Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

August 5, 2010

Day 52 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 – Timing the ‘market’
  • Marketing topic – Revamping our websites

 

Writing topic – Timing the ‘market’

 

It happened to Dan Brown. And Stephenie Meyer. And Tom Clancy. Financial advisors say that if you try to ‘time the market’, or try to predict when the stock market will go up or down as the basis for your investment philosophy, then you will always lose. Many people have been trying for years, and while some have been lucky, their luck never holds.

 

But what about the writer’s market? The three aforementioned authors are examples of great writers, but they also were in the right place at the right time. Brown sold a few thousand copies of his first novels and then – bam – along comes a little tale called The Da Vinci Code that highlighted the Opus Dei sect inside the church, just as the scandal about Catholic priests abusing children, which was tied to Opus Dei as well, broke all over the world. Divine intervention not withheld, people across the globe immediately became intrigued with the scandal and they had a book they could immediately turn to that could further their interest in other conspiracies involving the Catholic Church. Meyer’s tale about vampire (and werewolf) love that has spread across the world was started by Anne Rice and even the movies like the Blade trilogy has helped keep our fanged brothers and sisters in the collective consciousness. Was it Meyer’s intent to use characters that have stood the test of time in pop culture? Judge for yourself:

 

 

And finally Tom Clancy. I love the story of how he came to be one of the most read novelists in history. During his presidency, Reagan was asked what he was reading, and he mentioned an obscure book about a Russian sub captain defecting to the US with the sub in tow. Till then, The Hunt for Red October was a little read novel published by the US Naval Press. News outlets latched onto that story and almost overnight, Clancy was a household name.

 

While that was an example of pure luck, The Hunt for Red October played on our fears of an escalation of the Cold War, which was still raging at the time.

 

Timing – how important is it? Should starving novelists, like hungry investors, try to time the next current event to tie in to their novel, or should we say to heck with it, if I want to write about a love story between lepers in the 13th century, that by God I will!  To the keyboards!

 

Marketing topic – Revamping our websites

 

My website blows. Okay, that’s a tad harsh. It’s not the best. Being a one-man show, I used one of GoDaddy.com’s templates for the design aspect, and I need to change it. It just doesn’t captivate the look I’m going for. I’ve been looking at James Patterson’s site, Sandra Brown’s site, and Dennis Lehane’s site to get some ideas in order to spruce up the old girl. Some things I’d like to are:

 

But I have no idea how to do it. I’d call Jimmy, Sandy or Denny, but I seemed to have misplaced their cell numbers. Besides, I’m thinking they have people that run their websites. So what’s a lone wolf to do?

 

One word: intern.  I’m not talking pulling a Kramer from Seinfeld and hiring an intern at Kramerica Industries (Fadtasktik, Inc. does have a certain ring to it, though). No, I’m talking about getting some fresh out of college kid who’s willing to spruce up the old resume with a website redevelopment project. Now, to find said fertile, IT minded soul who will work for that most coveted word, wait for it, experience. Google ‘website development project’? Ad on monster for a website programmer? Craigslist for web designer? Local college newspaper want ads? Networking with the locals? One of them has to know a kid who could inject some pizzazz into www.markfadden.com. I’m sure the Russians, and now Indians, that are visiting the site in high numbers would love to see some new, cool effects. And, dear reader, if you know anyone, send them my way please.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

 

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

 June 29, 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 16 of 365

 In this issue:

  • MFFA – My First Facebook Ad – Day #2
  • Getting ready for Stop #3 on the book tour

  MFFA – My First Facebook Ad – Day #2

 With the month of June coming to a close, thus ends my stint on the barnesandnoble.com Rising Star award winner page. The buyers at B and N use the results to see what books they will give store book shelf space to, what I like to call “the most expensive real estate in the world.”

 Therefore, as a last ditch effort to pump up my numbers, I am doing a 5 day Facebook ad campaign. Yesterday, my ad read “The Brink by Mark Fadden. Uncover the most staggering conspiracy of our time and discover an electrifying new voice in suspense fiction.” There was also a cover pic. I set my budget at $20 day and chose the Cost Per Click (CPC) option. I only pay when someone clicks on my ad. With that ad, I had 15 clicks out of 19,858 impressions, which translates into a Click through rate (CTR) of .08%. Time to change the ad! I changed it to read “The Brink by Mark Fadden. Uncover the most staggering conspiracy of our time. “A masterful storyteller” – Writer’s Digest and I selected people interested in ‘author James Patterson’ rather than ‘political thrillers.’ Hope my CTR will rise. Stay tuned.  

