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book by book

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three middle grade novels ready to launch, market and sell

almost

to find out how

stay tuned

…let the countdown begin…

 

Yesterday’s post about reader book buying habits got me curious…how exactly does my fourteen year old daughter choose the books she reads and buys?

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Here’s the short answer:

1.  She checks out Goodreads and follows the links to authors and books that look interesting

2.  She reads School Library Journal blogs

3.  She reads Book Review sites (sometimes she finds links to these on Goodreads)

4.  She searches Common Sense Media to check for content and appropriateness (can you tell her mother’s a teacher?)

5.  She goes to Amazon and downloads a sample chapter

6.  If she likes the chapter she buys the ebook on her mother’s Amazon account

7.  And finally, if she absolutely loves it she is then allowed to buy the print copy (a rule instigated by her mother who nowadays has to stand at the door of her study to place aforesaid books on perilously high piles of books bought indiscriminately over many years of bookshop trawling)

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Conclusion…we love our local bookshop (and every bookshop between here and New Zealand) but the Internet has opened up our lives to a world of books we could never have otherwise found. We are voracious readers and will always love the texture and smell of books, and our house will always be full to brimming with the things, but our iPads with our iTunes and Kindle apps allow us the added pleasure off fossicking for reading treasure that until now we would never have had the opportunity to enjoy.

 

 

 

In order to look at the figures to decide whether indie or traditional publishing is the best option for our books we have to first find the figures – and it just got a little easier – see http://www.jakonrath.blogspot.co.uk or http://www.AuthorEarnings.com (this site had crashed this morning due to overload)…in ‘A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Me, Hugh Howey, and Legacy John’ some interesting figures (for some of us) come to light…not only is this article funny as all hell it is also the first time I’ve seen an open comparison of data on indie versus traditional publishing.

On the same topic, sort of, I contacted a literary festival co-ordinator here in North Queensland about our  middle grade reader novels being published in April and the woman told me that if I wanted to be part of the festival I needed to contact my publisher, or better, get myself an agent…wonder if it would help if I sent her a link to Howey’s article?

Virtual Book Tours

on the road

Your book is finished and it’s time for the fun part, right? Time to hit the road and do the big tour. And, of course, if you’re anything like me, thinking big is the easy part. It’s what we writers do, isn’t it?

I was ready to hook up the Kimberly Kamper and head around Oz, stopping in at schools and libraries, selling books with gay abandon…I was a tad worried about being locked in a moving vehicle with my co-author for the several months this tour was going to take but, hey, I could always sit him in the back with the child locks on if he misbehaved.

But then I had to go and get this email from The Book Designer (www.thebookdesigner.com) with the title, 7 Top eBook Blog Tour Sites, written by Greg Strandberg at http://www.bigskywords.com.

Researching the marketing game has seen me write and discard several marketing plans in the last months as I’ve talked to editors, publishers, distributors, bookshops, school librarians and book fair co-ordinators. And I was ready to hit the road, even with my brother, actually he’d come in handy for flat tyres and such…

I mean, let’s face it, we writers spend all our lives cooped up in attics tapping away at our keyboards so can we be blamed for  dreaming of a few champagne celebratory drinks after the hard work is done, followed by a road trip to make us if not rich then at least famous…

celebration

But it’s not how it’s done anymore…well, at least not exclusively…marketing nowadays means more time at the keyboard, blogging, tweeting and…err…touring virtually. Strandberg lists his top seven virtual tour sites in his blog but he’s written a book that lists fifty sites, Tour Your Book, 50 eBook Blog Tour Sites That Increase Amazon Sales, and it’s those last couple of words that has me unpacking the trailer before I’ve even begun…because if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my marketing research it’s that ebook sales are what drive sales nowadays and, according to the gurus who run sites like http://www.thebookdesigner.com and http://www.digitalbookworld.com there’s only one way forward for we wanna be marketers of our words…and it doesn’t involve sunsets on deserted beaches with fishing rods and celebratory drinks…

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Cheers…

Research is such a wonderful thing…and knowing when to stop gathering information and start writing is a skill I mastered early on in my writing career. But marketing, well, that’s a different story. I’ve been working on my marketing plan for our middle grade reader novels for weeks and so far I’ve been happy with the results. Most of what we will be doing is within the realms of possibility, if not probability…

Old Bones Cover1

But then I had to go and blow it all with one tiny google search, http://www.digitalkidsauthor.com, by Sydney writer, Karen Robertson. If you have never thought about turning your story into an app then I suggest you don’t go there…but, alas, I was hooked. I downloaded the Author’s Guide to Book Apps and What is a Book App and Could YOU Create One? The capital letters are Robertson’s, not mine but already I’m screaming YES! YES! YES!

