SUE JACKSON Therapist/Writer/Photographer/Activist

Last year, as the unofficial blogger/photographer to the anti-East-West Link campaign, our battles were my blog's entire focus. But by Christmas, with the electoral win for people power and the dumping of the dud Tunnel, I was suddenly at a loss. What to write about now? Not sure yet. But there will be ongoing musings and images from this Australian life. So please leave a message. (No need to sign into an account. Simply comment as ‘anonymous’; then leave your name within the comment itself.)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Technology and book selling

It's interesting how different this whole business of book promotion and selling feels from 8 years ago, when my last book came out.
Back then my co-writer and I were responsible for writing the book, but what happened afterwards was pretty much out of our hands. Sure we spoke on the radio, TV and to magazines and newspapers, but I can't even remember the name of the person at our publisher - Allen & Unwin - who was actually responsible for promotion. We responded obediently and no doubt enthusiastically, but essentially took no personal initiative. I had no idea how the book was selling or even if it was selling.
You can obviously put that down to the fact that we were novices, but there's more to it. Because the times in publishing and technology have changed. Not to mention that, especially due to the input from my sons, Luke and Alexander, so have I (at least a bit).
Luke made my website (and this blog) as gifts. So as a woman of my generation and profession I'm very unusual - none of my friends have a website or blog. And initally, apart from looking at them and admiring Luke's handiwork, I didn't really know what to do with them. But as it got closer to the publication date, I realised what a gift they really were. Suddenly I had some influence over what happened next after the book left my hands and landed in the publisher's - I could direct people to my site so they could buy the book online. I could also communicate with readers and potential readers. And it felt great.
Because another thing that's happened over the years is that small publishing companies have been having a hard time making ends meet. In fact Lothian, the publishers of 'The Crowded Nest', after being a family company for over 100 years, have been taken over twice in the last couple of months.
It seems to me that many of these companies no longer have the resources to promote books, especially by 'unknown' authors, that they had in the past. Don't get me wrong - Georgina Way, who's the Marketing Communications Manager at Lothian - couldn't have been better. See I know her name - in fact I feel we're part of a team, certainly with limited financial resources, but lots of energy and enthusiasm. This time round I couldn't feel more involved in the whole promotion process. And I'm surprised at just how much I'm enjoying it.

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