Safe System Critique — Book Cover Design

Experienced traffic engineer Rob Morgan has written a scathing critique of the current road safety paradigm, the so-called "Safe System". He sums up his argument with the following excoriation: "the Safe System’s demand to abolish the old order of evidence-based road safety and speed management has been a clarion call to action and — unless we put a stop to it — its continuation will put us on an inexorable path to the creation of an unchecked state.

The cover incorporates surveillance, Victorian roads, an image of Stalin and is set in Proxima Nova.

If You Build It, They Might Not Come — Promotional Realities Pt1

Guest Post by Jo Ettles, author.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you right? I had no idea when I wrote my first book in 2012 that it would be such a challenging experience in more ways than one.  Ever the eternal optimist, I do believe self-belief is a huge part of achieving success. BUT it also takes real work, determination, dedication and commitment to marketing yourself and your books continuously to make it in such a competitive world.

I have a strong background in marketing and it is second nature for me to recognise that you need to actively market yourself as an author and promote your work consistently.  You know that old line from the movie — Field of Dreams — “If you build it, they will come”? 

Well, it may have worked for Kevin Costner, but if you take that approach, your amazing book might never reach anyone.

I recently connected with some gifted authors who have released incredible books.  Each and every one of them wanted to know how to improve their marketing and share their work. Here is some of the information that has helped me get both of my books out into the world.

Author Profile
I think everyone needs to have a professional headshot for their author profile. It is amazing how people respond to a professionally taken image as opposed to one that was just taken randomly at a party or family dinner! Present a professional image to the world and invest in a decent author photo.

When it comes to writing your bio, keep it short and sweet but always write from the heart. Readers want to really connect with you. Be uniquely you.

Goodreads
Goodreads is a phenomenal way to get your books seen all over the world. Create an author profile and list your books as soon as you can. Goodreads runs a giveaway competition for readers. I normally giveaway 3 signed copies of my books every few months and it generates a lot of interest in my work. I highly recommend it. 

There is a section where readers can review your work and also give it a star rating. Try not to take it too personally if a review isn’t as great as you had hoped. Not everyone will get your message or your writing but don’t let that stop you from moving forward.  

I recently had a review of one of my books and the reader said, that it had motivated her to clean up but I had rehashed a lot of self-help stuff that was already out there and generally, my book would only appeal to an Australian audience. At first, I got my back up! In my book “The Shed” I share a very personal story so it is definitely not rehashed. After a couple of wasted hours trying to make sense of her opinion, I just accepted that my work is not for everyone and if I was going to continue writing, I had to respect everyone’s opinion and take it on board. The following day, I saw a post on the internet by an American man. He had recommended my book on a reader’s forum saying it was full of good ideas and it was a very decent entry into the self- help genre. Balance restored! 

See Post 2 for more promotional suggestions from Jo.

Using Facebook to Sell Books (really)

Despite the presence of 'book' in the name of social media's behemoth, Facebook is usually not associated with book selling or promotion. But with 1.6 billion regular users (about which it knows a great deal), Facebook offers a massive opportunity to engage in savvy marketing.  Digital Book World recently published an article by Mark Dawson, who describes himself as "pretty much the definition of a midlist author". He cites specific strategies, gives his own sales figures and engages with commenters. Well worth a read.

Content Marketing: an Inch Wide and a Mile Deep

A very interesting discussion on the topic of content marketing. Mark O'Brien, CEO of Newfangled (a US-based agency partnering with agencies "to make digital business development platforms for themselves and their clients") makes a good case for highly targeted content-based marketing. He discusses the approach with one of his clients, who gives many examples of the effectiveness of this approach. The client has gone from trying to attract clients from many industries to focusing on one very small industry segment. Using social media tools and creating useful, responsive content, the client was able to reposition his business, resulting in a massive increase in client engagement, meaningful lead generation from his website, all through quality content. No hard-sell, no desperate cold-calling. 

[these new businesses are] looking at a much smaller, smaller, smaller sector of the economy, but they’re marketing to thousands of those people. Funny, it’s like the magnifying glass. You’re putting that on there but you’re actually reaching far more people ultimately in a far more effective way, even though you’re looking at a much smaller slice of the economy.