 I checked in with my publisher, iUniverse, to see if there’s a way to see in real time if the ad led to more people buying the book online, but there’s no way to do that. In fact, I won’t know any sales #s until the end of July due to paperwork processing times. Holy $#(%$#  *&#!!!!

 With Facebook ads, it seems that people either love them or hate them. They either work really well or not at all. Again, if you want another in-depth story of doing Facebook ads, here’s a great account of another first time Facebook advertiser: “My First FaceBook Ad Campaign: The Good, Bad, & The Ugly.”

 Getting ready for Stop #3 on the book tour

 With a little less than 2 weeks to go before my 3rd signing event at the Lewisville, Texas Borders bookstore, here’s what I did today to get ready for  it:

  1. News release (please see below) sent to the following: Dallasnews.com (Dallas Morning News online portal) Guidelive and metro desk, Lewisville Leader , www.hellolewisville.com
  2. Okayed postcard invitation proofs (to be sent to Lewisville City Council) and picked up signing posters at my local FedEx Office. They’re fast, open late, and super nice staff.  That place rocks! 
  3. Contacted Lewisville Chamber of Commerce about putting news release in their weekly enewsletter.
  4. Contacted Lewisville book club members. 2 groups have Facebook pages!
  5. sent email to Friends of Lewisville Library & Lewisville library staff members inviting them to the signing
  6. sent event info to Dallas Observer through their event posting site.
  7. sent Greater Lewisville Newcomers Club an email about the event. Why? I saw on their site that they sponsor a book club.

 Kenny Green, the Lewisville Borders Sales Manager, said the 40 books he ordered are already in, so I’ll see if I can drop by tomorrow with posters, flyers, bookmarks, and see if I can sign some books to maybe do a little pre-sales.

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

June 27, 2010

The Nightstand Diaries1 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 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 12 of 365

In this Weekend Edition issue:

  • Is the Internet Destroying Our Brains? Novels to the Rescue?
  • The real story behind The Brink’s villainous Group – video
  • Local news is more than just the community newspaper

Is the Internet Destroying Our Brains? Novels to the Rescue?

If you believe this NYTimes article, then yes, it is. The Internet is sucking dry our creative juices and, um….what’s the word I’m looking for….something bad about what it’s doing to our ability to focus and concen….look out the window! A squirrel on the fence!

Where was I?  Oh yeah, here’s the link to the GOOD blog: http://www.good.is/post/is-the-internet-destroying-your-brain-try-this-test/?gt1=48001 It includes a test you can take to see just how much the Internet has sucked your brain’s abilities out through your eyeballs.

So how does reading novels help to counteract this phenomenon? Here’s a blurb from an article on what Dr. Brian E. Walsh explains in his book Unleashing Your Brilliance, what reading fiction does in terms of mental stimulation:

Walsh says that mental stimulations make brain cells generate new extensions, resulting in richer information processing. He explains, “Reading fiction, especially ranging across authors, pushes our boundaries as we vicariously experience fresh scenarios and identify with the characters. No wonder they call them novels.” Forcing us to create the scenes, the look of the characters, the smells, and the sounds, and prodding our emotions, reading fiction stimulates all of our senses and tweaks our brain. Reading does this so much more than does simply watching someone else’s interpretation on film or in a play.”

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/self-help-articles/reading-fiction-how-it-enriches-brain-functioning-37992.html#ixzz0s66D7f2F
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Who would have thought that we writers could save the world!

 The real story behind The Brink’s villainous Group – video

 In The Brink, the ruthless organization referred to as “The Group” is based upon a real life secret society that is made up of some of the world’s most powerful politicians, international financiers, and monarchs known as the Bilderberg Group. Some journalists and conspiracy theorists say they are the ones secretly running the world’s economies and determining our collective destiny. They get that name because they supposedly first met in 1954 at the Hotel Bilderberg in The Netherlands. Whether this group is real or not is still up to for much debate. Watch this video and decide for yourself:

Local news is more than just the community newspaper

As David Meerman Scott advises in his social media bible, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, we should be issuing news releases all the time. When doing so, you’ll want to focus much of your effort on the local news outlets, since local media likes to do stories on local people and events. In your hunt for these outlets, you will probably come across your local TV stations and newspapers, but there is a whole other faction of news outlets you need to remember: bloggers and websites devoted to your community.

