Trudi Canavan

bestselling author of The Black Magician Trilogy

Trudi's Blog

The List

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SO glad The Traitor Queen isn’t a paperback.

The Traitor Queen at No 1!

So apparently it has debut at no 1 on the Sunday Times Bestseller List. There were some very excited tweets, emails and calls last week, and some sparkling wine to celebrate.

I’m wondering if I should buy a subscription to a newspaper I’m not otherwise going to read (since I don’t live in the UK and don’t read newspapers) just to see it for myself. Unless someone could send me a photograph or a screen capture jpg?

Signing at Dymocks Knox

I’m doing a signing! In my home town of Melbourne! Which is actually pretty rare. I don’t often do signings often in Melbourne, because I live here and everyone assumes that means they can get books signed any old time. But the truth is the opposite because everyone makes that assumption.

When: 1:30 pm, Saturday 18th August 2012
Where: Dymocks Knox City

I’ll be doing a short reading and Q&A before settling in to sign books. I have quote bookmarks to give away, too.

I’ve asked if it’s okay for people to bring along my previous books and the answer was ‘yes’, so empty your bookcase of Trudi Canavan books and bring them along (and maybe a porter to carry them). If you don’t buy a book in the shop please have a look around while you’re there. You don’t have to buy anything, of course, but you might see something you want or to come back for later. Remember that if shops didn’t exist I would never get to do signings at all.

For more on book signing etiquette, see this post I wrote last year.

Hope to see you there!

Conclusion to the Pinterest Competition Experiment

Thanks to everyone who entered my bookmark competition. It’s been fun and interesting. The winners are at the end of the competition post. If you are one of these winners, please contact me via the email address under the ‘Contact’ menu above.

I’ve confirmed a few things and learned a few more. While I love Pinterest and see lots of potential there for interacting with readers, a few aspects of the interactivity will need to be developed before it can do what I’d like it to do.

First, what I learned. When I pinned the quotes I didn’t include in the label that they were part of a competition. So anyone who followed me on Pinterest but not on Twitter or this site wouldn’t have known they could repin them and win something. I’ll definitely have to remember to do that next time (if there’s a next time).

Second, I had problems seeing who had entered. Each of the pins showed a limited number of people who had repinned it. After ten it indicated that there were ‘+12 more pins’, but you can’t click on that or go anywhere to see those extra twelve people. I had to work out who they were from the notification emails Pinterest sent me. That would be more straight forward if those emails didn’t list more than one activity. Some emails show several pinners, doing a mix of repins, follows and comments.

At first I thought I could get around this in future by asking people to like as well as repin a pin. But it also limits the number of likes it show – up to 24 people. You wouldn’t want them to only like a pin, as it won’t make that pin appear on their followers’ feed.

Thirdly, I can’t contact the winners through Pinterest. There’s no way to email anyone of course. But there’s no DM (direct message) option as there is in Twitter, either. I tried to comment on their repins, but it wouldn’t let me. So I’m having to rely on the winners coming back to this website to see that they won, or see their names on Twitter.

Would I do it again? Well, it’s the difficulty with compiling a list of entries that puts me off running another competition through Pinterest. Searching through emails to find the repinners not listed under the pin is too time-consuming. Hopefully that will change in future, and I will be able to hold competitions for books. I hope so, because Pinterest does have a lot of potential for this sort of thing.

August Calendar – Ashaki Achati

It’s taken me a while to find usable reference photos for Achati. I’d always imagined Sachakans to be a broad and stocky people, a little like polynesians in appearance. Achati, however, is smaller and more refined than the average Sachakan. Scouring the internet, I eventually found one actor and a tourist shot to refer to for a general face shape. But for the clothing and body pose I searched for Mexican and Spanish costumes so I’d have a short jacket shape as a base (but, of course, removed the sombrero and decorations on the pants).

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Click on the image to get to a full size version. As before, if you don’t know how to download and set images to be your computer screen wallpaper, seek the help of your usual source of computer advice.

Win a Set of Bookmarks

As I said in my last post, I recently had a small initial run of bookmarks printed to give away at signings. Now, since I’m not going on tour this year, I thought I’d give readers a chance to own a set by holding a little competition. And as a little experiment and to reward my followers in Pinterest, I’m going to be running the competition over there.

I have three sets of bookmarks up for grabs. So, if you’d like a set of bookmarks and have signed up to Pinterest, choose which of the quotes you like best, click on it and it will take you to the pin of it. Repin the pin. Pinterest will send me an email notifying me of your repin. I’ll put those emails aside and next Tuesday, 10:00 am Melbourne time, I’ll pick a winner.

I have no idea if this will work, as I’ve not seen anyone running competitions on Pinterest before. I couldn’t see anything that said it was against the rules. So no promises that it won’t all fall in a heap. If that happens… well, let’s play it by ear. If it works, well, I might do the same sort of thing in the future but with books as prizes. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

(UPDATE: And the winners are… Kate Hackett, Paola Rq and Paul John. Please email me with your address!)

New Bookmarks

Last year I designed some badges to give away at my first Supanova and on the European Tour, and they were eagerly snapped up by fans. I also had some bookmarks made, but they weren’t so successful – something that I don’t think was completely due to the badges being more desirable. You see, the hard part of designing a single bookmark for myself is that it has to reflect several series of books, and in the end I opted for what was essentially a long business card with a list of my books on it. (And actually, the idea was I could fold them in half and they became business cards.)

Boooriiiing!

Retrospect is a wonderful thing. I can now see that, when you trade in words, words might be what best publicises your books. I chose quotes for those badges that might appeal to people even if they hadn’t read the books. Maybe if they liked the quote, they might try the book. The fun part of giving them away was that the three quotes were equally popular, and I enjoy seeing whether someone will be a Thief, Magician or On a Quest badge person.

Badges!

So I’ve taken the quote idea from the badges and designed bookmarks based on them. And added a fourth bookmark with a quote from the Black Magician Trilogy.

The new bookmarks

The new bookmarks will be a little extra bonus for anyone who comes to a signing. The old bookmarks? Well, they do make fantastic business cards, and I can still give them to people who want a list of the books I’ve written.

In the Mailbox 2: The Traitor Queen Giveaway

The other parcel to arrive recently was a box of The Traitor Queens. To celebrate I’m giving away a signed copy to a randomly selected commenter who correctly answers this question:

What is the vital difference between what can be done by the wearer of a blood ring, and the creator (as in, the person whose blood was used to make it)?

Comments close in 24 hours, at 10 am tomorrow morning in Melbourne, Australia. (Though if I get a lot of comments it may take me a while to select and announce the winner.)

(UPDATE) Comments now closed.
(UPDATE 2) Winner has been chosen. Congrats Maeve!

In the Mailbox: Mine to Yours

UPDATE – All books have found new homes. Thanks to everyone who commented. And sorry about the language/country mistake!

It’s been a while since I wrote an In the Mailbox post, mostly because nothing of note had arrived in a while. Then two things happened. First a batch of foreign language edition books arrived. Trouble is, I can’t remember which language it was in because then my agent had a clean out, giving me three boxes of foreign language editions she didn’t need, and they quickly became part of the general sorting out of what to keep. After I made sure I had one of everything I looked at the price of postage to the countries the book had come from, picked myself back up off the floor, and sent everything to charity. Well, except for these:

Set 1: The Dutch reissue of the Black Magician Trilogy.

Set 2: The Italian Black Magician Trilogy.

Set 3: The Spanish Black Magician Trilogy plus The Magician’s Apprentice.

All which I’m going to send to send to three lucky commenters.

Please take note:
One set of books per commenter. Please indicate which set/language you would like.

I will not separate sets of books. Posting books to the other side of the world from Australia costs almost as much as the book does, but the larger the parcel the more economical the postage is. If you want only some of the books, please give the rest to friends, family, the local library or a charity.

The first to leave a valid comment gets the set. Valid comments are ones expressing a wish to have the books, and an intention for them to go to someone who reads in the language (not that you wish one day to speak it, collect books, or think the cover is cool). I prefer to send books to people who will read them.

Bear in mind that while most of these books are in good condition, some arrived a little marked. It is a bit too much to expect books to travel halfway around the world and still be in perfect shape.

I will email you to get your address. If you do not reply in 3 days I will select the writer of the next valid comment.

I will sign and dedicate the books to whoever will receive them. I’ll leave some books undedicated if requested, but not all. If requested I’ll include a few signed bookplates as well, but only for the commenter who gets the books.

I’ll be sending them sea mail, so it’s going to take up to two months for them to arrive.

These three sets of books are all I have up for grabs so don’t ask me for another set or books in other languages.

A Pinterest Guide for Authors

Now that I’ve jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, I’m noticing a lot of other authors are asking the same ‘what’s this Pinterest thing and why should I sign up?’ questions I asked a few months back. I may be partly to blame because I’ve been talking about it a lot, though with articles containing stats like these being tweeted it can’t be entirely my fault. So I figured I should write a bit of an advice post.

