The Business of Writing – becoming an independent author/publisher

The 2014 Gold Coast Writers Festival was a great event for both emerging writers and industry professionals, and I was honoured to be invited to present on the business of writing.the business of writing

Writing is a craft, one that grows from inspiration and is developed with technique and skills. Creative-minded people such as authors are sometimes not comfortable with the business side of publishing. Commercialising your art does not mean compromising your artistic integrity.  But even if you intend to go through the traditional publishing path, you’ll still need to handle of lot of the business of writing yourself.

During my presentation I took attendees through the steps of setting up their author/publisher business in Australia. There are a few websites to visit, links to access and forms to fill in during the process for obtaining an ABN (Australian Business Number), securing a business name and registering as an official publishing business. To make this simpler to remember and follow, I’ve created a booklet, The Business of Writing providing all the necessary links and information to get you started. You’ll find the PDF booklet available at the end of this post.

The Gold Coat Writers Festival

Gold Coat Writers FestivalAs part of the ‘Authors in Schools’ initiative of the Gold Coast Festival, fourteen professional authors visited various schools around the Gold Coast, holding writing workshops with the students. I worked with Merrimac State High School students in a fun and productive writing session. During our workshop, I showed the students how to warm up their creative muscles, plan an entire plot for a short story in under five minutes, and write from unusual prompts.

I think the main tip I provided which had a huge impact was to start a short story right at the problem. authors in schools programDon’t lead up to it, just get there. And wow. The students provided some amazing examples of great openings for a story.

The next day I presented at the Gold Coast Writers Festival, alongside some very talented authors and highly respected professionals in the world of writing and publishing. In my session, we not only explored the steps to setting up your publishing business, but workshopped some marketing ideas using a volunteer from the audience as an example. It was so much fun and I could have talked all day (and I probably would have if my time didn’t run out!).

The Business of Writing

Download your free PDF booklet by clicking on the image below. This booklet contains all the steps I took to set up my publishing business: Hot Doggy Digital Press. As I stipulated in my workshop, there are other avenues you could take when setting up your business or publishing your works. I’m just sharing the things that have worked well for me.

The Business of Writing

Top 15 Book Launch Ideas – and zombies!

Stuck for book launch ideas?book launch ideas

Saturday 7th June saw the rise of UNDEAD KEV, the second book in the ‘Zane and Kev versus Everything‘ series. The morning started out pleasantly, it was sunny and cheerful in the little book store cafe at Black Cat Books. Children and fellow writers were gathering around to see the unveiling of the next Charmaine Clancy novel, when suddenly… a hoard, mob, gaggle? of zombies bombarded the processions and attacked the crowd… with good cheer and prizes.

Deadna Edna, Mave from the Grave, and Zombie Flombie (what? all the good zombie names were already taken), greeted guests, prepared delicious snacks and handed out raffle tickets for the prize draw.

book launch ideas

It was a great day, I signed many book and got to meet with friends and fans. I also received a lot of compliments on my launch, so here’s my top 15 book launch ideasbook launch ideas

Book Launch Ideas

  1. Theme. Choose a theme for your launch; it will make it easy to tie everything together. I went with a spooky Halloween theme–I had lots of orange and black, spiderweb cupcakes, and zombie launch ideas
  2. Location. Book your location and date early–you can’t promote the book launch until you’ve locked in the where and when. Make sure your location will fit the numbers you hope to attract (but not be so big that the room looks empty if you don’t get enough guests).
  3. Order stock. Bring lots of books for your launch, some people buy multiple copies, so it’s best to have too many rather than not enough.
  4. Enticements. What can you offer guests to entice them along? Food always works for me. But you could also have competitions and prizes, or gift bags (I made up bookmarks, laminated them, punched a hole in the end and added ribbon. These went in the goody bag with a lollypop, orange balloon and a flyer for my next kids writing workshop). Make sure the offer suits your target market — No point offering alcohol at a kids event.
  5. Entertainment. Other than tell guests all about you and your book, what can you do to entertain them? Raffles are popular, you could have a band play, or zombie caterers. Kaz Delaney even had a fortune teller at her launch for Almost Dead.
  6. Introductions. Get someone to introduce you. It looks professional, and if they’ve a good sense of humour, they’ll warm up the crowd for you.
  7. Brevity. Keep your talk short, especially if you’re launching a kids book. Attention spans wander quickly.
  8. Share the focus. Don’t make it all about you, put some focus on the guests. Ask them questions, be conversational, or give away launch ideas
  9. Appreciation. People have gone out of their way to support you. Many of my guests gave up other activities, struggled with daily hiccups, or even travelled all the way from the Gold Coast to attend my launch. They deserved a thank you!
  10. Advertising material. Design simple promotional images including necessary details for guests to book into and attend your launch (where, when and how). If you’re not design savvy, search images in Go
    ogle for book launches and copy someone else’s design. You can use the free site: Picmonkey to create an image with text. Keep with your theme for design and colour.
  11. Signage. Put a sign up in the window of your event location. You can print up images of your book cover, laminate them and stick them up everywhere. For a more professional sign, you can cheap ones from Vistaprint–put your name and ‘meet the author’ on them!
  12. Promote. Facebook Event page. Use your image as a header and invite anyone local to attend. Blog about the launch, ask others to mention it, or even contact your local paper (if you ca think of a story spin for your launch). Black Cat Books also promoted the launch for me, by sending out details to their email list.
  13. Plan–or don’t plan the details. Personally, I like to wing my talks in presentations. I knew I’d introduce the book and read an excerpt, but I didn’t plan what I would actually say. I’m comfortable presenting, if you’re not, you might like a script.
  14. Inscriptions. Plan what you’ll write in the books when you sign them. I try to come up with something funny and draw a little doodle. I’d hate to try and make stuff up while signing, it would take me forever and I’d make spelling errors under the pressure of the moment. Have a notepad handy to let fans write their name down. You don’t want to misspell names!
  15. Activities. Keep the kids busy. While parents were mingling, I had a kids writing activity–there were laminated cards with names of monsters and harmless or cute things, so the kids could mix them up to get weird and funny monsters (like Alien teddy-bears).

Hope some of these book launch ideas help you plan your next launch. Perhaps you have some tips or suggestions, I’d love to hear what things you’ve tried, so why not share your book launch ideas too!

More pics from the book launch:

Nicholas Lochel author of Zarkora


book launch crowd





















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Undead Kev kids zombie books great read