It’s always exciting for me to present at a new conference. Making the circuit in my region means I’m often speaking to overlapping communities, so a new venue means I get to meet new people…and help a whole new group of writers! Recently I had the pleasure of presenting at The Writer’s Center’s Publish Now! conference. From 9am – 5pm on Saturday, attendees received comprehensive information and advice about how to take their writing from a manuscript to a book, or possibly an ebook, in this age of digital publishing. Presentation topics included publishing, writing, legal/business, and marketing.
About 100 writers crowded into one room for the day’s sessions. Though I found all the speakers very interesting, I was particularly happy to hear lawyer Cynthia Blake Sanders and literary agent Laura Strachan discuss the intricacies and complexities of copyright law including “fair use.” I get a lot of questions from clients about what they can quote in their own books and how to go ahead without inviting a lawsuit, so I know the audience benefitted greatly from these ladies’ presentation. (Look for a post discussing these issues in more detail in the near future, as I have my advice to share as well.) I also enjoyed the featured speaker of the day, Justin Branch of Greenleaf Book Group, a nationally known publishing, marketing, and distribution company. He provided an overview of the changing publishing landscape and offered guidance on how to maneuver in the changing world of ebooks and digital publishing. Greenleaf has an interesting hybrid model where they are selective about which projects they take on, but they are still a fee-based publishing service and not a traditional publisher. It was good to show new authors some alternatives to the usual suspects vying for their dollars.
Perhaps the best part of the day, however, was hearing how each speaker emphasized the need for hiring good professionals if you don’t have the skills required for successful self-publishing. Author C.M. Mayo‘s handout contained this nugget, which warmed my heart: “Know ye that everyone, including widely published writers and especially new writers, massively underestimates the amount of editing that needs to be done. Repeat that 11 times.” Thank you, C.M.!
Together, my friend and colleague Angela Render and I capped off the day with our talk, “Developing Your Marketing Plan.” Your book might be the world’s greatest work of literature, but no one’s going to read it if they don’t know it exists! If you’re self-publishing, you have to develop a marketing plan. We explained why it won’t work to just follow someone else’s template, and focused on how audience members could get their brains on straight so they can think about their books as the center of a custom marketing plan.
Thanks to our hosts at the Writer’s Center, especially Wilson Wyatt and Stewart Moss.