Australian PM Calls Timber Companies Ultimate Conservationists


I was away only for a few days and managed to miss joke of the week: PM Tony Abbott calling timber companies ultimate conservationists.

To the joy of Australia’s forestry industry, our PM has declared no more Australian forests will be locked up by national parks and he is committed to remove 74,000 hectares of Tasmanian forest from World Heritage listing.

PM Abbott has earlier submitted the proposal to delist the zone from World Heritage, rebuking the move by the previous government to list the area as a conservation zone. Australia’s laughable request will be considered in the June’s meeting of  World Heritage Committee in Qatar.

I guess he thinks you can easily replant trees,  but forgets that it takes many long years, and meanwhile wild animals are left homeless and the earth rapidly warms up. I wouldn’t comment about Prime Minister’s stand today, but on this occasion I want the world to know that most Australians don’t agree with him. In my few days away, three friends managed to mention forestry as pertaining to Australia to me, and I commented based on stumbled-upons I have kept encountering during my research for my WIP Heart of Borneo. Here they are,

  • Sandra, a Sydneysider who is a foster parent of orang-utans said, “I recently asked my home builder not to use Indonesian merbau because that’s the wood taken from orang-utans’ forests, but he ignores me saying that’s what’s available.”

I said to Sandra, “Australia is a primary market for smuggled illegal timber. WWF has been complaining that every year Australia imports over $400 millions  of illegally cut wood from unapproved sites.”

  • Patrick, a naval officer, said, “Forest Crime is something I have seen first hand. Way back in 1986 I was involved in rescue and recovery of bodies from a hillside village on Solomon Islands after rain from Cyclone Namu caused a mudslide. Timber companies rape the hillsides without care. Was still happening when I was there in 2006. I wonder how many people stop to consider that the cheap meranti timber at Bunnings was once the jungle trees of Borneo and Sumatra.”

I said to Pat, “After Aceh’s tsunami, WWF campaigned for Timber for Aceh because Indonesia simply didn’t have wood to rebuild 250,000 houses unless they hack conservation forests. Norway, Germany, and Australia agreed to help. But, WWF discovered AusAID was going to donate timber from disputed Solomon Islands’ forests that had been forbidden to Australian logging companies. Masking under timber for charity, Australian companies imposed their will on the locals and decimated their forests. WWF Indonesia then rejected this timber because they only accept certified wood from undisputed sustainable source.”

  • Roxane, the kids’ French teacher said a few days ago a TV program  showed that wood from Indonesia in Australia is mostly illegal. Heck yes, of course, while Indonesia has been at pains trying hard to eradicate illegal logging, Australian vast housing industry buys timber from the forest criminals. Unlike European countries that demand certified wood from sustainable forests, Australia accepts crime proceeds.



Hornsby Waterclock

This post is part of my New Authors’ Pathfinder blog series.

Author brand is how people perceive you as an author.

  • What you write: how you connect readers emotionally with your writing.
  • The quality of your work.
  • Your voice: how you are special. Novelists have unique voice—no-one can reproduce your work (while non-fictions are easy to copy). This identity is yours alone; nobody can take this away from you.

Branding is telling readers you have what they want.

You want to be known for your uniqueness. For example: Roald Dahl, author of hilarious, outrageous children adventure books.

Strong brands result in sales and loyal readership. They make choice easier for readers because they represent greater value and lower risk of disappointment.

When you write two genres, avoid readers’ confusion by creating a new brand, such as using a penname for this second brand, while telling them your first brand.

Defining your brand

You are your brand.

  • Who are you?
  • What do you stand for?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • Why is your book a must read?

Create distinction in the market place. Use the same solid messages clearly and consistently in every presentation:

  • One-sentence author brand:

–          This is a one-line description about who you are and your genre.
–          Focus on what makes you different.
–          Make it keyword rich.
–          Use this as your written tagline on your website and blog.
–          Use this as your spoken message points in interviews/conferences.

  • Visual tools:

–          Author headshot: clear, high quality photo that shows you are approachable.
–          Theme colour: colour scheme that your product will be associated with (book cover, website, stationary, etc).
–          Signature fonts.
–          Brand logo.
–          Unique supporting images.


  • Your conduct in public.

Evaluate and refine your brand continuously.


Brand foundation

Nobody is aware of a new author’s brand. Start brand building early through publicity. Establish connection with readers:

  • Participate in online forums, community, and book events.  Create a buzz:

–          If you a total newbie, introduce yourself as an aspiring author and people are bound to ask about what you do.
–          If you a speaker in a conference, mention your upcoming book in your bio.
–          If you already have a public presence, talk about your upcoming book to the media.

  • Give out free sample chapters everywhere possible. All the time consistently maintain your professional presentation. Show people the best of you. If your unique style and subject matter impress them, they will tell others. Upload your free excerpts onto:

–          CreateSpace Preview Gallery

Promote this preview wherever possible in real life and on your social media.

–          Wattpad
–          Facebook notes (under your “About”)
–          Your website (read how to set up a blog in section 2.3.1)
–          Your blog (read how to set up a blog in 2.3.2)

Make it known this sneak peek is available. Tell people where to find it, and use the #free tag when you tweet it.

  • Get an endorsement from an established author or from a leading expert in the topic. A cover quote is an emotional drive and a stamp of impressive quality.

How do you get a well-respected author to endorse you? Ask. You can’t be worse off.

SydneysSong torch keyring


Building brand awareness

How to create a buzz:

Offer review copies.

  • Do this well ahead of your book launch, because most book reviewers are extremely busy people.
  • Of course, continue to offer this well after the launch, because it will continue to generate publicity.
  • Most of reviewers shun self-published authors, and considering the majority of indie work out there you can’t blame them. Therefore, in your review-request letter don’t forget to mention who is your literary editor.
  • Where to find reviewers:

–          The listing compiled by writers’ centres
–          Book_Reviewers Directory
–          The-Book-Reviewer-Yellow-Pages
–          Readers’ Favorite
–          From among your quality friends.

  • Credible reviewer groups that accept work by self-published authors with a fee:

–          Kirkus Reviews
–          Net Galley
–          Publishers Weekly
–          etc

Be available for interviews. Let reviewers/book-bloggers know this.

Advertising, free and paid. See PART TWO on marketing.

Continue to refine your brand after you publish. Identify what might be missing.

Note: Manage the above steps on your own. If you hire a book publicist,  make sure to have a detailed contract on what your publicist will do for you before you sign any agreement.

SydneysSong iPhone5 cover

Your name, book title, and website’s name

 The criteria for your author name, book title, and website’s name:

  • No middle name or middle initial. If there is no way out, use the full word instead of an initial in the middle.
  • The book title should:

–          capture the essence of your book.
–          be catchy.
–          be easy to say and to remember. People should remember it without having to write it down.

  • Your website’s name:

–          Use your name if you already have a strong public presence.
–          If you are a first-time author, or if your focus is to promote the product, use your book title.
–          Avoid a long name. When you mention it in passing, people should remember it without having to write it down.
–          Continue building your brand awareness. When you have written a few books, use your author name.

  • Unique. You want search engines to list your name/book/website in the first-page results.


  Creating your book and your online sites

  • Apply your brand’s visual tools when you set up your book and your online sites.
  • You can outsource most of the next steps, but you must have knowledge about what to tell those you hire, and what to check when they show you the results.
  • If you opt to do most of the doable preparations yourself, you will save more funds towards marketing.

I will show how to do the above in detailed steps next time.

Have a great week!