What is work for writers?

I’ve been following the blog “Pimp My Novel” for a while and Eric’s inside view of the publishing industry is truly insightful. His latest posting entitled “Schedule, Schedule, Schedule” is a fantastic reminder about how to carve up our daily schedule in order to work. His posting also got me thinking, what exactly is work when it comes to writing? Is it the “butt-in-chair” time, or is it any time you are thinking about your project?

I tend to think of my writing work as the latter. One of the ways that I think about my stories is by doing something else. I can’t just sit in the chair to think about untying all the knots of my plot twists and character development. My mind works best when I’m doing something active and not too taxing on the old noggin so I can concentrate on the story. My two favorites are walking or running and shooting hoops by myself. I’m far from being a doctor, but I think it has to do with the exercise allowing more blood to reach the brain, thus stimulating the creative centers. Sounds like a plausible scenario, right? As I’m trying to work out all the plot points for my new manuscript, The Campaign, (which is an old book that I’m re-working) the exercise helps me unwind the story every time it sticks.

And that’s a second point I’d like to bring up. In Pimp My Novel, Eric talks about the “need to be willing to revise.” I totally agree with him, but as I’m working out the plot on the basketball court or the jogging trail, instead of beginning the book too soon and then going back and having to revise the plot with new plot points or corrections, that’s less time I need to spend on revising. Like a fine wine (or even the 8 buck chuck that I like) plots tend to get better the longer we let them age. I don’t think we need to sit in the chair just to prove that we’ve done something. You’re also working when you are letting your story marinate in your mind while you drain a few buckets  from downtown.

What about you? Do you have to sit in the chair to feel like you’re working? Do you think about your plots when you’re doing something else? To the keyboards!

**********************************************************************************************

Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding, and I was left feeling that you have a sequel in mind!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

The Rules of Writing from the Masters…and the rest of us

 

Okay, it’s humpty-hump day and that means it’s Wednesday Writing Class here on Mark Fadden’s Blog. Today, inspired by Eric from Pimp My Novel’s Monday post of Kurt Vonnegut’s eight rules of writing,  we are taking the rules topic one step further. Because while Vonnegut has his eight rules, Stephen King has rules, and so does Jonathan Franzen. So do I and so do you. We all have rules, and I bet my asterisk that if we all were told to name our top 10 writing rules, no two lists would be the same.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t necessarily like rules as a youngster. Rules typically mean limits. And, like every red-blooded American boy, I liked to think of myself as indestructible and, therefore, rules weren’t for me. It is only now that I’m older and smarter that I’ve realized most rules are in place for my own good. I, dare I say, like rules now? But I do, I do…especially when it comes to writing.

There are writing rules and they are in place for a reason. Now, I’m not talking about rules of grammar, which should be pushed to the limits at all times. I’m talking about the rules of a good story, those unwritten rules that every good storyteller abides by to make sure that his or her reader ends up with a satisfying story. They are the rules of expectation, and it is these rules that allows someone to walk into their local book store and pick up a Steven King or Jonathan Franzen novel knowing exactly what they are going to get. And even though King and Franzen may end the occasional sentence in a preposition, they will probably always adhere to their own specific rules, which can be seen throughout their writing.  

And, like I said earlier, it’s not just King and Franzen that have their rules. We all do.  So, since it’s Wednesday Writing Class, let’s all write down our rules and share them for next Wednesday’s class. It should be an eye-opening experience.

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Check out his novels at www.markfadden.com

It’s time to leave the Batcave and press the flesh

There are some really great blogs about writing, and more specifically, the art of marketing your writing. Case in point is today’s post from Eric at “Pimp My Novel.” Much like the Texas Rangers have been doing lately, he knocks it out of the park with his thoughts on networking. Writing may be art, but like John Grisham said, “never forget that writing is a business.” So, when was the last time you crawled out from behind your computer screen and did a little schmoozing?

