Review of the #SelfPublishing Conference hosted by @matadorbooks 

On a beautiful spring day in April, I joined approximately one hundred and twenty fellow delegates at the Stamford Court Conference Centre, the University of Leicester for the 5th Self-Publishing Conference hosted by Troubador Publishing.

Self Pub Conf 1

I had wanted to attend this conference for some years, but life stuff inevitably took over, and the date never worked. However, 2017 was the right fit, and I was eager to dive in and learn as much as I could.

Included in your ticket price you received a goody bag on arrival with a colourful delegate booklet, admission to your choice of four sessions on a wide variety of industry topics, refreshments throughout the day, and a wonderful lunch. I was late buying my ticket, so I missed out on the early bird discount, however, even at full price, it was value for money.

The workshop sessions covered a range of themes, catering to every level of self-publisher. These have to be pre-booked ahead of the conference, however, should you decide on the day that you would prefer to attend an alternative workshop then the staff are on hand to assist. I must just quickly mention the staff here. Throughout the day there were ‘helpers’ on hand for anything you need, whether that was publishing advice, or finding out where the nearest loo was, everyone was incredibly professional, polite, and welcoming. The catering staff at the University also deserve a shout out for their care and attention.

The sessions were broken up into hour slots, and as I mentioned, you got to choose four within your ticket price. I’ve included the 2017 options at the end of the post for anyone who is interested.

There was an amazing choice of workshops, and the only trouble I had was deciding which sessions I wanted to attend. Eventually, I decided on:

Be a PR Star: Making the Most of Media Opportunities

Reaching the Retailers: Selling to Bookshops

Inspiring in Schools: Promoting Your Children’s Book

Non-Fiction Focus: Planning Your Book for Success

Before we broke into the syndicate rooms for our workshops, we heard from keynote speaker, Angus Phillips, Director of Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies. Angus talked about current trends in the industry and how print books are still dominant in the market. He touched on the rise in audio books (£4m sales in 2010 – £10m sales in 2015), as well as the revival of short stories.

He went on to cover the changes in technology with eReader sales slowing significantly as readers now prefer to download books to their smartphones.

It was interesting to hear the issues facing publishing at the moment, the decline in the UK independent bookshops being key. Angus stressed the importance of discoverability, social media and being active in communities. He also talked about the author brand being strong and how important accurate metadata is.

His talk ended with an interesting observation. We all know that Amazon is one of the biggest booksellers. However, it was fascinating to hear the statistics and discover that only 8% of Amazon’s revenue is from books. Angus raised the question – do they still care about books?

My first session was with Ben Cameron from Cameron Publicity and Marketing who works with both traditionally and self-published authors. His message was simple – publicity starts before you write a word. Knowing what message you want to share with your book, and where it fits in the marketplace is key to good publicity. Book buyers begin looking at new releases for their stores at least three months in advance so having a campaign in place is vital for your discoverability.

“Writing your blurb is like writing poetry, every word counts.” Ben Cameron.

Pitching your book to local and national press/radio/television is an important aspect but your pitch should be to the point, including why your book would appeal to them. Ben mentioned perfecting your elevator pitch (a short and snappy description of your book) and practicing it over and over.

He values the option to run giveaways on Goodreads and has seen great success with the use of Facebook ads for some of his clients.

According to Ben, working with a publicity and marketing company would cost in the region of £2200 for a four-week campaign, so if this is something of interest you must factor these costs into your book budget and sales figures.

My second session was with Debbie James from Kibworth Bookshop and from the start it was obvious how passionate Debbie is about her store and books. She shared a few images of the stunning bookshelves, and we laughed at her obsession with the finished size of a paperback. Having the right sized book clearly matters to a bookseller! The largest space in Kibworth Bookshop is the children’s department, and this is reflected in Debbie’s sales. She stocks approximately 26% children’s books, 23% fiction, 16% cards and gift wrap, 6.5% stationery, and the remaining stock is gift books, humour, cookery, travel, and local interest. Debbie and her team are 100% responsible for choosing the stock for the store, and they refer to trade catalogues to help with that choice. They are always looking for stock at least three months in advance.

While Kibworth Bookshop does support self-published authors, Debbie has the final approval. She stressed the importance of building a relationship with your local independent store and supporting them within the community. She is attracted by a passionate writer, an intriguing title, beautiful cover, and a book that will look aesthetically pleasing on her shelves.

“I want to stock your books so write an amazing book, have an amazing cover, and make me want to.” Debbie James.

