Australian writer Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox infuses her writing with her art, and in so doing expresses these two facets of her creativity. In this interview she discusses the marketing efforts she’s used and why self-promotion comes naturally to her.
1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
My book For Everyone: Words and Paintings has thirty paintings, each accompanied by some short poetic prose, which is neither descriptive nor didactic. Rather, the words stimulate the reader’s own journey by calling to their inner child or essence. This small voice echoes from childhood leading to conversations either with oneself or others. For Everyone is really about conversation and the compassionate spaces it reveals as we get to know ourselves and others.
The paintings inside For Everyone were created fourteen years ago and were responses to observations of my then very young children. However, the intervening years have revealed that the paintings are not simply about my children. They are visual representations of the small voice, our inner child or essence, which influences our lives from childhood to adulthood, and possibly beyond.
The text is printed in a large font size. I deliberately did this so that people do not necessarily have to wear their glasses to read For Everyone! It is the type of book which appeals to all ages and both sexes.
I was motivated to write For Everyone seven years ago, when friends suggested the series of paintings would make a good book; but my submission to Hay House was not accepted, although they sent an encouraging letter. I filed the manuscript and put the paintings in a storage satchel. The paintings have never been exhibited, but will be on show at my book launch in February 2012. In January 2011 I was contacted by Balboa Press, the self-publishing arm of Hay House. They said Hay House had given them my details. They asked if I had published the manuscript, and if not would I be interested in self-publishing with Balboa.
2. How have your sales been?
As it is still early days, it is hard to tell how sales are going. However, so far three bookstores in Brisbane have taken books. These are Coaldrakes, plus the two bookstores at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). I am aware that there have been sales via Balboa Press and Amazon. I have also personally sold a number of books. I am expecting good sales at my book launch in February. For Everyone is available online from many sites including Balboa Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
3. You’re using print on demand to publish your book. How have you enjoyed this method so far?
So far, print on demand seems very practical and efficient.
4. What advantages to self-publishing do you see over traditional publishing?
As a visual artist I am used to self-promotion. Self-publishing has many similarities. One advantage is that you have full control. However, this can also be a disadvantage because a huge amount of work is needed to get a book or the art “out there.” This time could be spent writing or painting!
5. Besides writing, you’re also an artist. How does this influence your writing?
For Everyone: Words and Paintings is a combination of my art and writing. I am not really interested in describing my work or teaching a lesson. Rather, I am interested in providing something where the reader or viewer is propelled into their own imaginations. In a way, my work is a catalyst. I believe every conversation triggered by my art or writing provides another completion, thus my work has the possibility of multiple completions and a life beyond me.
I am a keen blogger and have been posting to my blog once a week since 2006. The process of writing reveals new tangents, consolidates ideas, deepens a discussion. I see it as part of the creative process.
6. What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books, and which ones have been most successful?
I have taken a similar approach to the one I use for marketing my art: online resources, events, targeting media, e-newsletters. The online resources I use include my blog, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Goodreads, Saatchi Online and various other online communities I belong to. However, it is important not to over-saturate a resource. I am mindful that each post I make needs to have something new to report. I have a designated page For Everyone on my blog. I update it regularly.
As it is still early I cannot discern which technique has been the most successful.
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I did not know there was such a huge support network under the indie author name.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I am happy with the process I have experienced with For Everyone. My dealings with Balboa Press have been good.
9. Independent authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie author just starting out?
As an artist I am very used to self-promotion. My advice to a new author or artist would be to realize you need to step outside your comfort zone to fully engage with any and all promotional opportunities. Don’t be coy.
10. What projects are you currently working on?
I have my book launch for For Everyone in February. I will be exhibiting the thirty paintings inside the book at the launch and for a few days afterwards. The launch is at Fireworks Gallery in Brisbane [Australia], 23 February 6-8.30 pm. Scott Emerson MP, my local State Government representative for Indooroopilly and Shadow Minister for the Arts will be launching For Everyone.
I am also working towards a solo exhibition in Brisbane April 17-29 at Graydon Gallery. I will be having an exhibition in Melbourne at Purgatory Artspace in early 2013.
I am thinking about my next book of paintings and words. It will be an environmentally focused book with a mother nature theme.
11. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
My work has a catalytic agency which stimulates imagination and wonder, questions and conversation.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
Readers can find more about my art and writing on: