Thursday, October 30, 2008

news, views and Booklaunch 2.0

Well this week had it's highs and lows....the high at the beginning was one of the kids doing well in a competition...all the practice does pay off...not to mention the endless trips in the car ferrying said child to practice three times a week.....60k round trips....

Creative New Zealand felt that professional development for Children's Writers and Illustrators wasn't worth funding....but we are still going ahead....pull out Plan money, virtual speakers....WE CAN DO IT....

But the Creative New Zealand decision was such a cruel blow. As an industry we are struggling to remain upbeat and focussed as the opportunities dry up here.

In the end...New Zealand has to ask itself... Do you want New Zealand children growing up on a diet of books from overseas...Support your Writers and Illustrators!

I heard this week of an illustrator who had a contract job with a north american publisher. They were asked to illustrate an aboriginal story. So the illustrator researched as they do and put together a series of pictures of aboriginal children and parents for the project and was told
'could you make them less dark...sort of more latte coloured.'
What message is that sending to the children who will be reading this book...?

There is a video by Dennis Cass being shared around authors and editors in the US.
It perfectly illustrates what is facing authors in the digital world.
It is very funny but as many authors is scary too as we all see ourselves in the hapless authors position.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sometimes the computer goes nuts...

I have no idea why Blogger decided that the last post had to be in an almost unreadable font colour.

I tried to change it many times and gave up and posted it...

So if you gave up as well I don’t blame you.

The main points I was making....Networking, building communities, and having your website reflect this, is where marketing and promotion in the online world is going.

For the lonely writer sitting in their garret...but with an internet connection....this is a good way to go. Start with posting comments on blogs you are interested in. Visit web communities that have links in to your writing audience...or are the same people as you...starving in a garret....

As you get more familiar with the web...create your blog and have a is very easy to do and easy to delete if you don’t like it.

The web can be a scary place for authors who are just used to using Google for research and a word processing programme for everything else.

Scott Francis has a marketing blog for authors on the writers digest site. He offers these great tips for a media kit...but they can be useful if you are looking to see what a website should have.

A media kit can be a great tool for promoting your work and can be used to try to get mentions in publications or to try to get speaking engagements or spots on radio or TV.

A few do's and don'ts:

  • Do include your complete contact information as well as your website/blog address
  • Do include a personal biography and a photograph of yourself
  • Do include a business card
  • Do include any recent articles or endorsements
  • Do include a good cover sheet that summarizes the contents of your media kit
  • Do include a copy of your latest book
  • Don't over do it--these days everyone is busy and have short attention spans. Keep it relevant and to the point.
  • Don't include clippings of every press mention that you've ever gotten--go with either the most recent or the most impressive. Everything else can be summarized on your cover sheet (remember to be concise).

A website is a marketing brochure, a blog is a newsletter that shows off you voice and style.

A blog doesn’t have to be long....but it should be interesting...a picture, a few links, a thought provoking question and you are done....

So...if you are new to blogs stop in and can use my gmail address if you need to.

If you were coming to the National Conference of Children’s Writers and illustrators would you like to see a workshop on being online? What do you think should be in it?


the pic is from a beautiful Artists website...Isn't it lovely! Go to

to see some more stunning pictures...Pati's website is a good example of marketing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Marketing 101d...or 2 Links,5 Tips, Anatomy and a Question

It’s Blog day and we are continuing our little marketing series....which has jumped around a bit with the extra posts on YouTube promotion that authors are doing for their books and online workshops...

Let’s do a little recap.


101b we learned to be WEB FRIENDLY

101c was where we looked at WHO IS YOUR WEB SITE AUDIENCE

Then we diverted to looking at AUTHOR PROMOTION online, and what one publisher is doing to promote a book. BLOGGING and YouTube videos then got a look in.

Today I’m going to join these all up with links to two places.

The first, 5 Publicity Tips for Authors. READ ABOUT IT HERE


You the author need to become part of the online community.

You need to talk about your work on message boards, blog comments, etc

You need to celebrate your success by posting press releases of your work.

You need to have a distinct voice on web... social network.... which brings me to my next link...All you ever wanted to know about writer’s websites...


After you have read these and thought about the implications I will be interested to learn your thoughts about the helpfulness of what I have been blogging about.

Remember, I am co convening the National Children’s Writer’s and Illustrators conference next year in September... It has already been suggested that we have some sort of online teaching component to the conference. What do you think?

BEING ONLINE-What would you like to see covered in a workshop on this topic for Children’s Writers and Illustrators?


here endeth the lesson...(let's see thats1 picture 2 links... bold words... breaks... a couple of numbers... and a question to finish...)

pic is from

The Webs We Weave: Discussion threads, participation, and knowledge creation

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Playing with YouTube and The Emerald Tablet

The Emerald Tablet by P J Hoover is set for release in the U.S.

The author a member of the 2K8, another group of authors doing it (marketing and promo) for themselves has made this video for promotion.
Her publisher, CBAY, has put it on her personal blog and it has probably gone everywhere you can think of to raise the profile of this new release.

Yup Trish, it's even being viewed in New Zealand. Congratulations!

I started this blog to learn about them and to try new things just over six months later I have figured out how to post video...along the way I have learned lots of new things... I am looking at the 2 year old and wondering just what her world is going to be like in the future....
The brave new world is here -get out and enjoy it!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I know I said I’d never...

Post more than once a week and here I am with another post BUT
I thought that I would share this as it relates in a way to the last two posts and the mini marketing series I am doing for authors....