Case in point is www.ourgreatcity.com. Mark Harrison of OurGreatCity.com not only posted the news release I sent him before my book signing at my local Borders store, he came out and took pictures for the website and turned it into a second awesome news release! So when you’re sending out news releases, don’t forget to do a search for bloggers in your area and other folks that run community websites. As social media only gets bigger, more and more people turn to sites and blogs to stay connected to their communities, and find local events like book signings!

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 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 madness continue…

 Day 11 of 365

 In this issue:

  • Working the phones with Borders turns to working the email, and time ain’t on my side

 Working the phones with Borders turns to working the email, and time ain’t on my side

So I might have undershot my budget on how long it would take to schedule up these signings at all the area Borders stores. In last night’s blog, I figured it would “probably take me another hour to customize those packages for each store and then another 30 minutes to call the other stores back and schedule signings so let’s call it 4 hours worth of work to hopefully schedule signings at every Borders store in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.” Oh how frickin’ wrong I was. I wanted to follow up with Kenny Green, the nice man at the Lewisville Borders who agreed on the spot to have me, and email him a marketing plan including a news release, flyer and poster examples. That took an hour. Then I’ve spent the last two hours working on two other marketing packets for two other Borders stores. So that’s 3 hours so far, and I’m not even halfway through the 10 Borders stores within the 50 mile radius of mi casa. But the Borders people are awesome and I want to give them an informative marketing plan so that both sides can benefit from the signing. (I’ve included the intro and marketing plan I emailed to the Borders store in Dallas on Preston & Royal, which is one of their Big Daddy stores, below)

So, the blog tonight is short and sweet. And the weekend is packed, so I’ll just tell you now that I hope to get some more marketing kits out tomorrow and finish up over the weekend and I’ll talk to y’all again on Sunday night with the Weekend Edition. Who knows, I might even get in a thought or two about the next book…Just kidding. The next one is already in the can and ready to go. 

Email intro and marketing plan for Borders Dallas-Preston & Royal store

Carlo,

I spoke to one of your associates yesterday and he mentioned that you manage the events for the Dallas-Preston & Royal Borders store. I did a signing this past Saturday at the Colleyville Borders store and it was the most successful signing they’ve had all year. I would love to do a signing at your store as well. I’ve included a marketing plan for a book signing event as well as the news release from my signing at the Colleyville Borders below. I’ve also attached examples of a press release, flyer, and poster that could be used to publicize the signing. I have several available weekend and weeknight times in the coming weeks that would hopefully work for you.

If you have any questions about the marketing plan or attached documents or would like to discuss the best time to do a signing, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime at the number below.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you soon about this exciting event!

Best,

Mark

817-504-3886

 The Brink

by

Mark Fadden

“This story has everything – it hits the ground running with an ingenious and timely plot, the sharp dialogue produces megawatt size tension between the characters and the superb pacing and breakneck twists deliver a knockout ending.” – author Mark Graham

“Mark Fadden’s novel is a gripping tale filled with mystery, romance, and suspense. The story literally grabs the reader by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final page. The Brink is a page turner that even a seasoned reader will have trouble putting down.” – film producer Don Phillips 

“A masterful storyteller.”  – Writer’s Digest

“Action and heroism keep readers turning pages. A nicely crafted thriller.” – ForeWord Clarion Review

Marketing Plan for Dallas-Preston &Royal Borders Book Signing

  • Press release sent to local media including Dallas Morning News, Dallas Observer, Fox4, NBC5, ABC, CBS, CW 33, UPN 21, D Magazine, DFW.com, pegasusnews.com, eventful.com and Dallas Chamber of Commerce two weeks prior to the event (example attached)
  • Posters to be hung in store before and during event (example attached)
  • Flyers available before and during event (example attached)
  • 100 bookmarks available before event (Posters, flyers and bookmarks to be delivered to store one week before event)
  • “Evite” sent to subscribers of Dallas-Preston & Royal Borders email mailing list (to be done by Borders staff – if possible)  
  • All local friends, colleagues, and acquaintances will be invited – 200+ people 

 

The Brink is the winner of its publisher’s Editor’s Choice Award.

Mark has also been awarded his publisher’s Rising Star Award.

 

ISBN13: 9781450210478

ISBN: 1450210473

BINC: 3186840

 

www.markfadden.com

Colleyville author breaks record at Borders bookstore

Many local fathers got Mark Fadden’s latest political thriller for Father’s Day this year. Fadden signed copies of The Brink, which takes readers on a perilous race from northern Mexico to Washington, D.C. as the hero and heroine try to thwart a global financial conspiracy, this past Saturday afternoon at the Colleyville Borders book store. “Being a local author, Mark generated a lot of pre-signing interest,” said Lori Lortscher of Borders. “He also interacted well with our customers during the signing, which boosted the sale of his book. It was our most successful book signing of the year. I hope we are lucky enough to have him back again.”

