than a few minutes of your time and a smile.

At your next book signing, head for the bookstore staff and introduce yourself to them. Hand them a copy of your book and give them the elevator pitch description of it. Ask them if you can put some of your bookmarks at their counters. If you’re signing is at a Barnes & Noble, chances are it’s on a weekend which is one of their busiest times. Chances are also high that there are at least ten people on staff at the different counters throughout the store. Go visit every one of them and say hi. And don’t forget about the folks at the cafe counter and the CD/DVD counter in the back of the store. I introduced myself to Liz, who was working the CD counter at the Lincoln Park B&N during my last signing. Not only did she tell everyone that came by her counter about it, she also bought a book herself!  The reason why was because, “I took the time to come back and visit with her. No one ever does that.”

So, fellow authorprenuers, meet the bookshop staff. Chances are, customers are asking them for recommendations. Chances are they will mention your book, even after your signing is over. It’s like having an entire sales team working for you, without putting a single dent in your marketing budget.

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding, and I was left feeling that you have a sequel in mind!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

Is misspelling the path to Internet sales success?

A little fun with words on this pic of Tori Spelling, but nevertheless an important point about how mistakes might help us out in our online marketing efforts.

This month, my online marketing efforts have focused on promoting the ebook version of my latest thriller, The Brink, on the Barnes & Noble website. I did this because I’m thinking there are an awful lot of people that got nook eReaders for Christmas and they are looking for eBooks for it. B&N.com is selling it at $7.99, 20% off the cover price.

I’ve used both google and facebook ads in the past, and it’s been my experience that FB ads just don’t work for me. Once people are on FB, they want to stay on FB. They just aren’t willing to leave it to go to a website to buy a book. I have been getting emails on how to use FB ads to direct folks to my FB author page and to increase the interaction, but alas, time has been at a premium lately and I simply haven’t been able to research that topic. 

So, I am staying with Google Adwords. I used their keyword tool to help me figure out which are the best keywords to use for my ad campaign, and a funny thing happened. Misspellings of Barnes & Noble had almost the same number of hits that correct spellings did.

Case in point, here are the top 5 keywords I used and the coresponding performance data:

“Barnes & Noble” –  69 clicks out of 3,706 impressions

“barnes and nobles” – 53 clicks out of 3,800 impressions

“barns and noble” – 52 clicks out of 2,119 impressions – highest click thru rate at 2.45%

“barns and nobles” – 36 clicks out of 1,539 impressions

“barnes and noble” – 10 clicks out of 1,113 impressions

These numbers are based on a $.50 cost per click ceiling and a $20 a day budget. As you can see, not huge spelling errors here, but it pays to keep in mind that people are not the best spellers. Either they type incorrectly or they simply misspelled the word. Either way, it pays to remember to include misspelled keywords in your online campiagns… 🙂

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

Press Release – Monthly book club for adults begins at WPL

By Melissa Winn

mwinn@star-telegram.com

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‘ & –>The good news, if you’re a writer, is there’s never been an easier time to get published.

The bad news, if you’re a writer, is there’s never been an easier time to get published.

That’s the message author and former Weatherford resident Mark Fadden shared at the Weatherford Public Library last week during the initial meeting of The Edge Bookclub Jan. 18.

WPL Director Dale Fleeger said the club will meet every third Tuesday of the month through May 2011.

Geared toward adults, the theme for this month was “On the Edge of My Seat” and readers were encouraged to check out books on mystery, true crime and the supernatural.

Fadden was invited to speak about his latest novel, The Brink, a Dan Brown-inspired faction (a blend of fact and fiction), and also about the business of being what he terms an “authorpreneur.” He has been a freelance writer for nine years and The Brink is his third novel.

“One of the things you have to ask yourself is, what’s your end purpose?” Fadden said.

Giving examples of other authors who’ve self-published material including James Joyce, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain and John Grisham, Fadden explained the pros and cons of doing it yourself.

He also shared with the audience the best ways to take advantage of social media and what he thought the future of books would be in light of the popularity of e-books and e-Readers like the Kindle and the Nook.

“Only 9 percent of all bookstore sales are attributed to e-books and print book sales were $4 billion last year,” he said. “Last year alone, there were 550,000 books published; that’s about 1,500 a day.”

He added, however, that electronically publishing a book is beneficial to the writer because it gives them “street cred.”

“If you’re a real-estate agent, you could do a book on how to sell a house in five days,” Fadden suggested. “The thing is anybody who has an idea or a way to do something can e-publish. And it can be 20 pages; it doesn’t have to volumes.”

At the end of the evening, Fadden took questions on both publishing and The Brink and signed copies of the novel . He donated a portion of the sales from the night to the Friends of the Weatherford Public Library.

Fleeger said anyone who’s interested in the book club is welcome to attend. The next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Feb.15 and the topic is “Life on the Edge.” Readers should check out books on relationships, biography and social issues.

At the end of the series, a drawing will be held for those who’ve filled out the Reading Log with the Dewey number of the books they’ve read each month. Entries are due by May 31 and the drawing will be June 1.

For more information, call 817-598-4150.

Melissa Winn, 817-594-9902, ext. 104

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/01/24/2792494/monthly-book-club-for-adults-begins.html#article_comments#ixzz1C1QfaSHO

Press Release – Pots n’ plots with a dash of the author thrown in

Lisa Panno, David O'Briant, Kay Adams, Rosemary Kayem, and Mark Fadden cook food featured in Fadden's latest thriller, The Brink, at Colleyville Market Street's Dish culinary school.

Authors are like most entrepreneurs, they are always on the lookout for new ways to promote their books. That’s why Colleyville author Mark Fadden jumped at the chance to appear at the latest Market Street cooking school event. 

“I’ve had many book signings and given several lectures about writing, but I’d never done anything like this,” said Fadden about the recent Pots n’ Plots class where attendees cooked several dishes from his latest suspense thriller, The Brink. “But I figured if it combined reading and eating, two of my favorite things, then that’s the definition of win-win.” 

Judy Waitkus, Culinary Manager at Market Street grocery store in Colleyville, led attendees as they first made fruit salad with honey, crab cake sandwiches and even a dish called, “Eggs Carver” that one of the characters in the book had named after himself. Attendees clustered in small groups as they cooked the various dishes, and then got to eat them while they discussed Fadden’s book with him. “I had an absolute blast,” Fadden remarked of the laid-back evening that included sipping on Shiner Bock beer, which was also featured in the book, as he answered questions from attendees. “It was totally different from sitting behind a table signing books or standing at a podium speaking. To be able to cook a meal with everyone and then sit around and eat while talking books with what I consider a group of new friends, well life doesn’t get too much better than that.” 

The Brink is Fadden’s third suspense thriller. Not only does it feature a lost Constitution article, it uses real-world economic numbers to weave an intricate conspiracy tale that takes up where the recent financial meltdown left off. Published in May 2010, it has already won two awards and has been nominated for a third. Readers can find out more about Fadden, his books and future appearances at www.markfadden.com.

 The Dish culinary schools are located at two of the Dallas-Fort Worth Market Street locations, in Colleyville and McKinney. The Dish culinary school offers classes, like “Making Seafood Easy” and “Bacon, Bacon, Bacon!”, for all level of cooks taught by their own chefs as well as leading experts from around the country. For more information on the Colleyville Market Street Dish Event Center call Judy Waitkus at (817) 577-5047 or visit www.marketstreetunited.com.

Escape from New York?

A boatload of work prevents me from a full post today. But I did want to share a link to this article from the Fort Worth Star Telegram, my hometown newspaper, entitled, “Authors see e-books as escape from publishers.” Personally, I think the New York houses are still viable and very much needed and I agree wholeheartedly with one quote from the article about publishing houses being the, “venture capitalists for authors.” As an authorpreneur, that is the perfect way to look at them!

Have a great day everyone!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Signed copies of The Brink are available 20% off the cover price at www.shop.markfadden.com.

New Ereader? Download the eBook version of The Brink in seconds, for less than $8.

It’s the Characters, Stupid

“It’s the economy, stupid.” That one sentence, spoken by then Clinton campaign strategist James Carville during the 1992 presidential campaign, referred to the notion that Clinton was a better man for the job because then President George H.W. Bush had not adequately addressed the economy, which was still healing from a recession.

Those four words still have resonance today and will continue to resonate into eternity because in politics you can talk about your plans for a better future, better education, better technology for the masses, better transportation, better energy that’s cleaner and more abundant, but if the economy is in the crapper, all the other grand plans and ideas don’t mean zip.

Writing, I think, is the same way, a notion I was reminded of during my lecture on being an “authorpreneur” last night. I was giving my “Beyond the Book: how being an authorpreneur will help you sell more books and make lifelong fans” at the Weatherford Public Library in Weatherford, Texas. They are starting a new book club and wanted me to come talk about the writing life, how to get published, how to get an agent, and my latest novel, The Brink. During the end of the lecture, I opened it up for questions and we talked about how I do my research, the formula for a successful thriller, and the conspiracy behind the book. Then, out of nowhere, one lady raised her hand and said that, for her, what made her like the book wasn’t all the action and conspiracy and suspense, it was the characters. The main character, Danny Cavanaugh, who also is the main character in my first novel, Five Days in Dallas, is a troubled soul, to say the least. In Five Days in Dallas, he was a Dallas detective that had some issues that had plagued him for most of his life and that he had dealt with by self medicating with the bottle. In The Brink, he is now a fugitive Texas Ranger on the run for killing a dirty FBI agent. In some respects he’s grown, in some he hasn’t. It’s only when he meets the woman in The Brink, Sydney Dumas, who forces him to deal with his issues while they are running for their lives, does he actually begin to take a hard look at himself for the first time in his life. I must admit, I love his character, and her character, too.

Anyway, her comment about it being “all about the characters” touched off a long discussion about characters and we came to find out that for all the people in the room, it is mainly about the characters. Readers see bits and peices of themselves in characters, either who they are or who they would like to be. If they didn’t care about the characters, and fast (meaning a few pages into the book) they would close the cover and be on to the next book.

“It’s the characters, stupid.” No one actually said those words last night, but I will make sure that no matter how fast-paced, suspense-packed or conspiracy-laced I make my next story, I will remember those words. I’ve already put them on a sheet of paper and taped it up next to my computer.

What about you? Do you agree about the importance of characters? Or is there something else that’s more important? To the keyboards!

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The Brink by Mark Fadden has just been nominated for the Star Award from its publisher! Read more about The Brink and Mark’s writing at www.markfadden.com.