How I turned my TRAVEL habit into a BOOK!
You log on to the internet one day and open your email. There’s a message from someone you don’t know who turns out to be a managing editor for a major publishing company. She asks if you’re interested in turning part of your blog into a book.
No, this is NOT a hoax!
A couple of days later you speak on the phone. No joke, she’s for real. You get some photos together and write a few sample pages of copy. Yes, it’s all good. The contract arrives in the mail. You finish the book and send off the manuscript. It’s printed and distributed nationally.
It sounds so ecstatically, idyllically, unbelievably unlikely, doesn’t it?!
But that’s EXACTLY what happened when an Explore Australia managing editor, emailed me to ask if I wanted to turn my ‘Australia’s Scenic Public Toilets’ blog series into a book.
After taking approximately .0001 of a nanosecond to formulate my response to her question, the book progressed pretty much along the lines of my fantasy scenario above.
Yes, I had it easy. Go on … admit it! I’m paraphrasing your thoughts RIGHT NOW, aren’t I?
Whether I am or not, there’s no doubt luck played a BIG part in my journey to publication.
BUT luck played virtually NO part in the back story. Those years of travel, photography, experiences, story telling and discovery was hard work – all at my own expense – that took place without knowing a future publication deal depended on it.
Over a decade ago when I found my first Scenic Public Toilet at Kata Tjuta, I didn’t even have a blog, let alone a book. I just thought it’d be interesting to find Australia’s most scenic loo so I started taking photos of the good ones. As well as photographing all the other cool stuff I found on my Australian travels. Then I got tired of the demand for my travel newsletters and emails and of giving good postcard to my family and friends.
So in February 2010 I decided to put it all together in one place and
Red’s Aussie Round-up Amazing Australian Adventures RedzAustralia was born!
I found readers from all around the world who seemed to like the stories and photographs I posted of my travels in obscure parts of Australia – and my unique series ‘Australia’s Scenic Public Toilets’
And over the next few years, I found 7 RED Hot Rules of blogging that worked for me.
1. The Individuality Ideal
Find your own voice! While I struggle with brevity, my laconic, ironic, comic, self-deprecating story-based style, with intriguing facts, oddities or photos inserted at weak critical points in the narrative was a reaction against the concise, factual, straightforward communications from my previous life. But it’s mine. ALL mine!!
2. The Originality Objective
Know your niche! When you can’t possibly fail to realise you’re reading Red Nomad OZ at RedzAustralia my work will be done. To make that happen, the Aussie Loos with Views series is just one of several unique factors on my blog. Others include my sensational writing, awesome photography and superb wit, of course!
3. The Tenacity Tenet
Stick to it! My ‘call’ to publication came after 4 years of blogging and 300+ posts. And since the Kata Tjuta loo triggered the whole concept more than 10 years ago, my archives contained photos of well over 100 loos with views from all around the country, with over 30 featured on my blog. My body of work proved I could scare up a book!
4. The Friendliness Factor
Be sociable! I’ve spent countless hours reading and commenting on other blogs, working social media (look for my brand – Red Nomad OZ – across the networks), and participating in communities, groups and forums. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it AND enjoyed the rewards.
5. The Possibility Principle
Take the opportunities! If I’d held out for payment for every guest post or interview I did, I wouldn’t have been the go-to girl for Aussie Loos with Views when Explore Australia came looking. It really IS true – who knows which contact/s and opportunities will lead to something bigger and better?
6. The Maturity Measure
Move forward! Same old + Same old = Stagnation. Development + Experimentation = Growth! The differences between my early posts and later ones are significant, although my developing personal style is a common factor. I’ve just given my blog an exciting new look to match its progress over the last 4½ years! I hope you like it 🙂
7. The Fun Factor
Do it because you LOVE it! Even without my blog I’d be travelling around Australia, taking photos and writing about what I saw in some form or another anyway. I hit the blogging doldrums awhile back and took a break. But now I know blogging is a no-brainer for me – it’s what I do, and what I love doing.
And while there’s no guarantee that following my 7 RED Hot Rules of Blogging will lead to a publication contract for you, I probably wouldn’t have got my book contract without them!
Yes, I was lucky.
And YOU can get lucky too! Aussie Loos with Views has just been reprinted so grab a copy while you can!
- Click HERE for my Weekend Sunrise Interview just before Aussie Loos with Views! was released
- All About Aussie Loos with Views! INCLUDING WHERE TO GET IT!
- Explore Australia