Friday, October 29, 2010

BLOG TOUR (15) POND MAGIC

Today I have a Guest Blogger: Angela Sunde. This is a first for me! What it means is that I don't have to dream up appropriate questions or do any of the hard work. Angela is just going to do all that and all I have to do is paste what she says on this blog and sit back and enjoy!In case you don't already know, Angela is the author of Pond Magic - one of Penguin's Aussie Chomps series.


If you check her blogsite at  http://angelasunde.blogspot.com/
you will see what a wonderful time she had with her book launch last Sunday.


Today Angela is going to talk about Promoting your First Book and Planning a Book Launch
Welcome Angela! It's now all over to you.

Thank you, Mabel
‘Author branding’ is a term I first heard a couple of years ago at a writers’ conference. The concept made complete sense to me; the author is the brand. And while many writers may find self-promotion daunting, I took it on with gusto and began using my full author name on all correspondence, including comments I left on other writing blogs.

But just what is a brand and how do you create an author brand?
Someone once told me it is: ‘a promise, an experience and a memory.’


Recently a writing friend complimented me on my website. As I encouraged him to create his own, he said: “Oh, no. I don’t have a product.” The truth is you don’t need a product (or a published book) to promote your author brand. In fact the earlier you start the better. As a writer you are already producing ideas readers may find interesting. You are self-employed – a one man band. And, unless this is a hobby for you, you should begin to look upon your writing as a business and yourself as a professional. Once you do, walking into a pitch session with a potential publisher or agent will be so much less intimidating.

The best way to begin promoting your author brand is to start small with a business card and membership of various writing groups, centres or online clubs, such as Jacketflap, SCBWI or your local writers’ centre. These will often give you the opportunity to create an online profile of a few paragraphs on the member’s page of their website. You can even include a professional photograph – not one taken at the beach last holiday. Your paragraph should highlight your strengths, life experience - which is so important for writers - and your preferred genre with perhaps even a blurb about your work in progress.

Once you’re feeling a little more confident, consider beginning a blog. Blogs are a perfect platform for writers. It’s a way to keep up your writing habit and connect with other writers, readers and publishers. It’s not necessary to blog more than three to four times a month and don’t forget to leave comments on other writers’ blogs. Cross-promotion and sharing links help to get your name and your brand out there.

To promote my author brand I also use social media such as Facebook. It’s possible to create an individual author page and limit your friends to only author/illustrators.

As your online presence grows, so does your author platform. The idea is to create as many opportunities or platforms as possible for you to profile your author brand (you) and later on your published work. In anticipation of my first book, Pond Magic, being published this year, I also created a website, using a free online program called Wix. The simple drag and drop system allowed me to be as creative as I wanted and design a truly personal space on the web, which reflected my ‘brand’.

So now I had: online membership profiles, a social media profile page, a blog and a website. I was also in daily email contact with other writers through several Yahoo groups. I had exhausted all cost-free avenues for online self-promotion and my author platform was ready for the release of my first book, Pond Magic. Now it was simply a matter of utilising this extensive platform to market my book within my budget of next to zero.

Self-marketing is common sense really. There are five possibilities for telling the world about your book: online, email, snail mail, face to face and word of mouth.

Begin with online. I promoted Pond Magic on my website and my blog by creating a book profile page on each, with cross links to each other and also to Pond Magic’s page on the Penguin Australia website. Then I created a separate Facebook page for Pond Magic and an events page for the launch, sending out invites to everyone I knew. As the news spread, it snow-balled and hundreds of fans joined with over half of them people I did not know. I added links on the Facebook page back to my blog and website and vice versa and kept the updates regular as the launch drew nearer. And to create extra interest my main character, Lily Padd, answered all posts left on the wall.

Then send out emails. Create a media kit to send out together with your launch invite to reviewers, newspapers, e-newletters, bloggers, children’s magazines and radio stations. Include a professional photo of yourself, an author biography, a picture of the book’s cover and a media release with a promotional blurb about the book including the launch event details. Keep it all to one to two pages. Even if they never reply, at least you will now be on their radar.

The media is always looking for a unique angle. I promoted Pond Magic’s launch as a fun family day out with free activities, craft, games, music, entertainment and prizes. And our Gold Coast radio station Coast FM ABC 91.7 came on board to promote a local author by giving the Pond Magic Book Launch a promotional plug the day before the event. This was a brilliant result that contributed to the number of people at the Pond Magic launch – over 270!

Snail Mail and Face to Face. A postcard or flyer is a wonderful promotional tool to use when introducing your book to libraries, schools and bookshops. For Pond Magic I had a postcard printed which included a picture of the front cover, the title, publisher, ISBN, a short blurb, some brief author information and most importantly contact details, including my blog and website. I was also fortunate enough to have my promo postcard included in the take home bags at this year’s CYA Conference.

Please visit my blog: http://angelasunde.blogspot.com/ to view photos of the Pond Magic book launch and my website: www.angelasunde.com

So, after all that, do you know a little more about my author brand?

Fun, creative, flamboyant, international
and above all…
professional.


Thank you, Angela! Your post was amazing ... and something I'll be reading and rereading. 


This Blog Tour has visited the following places. Don't forget to drop by for a visit

22nd October – Write and Read with Dale – Dale Harcombe
Review and Developing a Character
http://www.livejournal.com/users/orangedale/

23rd October – Sally Murphy’s Writing for Children Blog
Getting Published for the First Time
http://sallymurphy.blogspot.com/

24th October – Cat Up Over - Catriona Hoy
What Girls Read
http://catrionahoy.blogspot.com/

26th October – Tuesday Writing Tips – Dee White
Writing to this Length
http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/

27th October – Kids’ Book Capers – Boomerang Books
Review and Where Story Ideas Come From
http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/kids-book-capers-blog

28th October – Kids Book Review
The Aussie Chomp Format
http://http://www.kids-book-review.blogspot.com/

29th October – Tales I Tell - Mabel Kaplan  [You are here1]
Promoting your First Book & Planning a Book Launch
http://belka37.blogspot.com/

30th October – SherylGwyther4Kids
Once upon a time in a far away place…
http://sherylgwyther4kids.wordpress.com/

Please leave a comment if you've visited, to encourage both Angela and me!
Thanks! Mabel K (aka Belka37)


5 comments:

  1. Helpful tips Angela. Thanks for sharing them.

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  2. hey great post, some things I hadn't thought of... thank you

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  3. You're welcome, ladies. Share the ideas and more will come.

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  4. Thank you Dale, Michelle and Angela for visiting my blog. This was such a great topic to feature - and special thanks to Angela for agreeiing to be my guest (and saving me a lot of work!)
    Hope you'll call in again from time to time.

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  5. Thank you for hosting my blog tour, Mabel. it was lovely being here. I'd love to visit again.

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