Monday, June 25, 2012

Inspiring Advocates to be Carriers

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. 

24 comments:

  1. Hi Jo,
    Many thanks for your encouraging post and well done on your wonderful book which I have heard so much about. I am waiting to read it. I must confess I read something that was pretty discouraging to me! That successful authors spend 25% writing their books and 75% marketing them! That is not an encouraging statistic because I love to write but dislike the marketing aspect ot being a writer. But I can understand why this is so.

    You have a message of great hope to share through your book. I pray it reaches many and blesses many too.

    Keep writing! Wishing you every success with your book.
    Blessings, Jo,
    Anusha

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    1. Hey Anusha. Maybe we need to see the whole process as ministry. Everything we do is for His Kingdom and our message must be read for that reason. Hope I haven't discouraged you. I wrote the post to encourage others and share how God has led me in this marketing maze. He always ha great ideas :)

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  2. I'm with Anusha. If someone spends 75% of their time on marketing, they should be called a marketer and not a writer. I'm not a marketer. I'm a writer—just not a successful one.

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    1. Peter, I'm sure you are a successful writer just waiting to be recognised. Maybe I'm neither a writer or a marketer. I'm a messenger, disguised as an author!

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    2. Thanks Jo; that's a good compromise. And thanks for not being offended!

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  3. Hi Jo,
    I hope your book sells well and that the message of healing within it would reach many.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer. I'm passionate about the message of love :)

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  4. You are so brave to market like that. I still struggle with promoting myself, though I am improving. All the best with it! XXOO

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    1. Thanks Amanda. Passion about the message drives me :)

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  5. WOW, I'm impressed by your enthusiastic promoting and I'm sending many kudos your way!

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  6. congrats on both your book and your promotional efforts

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  7. I love your post, Jo. It was an easily forgivable oversight as the bookstores have a history of heavily promoting the foreign books and discreetly sweeping the Aussie ones to the side.
    During those days you were talking about, we were all still busy trying to get recognition for our books and having limited success. Makes us ponder how many more people now are surely just like you were back then - reading American books and not seeking out Aussie ones which they'd have the potential to really love.
    I really like your little placard about being a carrier. It's catchy and I wonder if you'd give any of the rest of us permission to use that slogan too, when it comes to promoting our Aussie titles. I think you have a marketing gift and a lot of energy. Good on you :)

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  8. Hi Paula
    I shared it so you can use it! if anyone wants the file, email me and I'll send it. We're in this together:)
    Thanks for your encouragement.
    Jo xx

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  9. It's tough being an Australian writer. Good luck with the book.

    Martin Roth

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  10. Jo, it is not only readers but starts at shops that do not know Australian Christian novels! I have lost count of the number of Australian Christian bookshops in recent years that I have visited and introduced myself as the author of the Baragula series, etc, etc. Nowadays I am not as amazed as I was when I first started doing this that nearly all shop assistants and also managers of shops were surprised when they found out the Baragula books were written by an Australian! I still quickly point them to other Australian novels and over and over, besides perhaps knowing Meredith Resce was an Australian, the ignorance appalled me of their lack of awareness of Aussie authors. Before these books, my last one was from Barbour. Australian Outback,was released in 2003 and now been out of print for several years so the staff in many places has changed. I even wonder now if anyone in the shops then knew that book from an American publisher was written by an Australian! Last year I even had one shop assistant thank me because only a few days before a customer had asked if they had any novels there by Australians and she was unable to help that customer! I walked around the shelves with her and pointed out all the Aussie authors. We have left in many shops the well presented Books of Faith Rochelle Manners put out containing the Aussie books. Even many of the children's books in that surprised many folk! It was a great tool for shops, schools and anybody we met interested in books.

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  11. Mary. You're a champion. Today I was answering a question about what authors I read as a child. It reminded me of Mary Grant Bruce. I googled her and found out she died in 1958. So there have been Aussie authors for a long time. I guess we've me brain washed by the American market.

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  12. What is there left to say but WOW? May the Lord continue to bless this book and your efforts, JO!

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  13. Great post to read. Good on you! I admit I am one of those authors who finds marketing and promotion hard.Hard to change my nature.I guess.I really like your little carrier card. What a great idea.Thanks.

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  14. I have held of posting but feel some of the comments are unfair on readers like me. I started reading Christian fiction in the mid 80's back then there was almost no Australian Christian fiction available. It's really only the last decade a few books became available and the past 4 or so years more are coming out. I read over 120+ books a year and there is not that many Australian Christian books coming out. I am NOT brainwashed I know what I like to read, I don't read horror, heavy suspense, many regencies or a lot of chick lits because I do not enjoy them. I also do not want to read books with bad language or graphic sense.
    I have supported books from around the world and have made an effort to support Australian Authors. Being told I am brainwashed has really saddened me.
    As a child I loved Colin Theilie, Ethel Turner, but mostly I read Enid Blyton, then as I got older it was Agatha Christie I devoured.

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  15. Ausjenny - I'm so sorry you have been offended by my remarks. I have been talking about my own experience as a reader. Compared to your reading I'm only a casual reader so have a very different experience to you. I have a lot of friends who read and have never come across our aussie fiction writers before. But you are a professional reader and would have a much broader knowledge of all literature.
    Please forgive me for any offense. :)

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  16. Hi Jo, first of all I Thank you for visiting my site and I am happy that I visited your sit too coz here Im Going to learn much. I read also books of Francine Rivers and some others. Lately, just reading blogs true to life stories. Congratulation with your book and good luck.

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  17. Great post, Jo. I had not thought of recruiting a team of people to help me distribute my novel. I liked this statement, "Julie Cave challenged me when she told me that successful authors spend 25% of their time writing and 75% marketing." Building a platform is much more difficult than writing a book. Best wishes on your writing future.

    Blessings,

    Tom Blubaugh, Author
    Night of the Cossack
    http://tomblubaugh.com

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