I'm sorry! I really am. I ignored you, all my fellow Aussie authors, for years.
What is my excuse for such rudeness? Although I love to read, I'm picky about my books. I like a GOOD novel. You know what I mean - a book that, in my opinion, is...well... good. One that satisfies me. I like a strong story that is low on sex but high on relationships, relating minimal violence but deep with intrigue. Having read many books I didn't like, I stopped buying books unless perchance I stumbled across one that looked good or was written by Francine Rivers.
In my ignorance I didn't even know there were Australian authors! I had never heard of Mary Hawkins, Paula Vince or Meredith Resce. The shame! I was so Americanised, that I hadn't considered the possibility there were Australian books, let alone good ones.
So I humbly seek your forgiveness for my appalling ignorance and bad manners.
But then I became and author - an Australian author!
When I began to write, I assumed I would seek a publisher in the US. After all isn't that the centre of the book universe? Fortunately fate (God) intervened! I met Rochelle (Even Before Publishing) and Omega Writers. Little by little, I was introduced to the rest of you in CWD, and this rookie learned the truth about the richness of Australian Christian writing.
So having morphed from an ignorant Aussie reader to a rookie Aussie author I asked myself; how will I be able to sell my unknown book written by an unknown author to a public that is largely as ignorant as I? I've talked to other authors and publishers.I have attended every seminar I could on marketing books. Julie Cave challenged me when she told me that successful authors spend 25% of their time writing and 75% marketing. I put down my keyboard. I had a lot of hours of marketing to catch up on!
So I began to build a platform. Then loomed the greatest marketing opportunity of them all. My book launch! I invited everything that moved! If I had a contact, they received an invitation. If I met someone in the street, a pink and black brochure was quickly offered. Two days before the event I was still tracking down another phone number or email address of someone who I thought might be interested.
And we planned a great event, determined that everyone would enjoy themselves. The aim of all this activity? Sell books? Yes, but much more. Our aim was to inspire and train advocates for my book. There were 200 people in the room that night. We talked about the message of the book and explained that they were responsible to help spread the novel like a virus. Every person went home with a pink rose and the postcard below.
Has it been effective? I believe we built a strong awareness. Some are carrying my book to sell at conferences, others keep ringing to get another couple of copies for friends. Some have written reviews or talked to schools. Many are making way for speaking engagements. As I told the crowd at the book launch, I have multiplied myself 200 times!
I love the family of Aussie writers and readers that have embraced me so warmly. In the same manner, we too can support each other and continue to encourage the Australian reading public to embrace our wonderful literature. Here's to lots more great Australian books!
My apologies for any strange highlighting. Blogger added white highlighting to odd passages and not being able to remove it, I have changed it in an attempt to make it blend with the background!
Jo Wanmer has just released her first book, Though the Bud be Bruised. Although this faction tells a strong story of one family's recovery from their child's sexual abuse, it is a book of hope and grace, relating the miraculous intervention of our amazing God.