Pinterest is like Twitter in that it allows you to share interesting and fun links with other people. On Twitter your home page is a constant flow of tweets by the people you follow. On Pinterest you can look at what everyone on Pinterest is pinning, or just your followers. I recommend the latter, or you’ll be looking at an endless flow of nailpolish tutorials, weight loss motivational slogans, and mis-spelled religious sentiments.

As with Twitter, the best way to figure out who is on it and worth following is to find someone you know and look at who they are following. And here it offers a feature I wish Twitter had: you can choose which of their boards to follow. If Twitter had that function, I’d choose NOT to follow the rabid sports commentary of a few people I find interesting otherwise.

While in Twitter time sweeps your tweets and pins away unless someone retweets or repins them, in Pinterest they go into boards. This is a bit like favouriting tweets, except that you can categorise them and… well… how often do you go look to see which tweets a tweeter has favourited? Looking at other pinners’ boards is part of the fun of Pinterest.

So, once you’ve joined Pinterest and started following a few people, how do you make it work for you as an author? Well, I’ve written you a handy list. Which turned out to be rather like the one in this article on Sony’s Pinterest Strategy, but without the ‘business speak’ language, so I shuffled things around to follow a similar format.

1. Research what other authors are doing on Pinterest. Well, this is kind of obvious. You’ll find that some authors are using pin boards as, well, pinboards – in other words they are collecting images that inspire them. They’re also putting up pins of books: their own and other people’s. But like with most social media, the ones who ‘get’ the site and enjoy it also tend to have boards dedicated to things they like that aren’t necessarily related to writing and books, which gives a nice, more personal insight and makes them seem more human. I recommend checking out Tansy Tayner Roberts, Alison Goodman and Guy Gavriel Kay’s Pinterest boards.

2. Make your website Pinterest friendly. Once you’ve attempted to pin books you’ll start to see what makes a Pinterest friendly web page and what makes you swear under your breath and wonder if the author gives a damn about whether anyone can find information about their book on the internet. Ideally, create a separate page for each of your books with a good image of the cover and some information – a blurb at the least, an extract or link to one if you’re a smart cookie. Then look at what else on your website would make a good pin, like blog posts that have disappeared into the archive, writing advice and that short story you put up as a freebie. If necessary add an image to the web page for the pin. Something that compliments the text and might encourage someone to click through to your site. Often just words set against a plain background does the trick.

3. Create pins that are ‘spam safe’. The big down side to Pinterest is how easy it is at the moment for spammers to exploit it. As soon as a pin looks like it’s going to be popular spammers repin it and change the link so it leads to a different web page. There’s a reporting system in place but it does rely on Pinterest members checking their repins for dodgy links. Having pins of your books available in a board means pinners always have somewhere to go to find safe pins. And for everything else you pin…

4. Practise good Pinterest etiquette. Don’t pin or repin anything that doesn’t link back to the source. I know, it’s tempting to repin anyway when the image is so very, very cool. But not checking for spam links does nobody any favours, and how can you expect people to respect your intellectual property if you don’t respect that of other creators? (Oh, and yes the Pinterest iPhone app is a bit sucky for checking links. I now ‘like’ pins when using the iPhone, then check the links and convert them to a repins when I’m on my computer later.)

5. Be more than just a self-promotion robot. Create boards of pins other than your book covers that readers might find interesting. Pinterest is a visual medium, so ask yourself what can you offer here that you can’t elsewhere? I have a casting wish list board, a collection of images that inspire me, and include pics of objects and places that have inspired books I’ve written. Other board ideas might include fan art (with permission from the fans, of course), collections of favourite book trailers, a board of favourite movies, and a ‘soundtrack’ board of music you listen to while writing.

6. Cross post/pin/tweet from your website and other social media sites. Again, kind of obvious.

7. Look at what publishers, booksellers and book bloggers are doing, and if any are on Pinterest see if there’s a way you can work together. It’s early days, but like with Facebook and Twitter there’s potential in Pinterest to run competitions, pin links to video or other content, as well as reciprocal pinning. Pinterest’s strength (though also its weakness) is in how creating a link is integral to creating a pin, which creates paths through the internet. When it works well, those paths lead people who are interested in what you’re pinning to something they want, be it information, a shop or just something really cool.

8. Have fun!

There are probably more ways that Pinterest can be used and enjoyed by authors than this. It is early days. If you’ve got any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.