I’ve taken the liberty to copy today’s PMN post here. It really is a great blog and if you’re not following it, you should.

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 07:00 AM PDT

In a perfect world, mes auteurs, the writing business (like all businesses, enterprises, systems, &c) would be entirely meritocratic: everyone would get a fair shake, the best writing would be selected for publication, and talent, discipline, and hard work would pay off regardless of extraneous factors like luck, emotion, nepotism, and social status.

Alas, dear friends, we do not live in a perfect world.

Because of this, you have to do something besides read great books and write great books if you want to increase your odds of getting published: you have to network. And, as the name might imply, networking is… well, work. Details? Why, sure, if you insist.

1. Networking is necessary. While some of you may have a strong negative—yea, perhaps even visceral—reaction to the prospect of spending any of your writerly energies doing anything apart from reading and writing, you need to understand that networking is a necessary part of the writer’s life.

Think of it this way: if you’re interviewing two candidates who are more or less identical on paper and equally impress you in person, are you going to go with the candidate who was initially recommended to you by your Most Trusted Bro, or the guy who walked in because he saw your ad on Monster.com? Exactly. And, unsurprisingly, agents think the same way. This goes back to what I was saying two weeks ago about who you know: there’s a certain amount of prerequsite what (read: good writing) you’ve got to have, and after that, it’s all who.

This is absolutely not to say that you must know someone in the industry in order to get published. All I’m saying is that the more people you know, the more doors you’ll open to opportunities that you might otherwise have missed by being an unknown quantity.

2. Chances are, you know someone. Think about the people you might have a connection to in the industry. Does your best friend have an agent? Is your fraternity brother working in the industry? Do you have friends of friends in mfa programs, literary agencies, independent book stores? Is your aunt a book conference junkie? &c &c. Make a list of the people who you could reasonably ask about the industry, representation, getting your foot in the door, and so on. I’m willing to bet you’ll come up with more than you might at first expect.

3. If it turns out you know no one, don’t despair. Okay, let’s say I’m wrong and you know absolutely no one in the industry (worse, you don’t even know of anyone who might even be related to the industry in the most tangential way). You’re not doomed if you query agents to whom you haven’t been recommended or haven’t met at conferences, so long as you follow their guidelines and send them a well-crafted query. In fact, if you get a “close, but no thanks” e-mail from one of them, you can refer to this if and when you query them with a different project down the line.

In the meantime—and if you can afford it—consider attending conferences, readings, workshops, and other literary events, and do your best to meet industry insiders (authors, agents, editors, librarians, sales(ahem)people, &c) and develop strong professional relationships with them. The publishing industry isn’t really as impossibly huge as you might think, and any given person who’s been in it for a few years will have a lot of connections that might come in handy when you’re trying to sell your book.

4. Relationships require upkeep. A quick note on the above: all relationships require work, and professional relationships (especially in this industry) are no exception. If your friend lands your dream agent, don’t let jealousy consume you: foster your relationship with that friend, ask about him or her, trade work, and hopefully down the line he or she will be able to help you get representation via recommendation to his/her agent, getting you in touch with an agent or editor who may be interested in your work, and so on.

The flip side of this issue is: don’t be creepy. Don’t reply to form rejections from agents in an attempt to be Super Best Bros. Don’t pitch your MS to agents or editors at/in inappropriate times/places (e.g. the bathroom at T.G.I. Friday’s). Don’t corner your friend of a friend’s girlfriend’s brother’s former roommate at a party because he once worked at a publishing house after college. You get the idea.

That’s all I’ve got for today, bros and she-bros. If you have any comments/questions/epiphanies/ideas/vitriol/profound insights/divine revelations, you know where to go.

