Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Publishing University 2013

Friday and Saturday I attended Publishing University, a day and a half workshop sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association, which was held in Chicago. I previously attended Pub U in 2010 as a scholarship recipient. On that occasion it took place in New York. Since Chicago is an easy drive from St. Louis as well as a more economical city in general compared to New York, I decided to attend this year. Another woman from the St. Louis Publishers Association and I drove over together and shared a room. Additionally there were two other members of our organization who were there as well.

Guy Kawasaki
The opening speaker on Friday was Guy Kawasaki, former evangelist for Apple computers as well as a published author. His new book Ape (subtitled Author Publisher Entrepreneur) was released recently, so he shared his experiences in getting it ready to go to the printer. He had hundreds of beta readers go through the book before turning it over to a couple of trusted reviewers. Then he gave it to an editor. She came back with over 1,400 errors! As they say, you can never have too many eyes looking at your book. He joked that the name of his book can be a noun or a verb. "I aped my book!" He was very entertaining as well as full of helpful suggestions, so that certainly started the conference off on a good note.

Publishing University vendors
Up next was a general session on publishing trends and best practices, followed by one on eBook sales and their buyers. The last general session was Inventory on Demand, and the public's expectation to buy it and get it now. Your book needs to be listed In Stock and available for shipment, or you will lose the sale. I followed those up with a breakout session on meta data that was over my head, but then attended one on secrets to selling more books on Amazon. That speaker was awesome, and offered up solid numbers on book pricing and return on investment. The day wrapped up with a reception in the exhibit hall.

Dan Poynter
Saturday began bright and early with a book promotion session with Dan Poynter at 7:00 a.m. I was thrilled to meet Dan back in 2010 at Publishing University. His book on self-publishing got me through the process of setting up my publishing company and producing my books. I refer to Dan as my book's birthing coach. My favorite quote from Dan this year was, "I never said promoting your books would be easy. I just said it would be worth it." Dan was followed by an eBook production and distribution panel, and we learned that eBooks account for 30% of book sales today. Online retailers want to carry every book that is available, so the problem is no longer one of distribution but rather one of discoverability. Amen to that!

My first breakout session was on marketing strategies for finding new readers, and I didn't pick up too much there. Next I went to one on promoting your books to online communities. Key takeaway is that the average Facebook user has 133 friends, so use your friends to get them to spread the word about your books to their friends. Following the luncheon I listened to marketing strategies for reaching a niche market. Find out what the reader's problem is and tell them how you can solve it. For the last session of the day I went to the panel discussion on tips from authors who are with small publishers but have large sales. It was an inspirational hour and fifteen minutes. And who doesn't love a cowboy writing historical western romance novels?

Reid Lance Rosenthal
We were on the road back home by 5:00, making for a very long day. I met some very interesting people, learned a lot of new tips, and feel re-energized about my company and my writing. A winner all the way around.

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

Another great experience at PU. Can't wait to hear what you turn it into!