Local versus National and all the numbers in between

I usually reserve Mondays for “Mystery Monday” where we discuss all things mysterious, but I got an intriguing e-newsletter today about the power of social media – specifically, should we, as writers, use social media to cast our net as wide as we can across the nation or the world, or should we use SM to build better relationships with the “locals?” Most folks live in an area where, within 50 miles, there are 50,000 or more people. Well, guess how many books you have to sell to get on the NY Times bestseller list? That’s right, 50K.
 
Anyway, here’s the link to today’s edition of the Search Engine Land newsletter. BTW, if you are thinking of, or already are, in the midst of using SM to get more readers, take a look at the SEL site. It’s chock full o’ good stuff. And best of all…’tis gratis.
 
Oh, and if you’re wondering how our first NANOWRIMO meeting went at A Real Bookstore, stay tuned until tomorrow night!
 
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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

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

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

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

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

Mystery Monday – The Prisoner Who Wouldn’t Reveal His Name

 

Call it the right to remain silent, to the extreme. A man who was arrested for trespassing in a Utah parking garage remains in jail three weeks later, all because he has refused to reveal his identity.

The full story is here, but I can almost hear the grinding noises of all those cogs in heads of writers out there. He’s part of the witness protection program. He’s some black ops government agent who had his fingerprints removed. He’s a serial killer who can be tied to 30+ murders in other states.

But those ideas of who this guy is aren’t the ones that came from writers, necessarily. These guesses are the ones posted on the MSNBC comment section about the story.

While this is a great premise for an exciting mystery or thriller, the serial killer/govt agent/witness protection thing has been so done before. At this point, it’s cliche. So let’s try to come up with a plausible, and exciting, reason why this guy won’t reveal who he is. Oh and by the way, let’s not do the alien thing either…Illegal or Extra-Terrestrial!

To the keyboards!

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

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

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

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

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

Mystery Mondays – Why do we love certain characters?

Two words are the answer to the title question: flaws and “redeemability.”

For answers to today’s Mystery Monday of why we love the fictional characters we do, lets look to two people who have much better answers than I:

Nathan Bransford, an author and former literary agent, has a wonderful post on how the character’s “redeemability” is the key to us liking them, and thus following their adventures page after page.

Author and screenwriter Kris Cramer also did much justice to the idea that our hero’s must be heroic, in other words, they must not be wimps. They must move heaven and earth to complete their goals. But, and here’s the part that is even more important than their being heroic. They must, must, must have flaws. Why? I’ll leave it to Ms. Cramer to offer her opinion why. It’s a heck of a reason.

Agree with our two esteemed writing colleagues? Disagree? Type something heroic on your keyboard!    

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

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

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

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

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

Mystery Monday – Why is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a thriller?

I know I’m gonna get flack for this one, but here goes: Can someone explain to me why The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is considered a suspense thriller? I picked up the book at the behest of my mother, who had different reading tastes than I do. She liked The Kite Runner, she went nuts for The Help, and she couldn’t wait to sit for long periods engrossed in a Jonathan Franzen book. So when she told me that I must read TGWTDT, I was a little hesitant. But then she told me it was a thriller, something that was, “just my speed,” and I fell for it. I mean, what good boy doesn’t listen to his mother?

So I bought a copy and began reading. I feel asleep four times reading it in the first 50 pages, something I have never done with James Patterson and Dan Brown. I called my mother to offer my snide opinion that this was no thriller. It was all exposition – and long passages of exposition at that. In fact, there was very LITTLE ACTION, not a car chase or an explosion to speak of. “Just get passed the first 100 pages and it’ll pick up,” she said. I’m currently on page 198 and I’m still waiting for it to pick up.

I’ve read the reviews on Amazon and there are hundreds of people who feel the same way I do. “Why is this book an international bestseller?” sums up the opinions of the folks that gave it 1 and 2 stars. Of course, there are even more hundreds of people who reviewed it and have loved it. 

I just don’t get it. As a thriller writer, and a thriller reader, the golden rule is: hook the reader on the first page. These days, it seems you gotta hook people on the first sentence, or they’re lost on their smartphone or on to the next book down the line. So how is an international bestselling thriller able to carry on for several pages, let alone a hundred or more, without anything big happening?

Am I missing something? Is a thriller more about the undercurrents and nuances than the action and the cliffhangers? Or does the ending of TGWTDT really make up for all the pages that describe how cold and lonely the protagonist is in the Swedish countryside? Or are the novels more interesting because of the intriguing backstory about author Steig Larsson? Or is Lisbeth Salander just such a badass character that we’d all follow her doing anything? Even her laundry?

