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Monday 7 November
In This Issue:

10 Reasons for First-Time Authors to Use Social Media

Breaking into Graphic Novels               

Coming up at the NSW Writers' Centre                  

Opportunities for Writers

Book Review: Two Steps Forward 

Film Ticket Giveaway 

Quote of the Week

10 Reasons For First Time Authors to Use Social Media Headline

by Sean Smith 


It's an incredible feeling when a first time author holds their finished product in their hand. But the personal investment by the author is for nothing if the book is not in the hands of others, and everywhere the first time author turns, the odds are stacked against them.


In an industry going through significant upheaval, publishers are finding it harder to turn a dollar selling books. Existing success stories are a safe investment, whilst first time authors are an unknown gamble. A quick look at the 'New Release' section makes the situation abundantly clear - it should really be called 'New Releases By Proven Authors Who We Know Sell Lots of Books'. Your book will most likely be sitting on a shelf in the back half of the store.


So what can a first time author do to help increase the distribution of their book? Traditional advertising is an option, but marketers in the book game will tell you it's pointless for a first time author. Sure, if your book is the next Harry Potter installment then advertising will work, but otherwise advertising investment will be a waste of time, money and effort.


Instead, the first time author should concentrate on building grass-roots awareness of their book via Word of Mouth, so that news will filter through to their target markets and generate demand. Traditional marketers would achieve this by finding key influencers and seeding them with product, but Social Media has emerged as 'Word of Mouth on Steroids'. With social media, a campaign can be built and run with minimal spend, allowing not only the creation of the campaign, but the opportunity to engage more and do far better than a traditional campaign.


Here are ten reasons why it pays for first time authors to utilise Social:


1. Social Media is labour intensive but low cost

Building out profiles and a steady stream of interesting and engaging content means posting regularly and often. However, that can be handled with as little as 30 minutes a day and doesn't cost the author a cent!


2. Social Media allows your new fan base to interact with you

The fan base for my book loves to write to me and ask questions. I make sure I answer every question posed and that I have left each person feeling like they know me a little bit better. This increases the engagement and helps turn fans into evangelists.


3. Social Media creates multiple distribution channels for little effort

My blog has an RSS feed of content that many people subscribe to, pushing my updates to them directly. It also doubles as a feed to my LinkedIn profile page as well as my LinkedIn Group news feed. My Facebook page automatically posts to my Twitter account, as well as reposting content back to my blog.


Sean Smith 

4. Using Social to add your book to personal profiles

I have a Facebook Page for my blog that has a good following, but I chose against using it for my book of the same name. The reason was that I could create a new Facebook page type (ie 'Book') that, when Liked by fans, adds my book to their own profiles under their 'Favourite Books' section.


5. Social allows Sharing by fans of your book

Whenever I paste a link to an article or review of my book on Facebook or Twitter, my fans invariably repost that link to their own networks, increasing the potential reach of my own social efforts.


6. Social Share functionality on your blog or website

Adding 'Share' functions to the pages of your website allows visitors to re-post pages they like to their own social stream, further increasing reach and driving traffic back to your site.


7. Social generates SEO traffic to your site or blog

Search engine algorithms are placing more emphasis on links and interaction found on social channels. Increasing social discussion about your book and website ultimately leads to search engines assigning higher ranking and more traffic to your website.


8. Social allows engagement via use of external content

First time authors should build an image of being an expert in their field. Posting other content on the book's topic shows that the author is knowledgeable and worthy of engaging with.


9. Social allows you to post rich media content

Your book is only one part of your offering. If you can support it with rich media, such as videos, photos or music, then your overall product becomes even more engaging and more likely to be shared. Social platforms offer a myriad of built-in options for sharing rich media content.


10. Social puts the power back in the hands of the Author

The best reason for using social in your book campaign is that ultimately you control the amount of investment that goes into it. A first time author can't control the marketing efforts of their publisher, or how retailers will market the book at the point of sale, but building a grass-roots following and an undercurrent of demand is tied to the amount of effort the author is prepared to put in. It may turn out to be a long, slow process, but ultimately success can be driven by sustained personal effort.


Sean Smith is a senior global marketer with expertise in digital and social media marketing. He recently published his first book The Fat Paddler, supported by a growing social fan base and a substantial global following via his blog  http://FatPaddler.com, his Facebook pages Facebook.com/FatPaddler and Facebook.com/TheFatPaddlerBook, and his Twitter account @FatPaddler.



