Social networks boost sales of survival story

The author of a biography who used social media networks to promote his book saw it shoot to number 26 on the Amazon UK best-seller list.

Douglas Rogers’ The Last Resort – A Memoir of Zimbabwe was released in the UK in April and by the end of the month had become the number two selling biography.

A digital-era writer, Rogers uses the global reach of social networking sites Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Flickr and his blog ( to supplement the historical forms of book promotion. He provides a forum for his audience that he personally maintains.

The Facebook presence for the book began on May 19, 2009, with the book published in the USA in September of 2009.

Events related to the book are advertised online; information on book readings, author events, media reviews, reader feedback, links, radio serialisation and images are published.

Rogers said this week from New York it was the new kind of marketing for books and other art forms.

“I have been fortunate to have two close friends who work in advertising who have helped me along the way – far more than my publisher,” he said.

“McCann Erikson [New York] creative director Ahmer Kalam [who] did my cover and designed my website and video too, said from the start to establish relationships with readers.

“There are so many more published writers out there now that it is hard to get your book noticed or for publishers to market them all.”

The book is ultimately a love story, one of hope and intrigue that does not dwell on victimhood.

Rogers, an international journalist based in New York, listens to his mother and returns to ‘Drifters’, the once thriving backpacker lodge his parents own in rural eastern Zimbabwe.

Far removed from the first world, he finds his story. He deftly recounts events in Zimbabwe while focussing on the survival-driven transformation of the lodge and its people.

He finds Zimbabweans struggling under Mugabe’s dictatorship and disastrous land reform policies. Yet life goes on; the lodge is re-invented as a brothel, patronised by illicit diamond dealers and prostitutes while evicted farmers and persecuted politicians find refuge in the chalets.

The author shares his journey of discovery as he finds a new understanding and admiration for the courage, resilience and ‘make-a-plan’ attitude of ordinary black and white Zimbabweans.

“I have come to know and appreciate how amazing Zimbabwe was and can be again,” Rogers said.

Douglas Rogers is a journalist, travel writer and author.

The Last Resort – A Memoir of Zimbabwe is to have its Australian release this month.

One Response to “Social networks boost sales of survival story”
  1. desley bartlett says:

    A nice twist on the standard book review, Gill. Congratulations on your first publication.

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