Posted in Kendwa's Secret, Writers, Writing tips

Writing your book is only the start of an author’s job.

Your book is released and you’re dancing around celebrating the achievement. After rubbing the cover, reading the blurb on the back, staring at it for the tenth time (or more), almost tripping over your dog in your excitement (or is that just me?) reality hits.

Smacking your forehead with your hand, you realise you have to market your book (at least if you want anyone other than family and friends to read it). Of course, it’s best to start the promotion months before the book is released. If somehow you ran out of time (life gets in the way, I know) you can catch up. (Okay, pull yourself off the floor now).

Writing desk, author, writing spaces
My writings writing space. Usually, a laptop sits where my book, pen and bookmarks are.

When I was working in my second publishing job, marketing was thought to only work for a book during a three-month window. I don’t believe that to be true in this age of online presence. You can continue to engage a readership long after the release of your book.

Most authors want to write but marketing is daunting. I guess there is no point in having a beautiful, well-written book out there if you have no readers. Writers would rather be glued to their seat at their desk than face promoting themselves. Although, YOU CAN be at your workspace to gain publicity. Social media, blogs and other promotional outlets online don’t require you to engage in the outside world. See you don’t even have to leave your desk (though I suggest you do, at least sometimes).

Tips on marketing your book:

  • Create and AIS (Advanced Information Sheet). Including your book, blurb, small bio, book details like ISBN and recommended retail and where it can be bought). Send it to bookstores, stores and libraries. Advanced Information Sheet.
  • Send your book release details to your membership groups. Mine is on Romance Writers of Australia.
  • Create a press release (send to media, press release websites and anywhere you can find). Here’s mine on PRLog Donna Munro’s Latest Novel
  • Take photos of your book, strategically placed beside a coffee cup, spectacles, a beach (whatever) and post to social media using a unique hashtag. Mine for Kendwa’s Secret is #ILoveKendwa
  • Set up a competition for your readers asking them to retweet, Instagram or Facebook your post.
  • Organise a Book Launch (I sold out of books in my first launch).
  • Print bookmarks, posters, flyers; to promote your books.
  • Talk to other authors (networking can open many opportunities).
  • Agree to author talks, pop-up stores and book signings (anything to showcase your book).
  • Ask local stores if bookstores won’t stock your book. (Mine are stocked at Currumbin Creek Newsagency).
  • Always have a book or two in your bag.
  • Thank every single reader with heartfelt words of gratitude (word of mouth sales can be like a bushfire).
  • Love your books and readers will.

Pass on information (like in this blog) to encourage your writing friends. Happy writing. Once again, thank you to my awesome readers. You mean the world to me.

Posted in Happiness, Women's issues

What is beauty anyway? You’ll probably won’t find it social media.

What is beauty anyway? You’ll probably won’t find it on social media.

What is beauty? Is it truly in the eyes of the beholder or is there more to it? Have we been conditioned to believe certain aspects of beauty exist when perhaps they don’t? Is our perception of beauty distorted by watching excessive news and social media?

Beauty in the eyes of the beholder - Graphic Stock
Picture from Graphic Stock.

I sat in the hairdressers the other day. They had hairstyle magazines or Harpers Bazaar. I don’t buy such glossy publications, so thought it was a treat to have a peek (I’m more the fitness or home beautiful kinda girl). Not only were the fashions only suitable for the runway (or perhaps the streets of Milan, but not Coolangatta), but they didn’t make the models look pretty (let alone beautiful – only my opinion). Seriously, the models were so thin that in one of the photo shoots it’s a wonder the camera could even capture them.

What happened to the fashion industry taking body image seriously? I know there are naturally thin women, but there was no depiction of a mix of women. No curvy women, except for Elle McPherson featured on the cover (and let’s face it she’s a freak by any standard of beauty). No depiction of normality at all.

Okay, I know Harpers Bazaar and other fashion magazines are about the fashion ‘art’ and I appreciate that. Somehow I felt annoyed. I know for fans of Harpers, I don’t have to read it. I’m just pointing out how I felt, and even if I were rich one day I’d still prefer comfortable, beach Aussie clothing (even a bit of feminine floaty boho) to runway artwork (you know the kind where the neckline is so high and flamboyant you can’t even see the model’s pretty face. Do the people who read these magazines actually think that inside the pages are beautiful? Did they always think that way or did it happen the longer they looked at those images? Is the media influencing how we see things?

To me, beauty isn’t size, what you wear, or how you wear it, It’s not someone taking a selfie and photoshopping it beyond recognition (no really, your lips aren’t that pouty and your cheeks aren’t that hollow, but if they are good for you). Beauty by definition is a mix of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. Beauty is something that makes you feel good when you see it. We need to see things not only visually but also with our heart and mind and we’ll find what’s really beautiful.

I believe in observing the beauty outside the media influencers. I love a heartfelt smile on any shape, age or size face. I love twinkling eyes and mischievous grins of any colour, culture or religion. I see beauty in any size woman (or man for that matter) that loves their own body and embraces what they have, from tiny Linda Hunt to fun-time Rebel Wilson.

I see and an old man with watery eyes as he looks adoringly at his wife, as beautiful. I see the tiny down’s syndrome girl playing with other kids, as just another cute child. So is the redhead with freckles or not with the fiery temperament to match. A Digger in a wheelchair with a big smile on his face because he’s playing  basketball at the Invictus Games; that’s beautiful. Three children walking hand-in-hand; one Christian, one Asian, one Muslim; black, cream, white – beautiful! A baby cuddling a puppy and giggling as it licks his face (do I even have to say, “That’s beautiful”?).

It’s not just people either. While I’m smiling at a sunny day, someone out west, waiting for a drought to break, is grinning at a bunch of rain clouds greying the day. My gorgeous white sandy beach with turquoise blue water isn’t as beautiful to the person who loves snow, ski slopes and winter. To an overworked uni student a pile of books is an ugly chore; to the bookworm all books are beautiful.

There’s enough ugly in the world at the moment (terrorism, domestic violence, racism, sexism, ice; to name a few), so let’s find the beauty all around us, not the stuff on social media, news or magazines, but the real stuff in our lives.