Marketing and PR: A Disney Perspective

Guess what I did yesterday afternoon? Guess? Guess? Guess!?

You’ll never guess (unless you follow my ‘Author’ page on Facebook - which will keep you more up-to-date than this blog), so I’ll just tell you: I had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with my publishers’ head of PR and marketing, the fabulous Susan, who is visiting sunny Queensland at the moment – eek! How exciting! And let me tell you…

It.

Was.

AWESOME.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll probably know by now that I’m a little bit wacky (with a large dose of dorkishness on the side), so it won’t come as much of a surprise when you hear that the whole time leading up to the meeting, I was kinda a little bit like this:

I’m not ashamed to admit it (though, I probably should be). You all know what a dream-come-true this year has been for me, what with signing a publishing contract and everything since then, and I’m aware that ‘societal norms’ dictate that I should probably be a little more embarrassed by my skyrocketing levels of elation, but I just can’t help it! Everything is just too exciting!!

So, yeah, the meeting – it was soooo cool! And it lasted for hours! As lame as it makes me sound, while we were chatting about all kinds of awesomeness, from book launch brainstorming (!!) to author events she’s aiming to send me along to next year (!!), internally I was very much like this:

And FYI, by the time the meeting was over and I was in my car on the way home, I may have even upgraded to this:

It was just so awesome! (Yes, I know I sound like a broken record, but it was!). I think I drove Susan a little crazy though, because for a large portion of the time she was asking me a whole list of Q&A style questions to build an author profile on me for media (?) stuff, and I’m pretty much the worst person to ask questions to, because I complicate even the simplest of answers. Even things like my favourite colour – it changes depending on my mood! So there I was asking questions back to her, talking a mile-a-minute and saying things like, “Is it a colour I just have to look at? And how am I feeling at the time? Do I want to experience a specific emotion based on looking at the colour? Or, maybe, is it a colour I’m wearing? Or what if someone else is wearing it? Because if it’s about clothing colours, that’s completely different. Because, like, orange can look amazing on some people, but it looks awful on me, so I can’t answer a solid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for whether I like the colour orange based on clothing-related choices… And if we’re not talking about clothing-colours, but just colours to look at, what shade of, like, orange are we talking about? Because a deep orange can be nice, but I’m not a huge fan of pastel orange. Is there even such a thing as pastel orange? Pastel orange doesn’t even sound nice!” (… And this type of conversation continued on for an embarrassing length of time…)

Just so you don’t think I’m completely insane, I didn’t actually talk specifically about the colour orange. I did, however, have a very similar discussion regarding the colour blue, but that’s entirely justifiable, in my opinion. I can’t remember what I said verbatim, but it was pretty darn close to the above fictional account. So, you probably see why Susan may have been looking at me a little like this some (or most) of the time:

But that’s okay. Because I’m an author, and authors can be wacky and dorkish, right? It’s the “creative genius” in us. Even so, I’m at least fifty percent certain that Susan may have been considering whether it’s too late to retract the offer of publishing. In fact, it’s highly likely that she was probably thinking about the amount of time she’ll be stuck spending with me in the future, and I’m guessing her thoughts were something very similar to this:

Haha…

… Or, at least, I hope it’s a ‘haha’ moment… *awkward face*…

Anyway, moving on!

I’m pretty sure there was one stage during our conversation where she jokingly (?) said something along the lines of, “You better not blog about this…” and since I was so deep in my happy place that I now can’t remember what it was that I fervently nodded my agreement to, I’m keeping everything here vague on purpose and hoping that you’ll all be distracted enough by the Disney love to forget that I haven’t actually told you all that much about the actual meeting. But I’d rather keep everything on the down-low for now rather than say something I shouldn’t and then have to go back to her and be like…

So, yeah. That’s all I feel like I can safely say for now. I won’t even go into how I got to meet her absolutely adorable six-year-old son who I fell in love with despite the fact that he told me the entire plot (including spoilers!) of How To Train Your Dragon 2 – which I haven’t yet seen (and now I don’t really need to, though I still will because, duh, it’s Disney…). Despite this distinctly uncool moment, I forgave him instantly because he’s seriously the cutest kid in the world. I’m talking, cuter-than-cute. Just to give you an idea of his cuter-than-cuteness, he sang the entire Blinky Bill theme song to me, word for word, and I think my heart may have literally melted into a puddle of goo. At the end of our time together, I pretty much wanted to adopt him. Though, I’m not entirely sure he felt the same. We were kinda a bit like this (and guess which one was me, and which one was him?):

Cluckiness aside, everything about the entire afternoon was beyond amazing, and I can’t WAIT to share more over the coming months! In the meantime, I’ll probably be spending a lot of time just like this:

Writing Group Shenanigans

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I started a writing and reading group the other day – random, right? I’ve been wanting to join one for a while, but I’ve had a hard time finding a group that felt right. Sure, there are a few options nearby, but they all seem a little, umm… stodgy, you know? I’ve wanted to join something fresh and fun and energetic, full of passionate people who love words as much as I do. Who’d have thought it’d be so hard to find such a group?