We broke for lunch which gave everyone a chance to network. I was delighted to see a familiar face in the crowds and got to catch up with award-winning author, Elizabeth Ducie. I spoke to so many authors at varying stages of the writing and publishing process, and it was interesting to hear their opinions of the industry. Amazon, unfortunately, appears to be upsetting quite a few people with many making the switch to alternative self-publishing routes. Marketing and promotion seem to be the main concern for most of the writers’ I spoke with.

After our lunch, we returned to the main hall for a talk by Clive Herbert, Head of Professional Services at Nielsen Books who started his speech with a quote.

“Metadata is totally boring but absolutely vital.” Clive Herbert.

He’s right! Throughout his talk, Clive showed us just how important it is to have accurate metadata for our books and to have the BIC (book industry communication) information, which is the minimum information required by the UK Book Trade, uploaded at least sixteen weeks ahead of your release date.

Discoverability was the key theme and when you realise your book is one of thirty-three million active products, then giving your book the best possible chance of being seen is vital. According to Nielsen, 178,000 new print books were published last year, that’s an average of 500 new titles a day. (That figure is closer to 2.2 million in the US).

Clive advised us to use Nielsen’s Title Editor to provide all our metadata, which provides a free service as well as a subscription feature. For more information, you can visit their website at www.nielsenisbnstore.com. It’s also worth noting that you can now purchase a single ISBN as well as the usual block of ten.

My first afternoon session was Inspiring in Schools with the author, Angela Fish. Although her session was targeted more at younger children and visiting infant and junior schools, I was able to transfer some of her advice to the young adult audience I write for.

She mentioned the benefits of being prepared and planning a variety of activities for the children. Working closely with the teachers will enable you to provide a valuable workshop. Angela doesn’t make much money from doing her school visits. However, she is getting her name known as she returns to the same schools, and she does provide the parents’ with her information. The main reason for running her school sessions is the passion she has for working with children and sharing her story. This is an important aspect of choosing to include school visits into your skill set. Why are you doing it?

Angela also mentioned the importance of a follow-up in the way of a mini questionnaire or competition. Capturing the attention of your audience in such a way that they engage with you and your book in a positive way.

My final session was Planning Your Non-Fiction Book for Success with Ginny Carter. I think this was my favourite session. Ginny is a passionate coach and clearly enjoys working with writers’ at all stages of their journey. Her slides were informative and humourous.

“Writing a book is like a sausage roll. Great when it’s finished, but you don’t want to know what’s gone into it!” Ginny Carter.

Planning is key! That was Ginny’s message for her audience as she shared six essential steps to take before you write a word.

1        Know what you want to achieve.

2        Mind-set.

3        Your ideal reader.

4        Your books message.

5        Outlining your book.

6        Return on Investment

As we all made our way to the closing drinks reception, there was a buzz of motivation among the crowd. We had all come away with some nugget of wisdom, an abundance of networking contacts, and a rekindled passion to return to our keyboards.

I was incredibly impressed with this event, from an organisational aspect as well as a delegate. I will be booking a return trip as soon as the ticket sales are announced for 2018 and if you’re serious about your self-publishing career, I’d suggest you do the same.

Self pub conf 2

Workshop session choices:

Session 1

Avoiding the Vanity Trap by Andrew Lowe (author and editor) and Alysoun Owen (editor at The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook).

Endorsements, Blurbs and Spine Design: Beyond the Cover by Chelsea Taylor (Production Manager at Troubador) and Jonathan White (Sales & Marketing Manager at Troubador).

Be a PR Star: Making the Most of Media Opportunities by Ben Cameron (Cameron Publicity and Marketing).

The Libel Trap: How to Avoid Getting Sued by Rosie Burbridge (Fox Williams LLP, Solicitors).

Session 2

Reaching the Retailers: Selling to Bookshops by Debbie James (The Kibworth Bookshop)

Doing It Differently: Crowdfunding and Partnership Publishing by Cressida Downing (The Book Analyst), Alice Jolly (author) and Jeremy Thompson (The Book Guild).

Building an Audience: Practical Ways to Get Your Book Known by Marion Molteno (novelist and indie publisher).

Copyright Clearance – The Easy Way by Jonathan Griffin (Publishers Licensing Society).

Session 3

Inspiring in Schools: Promoting Your Children’s Book by Angela Fish (independent author).

Making Money from Library Lending by Julia Eccleshare (Public Lending Rights).

Boost Your Ebook’s Earnings: Maximising Sales by Rachel Gregory (Ebook Programme Manager at Troubador).

Is Your Writing Ready: Before You Self-Publish by Alysoun Owen (Editor at The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook).

