The Art of Self-Promotion

Authors need to promote their books! A few weeks ago, at a meeting of the Victorian branch of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a panel of writers (Pauline Luke, Edel Wignell and myself) discussed the topic of promotion. What was evident from the discussion, is that different writers promote in different ways. Some have embraced social media and all forms of electronic promotion, others prefer to stick to more traditional forms such as signings and appearances. Some, like myself, have become promotional sluts, grabbing every conceivable opportunity. But the one thing that everyone agreed on, is how important promotion is to an author’s career.

Inspired by this discussion, I thought a post with some promotion was in order. Relax, I’m not about to try and sell you my books. Instead, I’ve invited five authors to promote themselves in 100 words or less. And so, in alphabetical order, here they are…

Corinne Fenton

Sometimes I think I have this disease called ‘writing’ and no matter what else is going on in my life, I can still get lost in words, words that talk to one another.  A review in Bookseller and Publisher last year said, ‘Corinne Fenton has established a reputation for writing beautiful picture-book histories of animals whose lives have become legendary.’ I hope to keep doing that forever. My next favourite thing is speaking to children and adults about the writing and research behind my books at schools, libraries and bookshops. I have a website, a blog and I use twitter.

[Corinne Fenton’s new website, including blog, was not yet live when this blog was posted. Keep an eye on it as it will be up very soon… www.corinnefenton.com]

Bren MacDibble

“Angsty, wacky, thoughtful and with a lovely sense of black humour” are words that have been used to describe the stories of Bren MacDibble. She has had ten books for children published as well as lots of short stories for all ages. She likes to write accessible science fiction and finds no end to the new and unusual story ideas offered by futuristic themes. Bren’s a Clarion graduate and her passion is YA novels. Thanks to many fine writerly affiliations, Bren’s creativity thrives in Melbourne. You can find her on twitter or visit her website.

Julie Murphy

To date, my books have all been for the education market. The publishers promote those, so I tend to promote myself. I focus on the www — it’s relatively quick, it’s global, and it’s free. In addition to my own website, I keep author pages on Goodreads, JacketFlap, AuthorsDen, Amazon and LinkedIn. The Australian Society of Authors and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators feature links to my website. Also, whenever I write articles for parents’ or children’s magazines, or my column for the children’s literacy e-mag, Bug News, my web address appears in the byline.

Claire Saxby

I write fiction, non-fiction and poetry for children. My most recent picture book is There Was an Old Sailor, illustrated by Cassandra Allen (Walker Books Australia). I also write for education publishers and have written for Hardie Grant Egmont’s Go Girl! series. Visit my website for more details.

Book promotion is an integral part of my writing and can take many forms. Bookshop and school visits are probably my most common activities, but online promotion is increasing. Websites, blogs, virtual booktours all help to promote my books and me as a writer.

Gabrielle Wang

As a writer I feel it is important to promote yourself. However there is a fine line between having a quiet presence and blatant self-promotion. I have a website that has been set up so I can maintain it myself. This is important. I don’t want to have to wait for my web designer. I have a blog page on my website and write posts fairly regularly. And I have two Facebook pages – one personal, the other public. I’m also on Twitter but I don’t use it as much as FB. All are linked to my website.

George’s bit at the end

So there you have it… a little bit of insight into the promotional activities of five Australian authors. If there are any other authors out there reading this post, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your website, blog or Twitter account.

Tune in next time for an interview with bestselling fantasy author Trudi Canavan.

Catch ya later,  George

PS. Follow me on Twitter… or I’ll promote at ya.

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Published by

George Ivanoff

LITERARY CLUTTER: Bookish bloggings from the cluttered mind and bookshelf of Melbourne author, George Ivanoff. George is the author of the YOU CHOOSE books, the OTHER WORLDS series, the RFDS Adventures and the GAMERS trilogy.

8 thoughts on “The Art of Self-Promotion”

  1. George, very interesting to see the comments from your five authors (and my friends) on how they promote themselves.

    I mainly use my blog, webpage, Facebook author page and involvement in various children’s lit organisations, like SCBWI, Book Links Qld and CBCA Qld and online ones like Jacketflap, Scribblerati and Aust’s Kids Book review blog. And an occasional Twitter – can’t quite find the time to do too much of that. Also Dee White reviewed my book on Boomerang’s Kid Capers.

    Comment on writerly blogs is important too – why would anyone want to comment on mine if I don’t bother reading and responding to theirs – besides I find it fascinating reading what other people are up to. 🙂

    My webpage is http://www.sherylgwyther.net but my blog is always more up to date.

  2. Sheryl… Involvement in Children’s Lit organisations is a good point. That’s certainly something that I do. And yes, I think it is a good idea to comment on other people’s blogs. Although that’s something I have had trouble with in the past. My comments always work fine with WordPress blogs, but I have a lot of trouble with other blogs… very hit and miss as to whether my comments get through.

  3. Hi George,

    Great topic! Great post! I love reading about other authors and how they work.

    I agree with Sheryl that it’s really important to comment on other people’s posts if you want to extend your blog readership. Networking is also very important.

    I have a website http://www.deescribe.com.au and blogs http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com and of course my Boomerang Book’s blog

    My two biggest promo tips for authors would be blog regularly and don’t underestimate the power of YouTube. It is one of the most used search engines so book trailers (particularly ones featuring famous people) and Vlogs are a great way to reach thousands of people. My new year’s resolution is to use YouTube more. It’s yet to happen, but I still have another nine months:)

    Also, I’m finding twitter is great for directing people to my blog.

  4. Hi George,
    I’ve flown over here from my guest appearance on Claire Saxby’s blog… http://www.letshavewords.blogspot.com/
    where I am currently promoting my new picture book, George and Ghost with a blog tour. I’m not a prolific blogger myself but I do appreciate assistance from those who are!
    This week my publisher has donated 5 giveaway copies for the blog tour, which I’m hoping will be an incentive for people to stick with it.

    I use facebook, linkedin and twitter but I find I really don’t have much time to use twitter.

    I also try to have teacher’s notes available because having schools pick up a picture book is really important.
    This year I’m trying something different and I’ve put my hand up to speak at the Victorian Primary Science teacher’s conference.Hmm, I’d better work on that one!

    This year I’d also get into book trailers, although I don’t have the expertise myself and need to either master a few new tricks or pay someone else to do it.

    Great post and most relevant! It’s been interesting seeing how other people view the exercise of self -promotion.

  5. I’d love to comment on all the blogs I read, but it seems that on many of them I’m not able to. Not sure why. Sometimes I can change browsers and then it works, but as many times as not, it doesn’t. Frustrating.

  6. Catriona… Teachers’ Notes! YES! Definitely. I put some notes together for Gamers’ Quest ) and I’ll be extending them once the sequel is released.

    Claire… glad your comment worked. I’m in the same boat — sometimes my comments on other people’s blogs just don’t work,

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