If you follow this blog, you know that over the past few years, I have been a presenter at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference and Author Solutions has been a lead sponsor for both the conference and the Indie Publishing Contest. Along with being one of the best conferences in the country, the panels and and speakers have often been almost prophetic in their comments on publishing. Furthermore, it has been interesting to see the change in attitude toward indie publishing over the past few years. Whereas, just a few years, it was dismissed as a career killer, now it is promoted and explained as the most sane way for authors to get published. So what were people talking about this year?
- Not that long ago, no one could get published. Today everybody can get published. One of the panelists who I sat with said that she had attended the conference for many years. Not that long ago, one of the keynote speakers looked out at the crowd and told them, “you know none of you will likely ever get published”. While I am sure the speaker thought she was being helpful and truthful, it was actually discouraging and demotivating. Well, the panelist said, she wanted to let everyone know that while that may have been true a few years ago, “today everyone in the audience could be published.” That is why I have been saying for years, this truly is the best time in history to be an author.
- No matter how you publish, make sure you get your manuscript edited. It is no surprise really, but I think I heard it in every session I attended. Make the investment to get your book edited. And that doesn’t mean have your daughter who is an English major, read the manuscript. It means hire someone with experience in the genre you are writing to read through, comment and correct. While your first draft may have everything you want to say written down, it can only be made better with editing.
- Be sure you think long and hard about your book pricing. The price of your book should be part of your marketing strategy and so you want to be able to set your price to be competitive in the market place.
- Try a 99 cent or free e-book promotion at some point. Digital readers have made books impulse purchases and so to stimulate demand and take advantage of word of mouth, you should strongly consider running a limited promotion at some point with a very cheap or free ebook. If your book is good, people will tell others and you will see a return on that promotion in the months that follow.
- Publishing is still a dream for many people that can now come true. One of the joys for me personally is being able to present the grand prize for the winner of the Indie Publishing writing contest. This year, when I announced the winner,Azadeh Tabazadeh, who wrote the memoir The Sky Detective, she stood up, cried tears of joy and said, “you have made my dreams come true”. I really look forward to reading her book. It is her story about how she escaped from Iran with her brother and cousin. Look for her book when it comes out. I think it is going to be quite good.
- Agents are getting into self publishing. More and more agents are trying to figure out how to add value in the current environment and many of them are now turning to self publishing as way to cultivate talent and build platforms for new authors before they pitch the books to traditional houses.
Once again, it was a great conference and it gave me greater evidence that the Indie Revolution in publishing is in full bloom.