Well, in the end I decided to start my own group from scratch. I organised it through Meetup.com and I wasn’t really sure if anyone would be interested, but now there’s, like, 20 people or something. (The website is down at the moment so that’s just a rough estimate).

Our first meeting was on Saturday and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I was exhausted after putting together the crazy-last-minute application for the writing fellowship (and a HUGE ‘thank you’ to everyone who sent testimonials my way – I’m so overwhelmed by all the writing love!!), and it was also my brother’s 30th birthday celebration on Friday night… so I wasn’t cruising at my optimal energy levels come Saturday morning. But you know what?

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The people who came were really cool and so friendly! It was such an eclectic group from all walks of life, with all different writing/reading outlets and passions. Conversation flowed smoothly and we talked about all kinds of reading and writing topics. We just had a really good time!

We’re going to meet once a month for a while and just see how things pan out as we go. Next month we’re going to chat about editing, which I think will be really interesting. (I’m one of those weirdos who loves the editing phase of writing, so I can’t wait!). If you live on the Sunshine Coast (Australia), you’re over 18, and you want to come along next time (and you’re not a psychopath), feel free to email me for details!

To finish this post, I want to put a question out there: I know a number of you who follow this blog are writers and readers yourselves, so how many of you are members of writing/reading groups? And what do you do in your groups if you are? I would love any wisdom or advice you might have!

Help!

Exciting news! My publishers’ amazing marketing/PR guru just contacted me with a recommendation to apply for a young writers fellowship grant where the recipient receives $10,000 along with all associated media hype and 12 months’ worth of ‘writing support’. It’s an incredible opportunity, but the catch is, I only have about 24 hours to complete the extremely complex application in order to post out my submission before the deadline (eeek! Tick-tock!). We’re a little late jumping onto the boat with this one, and so I really, really need your help! Here’s why…

For my application, I need to have some written testimonials (maximum of 200 words) from people “suitably placed to make comment on the benefit of your proposed project to your career development.” This is where you come in. I would love, love, love it if anyone was willing to write up just a few words to comment on my dedication and passion as a writer. You only know about this passion from reading my blog here, but I’m hoping since you follow me, then you’ll have an idea by now that I put my heart and soul into my writing, and (hopefully) that oozes out into my words. (Ick, ‘oozes’ is such a gross word! Sorry! But it works!). As to the ‘career development’ part of the testimonial, this grant and writing support would go a long way to having the time and resources to dedicate myself further to my writing, and thus hopefully better my skills. That, and the project I’m going to propose in my submission is the most amazingly challenging concept I’ve ever had – and regardless of whether I get this grant or not, the story potential is so incredible that I just have to write it one way or another! (I’m so excited!)

So, if anyone is willing to write a few words down (maximum of 200) and either pop them in the comments below, or (preferably) email me at lynette [dot] noni [@] gmail [dot] com then I would be so, so grateful. I would even send you copious amounts of make-believe cookies. (And everyone knows that make-believe cookies are second only to real cookies!)

If you’re happy to help me out with this and you send along a testimonial, please also provide your name and, if relevant, your web/blog address and if you have any publishing credentials of your own. Obviously this isn’t necessary – but it can’t hurt my chances to provide them with as much detail as I can give them in my application!

Thanks so much in advance, and I’ll keep you all posted on my progress!

Author Bio

I had to write a new work biography for our company’s website the other day and it was actually kinda fun. I’ve never been that great at penning bios and blurbs—mostly because of the lacking word limit. But I managed to come up with something half-decent, and since I was on a role, I decided to try my hand at a more professional author bio. Here’s what I came up with:

Lynette Noni grew up on a farm in outback Australia until she moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast and swapped her mud-stained boots for sand-splashed flip-flops. She has always been an avid reader and most of her childhood was spent lost in daydreams of far-off places and magical worlds. She was devastated when her Hogwarts letter didn’t arrive, but she consoled herself by looking behind every wardrobe she could find, and she’s still determined to find her way to Narnia one day. While waiting for that to happen, she creates her own fantasy worlds and enjoys spending time with the characters she meets along the way.

 Akarnae is her debut novel, and it is the first of five books in The Medoran Chronicles. To find out more, you can visit Lynette online at…

So… What do you think? Do I sound like someone you’d want to read a book written by? :-)

Brisbane Writers Festival 2014

I was pretty excited when BWF finally rolled around this year since I’d never been to anything like it before. I was so eager that I booked my tickets weeks—possibly months—in advance (hey, I didn’t want to miss out!) and planned a whole weekend trip around it. And, boy, I’m glad I did, because I had a fabulous time!

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My first session was on Friday afternoon and it was called “This World And The Next”. The info blurb said:

Laini Taylor, Isobelle Carmody and Kirilee Barker talk with Trent Jamieson about diving into fantastical other worlds, and bringing some of the magical to this Muggle one.

