The Rising Sun 2016.04 (8)
Our class venue, at the historic Rising Sun Hotel in Auburn, South Australia
I was lucky enough to spend the past weekend in the Clare Valley, South Australia, learning how to build my brand as a writer, with bestselling fiction writer Fiona McIntosh and an impressive panel of industry experts.

To start, all 24 delegates received an individual photography sitting with Juan Van Staden, which demonstrated the importance of having a professional image to accompany our writing.

Over the next two days, us writers were treated to fascinating insight into the world of marketing an author, as well as their books.

Dan Ruffino from Simon & Schuster and Lou Ryan from Penguin Random House provided a publisher’s perspective into how an author is built into a brand name and how this makes a difference to the book buying and reading audience.

Bethany Clark, marketing strategist from MD Word Republic, gave strategic advice on the dos-and-don’ts authors should keep in mind when creating their brand. Bethany also discussed the role of an agent and the benefits they can provide an author. It was interesting to note the lack of opportunities for an author to submit books to US and UK publishers without an agent, while Australian publishers tend to be somewhat more accessible to authors.

The final day was rounded off by Jason Lehmann, head of Argon Design, who led a hands-on workshop exploring the world of web design and how to best use social media to build our brand, profile and audience.

Build your brand
Some extra take-home goodies
As well as the fantastic opportunity to learn more about the business of being a writer beyond putting words on a page, it’s always lots of fun to meet with other writers, and such a privilege to spent time with such a funny and talented group of people. A big thank you to all involved, including Fiona’s support team who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the weekend ran smoothly and kept us well topped up with coffee on the chilly Auburn mornings.

I can’t wait to see what Fiona has in store for next year – her masterclasses and professional weekends are a must-do for anyone who is serious about becoming a writer.