Thursday 8 October 2015

Noah Chases The Wind honoured in the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards

Noah Chases The Wind has won a Bronze Award in the 2015 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards! Thank you to Joseph Cowman and Redleaf Press for bringing Noah to life. It was inspired by a real little boy named Noah and has information for caregivers of children on the autism spectrum. 
Thank you for your support, Noah. You inspire me to write stories that kids can see their reflection in.

Wednesday 7 October 2015

How much money do you make as a picture book author?

First, can I say, bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!

When I do writing workshops for authors wanting to write picture books, I am very honest and open with them about how much money you make. Let me show you how I break it down using last financial year as an example. Bear in mind, that last financial year, I had a baby and wasn't actively doing market stalls and school visits, but as this is based on me having 8 published picture books, it will give first time authors an idea of what to expect in the beginning. Are you ready?

Income for 2013-2014 Financial Year

Royalties from the sale of picture books $672.23
Payment for 'Help on Heels' editing service $150
Lending rights from public and school libraries $1639.55

Total Income $2461.78

Wait for it..


Cost of stock, Phone, Postage, Eftpos Machine fees, Business Insurance, Conference fees, Competition fees, memberships $5210.53

Total Profit -$2748.75

This is why my accountant shakes his head at me every year and asks "why are you doing this again?" This is just my example and I don't believe there would be many other authors brave enough to break it down like this to show you their actual income. I don't blame them, especially if you have partners who also question why you keep running a business at a loss. So why do you and is there a way to make a profit?

In the start of any business, the first couple of years are going to be tough. This was my third tax return, and I'm glad to say, even though I still made a loss, it was a smaller loss than the previous years. It will change, as my social media platform grows, I keep submitting manuscripts to bigger publishers as I earn my dues and hopefully, when I one day write the 'best seller'. Until then, I keep working at it every day, just like any small business owner.

It seems to me many authors supplement their income by writing books or ebooks on how to be successful authors. They are top sellers, easy to produce and have a large audience. You are reading this blog, right? No one would buy my book, it would be filled with the truth.

Another way that I really enjoy is to conduct workshops, do paid author visits, set up an editing business and blog. Even though it doesn't pay a million bucks, it's income. And its the part of marketing myself as an author that I really love.

Which brings me to the reason I keep going. Because I love it. I love writing picture books. I love seeing my stories in print, sharing them with people all over the world, winning awards and being recognised by my 8 year old groupies when I sell books at the local markets. It's my passion.

At the same time, I'm not stupid. I have a 5 year plan, like most organised small business owners, and if there comes a time when the money I am spending on my business is taking away from the money I need to keep a roof over my families heads, then I stop. But until that time comes, I focus, with a positive attitude, on my financial goal of making a profit as a picture book author. Stay tuned, I will let you know when it happens...

Talk soon
x Michelle

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Why Social Media for Authors only works if it's "Social".

Just posting on Facebook won't help you sell more books. There is no hard and fast rule that says the more you are online, the more people will become part of your community. When, when and how you post on social media is about more than quantity. It's about making a connection.

There is only one 'Do'...Have Fun!

If you are not enjoying spending your precious time marketing online, your readers probably aren't enjoying the experience either. Are you frustrated because you are not getting enough sales for your efforts? Then stop, because you are doing it not only for the wrong reasons, but you are posting the wrong content, at the wrong time, in the wrong way. If you were your audience, how would you feel about what you are posting? Is it fun, engaging and helpful? Be yourself. Only 30% of what you post should be about sales and marketing, the rest should be building a community of like-minded people who share common ground, so share what you feel comfortable. You need to be consistent, like a morning paper, that people can read over a cup of coffee at their own leisure, but there every day with a new snippet of information. When you have established your communities trust, then you can start planting that ground with the seeds that you are a trusted source of information. Once that has grown, you can start to harvest the crops that you have planted in the form of book sales, in an organic way. It takes time so you might as well enjoy the ride.

The 'Don'ts'

Don't post about your books every day.

Don't join every book group on Facebook and spam them with marketing.

Don't be negative

Don't worry if it feels like no one is listening

Don't post anything that could come back to haunt you

Don't post anything you wouldn't want your granny to read

Don't underestimate the power of social media

Talk soon
x Michelle

Friday 25 September 2015

Book to Blog at Queensland Writers Centre

Book To Blog

Last night, I had the amazing opportunity to attend a Queensland Writers Centre Workshop conducted by Emily Craven, Caylie Jeffery and Nikki Parkinson about how to turn blogs into books. That's not the reason I went. I have already published to books but I have come to the realisation that I am missing out on connecting with the people who love my books because I am not blogging regulary, or at all since I have had Tom. With my upcoming role as chairperson at GenreCon about a social media presence, I thought I better walk the walk if I am going to talk the talk.
Caylie talked about writing from a place of authenticity and I really connected with that. As an independent publisher of Bedtime Stories for Busy Mothers, she talked about independent publishers needed to provide quality products in order to be taken seriously and I totally agree. One thing she said really hit home. "There is not enough time to wait to be discovered." This is the blessing of social media. She also talked about finding an editor who knows what you are writing about to edit your work and this hit close to home after a bad experience at the beginning of my career. Her journey has changed so much since I met her in 2012 and I love that she is now teaching others how to start their own journey to find their authentic voice. There are still big things to come from Caylie.
Emily has always been a person that I admire. She is a natural teacher and has the cleverest way of thinking outside the square and applying it to her writing. She made it so clear that I have a long way to go with my blogging, with most popular blogs taking over three years to gather enough community to support it and for it to grow organically. I like how she made me feel like I am a trusted source of information, although I am the first to admit I don't have all the answers, and that people who like my books will be willing to invest in me. People find me all different ways, for different reasons and at different times in their writing journey. I want to be more accessible. I want to find more ways to connect.
I had never met Nikki before but I instantly loved her energy and willingness to share the secrets to her success. She talked about being willing to transition creatively throughout your career and look for opportunities to make money from activities around your writing to sustain a profitable business. Who knew there were blogging conferences? I really want to go to one so I am determined to commit to consistently writing my blog so I feel worthy enough to go. She has such a strong sense of community with her readers and that is what I am trying to develop. She also made a great point in saying you can't tell people how to follow you, you just need to be available for them to find. And, she made me want to swallow a teaspoon of cement and stop making excuses why I cant find the time to blog. My business as a writer is important to me and I have never been afraid to do what it takes to be successful.
On the way home I was looking at my old YouTube videos that I started when I had made the decision to really concentrate on my writing and become a successful author. Here is one from January 2013. 
I have changed sooo much since then, but my drive and determination are still as strong.
So my commitment to you is that I will blog Monday to Friday, giving you tips and lessons about getting your writing published, sharing what I am doing and where I am up to in my journey. If there is anything you would like to hear about in particular, please don't hesitate to contact me. I really appreciate your support.
x Michelle