Want a side of thriller with that financial analysis?

We are literally awash in non-fiction books about the current financial crisis. James Kwak and Simon Johnson, who run the excellent blog The Baseline Scenario, wrote 13 Bankers, a book that “identifies many causes of the recent financial crisis, from housing policy to minimum capital requirements for banks. The authors lay ultimate blame on a dominant deregulatory ideology and Wall Street’s corresponding political influence. Johnson, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Kwak, a former consultant for McKinsey, follow American finance’s rocky road from the debate between Jefferson and Hamilton over the first Bank of the United States through frequent friction between Big Finance and democracy to the Obama administration’s responses to the crises.” – Publisher’s Weekly review.

Arianna Huffington, of the famed Huffington Post, has written Third World America. According to her publisher, Random House, Huffington, “has her finger on the pulse of America, [as she] unflinchingly tracks the gradual demise of America as an industrial, political, and economic leader.  In the vein of her fiery bestseller Pigs at the Trough, Third World America points fingers, names names, and details who’s killing the American Dream.”

Raghuram Rajan, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, has added to the financial crisis list with Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy. Princeton University Press, the book’s publisher, has this to say about Rajan and the book: “Raghuram Rajan was one of the few economists who warned of the global financial crisis before it hit. Now, as the world struggles to recover, it’s tempting to blame what happened on just a few greedy bankers who took irrational risks and left the rest of us to foot the bill. In Fault Lines, Rajan argues that serious flaws in the economy are also to blame, and warns that a potentially more devastating crisis awaits us if they aren’t fixed.”

Finally, there is former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s Aftershock. Again, here’s a blurb about the book from its publisher, Random House: “Reich’s thoughtful and detailed account of where we are headed over the next decades reveals the essential truth about our economy that is driving our politics and shaping our future. With keen insight, he shows us how the middle class lacks enough purchasing power to buy what the economy can produce and has adopted coping mechanisms that have a negative impact on their quality of life; how the rich use their increasing wealth to speculate; and how an angrier politics emerges as more Americans conclude that the game is rigged for the benefit of a few. Unless this trend is reversed, the Great Recession will only be repeated.”

Just from doing a little research into their backgrounds, it’s obvious each of these authors knows what they’re talking about. But, honestly, show of hands here, you don’t even have to go so far as to fill out an online poll – would you read any one of these books?

The answer is probably no. Yet, something like 50 million people read Dan Brown’s thriller The Da Vinci Code, which, at its core, is about subjects almost as boring as economics for most people: Italian art and religious history. Why? The answer, at least in my eyes, is simple. To paraphrase political strategist James Carville, “it’s the story, stupid.”

Story drives everything. That was my idea when I first conceptualized my latest thriller, The Brink, which is based upon the current financial crisis. Much like Reich, Huffington, and Rajan, I wanted to educate people about America’s precarious financial situation, but I knew that people also don’t want to be nagged or preached to. Most readers would rather sit down and crack open a compelling thriller than a fairly dry textbook-like read. So, I used real-world numbers and real economic theories within a thriller format when I wrote The Brink, and it works. It entertains and educates. Some readers and reviewers alike have even called it, “faction” – the meeting of fact and fiction.

What about you? Have you been researching something from “the real world”, maybe it’s something like global warming, that you think would make the good basis for a novel? Would you ever write a book of “faction?” Do you trust the things you read in fiction to be the truth? Or should fiction writers no try to educate? Should they just entertain and that’s it?   To the keyboards!

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

“He’s 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.

Order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate unique gift at http://markfadden.com/buyabook.html

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

July 1, 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 18 of 365 

In this issue:

  • MFFA – My First Facebook Ad – Day #4 of 5
  • Creating a Facebook invite for the Lewisville Borders signing
  • The world’s China Bet and how it relates to The Brink  
  • Reminders – get the blog emailed to you and taking July 4th off

 MFFA – My First Facebook Ad – Day #4 of 5

I guess the “Conspiracy Theory” folks on Facebook weren’t digging a novel about “the most staggering conspiracy of our time.” I got shut out today on my ad that got sent out to them. Here’s the numbers for the week so far:

Daily stats for the week of:  Jun 27  

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/01/2010 2,730 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
06/30/2010 94,052 25 0.03 0.80 0.21 20.00
06/29/2010 54,210 29 0.05 0.69 0.37 20.00
06/28/2010 7,555 4 0.05 1.08 0.57 4.32
Lifetime 158,547 58 0.04 0.76 0.28 44.32

 So, I’m going to try the “thrillers” crowd for the last day of my ad campaign. The ad will still give the title with my name and the cover shot. But I changed the rest of the text to read a snippet of the ForeWord Clarion Review, “Action and heroism keep readers turning pages. A nicely crafted thriller.” – ForeWord Clarion Review  There are 20,640 folks on Facebook who identify with the “thrillers” interest group. Let’s hope the waters are kind tomorrow and the fishing is good.

 Creating a Facebook invite for the Lewisville Borders signing

 I mentioned in a previous post that I’m flying blind as far as how well this Facebook campaign is working because beyond the number of folks who clicked on my ad to go to my website, there’s no way to know what they did from there. I installed the Google Analytics code into my website’s html programming, but I don’t think I did it right because all my numbers are at zero so far. I’ve got Go Daddy as my web host, so I’ll have to park my butt in my chair and do a little research with the Go Daddy peeps over this fourth of July weekend to see if I can track customers. I guess I’ll just light a sparkler next to my computer for my own private fireworks show. Sweet!

 One thing that I can track in real time is a Facebook invite ad that I created for my book signing next weekend at the Lewisville Borders store. I scheduled the ad to run all next week, same parameters (cost per click option at $.58, $20 a day is my budget) as my other ad. The interest group is everyone 18 and older in a 10-mile radius around Lewisville, Texas. That equates to 3,240 people. So, we’ll see what happens.

 The world’s China Bet and how it relates to The Brink 

 While my new novel, The Brink, is a political thriller that centers on an imagined (maybe or maybe not??) global conspiracy, a huge part of that conspiracy lies within our very fragile international financial system. Here’s tonight’s post from The Baseline Scenario, a great financial blog that serves as a lighthouse in the turbid sea that is the global economy. It highlights the real-world problem with America, and the world, betting on China, something that allows the conspirators to see their plan finally come to fruition in The Brink.  

 Reminders – get the blog emailed to you and taking July 4th off

Last night, I added an option if you want this blog emailed directly to you. If so, please look in the right hand column and submit your email.  

And speaking of the holiday (I know we didn’t but it makes for a good segue), let’s all take it off and enjoy it with the real flesh and blood people in our lives. My next post will be on Tuesday, July 6, 2010.  Happy and safe Fourth of July!