How fascinating are you? by Randy Ingermanson

4) Marketing: How Fascinating Are You?

If you want to stand out in a crowded market, then you
should be thinking about how fascinating you are. You
need fans who love your fiction. Who talk about your
fiction. Who talk about you.

Fascination explains why Apple's new products create
lines around the block every time Apple releases its
latest gizmo.

Fascination made Marilyn Monroe a cult icon.

Fascination helped bring Adolf Hitler to power.

I've been reading a book lately, FASCINATE, by Sally
Hogshead, a well known brand consultant and speaker.

There are seven ways to trigger fascination, according
to Ms. Hogshead. She summarizes each of these by a
single word:

* Lust
* Mystique
* Alarm
* Prestige
* Power
* Vice
* Trust

Any surprises there? Not yet, I hope. Each of these
sounds reasonable.

The surprises come when you unpack each of these words
to figure out what makes them work. None of them are as
simple as they seem.

Let's look at each of these in turn.

* Lust is anticipation of pleasure. No, it's not just
about sex. It can be the anticipation of anything you
like. Food. Beauty. Skiing. Dancing. Wine. Laughter.
Any sort of pleasure, whether naughty or nice, is fair
game for the Lust trigger.

Lust partly explains the intrigue of Marilyn Monroe,
who was definitely a pleasure to look at. Marilyn's
fans couldn't wait to see her in action.

Lust is part of the appeal of Apple Computer. Every
device Apple makes is both a work of art and a pleasure
to use. Apple fans can't wait for the next cool thing
that they never knew they needed.

Lust, oddly enough, explains part of the success of the
late comedian George Carlin. If you liked his kind of
humor, then you simply couldn't wait to hear his next

But Lust isn't the only trigger for fascination. As
we'll see, each of the above fired multiple triggers.

* Mystique is about raising questions and NOT answering
them. Those unanswered questions, if they're
interesting enough, will get inside your mind and gnaw
at you forever.

Mystique explains the popular fascination with UFOs.
What aren't "they" telling us about the crash in
Roswell? What are "they" hiding at Area 51? Why won't
"they" come clean about the anti-gravity drive machine?

Mystique is one of the triggers Apple Computer relies
on heavily. What kind of camera will the next iPhone
have? What killer app will it unleash next? Will Apple
fix that one pesky flaw that current iPhone owners love
to hate? Numerous rumor web sites thrive on these kind
of questions. How many rumor web sites deal with
similar questions about HP, Microsoft, or Google?

Mystique is the reason that the Kennedy assassination
still fascinates conspiracy theorists. When Lee Harvey
Oswald was murdered two days after the assassination,
he left behind a zillion questions. Those questions can
never be answered, and that creates mystique.

* Alarm is the fear of something horrible happening. If
it's bad enough, likely enough, and imminent enough,
it's going to fascinate a lot of people.

Alarm about "the Russians" made them endlessly
fascinating in Cold War novels by John LeCarre, Robert
Ludlum, and Tom Clancy. When the Soviet Union broke
wide open, that fear dissipated and Cold War novels lost
most of their fizz.

Alarm about "radical Islam" now fills very much the
same role, which is why you now see more novels
featuring Islamic terrorists than Russian spies. Alarm
only works if people believe it (whether or not that
belief is justified).

Alarm about an impending apocalypse drives the current
fascination with the alleged end of the Mayan calendar
this year, for pretty much the same reasons that alarm
over the second coming of Jesus has driven apocalyptic
fever numerous times over the centuries.

* Prestige is the respect we give to those who have

Prestige is part of the reason that every US President
becomes instantly fascinating the moment he gets

Prestige is one reason for the popularity of the
British TV series DOWNTON ABBEY. (Excellent writing and
acting are the other reasons.) The series centers on an
aristocratic British family and its cast of servants,
beginning in 1912 and continuing through World War I.

Prestige is part of the driver for the popularity of
Apple's products. Rightly or wrongly, owning an iPhone
gives you more prestige than owning an Android or

* Power is the ability to control.

Power is another part of the reason that US Presidents
become fascinating when they take office. The President
is commander in chief of the world's most powerful
military. The President can press "the button."

Power makes the schoolyard bully fascinating. When a
nerdy kid stands up to the bully, fights him, and wins,
the bully loses his power. Suddenly, the nerd is the
fascinating guy and the bully's a bore.

Power makes Google fascinating, because it plays a
major role in deciding the winners and the losers in
the great global marketing game known as search engine

* Vice is anything that you "aren't supposed to do."

Vice is coloring outside the lines. It's the Pandora's
Box you aren't supposed to open. It's the forbidden
fruit you aren't supposed to eat. When there's no
reason given to you for a restriction, vice creates in
you a fascination that grows and grows until you feel
compelled to break the rule.

