19 November 2010

Riley & the Curious Koala, tips on extending your brand + book G I V E A W A Y

Greetings all,
I'd like to introduce you to the latest in author Tania McCartney's Riley book series, Riley and The Curious Koala.  This series of children's books have been a huge hit, beautifully written, gorgeous photography & illustrations, so enjoy the latest release & get all 3 books!!  While you're book shopping, grab a copy of her hilarious Beijing Tai Tai which i could NOT put down & you know i'm not a reader of grown up books, this was brilliant!!
Be a follower & leave a comment to go into the draw to win a copy of this super fun book, winners announced Monday 20th November 2011.  I'm super excited about the launch on Sunday as Sydney is on the cover - my home town & i'm so thrilled to see what adventures Riley gets up to in Australia!! 
Now for the official word, this blog tour stop is all about e x t e n d i n g your brand!!  Read Tania's wise words below . . . they are applicable to any small business with a good dose of ettiquette & common sense.  Take it away Tania . . .

As both a published and self-published author, it’s been really interesting experiencing the difference in publishing when ‘going it alone’. Of course – when you’re only one person and you’re trying to publish a book to compete on the market with books that have an entire publishing house team behind them… well – you could say it’s an uphill battle.It’s not un-doable – it’s the typical marketing battle. It’s just uphill. And hard work. And oftentimes lonely. And did I mention it’s hard work?
Cue: support teams. That’s where you come in. You and Posie and many other people like you – the blogging community are an incredible support in both the publishing world and every other world you can think of – from crafting to raising baby. There’s never been a finer time in history to take full advantage of tangling oneself in the virtual web that is the internet – and entering people’s home and hearts like never before.
I have experienced first hand that the route to expanding my brand is squared firmly in the world wide web. Of course, I create tangible products (books) and eventually they need to enter the real world, to connect with kids and hopefully warm their hearts – but the vast majority of even these real life interactions has found its origins in the internet.
My current (enormous!) network of crafting and publishing contacts, for example, has been sourced and maintained online. Essentially, we’re all in it together, and the support we give to each other on an hourly basis is truly exemplary. Anchoring myself firmly in this online community (and making some wonderful friends along the way) has been a key achievement in marketing myself or my brand – but how exactly do you create a ‘brand’ out of yourself?
I have witnessed many authors and other creative professionals who finally get to stack a book on the shelf then sit back and wait for the money to roll in. Even with a major publishing house behind you – proactivity is everything when branding yourself. Whether your ‘brand’ is a product, a service or you as a person (with regard to authors, this is often the case), its upkeep needs constant care, and in my many years of structuring a marketable future for myself and my books, I’ve learned much (including how to make the best gin and tonic, like – ever). I’m hoping that some of these ideas will help you brand and market yourself and your products more effectively. And if you have your own suggestions, leave a comment!
• Do everything with the utmost of professionalism at all times. From wording emails correctly (never use SMS-talk!) to printing gorgeous business cards to dressing the part.
• Be polite, generous and approachable when dealing with potential clients and media.
• Never shirk on quality. Create with excellence. Offer up big.
• Always always always honour your word.
• Research your market and watch it intently for shifts and changes. Be on the lookout for market niches and pounce. One example: me and twenty other women I know have whinged for years about the lack of affordable and whimsical tween girl clothing ranges (ie: something to compete with expensive brands Country Road, Fiona and Seed and something that doesn’t look like it’s been attacked by a lace-wearing vampire with a fluorescent pen). Has anyone done anything about this lack? No! Why? In my humble opinion, it’s because people are slow off the market in identifying market niches, and opportunities are quickly lost. Whoever corners this market will make a squillion.

