Locals only!

Book signings. I love them. I love running my mouth, so any chance I can get to talk to readers and, more importantly, listen to what they like and dislike about books they’ve read (“There were too many characters to follow”, “I had to wade through 60 pages of boring stuff before the story got interesting”), it is an opportunity to get priceless information that I use to continually evolve as a writer.

However, not having a name that ends in “ing” or “isham”, sometimes it’s hard to schedule a book signing. It involves extra work for the staff, and a commitment from the store to buy and stock your books. But, there is another option to get yourself a book signing. It’s called, “An Evening with the Authors.”

Last night, I participated in such an event at the Hurst, Texas Barnes & Noble. Myself and two other local authors were the featured scribblers. Granted it was a slow Wednesday night (it would have had a better turnout on a weekend for sure) but still, it was yet another chance to talk to potential fans and lay another brick in building the brand. 

So, the next time you ask your local book store about hosting your book signing and you get a little pushback, suggest that you’ll participate in the local author event. If they don’t do one, suggest they have one. Events draw customers into stores and, in turn, to you. A true “win-win” all around.

BTW, below is the article I did on the event that I sent to our local paper. I included the same pic as the one above. Enjoy!  

Hurst Barnes & Noble goes local

The Barnes & Noble book store in Hurst recently hosted an “Evening with Local Authors.” Three local authors, Kevin Cook, Mark Fadden, and Jan Leland signed copies of their latest books and spoke to customers about the writing life. “The publishing industry is in such a dynamic flux right now,” offered Fadden, whose latest book, The Brink, uses the recent financial meltdown as the foundation for a taut suspense thriller. “More and more people are talking about eBooks and eReaders. More and more authors are talking about going into digital self publishing. I think that to really connect with your readers and to get the much needed feedback about your books, it is still vital to make the book tour rounds, sign actual books and establish relationships with your audience and with the book store staff.” 

Carol Scalzo, Community Relations Manager at Barnes and Noble in Hurst echoed Fadden’s point about establishing relationships with authors. “We were thrilled to feature these local authors. Barnes & Noble is always seeking to feature local talent. We were excited to represent their latest works and hope to work with them again soon to help promote their future works.”  

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Send him an email at mark@markfadden.com.  

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Press Release – Local author sells out at Plano Barnes & Noble

January 16, 2011 (Plano, Texas) – Being a sellout is usually a bad thing. Unless you’re talking about an author’s book signing. Local Colleyville author Mark Fadden had a book signing at the Barnes & Noble at Park and Preston in Plano on Saturday where he sold every single copy of his latest thriller, The Brink, the store had on hand. The book uses the 2008 financial meltdown as the foundation of a taut suspense thriller in which a fugitive Texas Ranger helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a global financial conspiracy. The book, which has already won two awards from its publisher, has also been nominated for a third award based on its sales success.

“He was great with our customers and he was very interactive. Those are two big reasons why he sold out,” said Cody McMan, Community Relations Manager at the Barnes & Noble at Park and Preston. The Brink was also a part of the Barnes & Nobles Special Collection during the month of December, which recognizes up and coming authors. Fadden continues to appear at local signings in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. His next event will be “Pots & Plots” at the Dish cooking school inside the Market Street grocery store in Colleyville, Texas. The event, which allows participants to cook a dish from the book while discussing it, has been sold out for weeks and a second event is being planned. The Brink is also available in eBook format, and Fadden even signed bookplate stickers for those customers that showed up at the signing and downloaded the book on their nook eReader devices.

Making the most of your chamber membership

I know I said I wouldn’t post again until after Jan 1, but I couldn’t help myself. Plus, the kids are home from school and I’m hiding in my office, so forgive the typos as I’m typing in the dark.

As an “authorpreneur” you should think about joining your local chamber of commerce. Not only does it give you a chance to meet people who read and might buy signed books as business gifts, it’s important to support your local community. Because pumping money back into your nieghborhood is about the best kind of “being green” there is.

So, being a newly minted chamber member, I wanted to make the most out of my chamber membership. Having no storefront to stand akwardly in front of as I use the giant scissors to cut my chamber ribbon, I decided to incorporate my chamber ribbon cutting event into a book signing event at our local Borders book store. It was a great success as I sold out of books. At any rate, the press release about it is below. I even sent the press release to the US Chamber of Commerce magazine folks to see if it will cut the mustard and be added to their “Business Profiles” section. Because being a good authorpreneur is not just about supporting the local economy, its also about seeing an opportunity to spread the good word about your books across the land.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!   

