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soldier for web
soldier for web

Ideas for stories are all around us. In my local newspaper today is a story about a little known role of Australian soldiers in WW1.

It made me think about our recently released middle grade novel, Dirt Busters, and where our inspiration came from – although my co-author and I disagree about whose idea it actually was – to save fights I’ll use the words ‘we’ and ‘ours’ – but the more I think about it the more I realise our idea grew – as ideas do – like topsy.

 

medal for web

We found an article and we liked the idea of an old medal and we already had the setting – a development site – and an old professor turned up and we found him a shack to live in and we started to ask questions like what was the professor doing down the coast in an old shack and – boys being boys – our characters, Cracker, Trann and Bone had to follow him to see what he was up to…and our girl character, Gilly, being Gilly, had to have plans of her own and so a billy cart race was born with the race taking place – yep, you guessed it – at the development site.

As ideas go, it’s turned out to be a good one as so far the response to our novel has been great and we keep getting asked when is our next book being released.

And here’s the article that inspired it:

Moruya Examiner, 23 August, 1919:

On Friday night last Pte, Frank Stewart was the recipient of the usual Shire address and a presentation from the Bay to honor him as a returned Australian soldier. The occasion was rather unique, in as much as the ceremony too place during the interval of a picture show. To this entertainment about 50 of Private Stewart’s friends and relatives from the Aboriginal Reserve had been invited. The presentation was made y Mr D F Mackay and was received by much acclamation and to the accompaniment of the indispensable leaf strains of music…

(Please note, the aborigine pictured in this blog post is not Frank Stewart…)

 

 

 

 

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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…

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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…

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