Indie ReCon and the Self Publishing Summit

indierecon logo Summit logo final cropped

Two weeks ago I attended the Indie ReCon online. If you are interested in publishing, I highly encourage you to bookmark indierecon.org or get on the mailing list for next year’s ReCon.

The event is a nice mix of video and post and included such indie powerhouses as Belle Andre & Barbara Freethy, Joanna Penn, H.M. Ward, many others. There were also several Twitter Q & A sessions using the #indierecon hashtag.

I believe everything is still available at the indierecon.org website. Registration allowed attendees to enter for prizes and I won two: Indie and Proud by Christine Fonseca and a year’s subscription to the Bublish dashboard, which I’m really looking forward to exploring.

Topics ranged from marketing to income to a wonderful Thirteen Reasons You are Not as Successful as You Should Be.

The Self-Publishing Summit was also ongoing in April, with another set of video interviews put together by John Tighe, author of Crush it With Kindle.  Most of the videos are available on his YouTube channel.

The best part about these free, online events is that you are not required to attend live. Both of them provided emails to alert you to a beginning session or provide you with the link for the playback. I did attend as many as I could in case I had questions for the guests, but watched just as many on playback.

If you aren’t sure you are interested in publishing (writing is a calling. Authorship is very much a business), it’s worth your time to check some of the presentations and educate yourself on what is involved. If you know already that you want to publish, you’ll find information for both beginners and those already on the path along with a nice mix of practical tips and strategy.

I’ll put up another announcement next year when registration opens for those who are interested. In the meantime, check out the contents of these events at IndieRecon.org and Self Publishing Summit.


 

Did you attend either event? What was your biggest takeaway?

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Nuts & Bolts of Publishing

TSM Recommends: Podcasts for Writers

The Sarcastic Muse supports all paths to publishing, from traditional to self to indie press. For those considering the authorpreneur route of publishing, the crew at Sterling and Stone has put together a series full of useful information.

If you aren’t familiar with the Self Publishing Podcast or Garrett Robinson, this series is a collaboration. The video series includes the things not often talked about on blogs such as how to compile a manuscript, how to upload it, and  practical things that anyone interested in self-publishing has to know. I had to work most of it out on my own, but there’s no reason you have to. It’s a good series and not  yet complete. It’s also a mini-course on Scrivener (in terms of using it to help publish), which is good, useful information.

Here are the videos completed so far:

Authorpreneur Nuts & Bolts #1: Introduction

Authorpreneur Nuts & Bolts #2: Learn How to Self-Publish

Authorpreneur Nuts & Bolts #3: How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book?

Authorpreneur Nuts & Bolts #4: How to Use Scrivener (the Basics)

Authorpreneur Nuts & Bolts #5: How to Format Front Matter in Scrivener

Authorpreneur Nuts & Bolts #6: How to Format Back Matter in Scrivener

Authorpreneur Nuts & Bolts #7: How to Use Scrivener Collections

The series won’t be complete for a while, but wanted to let you know about it now so you can catch the videos.


What is your favorite go-to source for publishing information?

 

The Importance of Networking

A good handshake is a must! (c) Yoel

A good handshake is a must! (c) Yoel

Does the thought of talking to strangers make your palms sweat, stomach knot, and stir up utter panic?  Well, guess what buttercup – as a writer, you better get over that.  In the writing industry, talking to strangers (a.k.a. networking) is a must.  A simple and useful tool, networking takes little time and can drastically help your authorship.  Today, it is not enough to publish a book and just put it out there for the readers to grab.  In addition to marketing your platform, you have to get out there and network yourself among the masses.  Networking is a free way to connect with other writers and learn from their experiences.  In addition, authors love to promote other authors as we all know the struggles of self-marketing and publishing.  Networking can also stir up potential readers and raise their curiosity about your works.  Nothing draws in people more than a firm handshake and a friendly smile.

Here are a few tips on how to network yourself:

1) Practice, practice, practice – Grab a friend and work on your elevator pitch.  Make it short, sweet, and too the point as people tend to lose interest in lengthy monologues.  Practice your handshake and asking questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no.  Questions are the perfect kindling for long lasting conversation.

2) Know yourself and your strengths – Do you specialize in anything or have an interesting story?  Use that to your advantage when interacting with someone new who doesn’t know you or what you do.  As you speak, allow your passion for the topic to shine through.  When people see how deeply you hold the topic to your heart, they will be instantly drawn to it.

3) Listen – Most people love to talk; all people love being listened to.  Open your ears and take in what others have to say.  Engage them in conversation based off what they are talking about.  Also, show genuine interest in what they are saying as they may be very passionate about it.  By keeping your ears open and staying engaged, you will form a lasting connection with someone and possibly pick up on tidbits of information that may strengthen your writing career.

4) Go Local – There are large networking events organized by corporations that you can participate in.  Usually, a fee and extensive travel is involved in these events.  However, most writers live in a writer’s centric community – and have no idea.  Websites, such as Meetup.com, are a fantastic way to meet others who are involved in the writing craft.  Join.  Attend.  Make new friends!