Mark Fadden, author of "The Brink", signs a book

 

Fadden is also chronicling his effort to sell 5,000 copies of The Brink over the next year in a blog. “Whenever I talk to people about my books, many of them know someone or they themselves have either toyed with the idea of writing a book, or are in the process of writing one. I wanted to keep track of what I’m doing on a daily basis to market the book so I could offer some inside information about what works and what doesn’t.” Fadden’s blog, titled The Nightstand Diaries: 1 year, 5,000 books, and an (almost) anything goes approach to marketing, can be read at https://markfadden.wordpress.com.

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 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 madness continue…

Day 10 of 365

In this issue:

  • Say this 5 times real fast…would Wikipedia work well?
  • Editor? I don’t need no stinkin’ editor.  But, yes, really, we all do
  • Working the phones with Borders

Would Wikipedia work well?

Another idea from David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR (By now you probably think I get 50 cents every time I mention his book, but I don’t. I just think it’s one of those genius things that takes something complex, like social media, and makes it simple to understand), why not use Wikipedia to get your message out? For those of you who don’t know, Wikipedia allows regular folk like us to go in and update the entries if we see something missing or wrong. Now, I say get your ‘message’ because you can’t put in an ad or any direct marketing into your Wikipedia edit, but I wanted to at least show that, as a writer, I am associated with a certain Wikipedia subject.

Case in point, in my book The Brink, the secret society that’s causing all the chaos is known as The Bilderbergers. There’s a Wikipedia page on them, and one of the content chapters in the entry is titled, “Conspiracy theories” and it read as follows:

Because of its secrecy and refusal to issue news releases, the group is frequently accused of political conspiracies. Critics include the John Birch Society, an American economic nationalist advocacy group,[21] Canadian writer Daniel Estulin, British writer David Icke, American writer Jim Tucker, politician Jesse Ventura and radio host Alex Jones. The Bilderberg Group was the topic of a 2009 episode of the TruTV series Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura truTV – List of episodes for Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura.

I went in and added a sentence about how I’m tied to that subject. Again, it’s not an overt sales pitch to buy my book, but rather letting folks know that I used the Bilderbergers as a conspiratorial group in my book. Here’s the new entry (I put my addition in bold):

Because of its secrecy and refusal to issue news releases, the group is frequently accused of political conspiracies. Critics include the John Birch Society, an American economic nationalist advocacy group,[21] Canadian writer Daniel Estulin, British writer David Icke, American writer Jim Tucker, politician Jesse Ventura and radio host Alex Jones. The Bilderberg Group was the topic of a 2009 episode of the TruTV series Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura truTV – List of episodes for Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura. American novelist Mark Fadden also uses the Bilderberg Group as the sinister secret society that is planning global financial Armageddon in his latest book.

It was up for less than a day, and I got a message in my Wikipedia account stating the following:

Welcome to Wikipedia. If you are affiliated with some of the people, places or things you have written about on Wikipedia, you may have a conflict of interest. In keeping with Wikipedia’s neutral point of view policy, edits where there is a conflict of interest, or where such a conflict might reasonably be inferred, are strongly discouraged. If you have a conflict of interest, you should avoid or exercise great caution when:

  1. editing or creating articles related to you, your organization, or its competitors, as well as projects and products they are involved with;
  2. participating in deletion discussions about articles related to your organization or its competitors; and
  3. linking to the Wikipedia article or website of your organization in other articles (see Wikipedia:Spam).

Please familiarize yourself with relevant policies and guidelines, especially those pertaining to neutral point of view, verifiability of information, and autobiographies.

For information on how to contribute to Wikipedia when you have a conflict of interest, please see our frequently asked questions for organizations. Thank you.   — Jeff G. ツ 04:13, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Markfadden

Hidden categories: User talk pages with conflict of interest notices

Oops. So I guess I messed up with my little blurb and that it’s a conflict of interest. I’ll look at some other Wiki pages and continue to research it, because the other names I see in there are all selling things associated with their critique of the Bilderbergers. But all of their links go to their Wiki pages. Maybe I need to create a wiki page for myself and go from there.  Any ideas from you guys?

