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!

The Nightstand Diaries: what works and what doesn’t in a book marketing campaign

Just starting your magnum opus? Kudos to you. Almost done with your manuscript? Fantastic! Keep going! Your book’s been published? Outstanding! But all that really doesn’t mean squat in the real world. Not if you want to put food on the table by putting words on paper. You gotta sell it, for it’s only when someone takes a chance on us, the virtually unknown writers, and takes our books home – 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 can become a part of our readers’ lives and truly be successful authors. 

My goal is to try and sell 5,000 copies of my new novel ,The Brink, over the next year using every kind of marketing that I can think of and afford. I’m sharing my experiences on a daily basis as a source of information and, hopefully, inspiration to you. I’ll share the amount of time and money each marketing endeavor costs and I’ll post examples of each marketing piece as well. I will also update my sales reports monthly. Our time together should be an informative and, at the very least, fun ride, and I expect some feedback from you, my fellow brothers and sisters of the mighty pen.  So strap in and let’s get to it…

Day 5 of 365 in this Issue:

–         Library Friday

–         A stop by the local B and N pays off

–         Gimme a hug in Colleyville tomorrow

Library Friday

I’ve already said how much the Colleyville, Texas Library rocks. Not only do they have over 900 kids from our community registered in their summer reading program, but Director of Library Services Mary Rodne and her staff continue to amaze everyone with what they do to keep kids interested in reading. Last summer, our first summer in Colleyville, was a Wild West theme and for each 8 books kids wrote they could go to the Wild West-inspired prize room to spin a wheel for a prize. There were also tons of programs including Mad Science, a Yo-Yo trick artist, Nana Puddin, and much more.

This year, the theme is “Bank on Books” and the kick off breakfast last weekend included an appearance by both Oink the Pig, and Daisy the Reading Pig. Again this year they are having numerous programs to get the kids into the library and reading.

I actually hooked up with the Friends of the Colleyville Library several months ago to let them know that The Brink was coming out in late Spring 2010. They graciously had me to one of their meetings to tell my tale of how I became an author and to talk a little about the book. I am going back to their meeting this Tuesday to update them on how the book is doing, and to tell them about this blog. (Time cost: 3 hours including prep for presentations and the presentations themselves. I sold 16 books at the first meeting.)

Mary Rodne also let me know of the North Texas Regional Library Partners (NTRLP) 2nd Annual North Texas Conference For Library Supporters on July 24, 2010 at the Decatur Civic Center in Decatur, Texas. While it’s mainly geared for companies who provide support for libraries, it is also open to authors who can visit with Library Board, Foundation and Friends Group members, volunteers, and staff – all in one day. There are regional groups like this one all over America and they all need books to read, so if you don’t at least look into registering for something like this event, then I may have to get out the Spankin’ Spoon and come find you. You will never get a better chance to make contacts with such a huge cross section of people devoted to the written word than at one of these conferences. If you’re an author or someone who works with libraries in the North Texas area and would like to attend this event, email Elizabeth Stewart at estewart@ntrls.org. (It’s an all day event, and there’s some prep work involved – so I’m thinking 8 hours of work + gas money and cost for lunch and gas – since I’m an author who’s presented at a library, my registration fee is free)

I also stopped by the library in Southlake, Texas today, after holding my squirming three year old through Shrek 3, which is part of the summer movie program at Harkins Theaters in their gorgeous town center development. I wanted to inquire about giving a presentation and doing a signing at one of their Friends meetings as well. One of the delightful staff members told me to send an email to their library director, which I did this afternoon. I call these endeavors the “Friends Circuit,” as I plan to at least try and gain an audience with every Friends group in the DFW area this year. An important note about doing the Friends Circuit – I donate all the profits from Friends signings to the respective Friends group. Not only do I believe in what they are doing by supporting our libraries, I think it’s good karma as well. (Cost: 15 minutes)

A stop by the local B and N pays off

So after the Southlake library visit, where I got a steaming hot cup of Starbucks coffee that they serve gratis (in the spirit of full disclosure, I put a buck in the donation tray), I stopped by their stunning Barnes and Noble store and talked to Angie, who is their community relations director. I sent her a similar marketing packet that I sent to the Colleyville Borders store (see post # 2 from this series for an example) back on June 7, but they were having computer problems and she never received it. Anyway, while they are booked through the summer with signings, she graciously let me be part of their Educators’ Week in October where several authors will be there signing books. I’m not sure where The Brink fits in with educators – maybe I’ll play the whole it teaches kids about the Constitution since it deals with a lost Constitution article, or the whole using-a-thriller-to-teach-people-about-economics-and-our-dire-economic-plight-thing angle. Hey, anything to get me behind a table and opening my sizeable mouth, right? I also resent Angie the marketing packet this afternoon to make sure she knows what I plan to do to market the signing. (Cost: 30 minutes)