• Think outside the square – create something unique and think of an unusual way to present it. Be creative and unexpected.
• Don’t copy someone else’s idea. People WILL know and you will quickly lose credibility.
• Keep up with latest trends – postcards are so in right now, as are blog tours!
• Consider creating complementary or auxiliary products to your range. You might produce amazing dolls, for example. Why not have them photographed and printed on beautiful greeting cards that can be used when gifting the doll?
• Pay to have superb, professional photographs taken of your product. Have a really fantastic self-portrait taken, too. If you can’t afford it, track down a friend or ask someone whose work you respect, and work out a deal.
• On that note, contra-deals are a marvellous way to secure services you need (like a photographer) for no cost. For my book launches, I ask sponsors to donate prizes or services in exchange for exposure for their business – via the use of their logo on all my advertising blurb and websites, and mentioning their name and providing their brochures or business cards at the launch. Oftentimes, this kind of advertising exposure is worth even more than the product or service they provide you – so it’s a great way of sharing the marketing love.
• Network. This doesn’t mean visiting blogs and pestering them to visit your blog. It means interacting, offering something of yourself and making your presence known in a valuable way.
• Events. They are an extraordinary way to attract attention and have people get to know you and your product. They’re also great fun and the media are more likely to cover an event than a product.
• Have giveaways, especially in local magazines, radio and newspapers. Get involved in local charity and school events and offer your products as prizes.
• Approach national magazines and local media frequently with new product. The cost of an item and its postage is minimal when compared with the exposure you may receive. Never expect to be featured. Don’t pester.
• Set up an amazing website that’s beautiful to look at and is CONSTANTLY maintained and updated.
• Have purchasing capability on your website to bump up sales.
• Consider approaching stores or online stores with your product.
• Be prepared to work harder than you ever believed was possible. Be prepared to lose your social life and never have time to wash your hair. But do take care of your body and mind.
• Be relentless. Don’t give up. Ever.

Tania McCartney is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, book reviewer and mango devourer who loves writing, celebrating and supporting children’s literature – and literacy. She is the author of the Riley series of travelogue picture books, as well as several published and self-published books. Tania is also an experienced magazine writer and editor, is the founder of Kids Book Review http://kids-bookreview. com and is a Senior Editor at Australian Women Online http://www.australianwomenonline.com/. She lives in Canberra with a husband, two kids and a mountain of books.
See www.taniamccartney.com for more.  Click here for her fun blog!!

Riley and the Curious Koala: A journey around Sydney
Riley and the Curious Koala is the third in the Riley travelogue series of picture books, taking young children on a journey to far flung destinations. Riley’s first adventure began in Beijing with Riley and the Sleeping Dragon, continued on through Hong Kong with Riley and the Dancing Lion, and now enters home turf, with a fun-filled adventure through the beautiful city of Sydney.
Will Riley find this terribly elusive and quite curious fluffy creature amongst the gorgeous watery vistas of one of the world’s most beautiful cities? Panda, Dragon and Lion from earlier books join this little aviator on his sensational Sydney search… and their discovery is a curious (and funny!) one, indeed.
Using stunning black and white photos, pictures of a real life tin aeroplane and hilarious illustrations by illustrator Kieron Pratt, Riley and the Curious Koala is perfect for experienced travellers, armchair travellers or for those wanting a fuzzy little adventure.
Part of the profits for Riley and the Curious Koala will go to the Australian Koala Foundation https://www.savethekoala.com/.
Available Australia-wide from 22 November 2010.

Well i sure have a few new things to work on (website upkeep for starters) & i hope Tania doesn't loathe the fact i used different fonts on this post!!  I'm pretty sure it's a writer no no, but me-sewing-designer-type, i think it looks eye catching, non?? 
Have lovely weekends everyone & good luck with winning a copy of this fabulous book!!  Love Posie
EDIT: Ok so i've updated it with more colour & page breaks, couldn't help myself!!


Jane said...

Thanks for this giveaway, Posie. The pixies would love to see Sydney again. J x

Thea said...

