At least mine is...
It's summer in Sydney and I happen to live in one of it's lovely beach areas. I'm not really a sun worshipper because girls with red hair (sadly) are not designed for that sort of activity - big hats, sunscreen and long sleeves are more in my wheelhouse but I love the beach.
This week Travel Zoo released its list of best beaches in Australia and I was not surprised to find two of my favourites in the Top 10. As you'll see Shelley Beach and Manly Beach are often in my photos.
Anyway, I thought I'd share some of my own more recent beach shots with you so you can get a taste of life her on Sydney's Northern Beaches. We have a small boat we like to explore Sydney Harbour on so I'm lucky that I get to photograph it from land and sea.
I often go for a walk at the beach to clear my head when writing and when it's not so hot (we're having a heatwave right now) I also like to go and write down by the water.
My most recent novels aren't set here but both my first two both have scenes on the Northern Beaches - Hearts Afire just towards the end and Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a set in beautiful Manly.
So enjoy the photos and if you feel the urge to escape to the beach via a book consider one of those.
Excuse me? I'm a person not a brand.
I have lots of author friends who are new to social media and they're not sure where to start. Quite frankly I give them the same advice I give to teenagers.
The first piece of advice anyway and that is (drumroll) don't put anything on there you wouldn't want a close family member to read. If your relatives are fine with explicit language and shots of your butt then you're going to have more scope than I would but remember, you can't take it back. So like that fifteen year old girl you better be sure that cleavage shot won't come back to haunt you.
The second piece of advice I offer is to know what your brand is?
I know what you're thinking - I'm not a brand. Lego is a brand. Starbucks is a brand. Pepsi is a brand. You think you're just a person but an author is a product and you need to brand yourself effectively. You need to do this so that people know what to expect from you and also to help you stand out in the crazy marketplace.
You need to think about what you write? An author who writes literary fiction is going to have a different brand than someone who illustrates children's books. The sexy romance author is going to be different to the horror writer.
Let's take me as an example - I figure if you're here you know who I am . I write chicklit and romantic comedies. These books are supposed to be an escape from the everyday hum-drum of life. I call it fun, flirty fiction and I imagine my readers on buses, on beaches and lying in bed at the end of the day. So my brand is fun and flirty and about escaping from the stress of the day to day. And most of my readers are women because of the genre I write.
So apart from things related to my novels and books in general I also post mainly about the following things. Coffee (because I like it and I like to escape with a coffee), sometimes wine or cocktails (again I like wine), friendship (my novels have a strong friendship component and women value friendship) and the beach (because that's where I escape to). Another part of my brand is where I live. I'm an Australian author living on Sydney's Northern Beaches so I often post things about Australia and Sydney. That's me...if you look at my Facebook and Twitter and blog you'll find those images and topics reappear.
I don't write really sexy romances so I don't share pictures of bare-chested men. I don't write historical romances so I don't share vintage dresses and houses - knowing your brand helps you exclude topics as well. People aren't confused when they visit you on social media if you're consistent.
The advantage of knowing your brand is then when you're looking for content you can search for things in those areas. It gives you a place to start in your daily quest to find new and hopefully engaging content.
So ask yourself this - what's your author brand?
(In part 2 I'll give you some good examples of authors who I think nail the branding).