Gimme a hug in Colleyville tomorrow

And yes, dear readers, here it is, the shameless self-promotion. I’ll be signing books in the Colleyville, Texas Borders bookstore tomorrow, Saturday June 19 from 1pm-3pm. If you’re going to be in the area, it’d be awesome if you stopped by and at least say hi. If you live out of state, I’d love to fly you in for it, but I don’t even think Dan Brown or Grisham would do something like that – and they have the scratch to hire a G5 to come pick you up. But I have been toying around with the idea that if I do indeed reach my goal of 5,000 books in one year I would rent a beer joint somewhere around here for a night, like the Ginger Man or the Flying Saucer and just leave the taps open all night. I’m actually going to call sometime next week when I have the time to inquire about that to see just how much it would cost. Any guesses?

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

Day 4 of 365

Didn’t get a chance to do any marketing today, life got in the way. Also, after a little research, I found out that my publisher, iUniverse, publishes sales reports at the end of each month, so we’ll have to wait for the sales numbers until the end of June.

In this issue:

–         Reaching out to Facebook friends

–         What inspires the creation of a character?

Reaching out to Facebook friends

With my signing coming up this Saturday, I’m going to invite all my local facebook friends to the event. Now, the more I learn about social media, the more I’ve noticed there’s this conundrum about using platforms like facebook to sell products or services. So what do you think? Do you think its okay to use facebook for personal financial gain? I’m sure there would be a great discussion about this topic.

What inspires the creation of a character?

I often get asked, as I’m sure many of you do, do I ever base a character on someone I know? The answer is yes. For The Brink, I needed a character to act as a critical helper when our hero had no one else to turn to. But I also wanted this character to have a dynamic personality, one that “stole the show” in every scene he was in. So with a dash of swagger and a little creative license on his physical description, I amped up Carver “Chip” Sinn into Carver “Chip” Sutton. Here’s a pic of the man who inspired the character:

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 3 of 365

Marketing The Brink – Today’s efforts

With my book signing event at my local Border’s store coming up on Saturday, I took 75 flyers with bookmarks attached to the Lifetime Fitness that’s in our town. If I may digress here for a second, I freakin’ love that place. It’s got everything a 37-year-old, slightly vain man with a penchant for the occasional full-bodied beer who’s never met a meal he didn’t like could ever possibly need to keep in shape. I have been to a couple other Lifetimes, one in Houston and another one in Flower Mound, and they are all well-maintained and the entire staff seems to have drunk from the “excellence in customer service” punch bowl.

Colleyville Lifetime’s GM, Dana Brunk, said she would display them and I thank her for that. I also took a flyer to Market Street, an awesome Colleyville grocery store, that also has a fantastic beer selection – they even stocked a radler (1/2 german beer and ½ lemonade concoction that my wife loves) for a while. While my mission was to get my flyer tacked to the community corkboard, where announcements are posted, I struck up a conversation with Mary Macdowell and she mentioned that the cooking class department is looking for a book to select where they can cook the food mentioned in it. I told Mary that there are basically three dishes in The Brink – tamales, chicken cheese steaks, and Eggs Carver (scrambled eggs and chorizo served on a bed of Cajun spiced hashbrowns). She took an extra copy of my flyer and was going to give it to the cooking class administrator to see if they want to select the book for their class. Maybe I’ll be a guest and get to eat the class projects. Cool!

Here’s a link to the flyer:

Colleyville Borders book signing poster lifetime version

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

 This blog’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.

June 15, 2010 – Day 2 of 365 

I’ve tried to get my official # sold to date from the iUniverse website, but it keeps coming back with an error, so I’ll call them tomorrow. In the meantime, as promised, here’s a summary of my marketing efforts to date:

  1. Publisher’s Marketing Package – The Brink was published in May 2010. Way back in December 2009, I worked with my publisher, iUniverse, to set up a marketing plan. While the plan involves doing many local book signings around the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, I purchased the following items from iUniverse:

 

–         Book signing package – Includes a poster to hang in stores before/during the signing, postcards to send out to people who live around the store inviting them to the signing, and a flyer about the book. I ultimately got a refund on this package because I didn’t like the designer’s poster. I came up with a poster and flyers myself, which I think are pretty good. Also, whenever I do a signing, I reach out to the local newspapers and bloggers with a press release. (Examples of each are below.)

