'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 30 April 2011

Guest Post: Sally Hall of Need to Read This

Kids Book Review warmly welcomes dedicated kids' book aficionado, Sally Hall of Need to Read This. Here she tells us about her wonderful new website.

The idea of a website dedicated to Australian Authors was suggested to me by children’s author Sandy Fussell (of Samurai Kids fame). Sandy is full of amazing ideas but she didn’t have the time to make this one come to life so she ‘gave’ it to me.

I researched existing websites and found lots of older style sites that hadn’t been updated regularly. While many author websites list links to their favourite sites, I couldn’t find a contemporary website that acted as a ‘hub’ to promote not only Australian books but also the authors who created them.

With the help of my sister-in-law Uma, I scoured the internet researching content, including Writers’ Centre's, authors, illustrators, blogs, rejection sites, resources for aspiring authors and much more. I wrote some book reviews and added some fun stuff like the Lyrics section (those we love and those that make us cringe) and Island Reading (what books would you throw in your bag if you had a premonition you were going to be stranded on a desert island?).

In the first ‘edition’ of the website I interviewed Sandy Fussell (feature author), Shirley Marr (feature book – Fury) and Liane Moriarty (feature blog or website). I was very excited when they all agreed to be part of my website launch.

I created a database of email addresses of publishers, authors, illustrators, writers’ centres and friends, and sent out a link announcing my brand new website.

The reaction was truly overwhelming. I had compliments filling my in-box within hours. Clearly, Sandy’s idea had been a good one. Authors who weren’t on my original email list contacted me with requests to be added to the site. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face when I realised my marketing had gone viral!

Publishers and authors started sending me review copies of their books to be featured on the site and it has snow-balled from there.

The website is already evolving. Recently, I introduced new features including a competition (this month you can win one of four copies of The Rosie Black Chronicles – Book 1 by Lara Morgan), Librarian's Reports as well as Random Acts of Publicity (to help promote a brand new author) and book reviews by kids.

I had hoped to achieve a good looking, functional website to not only test my design skills but to promote the wonderful Australian books and authors we, as a country, have produced. I think it’s important to create books that are home-grown so that as readers we can genuinely identify with the time or place.

I’m extraordinarily pleased with the results I’ve achieved in such a short period of time. I hope to continue to promote Australian books, authors, illustrators and publishers for many years to come. Plus, I’m definitely keeping all the fun stuff too… I’d love to hear what books your readers would recommend as being of Need to Read This status.

See more at needtoreadthis.com