5) Become a Con junkie – Conventions are an amazing way to meet new people.  I cannot even begin to name the different types of conventions that exist for all genres and categories of writing.  Do not pass up these opportunity to attend and meet others.  As a bonus, attend as a guest author and speak on panels.  Not only do you have the opportunity to sell your book (and do book signings), but you also have a chance to obtain more readers after they hear you speak on a panel.

6) Business Cards – Always have your business cards on hand.  Business cards are the simplest way to pass on your contact information as they are reminders about who you are.  These little cards are one of the best investments that you can make.  For more information on business cards, see Robyn LaRue’s post 10 Uses for Author Business Cards.

7) Freebies – People love free stuff. Always keep something on hand that, when given away, helps to make you memorable.  Kirsten Blacketer, at her recent book signing, gave away Kisses (of the Hershey variety – she is a romance writer after all).  Freebies can be anything, such as candy to free book promos to cover art post cards.  Make your freebie something memorable.

6) Follow-up – Always make sure you follow-up with anyone that you connect with if you have exchanged contact information.  You never ever know where that connection could lead.  There is always a chance that it could very well lead somewhere that is extremely beneficial to your writing career.

Some of you are going to read all of this and say Yes! Yes! Yes!, while others are going to go curl up in the corner and cry.

To all you introverted, shy writers out there – you must participate in networking.  Trust me, I know all too well how difficult it is.  It has taken me 10 years to come out of my shell, and even to this day I struggle with it (afterall, I am an extreme introvert).  In fact yesterday evening, I saw a New York Times Bestselling Horror author sitting outside of the local coffee shop by himself, reading a newspaper, and I just walked by him with a smile and a quick ‘Hello’.  I was too nervous and feared that I would have been intruding, so I just kept walking.  I lost a perfect opportunity to connect with someone who writes in the same genre and has an exuberant amount of experience.  Needless to say, I am still kicking myself.

If you are a shy writer, you just have to get over it and get your face out there.  Yes, it is terrifying.  Yes, you will be a nervous wreck.  Yes, you will be worried about every single word that you utter.  But you know what?  Once it is over, you are done (for the time being) and you will be extremely happy with yourself.  Not only will you have taken a huge step in your life and writing career, but you will have made a lot of new connections.

I cannot stress enough the importance of networking.  Your authorship is your business and should be treated as such.  No one gets to where they are without help from others.  We all need support in order obtain our goals.  Networking is the perfect opportunity to start building that support web.

Have any tips that have helped you to network?  Please share in the comments below.

10 Uses for the Author Business Card

10 Uses for Author Business Cards

Do you have a business card as a writer or author? Have you thought about it? Business cards are a good idea with lots of uses.

Just a quick tip: First, make sure your card stands out. A signature color, logo, or something that draws attention is good. Also make sure that you use a legible font and include only details you want widely public (for example, I omitted my address and phone number).

Here are ten ways you might not have thought of to use your business cards:

  1. One clever idea, which I will implement when the third Family Secrets novel comes out, is to use the space on one side of the card for thumbnails of three books. It’s almost a perfect fit. Then put your info on the back along with a link to where you prefer people to buy them. It’s an immediate sales tool in the guise of a business card.
  2. For non-fiction, put your cover on one side (vertical) with where to buy below and your info on the other side.
  3. Use mailing labels on the back to offer a discount code or free download. Include the URL and the code, and boldly say “half off” or “free” or “complimentary.” By using mailing labels you can switch out the codes and track results.
  4. Stick them in books as bookmarks when you sign or send them out.
  5. Put a QR  code on the back and offer a free book or promotion.
  6. If you are still struggling to be discovered (as most of us are), take a box of cards with you to your next comicon type event. People stand in line forever at these things. Hand out cards with your book details to those who express interest (QR codes works great for this but be sure to include a website for the non-smart phone users).
  7. Again using the free code, write a brief personal note and hand out to your favorite waitress, carpool members, selected coworkers, and casual acquaintances. Though I’d say try to focus on people that might like your book, be generous. You never know and the six degrees of separation is an actual thing. Also, this becomes a gift rather than “buy my book,” which most folks appreciate.
  8. Take them to conferences and writers groups. Again, the more a card stands out and clearly states who you are, the better.
  9. When you meet someone you want to talk to further, write your phone number on the back along with where you met or a phrase to spark the recipient’s memory (especially useful for conferences and gatherings where business cards are frequent).
  10. Scan your card and put it in the sidebar on your website. A well designed card is a great image and your important information is right up front. (Hint: if you choose a dark color, it may be difficult to scan. See example below.)

Your business card is more than a networking tool. It is good will, an invitation, a gift, advertising, and promotion all rolled into one, depending on how you use it.

The card is an eggshell finish with a warm brown. It does not scan well.

The card is an eggshell finish with a warm dark brown. It does not scan well.

Do you have business cards as a writer/author? How do you use them?