Readergirlz are a group of YA (Young Adult) writers who have got together to share a website and market their books on MySpace etc. They host on line chats, do school visits...all the things that the average YA author in the states has to do to get noticed. Scary stuff for us down under but it will come...They are hosting an online chat series for a week as part of their promotion and TeenRead Week.

So here is a YouTube video promoting their online author chat series...

Now I am posting this to show what is currently happening in promotion and marketing YA books by the authors themselves.

I dropped into Brian Falkner’s website this morning. Such a cool web site and now that Brian’s latest book ‘The Tomorrow Code’ is being released in the states...I wonder if he is going to have to ramp up his already cool website for a US audience.
Congratulations Brian, on the great Kirkus review.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Down the rabbit hole

When I’m on the net, as well as researching for my book, I look at a few blogs. Every couple of days I check in with Jane Friedman, a managing director of Writers Digest, an American publisher.

Writers Digest has been around for nearly 90 years...they specialise in publishing books and magazines for writers and all the ephemera that goes with publishing in today’s digital world.

Jane has recently been promoted at F and W media (new name for the company in the shuffle last month) and is in charge of the whole Brand of Writers Digest as Publisher & Editorial Director of the F+W writing communities, that’s the books, the annuals(marketplace books) the magazine and the online TV, website, workshops etc.

Of course I’m mostly interested in children’s writing so I read Alice’s blog a lot but Jane is her boss and as all the editors at Writers Digest blog as part of their job...Jane is always a good read for giving an overview of publishing and the trends in it.

As I have been doing a small series on online marketing tips for authors I thought I’d share what Jane is doing with a new book that is coming out. I think this illustrates what I have been blogging about - the changes in the promotion and marketing strategies of publishers, and how authors can improve their marketing and self promotion.

Go to Jane’s blog and read the whole post but here is the pertinent bit for authors out there to contemplate...especially if you have access to any of this technology.

I think one of the best examples of our brave new world is how we plan to launch Donald Maass's new fiction-writing book next spring, Fire in Fiction. If this book had released a year ago, we would've run a couple ads, maybe scored an excerpt in the magazine, and that would be it.

Today, with WD run as a community-category, here's what's slated:
WD Magazine
Original article on fiction writing from Don to run in spring/summer 2009

Original online courses (regular courses plus brief webinars) built around the book, offered in the months prior to and following the book's release

Digital Products
Simultaneous Kindle and other e-book editions

Online at
Sneak preview chapter posted before publication
E-launch party on blogs/forums, featuring exclusive live chat with Don

WD Newsletters
Free chapter download and advance purchase incentive (buy book early, get access to exclusive online chat)

Feature Don as a speaker for at least one event in 2009
Of course, all this change doesn't come without its challenges, and you'll no doubt get to experience a little of that rough road with us, as we figure everything out. As we boldly move forward, I hope you will come to our aid with ideas and suggestions (and perhaps a sprinkling of patience).


‘Down the rabbit hole’ phrase, as it applies to blog links, courtesy of Melinda by way of Lewis Carroll.

Friday, October 3, 2008

For all those author bloggers out there!

Did you know that there has just been a conference in Portland Oregon about Kids Lit blogging?
Alice Pope, editor of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Marketplace has just blogged about it. Here's a sample of what she has to say.

Next up I attended a session with Pam Coughlin, aka Mother Reader in which she offered tips to Kick Your Blog Up a Notch. Pam gave a dozen suggestions for being a bigger (not necessarily a better) blogger. These include having a distinct voice, filling a particular niche, updating daily, commenting on other blogs, and doing self-promotion. Self-promotional efforts can be as simple as including your blog on your email signature, sending out occasional updates to your email list, and asking other bloggers to mention something super-special that's going on on your blog. (Note: Pam volunteered to coordinate the 3rd Kidlitosphere Conference next year in D.C.)

You can read the rest of Alice's article on her blog.
She has linked to Laini Taylor, one of the organisers of the conference, who also gives a great run down on blogs in the kitlitospere.
Hot topics at the conference... Marketing and self promotion....

(wow...I wonder what the hot topics at our national conference of children’s writers and illustrators next year will be....)

and no I won't be posting every day...I had 11 interrruptions just doing this one...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Marketing 101c ...Who is your audience?

That can be such a tough question for children’s writers....

You write for kids- they are your audience....but they don’t buy the books unless they have book vouchers to get rid of or are real bibliophiles. Their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, teachers buy the books....
So who reads your web pages?

Aha...the kids...

So back to the audience question... which audience is your web page for?
Why does an author even have a web page?

The current thinking around marketing yourself on the web is that COMMUNITY is the way to go.
This has been fuelled by the phenomenon know as Facebook and other like minded sites.

Provide your audience with a community to belong to...
Some authors provide catchy names for their online audience and even a shop to buy themed gifts celebrating their online membership...sort of an exclusive club.

But back to the kids....Is your website even designed for kids?
What are they going to want in an author web site?
A little bit about the book, a little bit about the author, some cool pictures, something that no other kid knows about the book or character.... something secret....
A quiz or interactive game grabs attention and can generate word of mouth chat about your site.
Have you been to X.Y.Z.’s site? Take the ‘Am I Going To Die Rich’ quiz...

Feel free to leave a comment with your suggestions for great children’s author web site ideas ....

The dancing skeketon picture is over on the Bones book blog, where you will find a little bit about the book,some extra content, pictures of skeletons...a quiz...


In the states publishing contracts for children’s authors are beginning to state that providing extra content on websites is part of the book contract.
You wrote the book you sent it off and now it has a life of it’s own...Not any more. You follow it around with extra content updating progress and offering good times to everybody if they read your book... and the next book is the same and the next book....
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