–         Social Media Portal – At the time, I knew less about social media than I do now, so I purchased this package which allows me to post my blog on WordPress and it goes out to my Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Feedburner, Shelfari, Goodreads, and LibraryThing accounts. A real time saver.

–         PublishersWeekly Banner Ad – Impressions will begin running on their website on June 15th and will finish on June 30th.  The ad will also appear in the Daily eNewsletter running on June 23rd.  To view it, go to www.publishersweekly.com.  If you would like to subscribe to the Publishers Weekly eNewsletter and receive a copy directly to your inbox, you can go to http://reg.publishersweekly.com/newsletter/subscribe?.

–         ForeWord Clarion Review – When I see a book in a bookstore, I immediately flip it over and read the jacket synopsis. Then I look at the reviews. Because writing is such a solitary act, the more reviews, both positive and negative, the better – it makes us better writers. Hey, if you can’t handle someone critiquing your stuff, then you need to go back to kindergarten and wait for your participation metal. My ForeWord Clarion Review is below.

  1. “A Night with Mark Fadden” – Friends of the Colleyville Library speaking engagement. Local groups are always looking for guest speakers, and if you’re a writer it makes sense to make friends with your local library’s support groups. I only had to make contact with their president and she was more than happy to help me set up this event. I am very fortunate that our library not only has a wonderful staff, but the Friends of the Colleyville Library are very supportive of local authors.

 

  1. Bookmarks – The centerpiece of any book marketing campaign. It’s the author’s business card. I got 5,000 printed from nextdayflyers.com for around $160. The did a great job, excellent customer service, and they were delivered fast!  

 

  1. Cold calling local bookstores – “I’m a writer, not a salesman.” You better get over that real quick. Call every chain bookstore, mom and pop bookstore around your house and ask them to host a signing.  I’ve been contacting every book store in DFW. I have several signings scheduled, including one at the Colleyville, Texas Borders this Saturday June 19 from 1-3 pm. I even did a signing at the Bucknell University bookstore in Lewisburg, PA during my 15 year reunion. When you’re talking to the bookstore manager or owner, tell them you’ll send them a marketing plan. (example is below)

 

  1. Tell everyone you come in contact with about your book – If you became a writer because you don’t like talking to people, then get ready to not have any fans. YOU MUST TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR BOOK!  Don’t be pushy, be subtle about it. Think of it this way, most if not all of the people you come in contact with every day can read – and they should be reading your book. Why? Because it kicks ass! Be positive about your book. Even if you do all sorts of prep work and don’t sell one stinking copy at an event. You should be thankful you even get to chase your dream. Most people don’t get that chance.

Example of Marketing Plan for Book Signing

 

Marketing Plan for Borders Colleyville Book Signing

June 19, 2010 1-3pm

  • Article in the June 2010 edition of 360 West magazine highlights the book signing.
  • Press release sent to local media including Ourgreatcity.com, Colleyville Courier, and localnewsonly.com (example attached)
  • Posters to be hung in store before and during event (example attached)
  • Flyers available before and during event (example attached)
  • Postcards sent out to various Colleyville community leaders (example attached)
  • 200 bookmarks delivered to Borders store (enclosed)
  • Email blast to Colleyville Chamber of Commerce members
  • “Evite” sent to subscribers of Colleyville Borders email mailing list (to be done by Colleyville Borders staff)
  • All local friends, colleagues, and acquaintances will be invited 

 

Advance Praise for The Brink:

“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

 

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

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

www.markfadden.com

 

 

Example of Press Release

 

Colleyville author’s latest thriller chillingly current

Mark Fadden spins a clever conspiracy tale focusing on America’s dire financial condition.

Mark Fadden readily admits his new novel, The Brink, could be the most controversial book of 2010. Described as The Da Vinci Code meets the movie National Treasure, it not only features 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 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.

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 with his family, then began working on the follow-up in 2006, which eventually became The Brink. His agent, Tris Coburn, shopped it around to several publishing houses in 2009, but couldn’t find it a home. Undeterred, Fadden decided to publish it with iUniverse, the world’s largest independent publisher. “It’s been quite a journey since I began writing in 2001. It took a long time just to find an agent who believed in me enough to pound the pavement with my manuscripts. Now, with the economy the way it is, the big publishing houses are being very conservative with what they will greenlight. But it’s great that there’s an outlet for people to publish something that they believe in.” With Fadden winning both the Editor’s Choice Award, which is only awarded to the top ten percent of the 5,000 books iUniverse publishes annually, and the Rising Star Award, which is only awarded to the top 2 percent and will therefore be presented to national, regional and local booksellers as part of a nationwide sales campaign, it seems that he is right to believe in The Brink.

