QE, Currency Wars and the Barnes and Noble Event Blog

Tonight two topics – one on books and the other on the state of our international financial system (which is the foundation of my latest thriller, The Brink ). Since this blog is about writing and getting your book noticed in the ever-expanding marketing universe, I’ll hit the book topic first.

I had a great weekend with back to back signings in two local Barnes & Noble stores. Since one was a group event where they had several authors appear at the same time and they did their own publicity for it, I did a news release on my second signing at the Lewisville Barnes & Noble (please see yesterday’s blog to read the news release) . One of the tags I used was “Barnes and Noble events” and it got picked up by WordPress’s “Blogs about” service. Our blogs on “Blogs about” won’t stay up there long, it does get some attention, and that’s a good thing.   

 

Now, I’ll show you the money, or what’s happening with the money around the world.

It’s been called “QE” which stands for quantitative easing. Basically, it’s a fancy term that the Federal Reserve and the rest of the world’s reserve banks are using when they print more money. Interest rates are already at rock bottom almost everywhere, so there’s nothing else the bankers can do on that end to pump more money into the international financial system.  So they said, “Hey, wait a second. Let’s just pump more money into the system by making more money and come up with some clever euphamism for it!” Viola, qualitative easing. However, as with anything in politics, some play fair and some don’t. Some countries are printing money, and some aren’t. And this is leading to these “currency wars” or fighting in the international financial system among the players. The ones that aren’t printing money say that the ones that are aren’t playing fair and it affects currency values all over the world. These inflated or deflated currency values affect export and imports, which affect deficits, and everyone is mad at China because they’ve kept the yuan so low for years, and these current wars are just reminding everyone that they should be mad as heck and not take it anymore. Problem is, China is one of the few countries that is actually in the black. And they are making investments all over the world.

I continue to be flabbergasted at the fact that what the bankers are doing across the globe is EXACTLY what the fictional bankers in my latest thriller, The Brink, did to lead up to one very important event that is about to take place when a scrappy, brilliant woman discovers what’s about to happen and decides to do something about it. Her decision leads to her run for her life through Northern Mexico, where she’s discovered by a fugitive cop who decides to help her, thus getting himself sucked into this plot for financial Armageddon.

But there’s one thing here that fiction allows me to do. It allows me to put an evil group behind what’s going on in the international financial system. The Group, as they are called in the book, work behind the scenes to manipulate the system. They are the ones controlling these decisions made by the bankers, which is not to say they are controlling the bankers directly. Rather, they control the system and the bankers have no other options but to do what The Group wants them to do.

But is that what’s going on in the real world? Is there one group that is, for the lack of a better word, gaming the system? In his excellent book, The Big Short, Michael Lewis cast a lens on a few Wall Street outsiders that seemed to read the cards of the financial world better than the rest of the world, and got rich doing so by betting against the market in the run-up to the 2008 financial meltdown. What if the same is going on here again? For a second time? On a much, much bigger, global scale? That’s what The Brink is about. Could what is essentially a small group of people actually control the future of the world economy?

To the keyboards!

Blog pic by Francesco Marino http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=809

Money ball pic by Salvatore Vuono http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659

 

News Release – Local author signs ‘absolutely shocking’ book at The Book Carriage

Larry Granados, Treena Carpenter, Mark Fadden, Mercedes Reagan, and Leanne Skinner hold copies of The Brink, Mark Fadden's latest thriller, during his visit to The Book Carriage in Roanoke, Texas

Cooler temperatures make a lot of people want to curl up with a good book. And that’s exactly what customers got a chance to do at The Book Carriage & Coffee Shop in Roanoke on Sunday when Colleyville author Mark Fadden stopped by to promote and sign copies of his latest award-winning thriller, The Brink. In the book, Fadden incorporates a lost article of the U.S. Constitution into the story of a fugitive cop that helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot for global financial Armageddon.

 “It’s a completely gripping thriller, one that I hated to put down,” said Leanne Skinner, who works at the store and read an advance copy. “I appreciated the short chapters, so when I did get the inevitable interruption, I could finish the chapter, take care of the interruption, and then get back to it.”

