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L.T. Suzuki

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Member Since: Jan, 2009

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Blogs by L.T. Suzuki

BookCamp 2009
10/19/2009 10:01:54 PM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

Details of my experience at BookCamp 2009

On Oct. 16th the typical foul, west coast weather did little to dampen the spirits of 250 people lucky enough to get their hot little hands on tickets for this annual, sold-out event. Authors, publishers, book promoters, editors; in fact, all manner of people involved in most aspects of the book business converged on Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre in downtown Vancouver, BC. My primary goal when I first arrived was to better understand the potential dynamics of the author/publisher/reader relationship.

Monique Trottier of Boxcar Marketing welcomed the masses to BookCamp 2009 and it was the first time I heard the word ‘un-conference’. She described this gathering as such because, rather than a presenter doing all the lecturing, those heading up the sessions were there to encourage all participants to share in their knowledge, experience and most of all, what does and does not work in the ever-changing landscape of publishing. In short, BookCamp was a user-generated event, yielding the best results if attendees willingly participated in the discussions.

Here was a chance to engage in conversation and share ideas, examine the book and its ongoing role as a source for delivering stories, knowledge in the way of educational information as well as for pure entertainment. It was also a chance to determine how publishers and authors can better their position in this competitive business to succeed in the digital age of e-books and the growing popularity of social media.

With a number of sessions to choose from, I tried to select topics that would help me to better understand my role as an author and what I could do to broaden my platform in a bid to reach potential readers.

The first session I participated in was “Book Marketing from a Reviewer’s Perspective”. Hosted by freelance book reviewer Lori Dunn and marketing maven Angela Crocker, President of Beachcomber Communications, these two knowledgeable ladies explained how changing technology, these tough economic times and a competitive market are forcing authors/publishers to find inventive ways to get their books out there.

They shared examples of what grabs their attention; whether it is a beautifully designed book cover (and yes, these ladies do judge a book by its cover) to clever use of video in the form of a book trailer to display on YouTube; Angela and Lori delved into all these issues.

Whether it was offering free book excerpts, making your blog or website interactive, using podcasts, creating a platform using Twitter to garner followers, the ideas and suggestions gleaned from Angela, Lori and the participants of this sessions certainly made me understand the importance of an author taking the initiative to embrace technology and take advantage of what it has to offer. The other thing these ladies pointed out is that much of what can be done to bring attention to an author’s work can be done with little or no monetary investment, just the time and effort to maintain a blog or podcast, twitter, etc.

In the session titled “Optimal Use of Social Media for Authors & Publishers”, Thad McIlroy and Monique Trottier confirmed Angela and Lori’s opinion about the importance of using social media networking to publicize your book. Thad and Monique went on to explain how maintaining/updating info on FaceBook, blogging and Twitter can be simplified and using Hootsuite to schedule Tweets when you’re really pressed for time, but wish to maintain a regular presence on Twitter. They also emphasized how readers crave that communication from the author so it is important to make the effort to update the postings on a regular basis.

One of the most engaging speakers I had the chance to meet was Deanna McFadden from HarperCollins Canada. An enthusiastic and passionate speaker knowledgeable in all things pertaining to books, including the marketing of this product, Deanna shared in her wisdom. She explained how print advertisements are costly, standardized in how they are presented and have far less impact than an author establishing a platform using social networking medias such as Twitter, FaceBook and or maintaining a personal blog to reach out to potential readers.

Deanna emphasized the importance of blogging and how it creates a relationship between the author and the readers. Done right, this can be more powerful than a print ad. And if you use Twitter, she strongly discouraged against using it to constantly plug your book, instead, use it to generate interest in the community whether it is offering a book blurb, a character’s quote, a controversial situation in your book that will encourage people to talk about your novel, etc.

I can go on in great detail, but I found what really stood out from these sessions were:
• Do use social networking, especially Twitter to help build a community of supporters who will champion your works.
• Do not use Twitter to constantly sell your book. The constant pitch to buy the book eventually becomes viewed as nothing more than spam.
• Instead, use Twitter as an avenue to engage a potential audience and give them reason to be interested in what you have to offer.
• Do blog, but remember content (relevance of the post) and what you say will be out ‘there’ forever, so be mindful of what you say and how you say it!
• Be creative! Even blog in character to really spice things up for the readers.
• If you blog, make the effort to keep it up to date. If you don’t bother, then neither will the readers bother coming back.
• Do invest the $14 to buy the URL for book branding. And don’t blindly Twitter, blog, etc. Have a strategy that will allow you to best take advantage of the social media to promote your book and create your platform.

Deanna McFadden, Angela Crocker and Lori Dunn all agree with this: In the world of social media, whether you blog, use FaceBook or Twitter, it is not the number of followers, but the quality of followers that is far more important. It is better to have 300 true followers that will support your work than 3,000 random followers who are nothing more than numbers and really don’t care about the book you’ve written.

Overall, BookCamp was a day filled with insight and information sharing! Not only was it an opportunity to learn from those knowledgeable in the industry, it was a chance for me to network and meet some of the people I follow on Twitter, and follow me as well. Very cool to put the faces to the tweets!

Where the old adage “You only get what you pay for” serves as a just, cautionary warning in most circumstances, BookCamp was free to participants. However, “free” did not diminish the enthusiasm of the participants, nor the quality of information/knowledge shared by those in the industry.

If BookCamp should come to your neighborhood, I strongly recommend you take advantage of this worthwhile event.


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Harmony and contrast, the female impact, book2 by Antoine Raphael

This is the second volume of the original work entitled Harmony and contrast, the female impact, book 1, recently published by www.lulu.com..  
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