A writers conference can help take the edge off how writing is often a lonely endeavor. The act of getting words down is such a tiny part of the process. Whether your goal is to take a traditional path to publication, self-publish, or try a combo-approach (like me), then the biggest favor a writer or editor can do for themselves is to connect with a like-minded community.
My recent move back to Idaho from North Carolina prompted the decision to attend the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference in Seattle, Washington. My blogger friend Laura Zera, who was attending a second time, highly recommended it. The three and a half day conference was well worth it! In no particular order, here’s a list of ten a-ha moments from the writers conference.
1. One fourth of the top 100 books on Amazon last year were independently published. There is no “right” or “best” path to publication. An author’s genre, speed of writing, and marketing skills come into play. No way is easy!
2. Crafting a pitch for a book may take hours, but the effort really does help the writer communicate the essence of the story to agents and readers alike.
3. Every word of a book becomes metadata that Amazon uses in determining how and where to display a book, even though only ten percent of the text is displayed for the “Look Inside” feature.
4. All authors need to have a clear idea of where their book should be placed on a real or virtual bookshelf. Genre matters! Knowing which authors are comparable to you is essential in marketing your book.
5. Volunteering to speak publicly on your book, related-topics, or on writing is a great way to grow your author platform. Start locally, and expand in geographically savvy ways. Utilize connections to librarians, booksellers, writing groups, and media connections.
6. Do the social media you love! We all share the things we love, so you have the right to search for someone who loves your work. Market your book to people who will get it.
7. Statistics show people are buying 4.6 times more books (print and electronic combined) than in the past.
8. Don’t automatically submit your book’s first chapters to an agent when a sample is called for. Consider including the most compelling part, and include a brief set-up that situates the reader.
9. It might take numerous rejections, multiple drafts, and possibly even multiple books before a writer can find the right agent. Patience is key when seeking a more traditional route to publication. However, the long turnaround time often means a writer has had more time to practice their craft.
10. Consider the so-called hidden hidden aspects of do-it-yourself publishing. Self-publishing in an art form that requires the writer to have a head for business. With a traditional book deal and a good advance, the writer can hire an outside publicist and have an agent in their corner.
What are your thoughts on the state of the publishing and writing industry?