No storefront? No problem

The ribbon cutting event is a rite of passage for new members joining a chamber of commerce. But what to do when you don’t have a storefront? Simple. You improvise.

“Because I work out of my house, I didn’t think I could do a ribbon cutting,” said Colleyville, Texas author Mark Fadden, who has been out promoting his latest novel, The Brink, for the past several months at book signings, book club meetings and civic group presentations. “But then I thought with a little creativity, it would be unique opportunity to try something different.” Fadden, who recently became a member of the Colleyville Area Chamber of Commerce, contacted Lori Lortscher of the Colleyville Borders bookstore and pitched an idea to have his ribbon cutting in their store, combining it with a book signing event. Being a local author, and the fact that Fadden had already had a very successful signing in the store when The Brink first came out this past June, Lortscher was eager to have him back again. “Mark’s appearance at our store was definitely a hit,” said Lortscher. “He drew in a good size crowd of loyal followers. He interacted with everyone and sold many copies of his book.”

This isn’t the first time that the Colleyville Chamber has done a ribbon cutting at a unique venue. “The Colleyville Area Chamber of Commerce coordinates many ribbon cuttings in the community for businesses or individuals who do not have a storefront. Ribbon cuttings may be held at the member’s home, at a favorite restaurant, at a friend’s business or even at the chamber office,” said Director of Membership Lauren Duke. “Local artists like Ann Hardy and Lamberto Alvarez, photographers like Vera Crosby and Walt Mills, and great writers like Mark Fadden add diversity and culture to our area. Creative professionals like these benefit from their involvement in a chamber of commerce by exposing their abilities and passion to their very own community. Members and residents alike can get to know these talented individuals on a deeper level and learn firsthand what motivates their craft.”

An award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink uses the current financial crisis to tell the story of a fugitive Texas Ranger who helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot for global financial Armageddon. The book, which was written in 2006, has been seen as somewhat prophetic in that several of its events, including the global economic meltdown, the ensuing currency wars and even the recent Washington D.C. Metro bomb scare, have actually come true. Readers can get more information about Fadden and his books, including previewing The Brink, at www.markfadden.com.      

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 The Brink was selected for Barnes and Noble’s Special Collection for a second time! Check it out at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210485/?cds2Pid=24451

News Release – Local author signs his latest “chillingly current” thriller at Lewisville Barnes & Noble

 

Mark Fadden readily admits his new novel, The Brink, could be the most controversial book of 2010. 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. “Great fiction should inspire us to challenge the status quo,” Fadden said, “especially when the status quo involves our country’s truly dangerous financial situation.” It is this dangerous financial situation, which Fadden spent years researching, that becomes the focus of the story after fugitive lawman Danny Cavanaugh helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot to create financial Armageddon.

Fadden was in Lewisville on Sunday, Oct 10 to sign copies of The Brink and to talk to thriller fans about his books. The Brink is Fadden’s third novel and is a continuation of his first novel, Five Days in Dallas. Published in 2003, Five Days in Dallas received critical acclaim and Fadden himself was even called a “masterful storyteller” by a Writer’s Digest reviewer. Fadden, who lives in Colleyville, then began working on the follow-up in 2006, which eventually became The Brink. “I’m really proud of it,” Fadden said of the book, which has won two awards from his publisher. “It explodes off the first page and maintains that action-packed pace to the very last paragraph. It also delivers the level of suspense that thriller readers have come to expect with a plot that couldn’t be more current. There’s great chemistry between the two main characters. They’re both strong personalities, but each struggles with deep inner conflict that has shaped who they are.”

While writing The Brink allowed Fadden to navigate the complex world of economics and politics, it’s his lead character that he’s still trying to understand. “Danny Cavanaugh is an interesting guy. He has this unstoppable desire to help his fellow man, but he has also made some bad choices that have put him in a precarious position. When The Brink opens, he’s hiding out in Mexico contemplating suicide; not exactly a typical hero’s situation, but that’s what makes him relatable. We’ve all faced situations where we want to give up, where things seem insurmountable, but something deep inside keeps us going.”