“I’m really proud of it,” Fadden said. “It explodes off the first page and maintains that supercharged pace to the very last paragraph. It 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 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 done certain things in his life 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.”

Fadden will be signing copies of The Brink on Saturday, June 19, 2010 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at the Borders bookstore in Colleyville, located at 5615 Colleyville Blvd. The first 22 pages can be previewed at markfadden.com. 

 

ForeWord Clarion Review

FICTION: THRILLER

The Brink

Mark Fadden

iUniverse

978-1-4502-1048-5

Three Stars (out of Five)

Drawing from current events, economic fears, and conspiracy theories, Mark Fadden crafts an entertaining political thriller on the theme of good vs. evil. Action and heroism keep readers turning pages as Texas Ranger Danny Cavanaugh returns in Fadden’s second action-adventure novel. The story begins with a thwarted theft at the Library of Congress. The thief’s booty is recovered and taken to the White House where it reveals a previously unknown eighth article of the constitution. From there, the story jumps to Danny Cavanaugh who is on the brink of suicide. He postpones his own death long enough to investigate strange lights coming from a nearby monastery. Nearing the structure, he encounters Sydney Dumas, a tall gorgeous French woman clad only in skimpy underwear. She is fleeing a detail of security guards determined to kill her. Danny saves her and listens to her conspiracy tale about the Group, an alliance of powerful, wealthy men and women who are planning to force the United States into bankruptcy and take over its leadership.

Danny and Sydney, a law professor, judge, and avid swimmer, head to Washington, DC, to tell the president what they have found. Sydney’s nemesis, Stefan Taber, trails them and changes sides several times. The line between good and evil becomes so blurred that nearly everyone looks like a villain at one point or another. In fact, readers may not feel heartened at the end; it is unsure whether good has prevailed.

This is a nicely crafted thriller, and the author deserves his “Rising Star” status, but he doesn’t quite deliver with this novel. The writing and the plot are pocked with errors and amateur mistakes. An overuse of similar names in the opening chapters may send readers rushing for paper and pencil to write up a who’s who list. Many of these names are never seen again. The awkward handling of relationships, romance, humor, and character development may elicit more than one groan.

Uneven writing sometimes surprises readers with unexpectedly graphic descriptions. For example, in the opening chapter, a cop chases the thief into a fountain. The cop yells, “‘Hands up!’….Joel nodded. He spread his jacket wide to show he had no weapon. As he did, the book inside tumbled down his body into the water. The cop’s eyes exploded.” The author means that he widened his eyes with horror, but readers will visualize the actual eyeball gore. Such awkward phrases jerk readers out of the scene more than once. Still, the dialogue works well, flows smoothly, and moves the story forward. Action scenes usually unfold in easy to follow increments with mildly suspenseful descriptions.

Predictable plot points and amateur mistakes undermine a promising read; yet anyone looking for another tale of a secret organization conspiring to overthrow the world will enjoy Mark Fadden’s second novel.

Dawn Goldsmith

 

book signing poster 

flyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nightstand Diaries – experience one author’s marketing plan as it’s put into action

The Nightstand Diaries – experience one author’s marketing plan as it’s put into action

 It seems that we all know someone who is writing or is thinking of writing a book. Maybe you’re even in the midst of writing a book or have completed your magnum opus. While vast changes in the publishing world have allowed more writers than ever to become published authors, sadly the hours, months and years of hard work to get to ‘The End’ doesn’t mean you’ll be read by anyone other than Mom and Aunt Mildred. Even if you get a book deal from a traditional publisher, the marketing, most of the time, is up to you. A fellow author that was published by a major house tells the story of how he didn’t get any marketing assistance, so he hired his own publicist…at $3,500 a month!

Fortunately, with the explosion of social media, we can all market our scribblings to a wide audience for free or next to nothing. All it takes is knowing where to find your audience and the desire to interact with them. 

I confess that I’m still learning how social media works – most times I feel like an ant in a snowstorm. And the questions I ask myself seem endless: Do I tweet every day? Blog once a week? Is that enough? Too much? What could I possibly say so that people will want to follow me? And how can I track what’s working and what is just a giant time suck? 

