Last week in London I attended a fantastic Indie Author Conference run by the team behind Ads for Authors. Over 600 indie authors from across the globe gathered in Southbank to connect (from a distance), learn and motivate each other. It was a fantastic day and incredibly useful. I’ve put together a summary of my favourite tips here from each presentation.
LJ Rose is a superstar author who as sold more than 4 million copies of her romance and crime books. She talked about her journey and provided some very simple yet salient tips:
- She is very much an advocate for simple things when it comes to making and everything else comes on top of that.
- When it comes to reviews remember that authors generally are more outspoken and will love or hate it. But it’s the silent majority that are your audience.
- She always tries to keep in mind that even if she didn’t get a lot of sales it was creatively enriching her life.
- Everyone’s journey is different but there are lessons you can learn and apply.
- There is no competition between authors. Make friends with authors who write like you
- It doesn’t signal weakness to go back and correct your earlier work
Joanna Penn is a powerhouse of the indie publishing scene with a very successful podcast and a great many courses and books in both non-fiction and fiction.
Her presentation focused on creating multiple streams of income and looking at ways for authors to diversify their books. This is a long running position for Joanna which she has discussed many times. Her view is that you have something valuable in your content, so maximise that value as much as you can. Use all the formats and sales platforms you can (eg: Paperback, Digital, Audio, Hardback, Large Print.)
As a marketer, I really enjoyed her presentation. She encouraged authors to consider writing non-fiction books with companion workbooks and even creating courses.
There was so much in her presentation, but she tied it all back together at the end and asked us to think about just one thing to try. Up-skill if you need to, and then just get started.
Her main line – don’t be romantic about where your money comes from.
Makes it sound easy doesn’t it?
Panel: Successful indie authors making over $100,000 each year
This panel gave a fantastic insight into five different indie authors and their experiences in getting their income to a great level. Their genres and experiences were all quite different.
Some of the core insights that applied across the panel included:
- Spend time getting your online ads right to maximise their value
- If writing for children and you have books that target different age groups you can do a school visit that covers the whole school
- Just make a start, you can circle around and make it better, but make a start first.
- There’s no choice but to approach it as a business if you want it to continue
- Look around the edges of change and that’s where the opportunities are
Given the changing world that we are sitting in now, I really like that last point about finding the opportunities around the edges of change.
Panel: Non-Fiction Opportunities
This panel featured two very successful and inspiring non-fiction authors. We work with a lot of non-fiction authors here at Old Mate Media. It’s very true that a book is a very effective business card or entry point to your services.
If you provide services or work in a particular area, you are likely to already have enough content and knowledge under your belt that you could turn into a book.
You can then encourage people to sign up to receive more information from you when they read your book. It’s a simple model that is consistently effective.
These non-fiction authors seemed to find it easier to be hard-headed about promoting their books and running things as a business.
Marc Reklau gave this advice: You have to act, think and behave like a publisher. You have to be a good publisher for yourself which means finding a budget, Learn from other successful authors and don’t give up.
Whereas Joseph Alexander focused heavily on building lists. As he said: The most important thing you should be doing is growing your email list.
Panel: The New Publishers
This panel featured four publishers who are running traditional houses with a new and modern approach. This approach follows a much more independent route, with better royalty rates for authors and a strong focus on Amazon and digital publishing.
All of these publishers were currently accepting submissions. They did provide some brutal truths around what should be included with submissions and how often authors fail to meet their basic requirements. Their tips included:
- Provide a really good synopsis
- Know the market that you are writing for
- Do not say game-changer
- Read the submissions guidelines and follow them
- Keep your email to the publisher short
The publishers included:
- Joffe Books
- Hero Publishing
- LMBPN Books
In speaking to a room of indie authors, the question was asked, when do publishers work? The answer: When authors want someone else to do all the infrastructure for them.
Here at Old Mate Media we have a small number of authors who we publish under a traditional model. This panel inspired me to develop some stringent submission guidelines for this part of our business. In the meanwhile, do get in touch if you’d like to chat about your book concept being published through us.
Essential Tools for Indie Authors
Ricardo from Reedsy took the audience through a number of tools that are useful for indie authors. Most of these are ones we use already at Old Mate Media, so I decided I will do some separate articles for you on each. As I finalise these, I’ll link them below.
A quick summary:
- Publisher Rocket
- Book Funnel
- Email providers
Mark wrapped up the show by running through some of his mistakes and learnings. It was a great session to finish on. His key points were:
1. Self publishing ins not vanity publishing
2. You cant do it all yourself
3. Don’t compare yourself to others. Use them for inspiration
4. Don’t take reviews personally
5. It’s all about the reader
6. Amazon won’t market for you. Advertising is no longer a luxury
7. Know your numbers – profit margins, read through etc.
8. Sweat your assets
Would you like to see all the sessions from The Self Publishing Show Live?
The team at the The Self Publishing Show Live have created a video version of the show that you can purchase and watch for only $25 If you would like to get your own copy, just head to: Self-Publishing Show Live 2020 Video Recording.
Note: This is not an affiliate link. There’s so much useful information that I think it’s worthwhile investing their small ticket price to see it all.
Where to Next?
I really hope you enjoyed my summary of The Self Publishing Show Live event. This is just one of our many indie author guides available on the website. The best way to keep in touch with the latest ones is to sign up to our author newsletter. And don’t forget, if you would like to have a chat about your book just book an appointment in via our Contact page. Keep an eye out for us on all the usual channels, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.