Session 4

Do Judge a Book by its Cover by Andy Vosper (Deputy Chief Executive at TJ international Ltd) and Chelsea Taylor (Production Manager at Troubador).

Non-Fiction Focus: Planning Your Book for Success by Ginny Carter (The Author Maker).

Get Your Book Heard: Radio Plays and Audio Books by James Peak (Essential Music).

Words and Picture: Creating Illustrated Children’s Fiction by Louise Jordan (Writers’ Advice Centre for Children’s Books).

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

 

Does Everyone Have a Book in Them? #selfpublishing

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At the beginning of March, I attended the Women In Business Conference in Coventry hosted by the team at Socially Shared. I wrote about the day over on my motivational blog; you can read that post HERE.

As well as attending this empowering event, I was also honoured to run a couple of the afternoon workshop sessions on the topic of self-publishing. Getting me to talk about writing, publishing, or books, in general, is an easy thing to do, but trying to shut me up can be quite a challenge. As it happens, I had forty-five minutes per session to share my knowledge, experience, and tips with my audience, so keeping it brief was a necessity.

Normally, when I attend various fairs and author talks throughout the year, I am inundated with people telling me how they would love to write a book. Some people are still shaping an idea, others have begun getting their story down on paper, and a few have reached the stage where publication is the next step. At the self-publishing workshops, there were only two ladies who were thinking about or had started to write. I was initially surprised by this feedback, but the more we got into the session, the more I realised how difficult it could be for people to know how or where to start.

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As I write non-fiction, it was easy to base my talk on writing to enhance your business. My first two books were based on personal development classes I ran as part of my holistic health business; Meditation for Beginners and Vision Boards for Beginners.

Choosing a section of your business and turning this into a guidebook, a how-to book, or even a memoir can add another income stream to your company. It also works the other way too, as I am now asked to run talks and workshops based on my book How I Changed My Life in a Year.

Talking through the process of publishing via platforms such as KDP, Smashwords, Lulu, and Createspace showed my attendees how easy the procedure could be. We didn’t discuss dominating the best seller lists, or hitting huge sales targets; this workshop concentrated more on writing a book to use as a promotional funnel, sales tool, or a corporate giveaway.

I was delighted at the end of my sessions, to hear the majority of the ladies tell me how inspired they were to write. I was equally excited about the ideas they had unlocked throughout the forty-five minutes I’d been talking.

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Does everyone have a book in them? Yes, I believe that’s true. I’m also fully aware that not everyone has the skill, time, or desire to write. However, it only takes one idea. A concept that can be cultivated into something wonderful, even if it means employing a ghost writer to pen a book with you.

I thoroughly enjoyed running both workshops and received incredible feedback during and after the event. I hope to continue to support the ladies who were inspired, and hopefully, in the future, run more self-publishing and writing workshops.

The photographs included in this post were taken by the event photographer, Faye Green. You can find Faye on Facebook HERE.

Let me leave you with a couple of questions. For the authors – is there a book you long to write but haven’t started yet? For the novice writers – do you believe you have a book in you, and if so what genre would you like to write for?

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

#BookReview The Bridge of the Golden Wood by Karl Beckstrand #RBRT

Book Review #RBRT

Book Title: The Bridge of the Golden Wood

Author: Karl Beckstrand

Category: Children’s Fiction/Business/

My Rating: 4 Star

 

The Bridge of the Golden Wood
Amazon UK | US

 

My Review:

The Bridge of the Golden Wood is a delightful tale about a young Chinese boy who helps some hungry fish but learns a valuable life lesson along the way. According to the blurb, this illustrated folktale teaches the reader how to spot opportunities to help others and make money. After the story, there are money-making activities included, together with a valuable resource section.

The illustrations are beautiful, and the words are in a dyslexic font making this book accessible to a wide audience.

It’s aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 18 and has a business/non-fiction element to the story. However, I’m not sure my three teenagers would read it, even though two of them are studying business, and my young nephew would not grasp the business element, but I’m sure he would enjoy the story. The author is a bestselling and award-winning author of 18 multicultural books, so I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s doing.

I loved the inspirational message of the picture book and enjoyed reading it.

I received a copy of The Bridge of the Golden Wood from the author as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb:

A child with a knack for solving problems helps some hungry fish and finds a treasure.

Illustrated folktale teaches how to spot opportunities to help others and make money. Comes with ideas for businesses; money-making activities; and online resources on finding customers, managing money, and moving up in an organization (for ages 5 and up). Young children will be captivated by the story; older ones will want to apply the things they learn.