 How to Crack the Comic Book, Manga and Graphic Novel Creation Code Three  

Colleen Doran
  • An aspiring comics or manga creator who doesn't know where to start?
  • A professional comics creator who wants to increase your chances of getting published locally and overseas?
  • A novelist or book illustrator who wants to transition to graphic novels?
  • A screenwriter who wants to turn your story into a graphic novel as a prelude to getting it to film?
  • A storyboard artist or animator who wants to become a power-player in the comics world but doesn't know how to write a story?
  • An academic specialising in pop culture, literature or cultural studies who wants further insight into graphic narrative?
  • A teacher or librarian who is exploring graphic novels in the classroom?
  • A publisher who wants to build a graphic novels list or finesse their visual narrative editing skills?

  • A person who just LOVES comics and graphic novels? 

  • All of the above? 

No matter what your starting point, there's no escaping the fact that comics (which includes manga) and graphic novels have exploded onto the world publishing stage and are rapidly gaining unprecedented acceptance in mainstream literary culture. The good news is that they're here to stay!


In response, the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) has invited world-renowned comics creator Colleen Doran to Australia to run a weekend Comics Masterclass in November 2011, designed to jump-start the careers of aspiring comics creators and to accelerate the careers of Australian comics professionals. It's also an ideal opportunity for multi-platform creators, educators and book editors to learn more about the medium and to become proficient in deconstructing comics and graphic novels.


What is different about this weekend is that it fuses the CRAFT of comics with the BUSINESS of comics. What is valuable about this weekend is that it BRIDGES both traditional comics publishing and traditional book publishing.

DATES: Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 November 2011

TIME: 9am to 5pm (Registration starts at 8am)

VENUE: Aerial UTS Function Centre, Level 7, 235 Jones St, Broadway, Sydney NSW Australia  

ADMISSION: The ASA is offering members of the NSW Writers' Centre the special price of $165 to this masterclass. That's a $30 discount on the non-member price.

BOOKINGS: http://comicsmasterclass.com/   


Want more individual attention? Chewie Chan will be running a workshop on Writing Graphic Novels at the NSW Writers' Centre on Saturday 10 December. 



Coming up at the Centre   Comingup

Better Business Writing
Friday 11 November, 10am - 4pm
Tony Spencer-Smith is an award-winning novelist, a corporate writer and writing trainer. In this one-day course, Tony will help you to use words more effectively at work.

We're Talking Dialogue
Sunday 13 November, 10am - 4pm
Gary Baxter is an internationally recognised playwright, novelist, actor and director. In this course he will investigate how dialogue defines and creates character in novels, stage plays and screenplays.
Picture Books: Mastering the Art of the Bed-time Story
Saturday 19 November, 10am - 4pm
Jackie French's writing career spans 17 years, 48 wombats, 132 books, 23 languages and over 50 awards in Australia and overseas. In this workshop, Jackie will take what seems to be the simplest art of all. 

Poetry: a Practical Workshop
2 x Sunday mornings: 20 & 27 November, 9.30am - 12.30pm
Peter Skrzynecki is the author of nine volumes of poetry including the award-winning Headwaters, There, Behind the Lids and Immigrant Chronicle. Join him for a practical, round-table discussion of your work in a friendly, supportive environment.


Old/New World
Peter Skrzynecki will teach a practical poetry workshop in November 


The Saturday Radio Writers' Course

3 x Saturday afternoons: 26 November, 1pm - 4pm

A three-session intensive course and radio play workshop that takes you from start to finish, conducted by one of Australia's most experienced teachers of writing, multi-award-winning playwright Timothy Daly.


Manuscript Polishing Kit

Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 November, 10am - 4pm

In this course editor Sharon Rundle will help fiction writers looking to polish their manuscripts for submission to publishers.


Non-Boring Non-Fiction: True Stories That Sell

Sunday 27 November, 10am - 4pm

Nick Bleszynski is the best-selling non-fiction author of Shoot Straight You Bastards!, You'll Never Take Me Alive and Bloodlust. In this one-day intensive, Nick will cover all aspects of non-fiction writing.


