Tag Archives: marketing

The Genesis of Busybird Publishing – the short story

The Genesis of Busybird Publishing, image by Les Zig

Many people ask me about why the business is called Busybird. I guess it was an organic genesis. Let me try to give you a short version …

When I was a child living in the bush, I spent a lot of time hiding under a blanket watching birds. My favourite bird was the cheeky Willie Wagtail flitting from branch to branch showing off his beautiful blue-black tail feathers in all their fanlike glory, and the little Superb Fairy-wren, so delicate and pretty.

This fascination was further encouraged when my stepfather went to Melbourne and came home with posters of bird species from the Royal Melbourne Zoo. My little brain would attempt to pronounce the Latin names without much success but I learned about what noises the Whipbird made or what region the Welcome Swallow lived in.

Fast forward to adulthood and I began to collect bird trinkets: earrings, necklaces, scarves, ornaments, even a bluebird tattoo. Friends and family started to give me gifts that featured birds. I’m not sure what this fascination is about. It may be that I am an air sign, or I love the idea of the freedom that wings might give me.

In 1998, when I was making handmade cards (using feathers as a design element), it seemed very natural to name a business ‘Busybird’. I wasn’t after the ideal of ‘being busy’ but more so the industriousness of my feathered friends.

In partnership with my husband Kev Howlett, we tackled design and photographic work. The digital landscape was changing rapidly during this time. We got one of the first ‘bubble’ Macs, I learned how to send an email and got my first mobile phone (a red Nokia, no querty keyboard). I still have the same mobile phone number today.

We were fortunate to get a contract with Ford Motor Company digitizing their catalogues and this kept us very busy for almost ten years. But like anything in technology, a company in Sri Lanka out priced us and we lost the contract. At the time were were devastated but it allowed me to go back to school to learn about publishing. I had intended to learn about writing in order to finish my novel but I fell in love with the publishing process.

In 2007, while studying my Diploma in Writing & Editing, I met Les Zigomanis. We immediately found that we worked well together and had similar views about the writing industry. We decided to publish a short story anthology called [untitled] with a couple of the other students.

This was a VERY steep learning summit. This experience made us realize how many mistakes you can make when you don’t have all the knowledge about self-publishing, in terms of time and money.

This experience also made me realize that this is where I wanted to be: bringing books to life. I love the whole process and I love being part of this journey with people. It really can be cathartic, life changing, satisfying, frustrating, fun and rewarding.

Ten years on (we changed the trading name to Busybird Publishing) and we’ve  (the whole Busybird team) now worked with over 200 people to bring their book out into the world, and countless others to improve their writing.

I like to think that we are like a midwife. We’ll hold your hand, wipe your brow and whisper words of encouragement. We’ll also be there when you hold that baby up to the light and bask in the wonder of what you have created because we feel as much pride in the outcome as the creator.

What a blessing to be able to help give something wings and release it out into the universe. Everyone deserves a chance to have their story told, to have a voice. It’ll have different resonance for different people but it’s the value of being able to tell it as much as it being accepted by a reader.

If you’ve been thinking about your story, why not attend my next Life Writing session THIS Saturday.

Blaise, the book chick

Share ...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Pin on PinterestPrint this page

Your Blog is the Heartbeat of Your Author Platform

Harry the Heart by Kev Howlett

Once upon a time, we didn’t have social media or a website to get our message out into the world. Now there are so many ways that we can connect with our readers. But many wonder why we bother with an author platform if it doesn’t result in direct sales?

The idea of an author platform is simply this: to connect with your reader. The more content you put out there, the more you will provide value and be seen as a thought leader by your followers. This takes time and needs to be part of your regular activity online. It means that, over time, you build a fan base. Each time you bring out a new book, this fan base is ready and waiting to engage with it.

A blog is more than just updating your fan base about what’s happening with your brand (you are your brand by the way, your book is your product). This is where you show them that you are devoted to what you do and what you write. The more your reader sees you actively engaging with an audience, and that you have views about what you’re passionate about, they will take more notice.

Your blog can feature your thoughts and ideas around the topics that you are passionate about and that can be linked to what you’re writing. Being consistent with this activity shows that you are a professional and on a mission to share your expertise, not just some hack writer out to make a million bucks. And I promise you, many people out there are writing what they think are best sellers without actually putting in the hours it takes to make the writing the best it can be.

Your website should be the heart of your platform because that is the only place you have total control over. Unlike social media that changes the rules every week, your website is actually real estate that you can use in your own way.

From a branding perspective, you should be looking to your website to showcase you and your book. By consistently updating your website (blogging), you improve the search engine rankings because of new content. Search engine optimization (SEO) changes the algorithms often, so any way you can keep up with that, the better because websites that are regularly updated with new content see a boost to their rankings.

So keep this in mind even if you think that you only have three people reading your blog. You are creating content and keeping your website fresh. It keeps you ‘on the job’ of writing and helps people find you in Google. It doesn’t have to be an onerous undertaking. You can write a 500-word blog in under an hour and can blog every other week. Tell people about your blog, share it on social media. It all helps build your following.

Blaise the book chick

Share ...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Pin on PinterestPrint this page