“The signing went wonderfully well,” said Lewisville Barnes & Noble Community Relations Manager Debbe France. “This is how reputations are made and this is how bookstores stay open, with successful events like this one.”

Readers can preview The Brink at www.markfadden.com.  Fadden has also created a blog about writing novels and book marketing using social media at www.markfadden.wordpress.com.

You had a book signing where? Finding book fans in unusual places

A book signing is the best way to meet readers and turn them into your book fans. While bookstores and libraries are great places to have a book signing, they’re also the most obvious. I mean, of course readers are there because that’s where the books are. That’s like going to the hospital for a doctor. But, you know what really makes you memorable? Having a book signing outside of the usual places. I mean, would you ever forget a doctor that was able to remove your ruptured spleen in the middle of the woods with one of those all-purpose tools and some fishing line? Of course not! Change the venue and you might not only freshen up your book signing, but you might just make more lifelong fans.

Book fair – it’s not just one store full of readers, it’s now an entire street, or even an entire downtown area filled with readers! You’ve just increased your exposure many times over. Grab your box of 2,000 bookmarks and work the crowd!

Chamber of Commerce/Community Group presentation – I can’t tell you how many times people have come up to me and told me that either they wanted to or know someone that wanted to write a book. But they didn’t know the first step about getting it published. Chambers and community groups are always looking for presenters for their meetings. Call up your local groups and get on their schedules with your own, “How to get published” presentation. Pass around an email sign-up list, hand out more free bookmarks and have a box of books ready to sign at the end of the meeting.

Local book clubs – Club members love, love, love it when the actual author can stop by during the meeting when they review your book. Plus, book clubs always have a pretty good food/drink spread. Just no double-dipping the chips. Major faux pas.

Cooking classes – My local grocery store, Market Street, has a “Pots & Plots” class. For their class in January 2011, we will be making crab cake sandwiches from my latest novel, The Brink, and also talking about the book. Again, call your local grocery stores to see if they have such a class and see if they’ll host you. Again, free food here. Do you see a trend?

Have you ever had a book signing in an unusual venue? Where? How did it go? To the keyboards!

As always, I’ll be taking the weekend off, so we’ll pick it up next week with more about search engine optimization and online book marketing. Until then,

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

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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 one-of-a-kind gift at http://markfadden.com/buyabook.html

Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

August 16, 2010

Day 64 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010, which is my first official month – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:

  • Writing Topic –  Should we heed the undead?
  • Marketing Topic –  Cooks n’ Books – new venues to market books

Writing Topic – Should we heed the undead?

Trends. They permeate everything from pets (70s Pet Rock phenomenon, which I’ll never understand) to pants (I’ve still got my parachute pants from the 80s. I’m hoping for a comeback by the time my sons can wear them) to books. Case in point, vampires and zombies. From Twilight to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, there’s the books that started the trends, then there’s the books that try to imitate them, and then there are those who say the ones that started the trend are just imitators to begin with (the whole Stephenie Meyer vs Anne Rice debacle)

So, should you write for trends? I’ve already commented on writing with current events in mind. Of course, I have my political thrillers in mind, so I have to pick current topics. But writing novels that are trying to predict the next literary trends, which, since it will be many months to years before your novel is written and then published, is pretty much impossible. Or is it? Let’s pass the mic, or keyboard, as it were and have some discussion on this one.

Marketing Topic – Cooks n’ Books – new venues to market books

These days, we tend to look for marketing magic bullets in the social media/online world. However, don’t overlook actual, physical places that take up space in the real world. Signings are still the workhorse of any book marketing campaign. And while most signings will occur in bookstores, it’s smart to always think outside the box about signings.

For example, my local grocery store, Market Street, offers a cooking class that’s also a book club. The events manager picks a book that has some kind of food dish in it, and the class reads the book. When it comes time for class/book club night, they cook the dish in the first half and review the book and eat said dish in the second half. For example, for my event, we will be making crab cake sandwiches and drinking them down with Shiner Bock beer. Glorious!

This is a heck of an idea and a wonderful way to pair nourishment for the body with nourishment for the mind/soul. Okay, that was a bit of a stretch. But seriously, think outside the box when planning your next signing. You might come up with a whole new format to get books signed (and sold!). And if you do, make sure to share your idea here.  

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…