Wednesday, 24 January 2018
Understanding how and why the new generation of consumers buy books is a crucial to modern author's business and marketing plans.
Every bestselling book starts with understanding the target market's buying behaviour.
Millennials have different perceptions of the world yet their attitude towards reading and books is consistent which makes it easier for authors to create an effective marketing campaign. They are a generation marked by creativity, flexibility, open-mindedness, a strong sense of social responsibility and concern for the environment.
Millennials were born between 1980 and the end of 1999. For the first time, our most educated generation is growing up certain that it will be poorer than its parents. Many have graduated into a severe economic recession, were expose to extraordinary technological change, and have spent their formative years living under the cloud of terrorism.
Peer groups have an immensely strong influence on buying behaviour. Friends are family. They ask for product recommendations by social media and posting public feedback. They have a social conscience and are driven by purpose and meaning.
Spanning 20 years, different social classes, cultures and continents, it is ridiculous to imagine that millennials have a unified identity. They are however unified in their use of social media and online culture for daily buying decisions.
Promotion of a book works best at this stage by making millennials aware that you and your book exists via social media or by book review or recommendation.
This is where authors need to have a distinguishable brand and an online presence to be searchable and easily found, remembering that millennials often buy products that support causes or charities.
Millennials make a choice based on all the information they can find compared to all the information they already know. Using or being an Influencer is effective at this stage in the marketing plan.
This is the only stage in the process where selling occurs. Millennials need to come to the buying decision on their own, or they feel someone is giving them the 'hard sell'. Real-time product availability would influence where they shop. They also like to have the option to buy online or instore, so book stores stocking your book is still an important aspect of successful selling. They have a preference for physical books over e-readers and this is likely to remain unchanged.
Millennials will share their shopping experience with their peers, whether it is good or bad. They are happy to leave reviews and are more likely to buy again from the same author if they have enjoyed a book or developed a connection over social media.
Most authors make the mistake when they think social media is for selling. It is for connecting, communicating and celebrating with a new generation of consumers who are smart and conscientious buyers.
Tuesday, 26 September 2017
‘Authors Share One Thing No-One Tells You About Writing A Book’
Thursday, 14 September 2017
Nearly every day, I see an article online about what's wrong with our kids, from teenage boys to toddlers. Speaking from the view point of a mother who has both at the same time, I am so disappointed that this is the only way they seem to be perceived: as a problem that needs to be fixed.
My grandmother passed away recently. She was a woman who faced many challenges in her life and didn't always make the right decisions when it came to the best interests of her children, but she was passionate about always loving them for who they are. I learnt so much about the challenges of parenting from her and I will be forever grateful.
Our children are doing amazing. They are growing up in a world that is moving faster than any other time in history. No previous generation has had to adapt to the amount of technological, economical and climate change that they will have to do in their lifetime. As far as I am concerned, they are adapting incredibly well and in most cases, no thanks to us.
If I had a choice between reading a book or playing a game on my iPad when I was their age, I would have chosen iPad, and I love books. The lure of modern technology comes from smart marketing, inadequate arts funding for interactive creative projects and a bunch of dinosaurs who are still trying to compete with immediate, individualised, integrated programming and display an appalling lack of the imagination and foresight required to embrace what could be an amazing partnership between the new and the old. When parents are so distracted themselves, not only by having to be a two income family just to make ends meet, and then catching up with the younger generation by trying to understand the technology and social media they use with such ingenious prowess, that any time left should be to focus on the children. This is where we as parents fail them, by scheduling in after school and weekend activities from sporting, music and extra academic lessons to fill the white noise that deafens you as a parent of a child that you can't connect with. Connection with our kids is what's missing, and that's where we are failing them and not the other way around.
If we could just spend more time teaching our kids about critical and creative thinking, using the technology they are comfortable with, then they can hold the key to their own salvation. The insatiable need we have to give our kids labels is making them think that if they don't have one, there must be something wrong with them. It's not normal to be normal anymore. We've taken everything that was done with the best of intentions and twisted it with political purpose or economic gain. Even play based learning, extra help in the classroom and children's mental health issues have been skewed so far from the essence of their original purpose that they end up in most cases doing our kids more harm than good. Our education system, child protection agency and health care system are broken and the good people within these organisations that are trying to do the best for our kids are fighting a losing battle. All of these things are our of our kids control and another example of how they are constantly reacting to the world around them in order to survive. There is no time to think.