See what’d I tell you? Great stuff.
BTW, I’m on vacation until Sunday, so we’ll pick up next week. Until then…

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

****************************************************

Here’s what readers are saying about Mark’s latest thriller The Brink:

“I finally had a chance to sit down and read The Brink–all the way through in a day and a half. The story is gripping, even frightening, and you capture the suspense in the rhythm of your prose. In places I was reading so fast I felt like I was in the chase! I’ll put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Lonesome Dove, in the gallery of great contemporary writers!” – Bob H., Amarillo, TX

“[Mark Fadden] is the next Dan Brown.” – Arlene D., Southlake, TX

“Truly a pager turner for me. I could not put the book down. Every time I thought I had figured something out, the next twist came up. If you like conspiracy theories, you’ll love this one.” – Sharon L, Houston, TX

Want to start reading The Brink right now? Download the eBook version from amazon.com for less that $10 at http://www.amazon.com/The-Brink-ebook/dp/B003OYIEPC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284567122&sr=8-2 or bn.com at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210492/?itm=1&USRI=mark+fadden.

Get 20% off when you order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate unique gift at http://shop.markfadden.com/

 

Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

August 11, 2010

Day 58 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 – Getting inspired part II – searching the news for juicy stuff
  • Marketing Topic –  All writers must be bloggers

 

Writing topic – Getting inspired part II – searching the news for juicy stuff

So yesterday, I talked about getting inspired by your local newspaper. A great, and convenient, source is your local paper’s website and their crime time blog.

 

A second way to get inspired is to just keep your ear to the ground and listen around you. Grisham tells the tale that he was inspired to write A Time to Kill after sitting in the audience waiting for a trial he was working on and listening to the trial of a black girl that was raped by two white men. While you may not have access to your local courtroom, dramatic stories abound in…you guessed it, your local newspaper. People ask me how I came up with the conspiracy portion of The Brink, and I tell them that it stemmed from an article I read about the Federal Reserve is not subject to an audit by our U.S. government. The vision of an unscrupulous cabal controlling the Fed formed in my brain right then and there and I was hooked. I had to find out more about the organization, how it works, and if, in fact, there is something to the amount of authority the US government has over a seemingly secretive organization that has such an enormous impact on each and every one of us.

 

There are all kinds of websites out there to get your ideas flowing. One I happen to like is The Drudge Report, because the news on it is so compelling and inspires great plots. Case in point, I found two fantastic articles today that pertain to the plot of The Brink; one is a WSJ article about the US going deeper yet into debt, the other is from CNBC about the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) and managing partner at Wermuth Asset Management stating that America is a “Mickey Mouse economy” that is technically bankrupt. Articles like these are gold mines because one, they are extremely current, and two, you can post links on your website and tag them. People will be looking for the information, because it is so current, and, walah, they find your site.  

 

 

Marketing Topic –  All writers must be bloggers

 

Again, before we get into the marketing topic for tonight, I’ll do a little shameless self promotion and let you know I have two signings this weekend, one at the Dallas Uptown Border on Friday, Aug 13 from 5-7pm and the other at the Mesquite Borders on Saturday, Aug 14 from 3-5pm. Hope you can make it.

 

 One of the blogs that I read is “Pimp my Novel.” Even though this is a “rerun” post, I think it bears repeating. If you are a writer, you need to be blogging about your book. If it’s non-fiction, blog about your topic. Fiction is a little harder. Maybe do something like I am and just talk about the writing life. Or blog about the topic of your story. Whatever. You need to blog. And here are the 10 Commandments of Blogging from the “Pimp my Novel” blog:

The Ten Commandments of Blogging (Rerun)

Posted: 11 Aug 2010 07:00 AM PDT

Work abounds, mes auteurs, so another blast from the past (this one from last September). Enjoy! — E

Episode: “The Ten Commandments of Blogging”
Originally aired: Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

1. I am thy blog. If you’re an author, you should already have a blog. If you’re not yet published, now is the time to start.

2. Thou shalt have no other blogs before me. We all love reading blogs—we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t—but yours comes first. Write your own posts before you spend all afternoon reading someone else’s.

