It was a great experience and well done to Matador for not making it too like they were trying to sell their self publishing stuff. I have to admit the day itself was a bit daunting if I hadn't already self published I would have been scared. They made it sound like it was a mammoth task - which in a way is good I suppose because it is and they didn't sugar coat anything. I suppose I should have done something like that before I decided. The workshops and lectures were also very good. In particular I was impressed with two companies and I would consider using their services.
1) BookedPR - Helen Mccusker spoke to us on how to write the perfect press release. A couple of the tips were to include a photo of yourself (and I thought I knew everything) - Put it all in the body of the email, and write a feature about something that is not your book- your book can be a mention at the end. She said -Your book is not news- people publish books all the time! This is true.
2) Cornerstones Literary Consultancy (they give editorial advice etc) were also great and they did a talk on working with your editor- which was more about self editing. It was brilliant and they provided a 60 page download with all the ins and outs of novel writing as well as a graph showing you how plots should work and how to make your book a page turner. Its all about plunging your character into action by using active not passive writing, getting inside their heads and cutting out the adverbs! It is a brilliant guide and I wish I could share.
What I did realise that there is a lot of money to be made from authors. The venue was packed and so you can see why so many self publishers are springing up everywhere. Especially for e-books. If you just want to publish on Amazon- then fine - but you have to have an epub doc correctly formatted for other platforms, an ISBN and dont even get me strated on using suppliers such as Bertrams and Gerdeners and linking this to Nielson Data. I havent got my head around this yet because I used Authorhouse and they have great distribution outlets- it's all very complex but essential. So whilst you may want to do all the hard work yourself (at it is hard work) you may be better off using a self publishing company and concentrating on the marketing etc.
I dissagreed with one independent book seller who said dont cut yourself short by discounting your book- in my eyes price matters. They also indicated that a paper book will help sell your ebook ( you are unlikely to get any reviews without it)- I agree it provides more credability - however they were frank enough to point out that newspapers were unlikely to give self published books reviews. They also said - and this is important - that no retailer will take on Print on Demand books! Well I wish someone had told me this beforehand !!! This is because all retailers work on sale or return and they can't return books which are print on demand! I would have still used print-on-demand ( I would never want to stockpile or sell myself to Amazon- there wouldnt be enough time in the day for writing- now if I didnt have a job as well...) but at least I would have known about this! However, there seems to be some respect out there for self publishing and after this conference as well as hearing that Alexander McCall Smith once self published has made me realise that sometimes its us ourselves that down play self publishing. There is nothing wrong with it. I suppose its just the confidence thing or lack of confidence - we have.
It will be interesting to see how traditional publishing works!
Until next time ...