I understand that our kids aren't perfect, but what more can you expect from an imperfect world? As a parent, I'm not going to beat myself up about that, mainly because I don't have the time or energy to dedicate to what society thinks of me or my children, but mostly because the time I do have is better spent letting my kids know how proud I am of everything they are achieving and how much I'm looking forward to seeing the men they will become. I also let them know how sorry I am that the world they have to grow up in, the world that my generation was meant to fix, is a world full of 'ifs' and 'buts', without a clear answer of why things are the way they are or a united, safe and secure direction for the future. I believe with all my heart that the next generation, when we give them the support they need, not the criticism they definitely don't deserve, then and only then will they be the ones who really can make the world a better place.
Wednesday, 6 September 2017
The Importance of Group Story Time
It is a growing problem but a common fact that children are less interested in reading books as a single passive experience. If this is their sole experience of story time, we are in danger of them becoming disinterested in reading at all. The importance of regular storytelling in a group format has never been so important.
Children become engaged during story time because they construct mental images of the text events while it is being read aloud. When you provide them with a story that is vividly written, they become engaged with the text and actively respond to it. The use of picture books as stimulating text, not only for pre school aged children but for those in primary levels of education, provides a starting point in terms of creating a home or school culture that fosters engaged reading and aesthetic response. The interpretive tools that children use as they attempt to craft meaningful interpretations play a significant role in cognitive engagement and creative thinking.
One interpretative tool that has displayed for me the most cognitive engagement is when children relate the content of the text to their own personal experiences. When children are able to think about the text and make connections between the new information presented in the story and their store of background experiences, this allows them to be active and thoughtful about their interpretations.
Children often use this ability to make connections between familiar knowledge and incoming information in order to make predictions and inferences about characters, their motives and actions, as well as story events. If they can enter into shared reading knowing that their own unique set of interpretive tools has value, they find it easier to construct a meaningful connection and learn to work well in a collaborative environment.
We need to encourage children more often to open their tool boxes and apply those tools in ways that build team work and critical thinking. The collaborative effort of group story time means children, along with the story teller, can add pieces of information recalled from the text, earlier predictions or background knowledge to support and elaborate ideas which is a natural and organic encouragement of further reading. Each new piece of information added to the discussion becomes a new tool that can be used to see how they all fit together as a whole, allowing them to raise their own questions and topics for discussion and learn the intrinsic value of linking the process of reading to finding answers to their own concerns.
If you have had a similar experience with group story telling, I would love to hear from you in the comments.
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Thanks so much for including my blog post about Work Life Balance with these amazing tips from entrepreneurs about achieving balance.
Monday, 21 August 2017
Tuesday, 1 August 2017
Last week, I was speaking with some author friends and we all agreed that in our recent author visit experience, children were struggling with the concept and practical application of imaginative play. And we asked ourselves the question, "Is imagination in danger of becoming extinct?"
Modern children are very good at mimicry and mirroring instruction. The excel at engaging in guided learning but with the current curriculum and focus on learning outcomes, more so than learning pathways, are they loosing the ability to think creatively, independently and inventively?
The important role that imagination plays in creating engagement in more than just rope-learning and forced literacy reflects the essence of the need for questioning, exploration and extended discussion around issued that are important to children as individuals. Here are my top three reasons why we need to save Imagination from dying out all together.
1. Imagination is learned.
Children are not born with imagination. Imagination is a learned strategy that is modelled and used by a caregiver or peer in an attempt to construct meaningful interpretations of the seen and unseen world in which we live. The importance of creating an environment in which children learn to and feel free to use their imagination can be undervalued in a technologically advanced culture that lends itself to children becoming passive, unresponsive and unable to engage with any medium that required individual interpretation, namely, books. We need to teach the next generation to use their imagination if we hope to have the inventors, the dreamers and the big idea makers that will take them into the next century and beyond.
2. Imagination is a tool.
The context and culture of imagination influences engagement in many areas of children's lives and is a tool for experimentation and learning. Children use their imagination as a tool in their interactions with the world around them as they attempt to make sense of it or craft their own interpretations. The act of imaginative play itself becomes the environment from which information is gathered which is evidenced by their non-verbal cues as well as their overt responses. They also become more motivated to participate in learning as a result of the engaging properties of the use of imagination as a teaching tool.
3. Imagination is contagious.
The reflexivity inherent in the use of imagination is that when the culture of the learning environment permits children to question, explore and invent, not only are individuals cognitively engaged, but their use of imagination elicits engagement in their peers as well. Children can also use imaginative play as a way of safe space sharing of thoughts, feelings and ideas, modelling the behaviour for their peers and allowing age appropriate conversations of important topics that are relevant to their life and learning. More than any of that...it is so much fun.
If you have any other reasons why we need to save Imagination, especially in schools, please let me know in the comments.