Monday, June 6, 2011

Marketing, Emerging Writers’ Festival, Publishers, and THE COVER

Marketing Plan #1 Gets Some Adjustment
When Velislav Georgiev and I began making public sculpture at the end of the 90s, we got our first break by joining forces with another artist, Annee Miron. Together, we could offer project management (me) and good art (Annee and Velislav). Within a couple of months, we won the contract to create sculpture for the new landscape at the Middle Brighton Baths in Melbourne – our first gig.

Marquette for Swimming Between Buoys, Annee Miron and Velislav Georgiev, 1999
 Clockwise: Small Buoy, Swimmer (now decommissioned), Large Buoy, Wave Form bikerack, Swimming Between Buoys, Annee Miron and Velislav Georgiev, 2000

That idea of joining forces when you are facing something new or challenging really appeals to me. So my first plan for marketing my new fantasy novel The Light Heart of Stone was based on that concept.

Last year, our gallery, Omnibus Art Gallery, participated in an interesting multi-arts event called Ballan Feast, which comprised an exhibition, dinner in local restaurants, and a recital by Trio Anima Mundi. In a town of some 2,000 people, approximately 150 people attended the opening, some 95 ate dinner and about 160 attended the recital (walking from event to event). I thought it might be possible to add my fantasy novel into the mix and take the event on tour.

I spoke with the members of Trio and we decided to give Feast Victoria a go. As I began pitching the exhibition aspect to regional galleries, and came to understand more about their exhibition timetables, I soon realised the touring Feast project wasn’t going to provide an opportunity for local launches of The Light Heart of Stone. With the tour likely to run between 2013 and 2014, I had to adjust my thinking. I am now looking at Feast Victoria as an opportunity to run writing workshops that will be linked to the exhibition and recital and I am viewing those workshops as an opportunity to do follow-up promotion.

Marketing Plan #2, which is all about marketing in libraries, has become the focus for launching the novel.

Emerging Writers’ Festival
I have spent many days over the past fortnight at the Emerging Writers’ Festival. I haven’t been a huge fan of writing festivals in the past, but this was an eye-opening event, one not to be missed by any writer – regardless of experience.

The first surprise was the atmosphere. Writers can be competitive and ungenerous and, when they feel they haven’t achieved the success they think they deserve, bitter. Evidently, some sweeter, nicer breed of writer came to the EWF because both presenters and participants were friendly, inclusive, positive, and keen to chat.

The other surprise was the festival’s content. I went to the festival because I wanted to re-engage with the writing world after being away from it for some 15 years. I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did. Highlights included Writing iPhone apps with George Dunford, Transmedia with Matt Blackwood and Christy Dena, and listening to Julie Mac talk about RAGE A Sharpie's Journal Melbourne 1974-1980.

A Publisher in my Backyard
About a year ago, I joined the local Chamber of Commerce, never really expecting to meet anyone there from the publishing or visual arts industries. How wrong I was. At the most recent dinner, I met Brigid Cappello from Connor Court Publishing, a business operating from my hometown. We had a really animated discussion about e-books and digital publishing, with both of us feeling excited about opportunities to offer content in new formats and to connect directly with readers. In addition, to her publishing business, Brigid runs The Inspired Notebook, a blog-based bookstore.

Cover Developments
I have passed another milestone in the indie publishing process – Michele Winsor has finished developing the cover for my fantasy novel, The Light Heart of Stone.

The Light Heart of Stone - completed cover design
(Oak tree image derived from an image by Rachel Wintemberg, based on a photograph by William Henry Fox Talbot)