3. Thou shalt not make of thyself an idol. Keep your ego in check; you always want to portray yourself positively in your blog. Your reputation is all you’ve got in this business, and if you earn yourself one as a likable person as well as a great writer, you’re a golden calf.

4. Remember thy Schedule and keep it, wholly. You don’t have to write a post every day, but keeping a regular schedule is a courtesy and a sort of unwritten contract between you and your readers; they’ll know when to expect new content and will come to appreciate and respect you for that.

5. Thou shalt honor thy agent and thy publisher. You couldn’t have done this without them. Give props where props are due.

6. Thou shalt not commit character assassination. Everyone has authors or critics they don’t like, sometimes personally. Don’t pull an Alice Hoffman. And, I guess, don’t try to kill anyone in real life, either.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery, but thou shalt pimp thyself. No one sells you like you do. Facebook, Twitter, &c. The more pervasive your presence, the more likely it is that people will buy your book.

8. Thou shalt not plagiarize. Always quote. Always cite your sources. Always link back to them if they’re on-line.

9. Thou shalt not deceive thy audience. Never post anything you don’t believe is true, and be sure to provide links to any research you’ve done. Always be sure to clarify whether a point you’re making is an opinion or a fact.

10. Thou shalt monetize. I don’t do it because I don’t consider blogging a part of my livelihood, but you, as authors, should consider self-promotion as part of the job. Let Google or whomever run a few relevant ads on your blog and make a little cash on the side. (Unless you’ve got a large readership, though, it probably won’t be much.)

 

 

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 an insider’s look at a book marketing campaign using social media.

July 22, 2010

Day 38 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 – the numbers look like our 401ks, new book signing ad  
  • Another fantastic literary blog (really, it’s won awards!)

FB ad round-up – the numbers look like our 401ks, new book signing ad

I won’t even bother with a fancy chart this time for the “economics” ad. It’s another goose egg today. I can’t wait to yank it tomorrow.

The other ad’s numbers are also taking a dive. I would use the term “market oversaturation” if I really knew what it meant. But I will guess that my target audience have already seen it, (it has been posted over 250,000 in 3 days to the dame group.) 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 ($)
07/22/2010 14,413 3 0.02 0.62 0.13 1.86
07/21/2010 148,407 16 0.01 0.60 0.06 9.54
07/20/2010 87,886 36 0.04 0.56 0.23 20.00
Lifetime 250,706 55 0.02 0.57 0.13 31.40

36 to 16 to 3 clicks today. I still think the verbiage in the ad works, and I’m still trying to figure out how to make it work in later ads.

I’ve also got a signing in Denton, Texas this Saturday at Hastings from 6-8pm, so if you’re in Denton, swing by and we’ll have a beer before or after. I also have a booth at the North Texas Regional Library System conference that day, so Monday’s post should be filled to the brim with all kinds of interesting tidbits and networking hints that I pick up that day. I’m working on a flyer for conference attendees that I’ll post tomorrow night.

Back to the signing. I did a FB ad for the signing targeted to people who like “reading” within a 10 mile radius of Denton, TX. That’s a whopping 600 people. You might think that’s a small #, but if even 10% of those folks show up, Hastings would be way sold out and I would have to revert to the signed bookplates (large mailing stickers with an open book pic watermark and my website address on it) that I take to signings, just in case the store does run out or if someone that I talk to wants to buy a book, but doesn’t have enough scratch at the time. I sign the bookplate and hand it to them, hoping they will in fact buy the book online later and slap the bookplate inside it.

 Here’s the ad:

Local author book signing

Like thrillers? Need a unique gift? Visit Hastings in Denton this Saturday, July 24, 6-8 pm and get the year’s best thriller signed!

 It links to my appearances & reviews page. $20 daily budget on this bad boy and FB is charging my $.50 per click, so I’ll get about 10 clicks per day out of it. I know you’ll be waiting with baited breath for the results tomorrow night.