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And my co-author and illustrator are groaning into their hands. Looks like fun, sounds like fun, so it’s gunna be fun, right? Better yet, the guys at Demibooks, http://www.demibooks.com, promise it’s easy…stay tuned…

On finding your voice…

There’s a fair bit of information out there nowadays about collaborative writing…the good, the bad and the downright ugly…and one of the biggies is finding an authentic voice for your story. Not only did we combat that particular problem early on (because we were so naive we didn’t know there was supposed to be a problem in the first place) it has actually turned out to be one of the biggest strengths for our series of middle grade mystery novels.

Our boy/girl approach is quite a hit with kids and ‘boys against girls’ competitiveness is something that happens naturally around the ages of 9-12…luckily for us, it seems, my brother and I never grew out of it. What follows is an excerpt from our upcoming ‘Growing Up Writing’ non-fiction book that’s taking on a life of its own as the focus leans more and more towards collaborative writing and the pure joy of sharing the writing process with another person…and the boost to your creativity this sharing of ideas encourages.

I asked Richard what he felt about co-authoring having written three books together…yeh, it was a brave question and I had a faint worry that what he said would be unprintable and that there may never be a fourth mystery novel to fight over…but being the blogger of our duo, I could always delete the bits I didn’t like…for my part how much more fun can a middle aged woman have than beating up on her brother and making money out of it?

Out of the mouths of boys…

I have written three novels, collaboratively, with my younger sister, Lindy.

These novels started with Lindy sending me the first chapter of the first novel with the instruction, ‘your turn.’ The story commenced on a cliff top with a rather dangerous track running down it that my sister(s) and brother and I raced up and down as children. We knew the place extremely well. Set at Malua Bay, near Batemans Bay, the South Coast of NSW we had grown up there, and this area is the setting for the three novels.

There are a number of positives inherent in writing collaboratively, the first being, in my view, I am at last getting a glimpse of situations from a female perspective. A glimpse that seems, at times, cluttered and meandering and at other times cold and clinical. The female interpretation on a given occurrence or ‘happening’, when written, is surprising and certainly adds a fullness to my own stumbling efforts. Things that seem clear and exciting to me are rushed over while other things are seized upon and embellished.

Sharing with a female, a sister, as strong willed and as intelligent as mine is daunting, demanding and educational. I am sometimes amazed at the clarity and descriptiveness which my sister brings to each task. Secondly, it is good for me to have someone with talent and education who can bring sense to my childish dabbling’s, someone who has the ability to construct sentences correctly and speak in the correct idiom although the novels are set in a ‘years gone by’ era and I am allowed speak in an ‘Australianism’ that perhaps is sadly, fading away to be replaced by Americanisms.

There are of course negatives to collaborative writing. Heated discussions about who is responsible for progressing the story line, what direction the plot should head, down to the paragraph settings on the computers we both use. She in Far North Queensland and me in Southern NSW. Conflicting ideas on who should edit the stories are something I have great difficulty with, when I have written something it’s finished with – maybe that’s a male thing, I just cannot go back and change things. Hats off to Lindy, she is a great editor. Secondly, I think sometimes females fly off on an unimportant tangent that does not follow a logic, not one that I can see. Maybe I’m just dumb (happily so).

The three novels, to me, are gentle tales from not so long ago, when we made our own fun by having adventures. The stories are warm and familiar, are an attempt, at least on my part, to encourage readers, no matter where they live, or what age they are, to look on the bright side, to take what’s at hand and go with it, to never give up and never settle for anything other than giving one hundred present to everything.

The learning curve just gets steeper as I tackle the production and marketing side of publishing my novels. There’s nothing like a challenge to kick off the new year…and as usual I’ve set myself a couple of doozies.

First, to publish and market our three Cracker and Gilly mysteries, Forbidden, Old Bones & Merinda’s Gold – not to mention the accompanying Teacher’s Notes and Australian Curriculum Unit Plans as I pitch to the ever growing digital education market.

Old Bones Cover2 Forbidden Cover Design (Denita's) Merinda's Gold Cover 2

And second, my literary novel, the miner’s wife, with which I plan to tour and promote, using my marketing action plan…researched and drawn up with helpful tips from Joel Friedlander’s, http://www.thebookdesigner.com…;

The Miner's Wife Cover1

My TO DO list is pretty straightforward…editing, interior and cover design, proofreading, producing, printing, fulfilling orders, accounting, marketing, publicity and sales…let the challenge begin…

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