Teach someone to fish: a how-to book on careers, small business, and learning how to serve/earn money. Soon available in hard and soft cover—Asian characters, Chinese boy, red panda, 26-page picture book, 530 words in dyslexic font by Karl Beckstrand

About the Author:

Karl Beckstrand

Karl Beckstrand is the bestselling and award-winning author of 18 multicultural books and more than 40 e-book titles (reviews by Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Horn Book blog, ForeWord Reviews).

Raised in San Jose, CA, he has a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a broadcast & film certificate from Film A. Academy. Since 2004 he has run Premio Publishing. A college media instructor, Beckstrand contrasts traditional with digital book publishing. He has presented to Taiwan’s Global Leadership for Youth, city and state governments, festivals, and schools. Beckstrand’s nationally lauded Y.A. stories, e-book mysteries, ESL/ELL Spanish/bilingual books, nonfiction, and wordless books feature ethnically diverse characters—and usually end with a twist.

His work has appeared in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Border’s Books, Costco, Deseret Book, iBooks, The Children’s Miracle Network, LDS Film Festival, the U.S. Congressional Record, Papercrafts Magazine, and various broadcasts. FB, Twitter, http://KarlBeckstrand.com, http://PremioBooks.com

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

The What, Why, and How of Self-Publishing #TuesdayBookBlog

On Wednesday 8th March it is International Women’s Day, and what better day to attend a Women in Business Conference where I get to listen to influential speakers from a variety of backgrounds and businesses.

I’ve only been a member of the Socially Shared Member’s Group for a short time, and yet I’ve learned so much and met some incredible ladies. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my day than in the company of like-minded individuals.

To add to the excitement, I was invited to run one of the workshops during the afternoon sessions on self-publishing. Having published seven books with a further two titles due out this year, I should be able to fill my forty-five-minute slot quite easily. However, get me talking about books and writing, and you might have a problem shutting me up! Continue reading “The What, Why, and How of Self-Publishing #TuesdayBookBlog”

Become a Better You by Byron Morrison #Interview #TuesdayBookBlog #WeightLoss

I’m delighted to have local author, Byron Morrison, on my blog today. I ‘met’ Byron through a local Facebook networking group and was instantly drawn to his positive energy. I was thrilled when he agreed to pop over for a quick chat about his lifestyle and weight loss coaching and writing non-fiction. Over to Byron…

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The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from? I actually grew up in Johannesburg in South Africa, but I moved to the UK around 20 years ago and now live in Stratford upon Avon.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Weirdly I actually wanted to be a writer but in a completely different context. As a kid I loved fantasy books, but as I grew up I kind of lost my passion for writing stories and instead moved onto writing songs and music. Then a couple of years ago that passion was reignited, but again in a different form.

List three words to describe yourself. Continue reading “Become a Better You by Byron Morrison #Interview #TuesdayBookBlog #WeightLoss”

Loving the Life Less Lived by @GailMitchell42 #BookReview #Anxiety

Loving the Life Less Lived

By Gail Marie Mitchell

My Rating: 5*

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My Review:

My thanks to Anna at RedDoor Publishing for a copy of Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Mitchell in return for an honest review. Loving the Life Less Lived is out TODAY. You can order a copy HERE.

I’m a great believer in things happening for a reason. Having struggled with depression and anxiety for some years, it’s only in the past twenty-four months that it has significantly affected my lifestyle, relationships, and career. I was always able to ‘get on with it’ for the most part, which I’ve discovered, is not conducive to your well-being. When I received Gail’s book I was almost relieved to be able to read about someone else’s journey, and I settled down to read in the hope I would learn how I could fix myself. Continue reading “Loving the Life Less Lived by @GailMitchell42 #BookReview #Anxiety”

Interview with Author, Gail Mitchell @GailMitchell42 #Author #Interview #wwwBlogs

It’s my pleasure to introduce author, Gail Mitchell, as she releases her fabulous book, Loving the Life Less Lived (you can read my review tomorrow). Over to Gail…

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The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

I was born in Nottingham, but spent my teenage years in Brentwood in Essex (before it became famous for TOWIE). After studying in York I came back to Nottingham, moved to Bristol for six years then back to Nottingham again. Nottingham is my home, it’s like a magnet that keeps drawing me back.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An Air Hostess! Even though it’s not politically correct to call them that anymore. Other than that I wanted to be a recluse!

List three words to describe yourself.

Well avoiding the obvious anxiety related words I would say: Continue reading “Interview with Author, Gail Mitchell @GailMitchell42 #Author #Interview #wwwBlogs”