Vice made comedian George Carlin famous in 1972, when
he developed a comedy routine named "Seven Words You
Can Never Say on Television." By saying the words that
must not be spoken, he made himself instantly
fascinating. Forty years later, people still remember
that routine.

Vice was part of the fascination of Marilyn Monroe. The
breathy voice she used in singing Happy Birthday to
John Kennedy came across as delightfully sinful.

* Trust is your loyalty to the familiar or the reliable.

Trust is the reason you choose the unhealthful fast
food in the airport Food Court, rather than the
healthful-looking option from the no-name joint. In
unfamiliar territory, you want to know exactly what
you're going to get and  exactly how long it's going to
take to get it.

Trust is a part of the reason Adolf Hitler could
convince a nation to believe the unbelievable. He
repeated the same simple message over and over with no
variation. He eliminated the voice of the opposition.
The same lie, repeated every day, became familiar and
eventually built trust.

Trust is a major part of brand loyalty. FedEx built its
brand on the slogan, "When it absolutely, positively
has to be there overnight." If FedEx failed to deliver
overnight, you'd feel betrayed. If the post office
failed, you wouldn't, because the post office offers
you much lower expectations.

In marketing your fiction, you want to build
fascination in the minds of your fans. How do you do

You choose which of the seven fascination triggers you
intend to pull, and then you focus on those.

Typically, you can focus on three or four triggers.

Your cover art, your web site, your blog, your Facebook
page, your Twitter page -- every part of your public
face -- should present the same message and pull the
same fascination triggers.

Your marketing success will depend on how hard you pull
those triggers and how consistently you pull them.

Want to know more about those fascination triggers?
Want to know how to choose the ones that are right for
you? Want to know how to pull them?

Check out Sally Hogshead's book FASCINATE. Part 3 is
designed to help you figure out how to make your own
marketing more fascinating.

You can visit Ms. Hogshead's web site here and take her
"F-test" to learn your "F-score":


This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the
Snowflake Guy," publishes the Advanced Fiction Writing
E-zine, with more than 29,000 readers, every month. If
you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction,
AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND
have FUN doing it, visit

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing
and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.


Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate


Wingate has another winner here. We get to go back to Moses Lake, although we don't see much of our old favorites. We glimpse Birdy and Len all settled in their home and Birdy is going to school, but they have already had their story. This one is about young woman being forced to face the demons she met in high school, like the mother of her high school crush, and the tormenting memories of her father's death. Funny that her uncles and mom live in an old funeral home.

The scenery is perfect, the characters are very believable and the dialog is enchanting. Lisa Wingate has a thang about Texas and can get into the heads of just about any Texan she writes about. She even does a great job of making a 30-something young woman act like the awkward teenager in front of her high school crush when he actually notices her this time. Do you feel sometimes like you are that gangly 17 year old again? Awkward speech, awkward stance, stumbling all over your words? It doesn't happen too often any more for me, but on occasion I get that buterflies-in-my-stomach feeling when looking out at the audience of women who expect me to spout some wisdom in their ears.

Anyhoot. Buy this book. It gets 5 of 5 stars. Its a keeper.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Blue Moon Bay
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Lisa Wingate


Heather Hampton returns to Moses Lake, Texas, to help facilitate the sale of a family farm as part of a planned industrial plant that will provide the area with much-needed jobs. Heather's future fiance has brokered the deal, and Heather is in line to do her first large-scale architectural design--if the deal goes through.

But the currents of Moses Lake have a way of taking visitors on unexpected journeys. What was intended to be a quick trip suddenly morphs into Valentine's week--with Blaine Underhill, the handsome banker who just happens to be opposing Heather's project. Spending the holiday in an ex-funeral parlor seems like a nightmare, but Heather slowly finds herself being drawn into the area's history, hope, and heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Blue Moon Bay, go HERE.


Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of sixteen books. Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its eighteenth printing from Penguin Putnam. Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen (2010). Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, a general market publisher. Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, Crossings Book Club, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.
When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women's literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.


Song Of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

What a delightful romance and character study. I don't know a Western story that I've enjoyed more than the last series from Robin Hatcher. It is certainly clear exactly why Sawyer has so many books published. This one is a charmer, with characters that are believable and that just right amount of tension among them. Miss Shelva and Miss Melva are a little overpowering, but you can't help but like them.

The burning question is should a Christian dislodge their principles to care for family?

We've all faced that challenge at one point or another (if you haven't, you will). Sadie Wagner wrestles with this question because she has the voice of an angel. Should she use it to please the devil and to feed her family?

What would you do?

I give this one 4 out of 5 stars!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Song of My Heart
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Kim Vogel Sawyer


Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.


Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent--though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job.

Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. After he earns enough money doing sheriff work, he wants to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house, but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he begins to wonder if she's far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he's come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Song of My Heart, go HERE.
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