Your thoughts, opinions, declarations, and insight on this one would be most helpful. To the keyboards!   

And BTW, to honor my mother’s memory, I’m going to finish all three books in the Millennium trilogy, even if I fall asleep a hundred times during each one… 

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

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

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

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

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

Mystery Monday – Could Britney Spears help you sell more books?

As this is the first post after my birthday, I wanted to thank all the peeps on Facebook that gave me a birthday shout out. I had an awesome one, surrounded by great beers, awesome German food and my wonderful family. The only one that I missed having around was my mom, who passed last year, but I know she was laughing and smiling along with us all weekend long. Now, on to business…

For this Mystery Monday, it still boggles my mind, as it probably does may writers out there, what makes a successful online marketing campaign. Here’s the screenshot of a recent Facebook ad that I ran promoting The Brink as a $2.99 ebook:

 
 best selling author Sandra Brown
 called “a hell of a read.” The Brink by Mark Fadden

I subscribe to the Search Engine Land newsletter and today’s was a great one for those of us that have ever used Facebook to advertise. Titled “3 Types Of Facebook Image Ads That Work” the article suggests that one of those images is a “happy woman.” Here’s the part that clicked for me:

“The best types of images to use in Facebook advertising are of happy women. Women who look overjoyed, free and are looking directly at the camera convert best. Images of woman can tie into almost any product like health nutrition, wellness, etc.”

The example in the article is Britney Spears smiling with text about how she lost weight. But I was thinking that a pic of a woman smiling, perhaps happy because she’s just finished a kick ass thriller that she can’t wait to tell her friends about, might just be a great ad. So, I’m gonna try one in my next FB ad and see how it goes. I’ll make sure to post the results here.

The SEL article also suggests not to use an image that can’t be recognized from a few feet away. Plus, there’s just something about a smiling woman that catches the eye of both sexes. Why? I don’t know. But once we crack open the secret of this marketing trick, maybe then the mystery of Britney helping make people more literate can finally be solved!

Thoughts? Opinions? Have you used similar pics in your FB ads? To the keyboards!

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

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

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

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

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

Mystery Monday – Who Killed Biggie, Revealed? And other FBI celebrity files finally revealed

Who killed Biggie? It’s this generation’s Who Shot JR? For those that don’t know who Biggie is, he was rapper Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace that dominated the hip-hop/rap scene in the 90s. He was shot while sitting in a car on an LA street. A recent New York Daily News column got a hold of recently opened FBI files on his murder. Among other shocking items, the report lists that rare German metal-piercing ammunition was used to kill him. The ammo was linked back to a rogue LA cop, who had built a shrine to Biggie’s rap rival, Tupac Shakur.

Besides the whole, “you can’t make this stuff up” notion of this still unsolved case, the other thing that’s a mystery is, why was the FBI keeping what seems to be vital information like rare ammo under wraps? It was only unearthed thanks to the Freedom of Information Act. I think that’s the real mystery here. And why is the FBI keeping celebrity files anyway? Files were unearthed on Clark Gable, the rock band Kiss, and even John Denver. I know! John Denver! Take me home, country road, to a place without taps on my phone…Okay, I never said I could rhyme.

Thoughts? Opinions? Set your own Freedom of Information Act lyrics to music? To the keyboards!

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

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

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

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

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

Mystery Monday – Too Many Suspects?

In AMC’s fantastic series The Killing, there are 24 suspects. 24. That’s a lot to keep up with. 24 personalities, 24 storylines, 24 motives. In fact, AMC has a website devoted to not only keeping track of each suspect’s bio, but they also allow fans to vote on which suspect they think is the actually killer. Which, by the way, is a great way to keep fans interested in the show. If there was a way to do something similar with a book, that would be awesome. But back to the dirty 24. So the question must be asked: is 24 suspects too many?

In my latest suspense thriller, The Brink, the major complaint was that there were too many characters introduced in the beginning of the book. Some people had to take notes to keep them all straight. So, for the next book, there won’t be this character dump right at the start. They will get introduced throughout the book, but there won’t be 24 suspects. Not nearly. I don’t even think I could keep that many straight. I don’t think there are 24 plausible reasons for wanting the same person dead. Unless you’re a really, really, bad person.

What are your thoughts? Are 24 suspects too many in any one story? Not enough? Just right? To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author and here’s where he gets to toot his horn:

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

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

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

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

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