 During his visit, Fadden talked about the “real-world” economics that are part of the book. “I began researching the book in 2006. Back then, I wanted to do a story that used the country’s exploding debt problem as the basis for a conspiracy thriller. I also wanted to use real numbers and real economic theory to showcase just how fragile our financial system is. Little did I know then that the events happening now, like the government debt bubble and actions of players in the international financial system, like what the Bank of Japan is doing to stabilize its economy, practically mirror what happens in the book. The truly frightening thing is that these actions, in the book anyway, ignite the complete unraveling of the entire global monetary system.”

 “It’s absolutely shocking,” said Angie Granados of the financial realty in the book. Granados, with her husband Larry, owns The Book Carriage & Coffee Shop. “Mark talked about some of the financial numbers he uses in his book, real numbers from the real world. It’s almost too scary to think about what could happen.”      

 The Book Carriage & Coffee Shop opened two years ago. Granados and her husband built the unique building from the ground up, scraping the existing building that once stood there in order to comply with the city’s zoning ordinances for the revitalized Oak Street corridor. The building features a conference room on the second floor that can be rented and a stage that overlooks the main part of the store where bands play on Saturday nights. “Because of the construction, this was our first signing event in a while,” said Granados. “Now that the construction is over with, we are looking forward to having more events and more signings.”

 The Book Carriage & Coffee Shop is an independent general bookstore/coffee shop located at 304 North Oak Street in Historic Downtown Roanoke. Contact them at  info@bookcarriage.com or 817.491.2858. Or visit their website at www.bookcarriage.com.

 Mark Fadden can be reached at mark@markfadden.com. He has several upcoming signings in the DFW area and is available to attend book club reviews as well. He is also giving workshops on how authors can use social media to sell their books at various local libraries. Visit www.markfadden.com to view his schedule of events or to preview The Brink.

News Release – Authors read from works, share own stories at Bedford Library event

Poet Rebecca Balcárcel and author Sarah A. Hoyt listen as author Mark Fadden reads from his latest thriller, The Brink."

As one of the last events at the Bedford Public Library’s current home before it moves to its new location, the Friends of the Bedford Public Library hosted, “An Evening with the Authors” on Saturday, Sept 25. “Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?” “How did you get started writing?” “How long does it take you to write your books?” were just some of the questions fielded by Colleyville thriller author Mark Fadden, local poet Rebecca Balcárcel and author Sarah A. Hoyt, who writes science fiction, fantasy and mysteries. Not only did the authors share stories about their experiences with publishers, their writing processes, and current writing projects, but all three read from their most recent works and signed copies of their books.

“I absolutely love coming to these events,” said Fadden, who was the only first-timer at the event. “It’s great to talk to people about the journey of a story going from an idea in your head to a finished, published novel.” Fadden read from his latest novel, The Brink, which was recently published in May 2010 and has already won several awards. In it, a fugitive cop helps out a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plan for global financial Armageddon.

Poet Rebecca Balcárcel, who is an associate professor of English at Tarrant County College, read selected poems from her book Palabras in Each Fist. “It was great to hear the work of my colleagues and fun to meet readers. A poet being able to read from his or her own work certainly adds a dimension to it.”

Sarah A. Hoyt, who traveled all the way from Colorado Springs, Colorado and has published 17 books, read from her latest book, Dipped, Stripped, and Dead. Besides attending the event, she hosted a writer’s workshop over the weekend at the library where she discussed story structure, how to market and the realities of being a writer. “I made every mistake in the book, so I am very qualified to teach this workshop,” said Hoyt.

“To have three authors that represent such different genres made for a very interesting evening,” said Amanda Green, Vice President of the Friends of the Bedford Public Library. “Being one of the last events at our current library, it was bittersweet. But we are very excited about moving into our new building in just a few months.”

All three authors have websites. For more information, visit www.markfadden.com, www.rebeccabalcarcel.com or www.sarahahoyt.com.

Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

August 30, 2010

Day 76 of 365

Books sold so far (May and June 2010): 246

In this issue:

  • Writing topic – Characters’ back stories
  • Marketing Topic – What’s a Word Worth? Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Writing topic – Characters’ back stories

Okay, so the five of you that regularly follow this blog probably didn’t do your homework and create epic back stories for you’re the characters in your next novel. That’s okay. I understand you are probably adults and you either have demanding jobs, demanding families, or both and you either spend you evenings doing something akin to TPS reports or telling your four-year-old for the 87th time not to jump up and down with a rusty straight razor in one hand and an open cup of Kool Aid fruit punch in the other on the new Haverty’s couch that won’t be paid off until June 2014. So, let’s all go out into the virtual academic quad where it’s always a crisp 72 degrees and sit underneath the white aspen trees in a circle on the soft blanket of Kentucky bluegrass and just do one together shall we?

Brandon Styles – the name just evokes a yuppie punk, doesn’t it? Now our tale is set in the 1980s, but in a rural Texas town, so young Brandon, who is just a smidge under 16 and looking forward to Daddy buying him a brand new Ford pick-up for his birthday, shouldn’t conjur images of James Spader in Pretty in Pink or even Jake What’s his Face from Sixteen Candles. No, think James Dean from Giant meets Judd Nelson’s character from the Breakfast Club…a guy with a stoner’s laissez-faire attitude but wouldn’t dare put smoke inside his hallowed temple of a body, a delish dessert of a young man where the swagger of frosting hides the angst hidden in the dense cake underneath.  Although he is the younger of two brothers, his lanky, 6 foot 3 inch frame has never had to deal with hand me down clothes, and he wouldn’t be caught dead in anything less than ostrich skin Lucchese boots, or brand new Michael “Air” Jordan basketball sneakers. He does however, have to deal with the legacy of his older brother Clayton, who still holds the record for most touchdown receptions in the history of the high school. Brandon is trying yet again to break that record, but this is his last season to do it and time is against him. Because of that, it becoming harder and harder to hide his nasty temper. 

The Styles family comes from old money. Brandon’s great-great-great-great granddaddy was one of the founders of the town and “acquired” several thousand acres as a reward for his service in Mexican-American War. Now that it’s okay to talk about it, people are beginning to talk about how the land was stolen from the Native Americans. There’s even a lawsuit from the Caddo tribe against the Styles family for the remaining tracts of land that they still own. I say remaining tracks because they sold a lot to the state of Texas to put through I-45 and another piece was sold to build the state penitentiary on it. On the other parts they drilled for oil and natural gas and found both, lots of both.

Brandon will never have to work a day in his life. He knows this and so does everyone around him. Therefore, he has a less than perfect attendance record – I think he’s attended maybe 12 days of pre-calculus the entire fall semester. Mr. Weems, the pre-calc teacher, made a stink about Brandon’s attendance mid-semester, and the last we heard is teaching kindergarten down in Brownsville to a bunch of illegal alien children. I mean, what was he thinking? You just don’t cross a Styles in this town, and Weems should have known that. I mean, for Christ’s sake, Weems had to go by their every day on his way to work as he trudged past the Harris Style Auditorium, the high school auditorium named after Brandon’s grandfather.

As you would expect, both Clayton and Brandon have dated the prom queens, but they both have done it since they were freshmen. That’s right. Even as a freshman, Brandon bagged senior ass. Since they’re four years apart, that means a Styles has had high school royalty as arm candy for eight years. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

Stacy Sutton is this year’s queen and has been lucky enough to be going out with Brandon since the end of last school year. There was some friction over the summer, and they’ve broken up a few times. But Stacy Sutton, who looks like a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and is in the running for class valedictorian, is something even Brandon knows you don’t throw away.

So there you go. A little description, a little drama, and a little motivation to describe a character that will be an integral part of the story. There’s even a hint of unrest about a powerful family that isn’t used to getting messed with. Now this is a murder mystery, so would someone in that family be willing to kill to maintain the status quo? Families have done exactly that in the past.

What’s your verdict? Like him? Hate him? Dated someone like him in high school? To the keyboards!