Now, really, how could I not have gone to that one? I adore Laini Taylor’s ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ (if you haven’t read it, I totally recommend – the imagery is insane. You actually feel like you’re in Prague with the protagonist, Karou!). And Isobelle Carmody is arguably one of Australia’s most influential fantasy writers. The first book in her ‘Obernewtyn Chronicles’ was part of the curriculum when I was in primary school and I’m pretty sure it was the first full-length fantasy novel I ever read. I loved it—so much that it started me on the path towards reading more fantasy (which in turn led me to where I am today, writing fantasy!). (more…)

Comic-Con Craziness

So, I spent the weekend at OZ Comic-Con (and also at the Brissy Writers Festival—but I’ll write up a post about BWF for next time since so much happened at both). Comic-Con was AMAZING! I seriously can’t believe how great the convention was! I was definitely not expecting it to be so full-on! And I also wasn’t expecting it to be so much fun—but again, it was!

I got there first thing in the morning naively presuming it wouldn’t be that busy… But I was so wrong. The place wasn’t even due to open for another half hour and there were thousands of people waiting (if not more!). The crowds were insane! And at least a quarter of the people were dressed up in crazy, amazing, out-of-this-world, mind-bogglingly-awesome costumes. I couldn’t believe my eyes! People got super into it! It was really super cool!

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What was also cool was how nice everyone was. I made so many ‘insta-buddies’ there since we spent a lot of time in queues for various things, and we just bonded over geeky fantasy/sci-fi stuff while we waited. It was awesome.

In fact, the entire event was just in the realm of oh-my-gosh-amazing. I got to meet Orlando Bloom, who was, (quite surprisingly), a seriously nice guy. Very softly spoken (again, surprise), and very British (sorry all you hard-core fans out there, I had no idea he was English! I just presumed he was American!)…

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Then after the seriously cool moment of meeting Orlando, I took my star-struck self to see an Q&A thing with Colin Ferguson. I’m a huge ‘Eureka’ fan but what was so amazing was that Colin is JUST like the character he plays – Jack Carter – in real life. He’s so flipping funny! And so animated! And super amazing with people; he was just extremely relatable and communicable. He was also so down-to-earth, or at least he came across that way. And when I met him in person a bit later, he really showed that to be true. I got to have an actual proper conversation with him which was awesome and I basically just said something along the lines of, “Thanks for seeming so much like Jack Carter in person.” And I kind of said it flippantly, but he looked at me with the most genuinely pleased expression on his face and said the most whole-hearted, “Thank you!” Then I went on to tell him how much I enjoyed his Q&A and how great a communicator he is, and, no joke, he almost looked like he was getting emotional. (In a good way). He even said something like, “That means a lot—thank you so much!” and it wasn’t a flyaway comment either, he really truly appeared to be grateful! He seems like he’s just such a super nice guy. In fact, of the day, I think one of my highlights is meeting him, since he was just so nice! Here’s a pic of us:

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I mooched around for a while after that and then I ended up getting to see Jason Momoa too, which was pretty cool. I’ve never watched ‘Game of Thrones’ but I love ‘Stargate Atlantis’, so seeing him was really awesome too. And, wow, he is ripped. As in, muscles-on-muscles. Very impressive. (Don’t judge me! That kind of physique earns the respect these few words provide, haha). But he seemed really cool too – almost like a big teddy bear. I saw him in a Q&A thing later in the day and, golly, he has a foul mouth! (But he did apologise for it, at least – and he kept trying to talk in code once he realised kids were in the audience. It was pretty funny!). He also came into the Q&A carrying a cardboard box which he said was to “brew his coffee” and he ended up ‘sneakily’ pulling out a beer and pouring it into a coffee cup (aka, ‘brewing coffee’). Very amusing for us in the audience, especially since he’s great with his facial expressions and made it even funnier anytime he needed a “sip of coffee”. And, funnier still, when he was asked about the most important thing to do when directing, his answer was: “Make sure your cooler is full—of ‘coffee’.” Hehe… Little bit amusing. And speaking of amusing, he also gets points for telling a story that involved a Korean bathing house and required him using the word “hoo-haa” in an extremely inappropriate manner. It was hilarious with a capital H.

But anyway… See how big he is here—his arm muscles don’t even fit in the photo!

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Later on I also got to see two of the dwarves from The Hobbit in a Q&A—Stephen Hunter (aka Bombur) and Dean O’Gorman (aka Fili)—and, oh wow, they were so entertaining! Some direct quotes from them:

Question: What was your inspiration to become an actor?

Dean O’Gorman: Inability to do maths.

Stephen Hunter: Make a lot of money without having to do a lot of work.

Question: What was the hardest thing about dwarf boot camp?

Dean O’Gorman: Exercising. Just exercising.

Stephen Hunter: The shoes. It’s like running with a three-year-old on each foot.

Question: Why do you think you were chosen to play the roles of the dwarves?

Dean O’Gorman: Extreme handsomeness.

Stephen Hunter: We were cheap.

As you can see, they were great fun to watch. (Or maybe you had to be there? Just trust me, they were great!).

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But yeah, so many other things happened and it was a crazy-crazy-fabulous convention, but those are the highlights that I can remember. One thing is for sure, I’ll definitely be going again!

That’s all I have to say for now, but stay tuned: in a few days I’ll write up a post about everything that happened at the Brisbane Writers Festival. That was also fabulous!