Authors and their Digital Presence Explained

A thoughtful and in-depth examination of how authors are not getting the best results from their digital presence. The writer explains why the interests of authors and publishers do not always align, and how a new generation of author-centric services are being created. 

It is ironic that the author brand is foundational — the success of all title marketing depends on it and all publishers depend on title marketing — but how the author brands are developed gets very little professional attention.

If You Build It, They Might Not Come — Promotional Realities Part 2

Guest Post by Jo Ettles

Social media
I love social media and it has worked well for me. There are so many options though, so my best advice is pick one or two social media platforms and then do them really well. I use Facebook and Twitter only.

Facebook – I have a personal Facebook account but I keep this for family and friends and a few colleagues that I have connected with. Off to the side of my personal account, I have a business/ author page which I post on daily.  Because I write self- help books, I post quotes and tips, wellness information that I hope will encourage people to take action towards having a better day.  To me, it is fantastic a way to instantly connect with people and it also reflects the way I write.  

I have used Facebook adds as a way of selling books, and I have had good results. If you are not familiar with marketing using Facebook advertising, the guidelines are strict and you need to be mindful on how to do it well to make it work.  It is trial and error and maybe that is another post down the track if anyone wants to know more about that as a way to market their books.

You can actually connect your Facebook page to Twitter and when you post on Facebook, it automatically reposts it on Twitter- killing 2 birds with one stone (no pun intended!!!). Twitter is a phenomenal way to connect with the world.  I once connected with two amazing coaches in London via Twitter and I sent them a copy of my first book. When they received it, they took a photo of it and then shared the photo and some information about my book with all of their followers. It definitely generated interest in my work and resulted in an increase in sales.

Here is another way to look at Twitter. If you follow someone on Twitter, they automatically receive notification via email that you are following them. It is a perfect way to connect and introduce yourself to all sorts of amazing people who might want to follow you, connect with you and even share your work.

Review copies   
When my first book was released, I had a publicist that actually got me a few radio interviews and a couple of good reviews in magazines. For my latest book, I have no publicist. I am my own publicist! 

I wrote my own press release and sent a copy of my latest book to a few media publications. So far, I have had a few radio interviews, a great full page write up in a newspaper magazine and it is early days. I have only just started doing this.

I don’t have any real influential media connections so this method is a bit hit and miss for me, but I have nothing to lose. I think if you want to really get your work out there, be fearless. What is the worst thing that can happen?  They don’t respond?  Take a chance. You may be pleasantly surprised. 

Send review copies to journalists in your local paper or any papers and magazines for that matter. There is a great website called Sourcebottle and it is a free online service that connects journalists with sources so if you sign up, you get daily emails of upcoming opportunities to quote or feature in stories. I have found a couple of great opportunities via this website to promote myself and my books. 

Children's Book Council Reviews

Best known as the organisers of the CBCA awards, the Children's Book Council of Australia also offers (but does not guarantee) to review childrens and YA books sent to them at this address: 

Reading Time Online
PO Box 216
Kallangur LPO   QLD   4503

The reviews are published at

The overwhelming majority of reviews are of books published by mainstream publishers, but independent authors should still give it a go. The criteria for inclusion genuinely seems to be quality rather than origin.

Kids Book Reviews

Kids Book Review is an attractive and frequently updated Australian book review blog. Apart from thoughtful reviews, the site also features interviews with illustrators and authors. Due to the sheer volume of review requests, the volunteers who run the site will not review self-published work. The site also has an excellent list of writing awards and events, plus links to related blogs and services.

You Go, Books!

Printed books seem have unexpected staying power. The growth of the ebook segment of the market has slowed dramatically, and independent bookstores have experienced a modest expansion, both in terms of the number of stores and overall sales. Readers cite the tactile aspect of the printed word, along with the aesthetics of a good bookshelf. Not that the digital revolution hasn't changed the book trade — at least 40% of all book sales are now online.

Book Reviewed by Local Bookstore

Not only did my book Goldenscale find a congenial home at the lovely Eltham Bookstore, it has now been the subject of a kind staff review:

Golden Scale by Luke Harris

Beth Ormonde lives with her small family, goes to school and has the usual pesky brother, caring friends and bullying foes. She is, however, afraid of the darkness beneath her house. Lurking below, unknown to all but Beth, a disembodied voice calls to her, pulling her near. As the ancient and rumbling creature begins to slowly awaken, Beth discovers within herself a courage she had not known. This a story filled with hair raising twists and turns, chuckling humour and small town characters, reaches back into the ancient history of the land on which we live. This book will linger in your memory for a long tome after you finish the last page.

Your Book on a Banner

If you are planning to sell your book at places other than bookstores, you might want to consider a portable display banner to attract attention. Lightweight, retractable banners are widely available and with designs printed in full colour at high resolution, they can be quite striking. Prices are low and preparation of artwork (a service offered by WorkingType) is usually similarly inexpensive. The banner shown below this post features "The Sunny Side of the Street" by Maria Stefanidis.