Editor? I don’t need no stinkin’ editor.  But, yes, really, we all do

I’ll be brief with this point for two reasons: one, the first point in tonight’s blog was so damn long and two, the most important thing I learned from my editor is that brevity is essential to a good read. Everyone needs an editor. So, donate your plasma, cut some neighbors lawns on the weekends or do whatever you can to get the money together for a good editor. Because while we think everything makes sense in our mind, it’s just that, it’s in our mind and only in our mind. We need someone to take the manuscript for a spin and let us know what the thing needs to get it running on all eight cylinders. The editor that I used, who my agent Tris Coburn recommended, is Mark Graham. He’s edited it all – novels, screenplays, non-fiction – and he’s a ghostwriter as well. Plus, he’s extremely intuitive about what you’re trying to do. He whittled The Brink down from a 670-page retired heavyweight sucking on Krispy Kremes to a lean, 425-page middleweight contender with lighting in his fists. Plus, and this is a big part of it, he’s a likeable guy. He truly loves words and truly wants to help you get your best effort onto the page.      

Working the phones with Borders

After the success of my signing on Saturday at my local Borders, I took about 2 hours today and contacted every other Borders within a 50 mile radius (there are 10 of them) to schedule a book signing. I was able to schedule two over the phone on the spot, several of them told me the event person was not working that day and to call back and the rest need me to email them a marketing package (examples of all docs in that package are in blog post #2 dated June 15, 2010). It’ll probably take me another hour to customize those packages for each store and then another 30 minutes to call the other stores back and schedule signings so let’s call it 4 hours worth of work to hopefully schedule signings at every Borders store in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Well worth it since signings are where we get to sell to book lovers face to face. Again, if you became a writer to hide behind a computer screen all day, then you’re in the wrong business. Writers need to talk to people, because that’s what fans are…people. And without fans, writers can’t put food on the table.

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?

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

Day 6 and 7 of 365

In this Weekend Edition issue:

  • A record-breaking signing at Colleyville Borders!
  • Taking time off to celebrate with an awesome adult beverage recipe
  • Father’s Day video – All us dads have been here

A record-breaking signing at Colleyville Borders!

Many thanks to the staff at the Colleyville Borders, who helped me have the most successful book signing of the year at their store! “”Being a local author, Mark generated a lot of pre-signing interest,” said Lori Lortscher of the Colleyville Borders store. “He also interacted well with our customers during the signing, which boosted the sale of his book.  It was our most successful book signing of the year. I hope we are lucky enough to have him back again.” By “interacting well with our customers,” I walked through the store whenever there was a lull in the activity at my table, which was placed front and center at the front of the store, introduced myself to every customer in the store and handed them a bookmark. While several friends came in to the store to buy a copy of The Brink, it was that few minutes of extra work that helped move 24 books in two hours (Lori stated that at most signings, the author is lucky to sell 6 or 7 books).  While I did alot of work to promote the signing,  I sent press releases to the local paper and bloggers, and hung signs in the grocery store and Starbucks, it is still the bookmark that is the centerpiece of the marketing campaign. It’s an author’s business card. I mentioned it in the first blog post, but I’ll mention it again here: I got 5,000 bookmarks for around $160 at www.nextdayflyers.com. They have fantastic customer service and a quick turnaround. I highly recommend them. Now, it’s back to contacting other area bookstores to set up signings. You bet I will use Lori’s quote about how successful the signing was when I talk to them. While we are mainly using social media here, there is still nothing better than the face to face signing to talk to people and hopefully make them fans of our work. Plus, they’re a blast and a way to add to your work. The more people you meet, the more stories and personalities you can add to your list of inspiration and perhaps use them when you get ready to shape your next story or dream up your next character.    

 Taking time off to celebrate with an awesome adult beverage recipe

 After the successful signing, I celebrated with a beverage called “Summer Brew.” It is a very tasty, tangy beverage and we always have the ingredients handy during the hot months.  Here’s the recipe:

 3 Coronas (or Corona Light)

1 can of frozen limeade concentrate

Orange Liqueur

 In a pitcher of ice, mix the ingredients together (use the limeade can to measure the orange liqueur to taste) and Walla! a heck of a great way to celebrate your literary successes in the summer months.

 Father’s Day video – All us dads have been here

 When I saw this video on the attached link, I couldn’t stop laughing. We’ve all been here: it’s 3 am the baby’s crying and you’ll do anything to get some sleep. All us dads have also tried what this guy tries at the end, and just like him it usually fails:

http://thebubble.msn.com/video/?id=332beb96-8f1d-434c-898a-dced460fc1fb

Happy Father’s Day!