In the world of Self-Publishing
Like Gregor Samsa in Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, I woke up Saturday morning on July 18, and discovered that I was still the monstrous verminous bug I'd always been. I had no idea that by the end of that day INSTOCK, The Conference for Self Publishers was going to bring about a dramatic change in my knowledge, so I could be human once again.
If you still aren't convinced, attend the Stanford Writers Workshop conference that takes place July 31 to August 1, 2009. On the second day at Stanford University, there's a workshop called, The New World of Self-Publishing. Got that, "The new world…" All you have to do is fork over six-hundred or more to attend. Compared to the Stanford conference, INSTOCK was reasonable and offered similar information and material without having to return a second day.
I attended the INSTOCK conference from 9:00 AM to 5:OO PM and lunch was included. The INSTOCK conference took place at the Hotel Monaco in San Francisco. The first panel discussed how to present your book professionally to the media, seeking the right publicity possibilities. The panelists were Adrienne Biggs; Andrea Burnett, and Lorna Garano.
The second session at 11:00 covered advice from the traditional side of publishing. "Folks who work for traditional publishing companies offer practical advice for the self-published culled from their years of working with books, marketing, and brand building.
After lunch, I attended a lively discussion at 1:00 PM, with Patricia Volonakis Davis (as the moderator), Micha Berman and Mark Curtis. The topic: Utilizing Online Marketing. "Tips and methods for spreading the word about your book using the Internet, social network sites and guerilla efforts." What did I learn? Well, that I have to join the California Writers Club for starters and not to ignore librarians. There was a lot more than that but you get the idea. I'm not here to duplicate the conference. I just want you to know what went on.
At 2:00 PM, I attended Bookstore Mangers Tell it Like It Is. "They know a thing or two about book buyers and selling books. These bookstore mangers offer advice to the self-published." Kitty Clark, Books Inc. and Christin Evans, The Booksmith, were there to share what they've learned. Most of what they said was common sense. This may be the most important thing they said—have a link on your Website to Indiebound. Think about it—an author like me walks into an independent bookstore and asks the manager or owner to stock his book or host an author event. That manager checks out the author's Website at My Splendid Concubine to see who the author is and what he is doing to promote his book, and the only link to a bookseller is to Amazon.com. If you support the booksellers, "they may" support you.
The last session for the day was Successful Self Publishers. "These folks did it - put out their own books and did well." Renay Jackson, long-time custodian for the Oakland Police Department discovered his talent for writing while helping his daughter with a writing assignment for school. Melinda Roberts, The Mommy Blog and Mommy Confidential made it to the Oprah show. Cary Tennis is Salon.com's long running advice columnist.
In case you haven't discovered it yet, if you want to be an author, you are going to have to learn how to promote your work. Conferences like INSTOCK go a long way toward achieving that goal. I understand that INSTOCK will be in Los Angeles in 2010, and return to San Francisco the following year. If you live close to either city, I suggest you go.
By the way, I didn't mention the three panels I didn't attend. After lunch, there were two different topics covered each hour, and I attended the ones I was interested in. It was nice to have a choice.