Marketing Topic – What’s a Word Worth? Google AdWords Keyword Tool

I wish I had a tenth of the smarts that the average Google employee has. Every time I delve deeper into the powerful tools Google offers, for FREE mind you, I ma blown away. Case in point tonight, Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool (GAKT). You can go onto GAKT, enter a keyword that you think people would use to find your website, and see how many actual global and local searches there are for that keyword or phrase. For example, my latest book, The Brink, is about a sinister secret society planning global financial Armageddon. So, I typed in ‘financial Armageddon’ into the GAKT search engine and found that that phrase got 2,400 global monthly searches and 1,900 local. I scroll down to see related keywords and notice that ‘economic crisis explained’ and ‘surviving financial crisis’ have 201,000 and 49.500 and 368,000 and 90,500 respectively. Guess what keywords I’m adding to my site tonight? Guess where you should go right now to check your keywords?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

 

Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

July 28, 2010

Day 44 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:

 

  • OMG, I’ve gone viral! An example of what can happen when clever meets timely
  • Writing topic – they say “write what you know” but really it’s still who you know that counts
  • Marketing topic – The importance of keywords

 

OMG, I’ve gone viral! An example of what can happen when clever meets timely

 Earlier this week, I promised I’d show how the Old Spice video was linked to libraries. At a social media workshop given by Leanna Cowan of the Alvarado Public Library, Tina Hager of the Little Elm Public Library and Melissa Jeffrey of the Arlington Public Library, they showed the video below of the BYU library spoofing the Old Spice Super Bowl commercial:

 

 

Very clever, right? Now BYU obviously spent some bucks on the video, but I’m sure that if a writer were to put his or her mind to it, they could come up with something similar with low or no budget. I mean, just check out the parodies of the Beyonce video “All the Single Ladies” that I’m sure were produced on the cheap:

 

 

Writing topic – they say “write what you know” but really it’s still who you know that counts

 

This one’s for the mystery/thriller/detective writers. Most of the manuals out there say, “write what you know.” But I’m a firm believer in “know what you write.” For instance, I’m sure all the thriller and mystery writers are innocent of murder, yet they conjure up some of the goriest murder scenes humanly imaginable. How? While they didn’t kill someone, they imagine how to do it. They know what they write. But 9 times out of 10, they talked to someone who has seen grisly murder scenes to suspend their readers disbelief. So, how to do that? Simple. Talk to your friendly neighborhood police officer.

I was talking to a police officer today that knew I was a writer. He said he has always wanted to write a novel about what he’s seen over his 25 year career (It’s an item on his bucket list). Right there is a fountain of information for me and I am a resource for him about the writing process. Win-win, right? Every city and town has a police department. Chances are there’s a veteran there who has some great stories to inspire your writing. Go down to the department and see if you can do a “ride-along” with one of the officers. If they don’t offer that, see if you can join a civilian group that supports the police department. It will take a little time to network, but sooner or later you’ll be sharing war stories over a beer with one of your city’s finest that could be the plot to your next masterpiece.

 

Marketing topic – The importance of keywords

 

What’s a better keyword for people to find a novel in which America’s staggering national debt is used to produce global financial Armageddon: ‘national debt’ or ‘financial Armageddon’? (BTW, if you’re new to this blog, that’s the gist of the plot from my latest thriller, The Brink) Do you think more people are searching for the term ‘national debt’ or ‘financial Armageddon’ these days?  

Keywords continue to mystify me, as they do most people. There’s an art to picking them and timing seems to be the most important part of using keywords.

How do you use keywords? We’d all love to know in the comment section.  

 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

So what does it take for a virtually unknown author to sell books? Get a front row seat as Mark Fadden blogs about his marketing hits and many misses on the way to sell 5,000 copies of his latest thriller, The Brink, in one year.

July 21, 2010

Day 37 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:

  • FB ad round-up – let’s look at the numbers  
  • More changes to the website and a preview to search engine optimization

 FB ad round-up – let’s look at the numbers

The “economics” ad just a keeps on suckin’. Here’s the FB ad that was targeted at users who like economics:

 Could a novel come true?

A fugitive lawman uncovers the link between a secret society’s plot for financial Armageddon & the FED, based on REAL economic numbers.

 And here are the numbers:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/21/2010 1,072 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
07/20/2010 7,011 2 0.03 0.57 0.16 1.14
07/19/2010 684 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Lifetime 8,767 2 0.02 0.57 0.13 1.14

 I think folks from as far away as Russia (oh yes, according to my godaddy.com site analytics, I’m huge there) could probably smell the stench of failure on this ad. But, it’s staying up until the end of the week, because I said I would keep it going that long, and by Neptune’s trident I am a man of my word!

 Fortunately, my other ad is still going strong. Here’s the ad:

 Electrifying new author

Tired of the same plots & the same characters? Read the intro to this award winning thriller and never see the world the same again.

 And here are the numbers as of 10:45pm tonight:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/21/2010 133,158 15 0.01 0.59 0.07 8.90
07/20/2010 87,886 36 0.04 0.56 0.23 20.00
Lifetime 221,044 51 0.02 0.57 0.13 28.90

 51 total in two days with 15 new today. The CTR % (click through rate) dropped off, but that’s to be expected since the same group (people who like books) are seeing it over and over (by the way, there are 560,900 people in that group). I asked the question last night how I can leverage the seeming popularity of this ad. I didn’t have a chance to give it much thought today, but it’s still pinging around inside the old melon.

 

More changes to the website and a preview to search engine optimization

I took the opportunity to look at my godaddy.com site analytics last night and saw something interesting. There was a steep drop in the number of visitors over the last few days. It started around the time I changed up the language on the site to reflect more of my personality, which sounded like fantastic advice coming from my social media Moses David Meerman Scott in his book The New Rules of Marketing and PR. So, to make the sight more fun, I sprinkled the site with what I thought were snarky, smart assed, and what I thought were funny comments here and there. But, when people are looking for at a thriller writer, they don’t want Flopso the Clown. Like I said in last night’s post, they are looking to you to solve their problem. They need a good book. They want a thriller to thrill them. They don’t want a thriller writer trying to be funny.

My website is something that I, like many other people that use primarily websites to broadcast their information, continue to struggle with. There are in the neighborhood of 124 million sites on the Internet and literally billions of web pages. We want to stand out and we stand out by providing great content. But how?

I was thumbing through the July/Aug issue of Inc. magazine today and it was like the editors were reading my mind. There in front of me was a whole pull-out section on website search engine optimization, or “SEO.” How to get your website seen! Drive more traffic to your site! Fantastic. I’ll need some time to really dig into it, so that’s hopefully a topic for tomorrow night. Until then… 

 

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 marketing a political thriller.

July 15, 2010

Day 31 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010 – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:

  • FB ad round-up – is it getting ‘chilling’ up in here? 
  • Getting ready for the podcast, which is now a video interview 

 FB ad round-up

I think I need a jacket, ‘cause the “chillingly current novel” campaign is charging ahead like gangbusters. And yes, you do have to monitor your bid numbers, because they can change.  I had only 3 hits yesterday, but then I noticed the bid range changed from $.49-$.59, to $.72-$.92. So, when I changed it from $.50 to $.72, the number instantly rocketed up! Again, here’s the “CCN” ad:

 Chillingly current novel

Preview the year’s most controversial thriller and get a 40% off coupon at your local Borders bookstore good through July 15th.A

 So here are the numbers from the campaign:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/15/2010 154,824 27 0.02 0.70 0.12 18.94
07/14/2010 157,660 31 0.02 0.65 0.13 20.00
07/13/2010 132,073 46 0.03 0.43 0.15 20.00
Lifetime 444,557 104 0.02 0.57 0.13 58.94

104 clicks over 3 days isn’t bad. I just wish I knew if those folks bought books.

 Along those lines, I’m going to contact outside help to see if I can track down that info. More on that in tomorrow’s post.

Getting ready for the podcast, which is now a video interview

 The lovely and talented ladies from girlsinthestacks.com informed me today that the podcast is really a video interview. So I’m off to take the hedge clippers to my eyebrows in a bit. To get ready for the interview, I sent them a few suggestions of the topics we could cover. (As a freelance reporter, I find it very nice when your subject does this) I also spent some time doing research online about those topics.  So, tonight’s homework is to learn how to embed a video into tomorrow’s blog.

 Last night, we talked about how you can incorporate podcasts into your blog or site to get book sales. Well, videos are an even better way to do that. On my site, I have a book trailer on the home page that starts automatically. While it’s pretty basic, the music is really cool, very ominous and gets people in that thriller mindset.

 Try to make a list of 5 uses for videos to sell your books. Then expand that to 10. It’ll be easier than you think. Then all you need is a 17 year old to tell you how to edit and embed the thing into your blog and website and you’re good to go!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…