Saturday 3 December, 10am - 4pm

Deb Westbury has been a familiar and respected voice in Australian writing since her poetry was first published in 1975. In this practical, carefully structured workshop Deb will encourage students in generating new material for exciting writing projects. 


Opportunities for Writers  Opportunities

The NSW Writers' Centre lists opportunities for writers on the week we hear about them, then again as a reminder the week before they close.




Correction re subtlenuance's call for scripts in last fortnight's bulletin. Submissions are now closed for our 2012 season. However, stay tuned for the call out for scripts for Bare Boards Brave Hearts - our festival of solo performances. Details in December. www.subtlenuance.com.  


27 November: City of Canada Bay Writer Submissions


As part of a broad and integrated place-making approach, Council seeks to install a 'narrative' across keys sites throughout Drummoyne. The narrative will appear on local seating, amenities, walls, projections and sculptural elements, as well as being used in marketing material. The writers fee is $2 500 for submissions between 200 to 1000 words. Visit http://tinyurl.com/drummoynewriters.      


16 December: Small Wonder Competition  

For prose and poetry. Maximum 800 words. First prize $300, Commended entries $100. Winning and shortlisted entries will be published in the small wonder anthology. Visit http://shortaustralianstories.com.au/submissions.   


31 December: PAN Magazine  


Biannual journal encompassing art, culture, essays, fashion, lit, photos and poetry weeks submissions. Visit www.panmagazine.com.  


31 December: Margaret River Short Story Competition   


Open to all writers within Australia, stories on any topic, 1200-3000 words. First prize $750. Visit www.artsmargaretriver.com.   




11 November: Non-Fiction Writer-in-Residence


11 November: CAL Chair in Australian Poetry


13 November: Eltham Little Theatre's Ten Minute Quickie Play Competition 


14 November: National One-Act Playwriting Competition 


14 November: Stringybark Australian History Short Story Award


The NSW Writers' Centre publishes listings in good faith but does not endorse or warrant the accuracy of any information.  


Click here for opportunity submission guidelines.  


Book Reviews  rev

Two Steps Forward  

by Irma Gold


Review by Narelle Scotford


Irma is the author of two children's books and has been widely published in literary magazines. This debut collection of short stories is a virtuoso performance in the fine art of the short story. She is adept at inhabiting her characters, allowing readers to understand them and feel compassionate for their dilemmas and admiration for their courage often in dire circumstances. Her narrators include two young women with different experiences of miscarriage, a single dad trying to get to know his daughter, a middle-aged woman re-discovering love, an elderly man losing his mate, a young female guard befriending a young man in a detention centre, a sister returning to a tragic past, a woman visiting a dying friend, an English woman adjusting to life in Australia, a young girl who lives in a rundown  caravan park, a homeless man living in a dumpster. Irma experiments with using the second person (you) in telling some of her stories to great effect and in the first person she is equally convincing.  Her prose is clear, sometimes stark or vernacular where appropriate and also full of poetic original short sentences which insist you pause awhile to savour them. The stories are so deft, elegant and compelling that you wonder about ever reading an over-padded novel again! The only criticism is that I was disappointed when I finished them. I wanted more and I eagerly await her second collection. 


Narelle Scotford is a writer, singer and psychotherapist with an interest in all things Greek, http://athenapallas.wordpress.com.   


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Film Ticket Giveaway  giveaway

We Need to Talk About Kevin

In this exquisitely realised adaptation of Lionel Shriver's bestselling novel, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Tilda Swinton turns in a stunning performance as Eva, an anguished mother who struggles to connect with her son, Kevin. When Kevin commits an irredeemable act, Eva grapples with her failings as a mother while attempting to rebuild her life. Directed by visionary filmmaker Lynne Ramsay (Morvern Callar, Ratcatcher), We Need To Talk About Kevin brilliantly explores the ideas of nature versus nurture and unconditional love, and is a mesmerising and fearless film that will spark much debate.

The NSW Writers' Centre has five double passes to an advanced screening of We Need to Talk About Kevin on Wednesday 16 November, 6.30pm at the Palace Verona Cinema, Paddington, to give away. To win, email your name, address and membership number to competition@nswwc.org.au with the subject heading 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'.

Quote of the Week Q 

  • If writers stopped writing about what happened to them, then there would be a lot of empty pages.
  • - Elaine Liner
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