 Another fantastic literary blog (really, it’s won several awards!)

 I know last night I talked about researching search engine optimization (SEO), but the clock was against me today. I promise I’ll look at the Inc. magazine SEO article over the weekend and we’ll discuss next week.

In the meantime, I found a new blog that is a tremendous source of info to us writers. It’s by a literary agent, it’s won some industry awards, and it truly rocks. Check it out at http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/07/open-thread.html. I also linked my blog to it, as well as the Pimp My Novel blog, which is where I found a link to Nathan’s blog. So if I did it right, you should see those links in the right hand column on this screen. Just keep scrolling past the sales pitch ads and you’ll see them. 

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 8, 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 25 of 365

In this issue:

  • More Facebook campaign changes  
  • How important is book cover design?
  • Make your book current – The looming banking crisis, round 2

More Facebook campaign changes

If the number of folks that have clicked on my FB ad about the Lewisville, Texas Borders signing this Saturday actually show up, we’ll sell out of books and I just might go 2 for 2 as far as having the most successful signings at 2 different Borders stores! Here’s the running total:

Campaign Daily Budget Clicks Impressions CTR% Avg. CPC Spent
Lewisville Signing $20 40 155,632 0.03% $0.62 $24.83
US Const Article Found $40 1 22,505 0.00% $0.72 $0.72

Lewisville Signing – I got 29 out of the 40 clicks today, so I decided to change my budget for tomorrow to $40 (since it’s the last day). I also changed the pic on the ad to my mug shot from the book cover.  The copy is the same:

Preview

Lewisville Borders Book Signing

 

Like thrillers? Need a unique gift? Visit Lewisville Borders Saturday, July 10, 1-3pm and get the year’s best thriller signed!

 The other ad was a complete DOG!  A reminder of what it looked like:

 

 I got 1 stinkin’ click out of 22,505 impressions!  That sucks! So I changed it to this:

 Preview

US Const. article found!

 

Join a fugitive cop as he discovers the unthinkable link between a lost Constitution article and a plan for global financial Armageddon

  I stayed with the “reading” target group and when they click on the ad, they will go to my site, but they are not taken to the home page. Rather, I’m taking them straight to the preview page where they can hopefully get immersed in the story right off the bat and then click on one of the store links at the bottom of the page to purchase the book.

 How important is book cover design?

 Tonight I must again reference the “Pimp My Novel” blog. Eric asks a great question in his blog today: Just how important is the book cover? As a publishing industry insider, he comments on everything from size of the cover to the artwork affecting how it will get show on store bookshelves. I, for one, think people can, and do judge books by their covers. Covers need to show a lot about the book, but not give away the kitchen sink. For The Brink, I wanted to show that, at its essence, it’s a story of two people running for their lives. So I’ve got the man and woman running in the center of the book. Pull back from that, and you see the shot of the Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C. looking ominous in the shadows. There’s a reason for that, but you know why I can’t tell you. Then, if you look hard enough, you can barely make out the script from the U.S. Constitution. That’s there because the book starts off with a secret article of the Constitution being found, and almost stolen. Finally, the gold and silver colors of the lettering were used for a reason, those colors mean something to the plot. I was very pleased with the design folks at iUniverse. I emailed them what I wanted the cover to look like with all these elements, and they hit it out of the park.

 My advice is to spend A LOT of time thinking about your cover…draw it out in pencil on a piece of paper, then put it away for a few days, let the image marinate in your mind.  Come back to it, make corrections, then show it to some friends you trust will give their HONEST opinion. Show it to your agent, editor, and maybe even take it to your local bookstore for a “man on the street” survey. Like Eric the novel pimp says, the cover’s gotta pop!