I’ve named my blog, “The Nightstand Diaries” because in terms of making a living as an author, it doesn’t mean squat that we’re published. It also doesn’t mean squat that our books are taking up space on a bookstore shelf (some of the most expensive real estate in the world, right?). 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 – and we become a part of our readers’ lives that we will fully realize the dream of truly being an author. 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. It’s a suspense thriller that, in my own humble opinion, is a pretty darn good read. It’s also won two awards from its publisher and it just received 3 out of 5 stars from Foreword Clarion Reviews, so I’m not just blowing smoke up your skirt. Since my last name isn’t Grisham or King, free (or nearly free) social media will be the medium we’re using to market it. As we all know, social media is like the new, undiscovered forest that’s suddenly sprouted at the edge of our city and, while it seems inviting and thrilling, it is also a confusing place where new species of plants and trees seem to pop up every day. I’m familiar with social media and, by attending a few seminars and reading books such as The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, I’m learning more every day. But I also know that I am going to F*** up many, many times, which will probably be good fun for everyone, including me, as I’ve got a pretty thick skin and I’ve been laughing at myself for most of my life.  While many of my news releases will be posted with tongue firmly in cheek (any Onion fans out there?), I’ll also post what I’m doing to market the book on a daily basis, what it costs (in money and time), and how effective it is (i.e. # of sales generated from each strategy or event) and we can all either celebrate it afterwards, or you can laugh at me for my stupidity. Either way, we’ll have some fun, share some great ideas, and hopefully over the year, realize, as authors, what the power of social media can do for all of us. And, BTW, I purposely named it “The Nightstand Diaries” not “Diary”, so I expect a lot of input from others that we can all learn from.

 A little about The Brink – It’s a suspense thriller that takes readers along as Danny Cavanaugh, a fugitive Texas Ranger and Sydney Dumas, a brilliant judge in the International Court of Justice, race from the wilderness of Mexico to Washington, D.C. with evidence of a secret society’s plot to create global financial Armageddon. The controversial aspect of the novel comes from the fact that I’ve used real-world numbers and economic theories to show just how easy it would be, given our current economic climate, for this catastrophe to happen. After shopping it around to several of large publishing houses, my agent, Tris Coburn, and I thought it would be a good idea to go the self-publishing route and publish it through iUniverse. During that process, the book has won both the iUniverse Editor’s Choice Award and the Rising Star Award. It was published May 2010, and I’ve already done a few signings and a significant amount of marketing (which I’ll share in tomorrow’s post).

A little about me – My “day job” is as a freelance writer. I’ve been writing for almost 10 years now and have two other published novels. Five Days in Dallas was my first novel and also a book that features Danny Cavanaugh – then a Dallas, Texas detective. My second novel, The Campaign, was one that, as I like to say, went straight to audiobook. I also narrated it and recently pulled it off the web so I could publish it in a traditional format upon the success of The Brink. It is a stand-alone novel that centers on the question, “What would happen if all the presidential candidates were killed in the 72 hours prior to Election Day?”

 So, if you are a writer, or you know someone who is, it’d be great if you’d join me, or tell your friend to join in the fun. No one should go into the woods alone, right? 

 Today is June 14, 2010, just a few days after my birthday. As a gift, I’m giving myself a year to work my tail off. Again, the goal is 5,000 copies. Let the madness begin…

The Brink

Author’s latest thriller chillingly current 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 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. 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 then began working on the follow-up in 2006, which eventually became The Brink. His agent, Tris Coburn, shopped it around to several publishing houses

in 2009, but couldn’t find it a home. Undeterred, Fadden decided to publish it with iUniverse, the world’s largest independent publisher. “It’s been quite a journey since I began writing in 2001. It took a long time just to find an agent who believed in me enough to pound the pavement with my manuscripts. Now, with the economy the way it is, publishers are being very conservative with what they will greenlight. But it’s great that there’s an outlet for people to publish something that they believe in.” With Fadden winning both his publisher’s Editor’s Choice Award, which is only awarded to the top 10 percent of the 25,000 books iUniverse publishes annually, and the Rising Star Award, through which the publisher will present it to national, regional, and local booksellers as part of a nationwide sales campaign, it seems that Fadden is right to believe in The Brink. “I’m really proud of it,” Fadden said. “It explodes off the first page and maintains that supercharged pace throughout. It delivers the level of suspense that thriller readers have come to expect with a plot 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 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 do the right thing, but certain events have happened in his life 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.” Starting in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where he lives, Fadden will conduct a book tour promoting The Brink this summer. Readers can log on to markfadden.com for tour dates and locations. The Brink is available in hardcover and paperback at most major book stores and online booksellers. The eBook format will be released this summer. The first four chapters can also be read at markfadden.com.