These are great tips. It's funny because I was just speaking to the Brisbane editor of a national home magazine last night and she told me to get a professional photographer too, explaining that magazines are more likely to feature your products. She has been asking me for professional shots for ages. Will be doing so for our next range for sure! x

NessaKnits said...

In a market where you mostly see books by overseas authors you have to love Australian books. We have to support our writers more so than we support overseas ones, and buy Australian. Who knows, in 50 years, we could be exclaiming "oh, look, I've got a first edition ... TM here.."

Felicity said...

It's always great to be introduced to a new author, thanks!

Felicity x

Brenda @ 13 Acres said...

wow - books sounds and looks awesome. Love the tips but i think i'll come back and read it all again, and again and again - a lot to take in!!! ohhh thanks for having a giveaway xx

Christy said...

the book sounds cool - thanks for the giveaway - my fingers are crossed

cheeky textiles said...

Great great great work girls . I love the advise thanks Tania and always love to hear from you Jen. xx

Raine and Sage said...

What a fab looking book. My little girl loves wah- lahs (koalas). :) PS loved the hand stiched JOY. Very sweet!

Heidi said...

The book looks like an interesting story line! sign me up please.

♥.Trish.♥ Drumboys said...

Thanks for visiting me.I am following you now ! I love to meet other twin mums.

My little boys would love that book. I saw it reviewed on another site too.

I'll be asking my local library to order it in too.

kelly jones said...

My 5 year old son would adore this book, he loves koalas and has even adopted his own and all he wants for christmas this year is a koala story book. What's even better is that the book is by an Australian author so it is a double win

Tania McCartney said...

Hi everyone! so great to read all your comments.

Thea - I agree, I think it's so worth the investment in great photography - it just takes things to a whole other level.

NessaKnits - I could NOT agree with you more... we have such an incredibly diversity of talent in Aus (wait til you see handmade living - the book!!!) and it's vital to support home-grown - not only in books, but in every way.
Australia has such a TEENSY population, yet we are among the highest book-buying and reading nations of the world. Nonetheless, it's tough for authors to compete with such a saturated market, with overseas books pouring into the country hourly - the local support is SO well appreciated!

Good luck, everyone, in the book giveaway!


Tania McCartney said...

Thanks, Felicity! It's lovely to 'meet' you, too!

Thank you everyone for your comments on Riley and the Curious Koala - I hope you can get a hold of a copy of my book! x

If anyone would like a personally signed copy, please email me - booksATtaniamccartneyDOTcom - I would be delighted to do that for you. And yes, I can ship overseas! (v. cheap for such a thin book...)


Tania McCartney said...

Smooches Jen! Hope to see you at the market!

Rain and Sage - I love the 'wahlas'!!

Trish - thank you for ordering Curious Koala for your library!!!


Sarah B said...

Lovely giveaway Posie and the tips are fantastic, very helpful. Have a lovely weekend :)

Christina Lowry said...

Great advice and a sweet looking book. :)

Elisha said...

I love this post. I am going to bookmark it and keep referring back throughout my journey to make wure I tick all the boxes. I am off to visit her websites and blog. As for the different fonts and colours, I think it make a long post easier to read, it breaks it up. Thanks again, what a great post!

Kylie said...

:) love the different fonts. You are a wise women when it comes to marketing your goods - thanks for the tips. I got my Christmas present early today:) A new camera:)

What a cute book - Well done Tania.

Jane said...

looks like a fabulous book for my little library for when my nieces come to visit!!

thanks for the opportunity to win!

NessaKnits said...

TM - I've already ordered my Handmade *runs to the letterbox expectantly*

posie blogs Jennie McClelland said...

Congratulations Monet Paisley our lucky winner. Tania will be posting the book out to you shortly. Thank you everyone for entering, love Posie

Anonymous said...

Awesome book! I love anything with an aussie theme for my kids :) On a side note how funny that I am not already a follower of your fantastic space rofl :)

Anonymous said...

Kudos from Park ;)

Also visit my web blog ... printing quantities