 Make your book current – The looming banking crisis, round 2

 Before I started writing The Brink, I noticed that novels that sold well took advantage of current events. Case in point, one analyst said that one of the reasons The Da Vinci Code sold so well is that it came out just as the stories about the Catholic priest abusing children started breaking. The Hunt for Red October did so well because it came out during the height of the Cold War, and when asked, then President Ronald Reagan said it was the book that he got under his Christmas tree that year. (Talk about right timing!)

 I’ve always been interested/horrified at our country’s financial leadership, or lack thereof. I thought that one of the ways I could make people take notice of just how bad our debt situation is, was to write a thriller about it. I mean, how many people would read an economist’s 400 page thesis on the Ticking Global Financial Time Bomb? But, how many people would want to read a thriller about two people running for their lives as they try to uncover a global financial conspiracy? I’d take door #2 as well.

 If you want to follow the looming disaster that is our current international financial system, a great blog I found is The Baseline Scenario. The blog’s authors also wrote a book entitled 13 Bankers. I’ve yet to read it, but it’s on my list and will hopefully be on my nightstand soon…     

 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 7, 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 24 of 365

 In this issue:

  • Facebook campaign changes
  • Get sales info or die tryin’
  • A cool plot device for a mystery
  • ‘Pimp My Novel’ – a blog name I wish I had thought of

 Facebook campaign changes

 I’m just going to go ahead and call July my Facebook ads month. Although I’m still flying blind as to how effective they are in the sales dept., I can see that some folks are clicking on my ads. Plus, as I change and tweak them, I can see which ones at least peak interest and which don’t so I can use them during my ‘search engine ad’ month, which will be August or September.

Here’s today’s ad campaign #s:

Campaign Run Status Last Updated Budget/day Clicks Impressions CTR (%) Avg. CPC Spent
ActivePausedDeleted
07/07/2010 1 21,669 0.005% $0.72 $0.72
ActivePausedDeleted
07/07/2010 9 54,504 0.017% $0.60 $5.43
CompletedDeleted
07/04/2010 43 196,924 0.022% $1.16 $50.00
CompletedDeleted
07/07/2010 60 354,461 0.017% $0.72 $43.04
CompletedDeleted
07/02/2010 67 218,665 0.031% $0.76 $50.92
  Totals       180 846,223 0.021% $0.83 $150.11

 

I had 9 people click on the Lewisville Borders book signing invite, but they didn’t actually RSVP. Do people normally do that on Facebook invites of people they don’t know?

 I also stopped the eBook ad and started a new ad entitled “Fiction come true.” Here’s the screenshot with it:

 

When folks click on it, they are taken directly to my homepage.

 Get sales info or die tryin’

 This title is my homage to Fitty.  Have you seen the pics of him after he got so freakin skinny for that movie role? It reminded me of the dude in the movie Seven who got strapped to the bed for a year and eventually swallowed his tongue. Christian Bale (aka Batman) also did a similar mad diet for the movie The Machinist. These guys are something else. What they’ll do for their art form.

 On the last blog, I explained how I found out how to get current sales info from barnesandnoble.com through Nielsen BookScan. Being so used to getting free information over the web, I thought it’d be gratis. Oh no. Each report is $85. Damn! And eBook sales reports aren’t available yet. I have an email into my publisher about getting some info that isn’t “historical” (i.e. month old sales reports) by Internet standards, so again, we play the waiting game.

 A cool plot device for a mystery

 I saw this article about the “Grim Sleeper” and then read about how he was eventually caught through his son’s DNA. What a cool plot device for all us mystery writers! 

 ‘Pimp My Novel’ – a blog name I wish I had thought of

 I will readily admit that Eric’s blog is waaay better than mine. He works in a sales dept. of a publishing house. A direct quote explaining his blog: “There are a lot of blogs out there that cover the agenting and editorial aspects of book publishing, but here you’ll find out what happens to your book after it’s been acquired.” Check it out, it’s a cool blog packed with good information.  

 And as always, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step…

 Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow.