Monday 24 March 2008

Desperately Seeking the Active in Interactive

Happy Easter! Have a tree!

Kingley Vale. photo by Candy Gourlay

England was totally utterly beautiful this past Easter weekend, if skin-peelingly cold. But my inner calm was shattered when I left this tranquil scene to discover that I had three days before I flew to Italy for SCBWI's conference on the eve of the big Bologna Children's Book Fair.

And this year, I am a speaker. Yes, yes, I'm talking about the internet again (can't talk about writing until a publisher takes pity on me and gives me a contract). And at this late stage I have only one thing to tell you about my talk.


I haven't designed my own name tag (delegates are supposed to impress each other with their self-designed name tags). I haven't researched the speakers yet, and have nothing intelligent to ask them. I haven't read the manuscripts sent to me for the critique session. And I haven't prepared my talk ...

Luckily, just the other day my brain quietly filed something away about uber YA author Melvin Burgess and the internet. That should be something interesting and fresh and talk-worthy. So I google 'Melvin Burgess' and 'internet'.

Looks like Mel has been posting vlogs (video blogs, keep up guys!) to promote his new book Sara's Face about a girl obsessed by fame.

The Times Online article had one episode of the vlog.

Naturally, I want to embed it right here for your viewing pleasure. So I go to YouTube and search for 'Burgess' 'Sara's Face' 'vlog'. Nothing. I go to Mel's website. But there are no links to the video. Oh, didn't Melvin say it was going to be on Spinebreakers , Penguin's proprietary portal for its YA books? But when I go to the page with the Sara's Face vlogs, there is no embed code (that's like, the thing you cut and paste so the video shows on your blog? Basically, this is what's supposedly VIRAL about the web).


I really really wanted to post that video.

But no worries. I've found Rule Number One for my talk at Bologna about authors and the internet.
It's not about the author. It's about the reader.
Listen up, authors. When your readers look you up online, they want to talk to you, comment about your work, download you, share you - they want to INTERACT. Interactive. Heard that word before?

So make it easy, please.

Having said all that, Spinebreakers is running a cool competition inviting readers aged over 13 to 'vlog' a rant about fame. Go on, Buy the book, Rant the rant!


  1. Hi Candy,

    Looking forward to Bologna!
    Do you mean the sort of videos you get on this site?


  2. oops. i put the wrong link on that bit. i will correct it!

    mel burgess actually condensed scenes from his novels into a series of video blogs, with an actress playing his main character. click here to see the vlogs.

    the meet the author website does a great job of giving an author a chance to get their face out there online. but i know authors who do the video and then that's it ... the website itself is a youtube dedicated to author videos. but there's a lot of other work to be done getting it out there where real readers trawl!

  3. Speaking of the internet ... Blogger is acting up again. When i corrected the broken link, Blogger kindly stripped away all the images. When I restored the images, Blogger did something to the links.

    The Times article about Melvin Burgess and the Internet is found on


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