London Book Fair Earls Court
Talk given by top indie authors / self-publishers
I was lucky to catch up with a session given by Bella Andre, Stephanie Bond, Liliana Hart, Barbara Freethy, Candice Hern and Jasmina Wilder at the book fair.
The six ladies are very successful writer and self-publishers so it was clear than there was a lot to be gained from listening to them talk about writing and publisher. I was not disappointed, and from what I saw, nor were the other people listening to them either.
So, in bullet form this is the essence of the section I managed to hear:
- Write as often as you can and find time for writing. If you want to be a writer, then you have to write. These ladies are prolific writers and each one seemed to have a set time of the day when they did their writing. One of them made the point that if readers like what you write then they are going to be hungry for the next book. You need to feed that hunger.
- Not only do you need to write but you need to publish. This means you need to finish your books and stories then get them out there. One trick to get people interested is to have a special on one book a year which encourages people to try your books. Make the first one a cheapie, again in order to get readers.
- Branding is of prime importance. Establish a good brand, a good cover style and good titles. People are drawn to the covers and the blurb.
- Allow readers to download a proportion of your book. Once they have started reading they may want to read the rest.
- Have a snippet of the next book or a trailer for the next book at the end. Get the reader loyal.
- Have a website so you can update readers on your books and writing. This builds a connection with the reader.
- Have a pre-order agreement. This builds up readership.
- Have a blog and write about your books, your characters and your writing. It keeps readers with you.
- Have a mailing list and a newsletter. These keep the readers interested and up to date with your writing.
- Proofread everything and get other people to proofread your work. Try not to publish work with errors.
- You need to have a least two or three books up for sale at anyone time, but it would be better to have 3 or 4. This reinforces the point that you need to keep writing and putting your stuff out there.
- Advertise – I picked up Barbara Freethy’s business card which has snapshots of a couple of book covers plus all the ways readers can contact her or read about her books.
This was good advice and the authors who gave are surely successful at what they do.
The London Book Fair opened to visitors at 9 am today at Earls Court in London and was an immediate success. Who knew there were so many print publishing companies, ditigal publishers, indie publishers, publishing platforms and digital developments out there? The adjective “amazing” doesn’t even cover it.
I got to talk to so many interesting and helpful people today. I need to mention the guy I talked to at CreateSpace who gave me lots of interesting ideas on publishing and marketing my Photoshop Manual; the guy I talked to at Kobo also told me about their author site, which was something I did not know about and now I can’t wait to explore (I bought a Kobo a few months ago to sit alongside my Kindle) and a couple from a Korean company explained their new online platform for creating ebooks (more about that in a later post). I got my photo taken by a professional photographer and will be using the finished result on my website www.fromthefrozennorth.co.uk.
On to the topic of what I really learned today. I actually only listened in to one whole panel discussion/seminar and that was Book Discovery for Authors which featured Andrew Rhomberg of Jellybooks, Joanna Penn a Blogger & Author and the fantastic Mark Coker of Smashwords. A couple of years ago I put the first draft of my second novel up on Smashwords and 450 people downloaded it in a weekend. Thank you people.
So, back to what I really learned today.
- As an author you need to have more than one book available. If somone likes a book you have written then they are going to want to read more than one.
- If you have written more than one book, then you need to make one book permanently free to attract readers. If they like the free book then the readers will be prepared to pay for the next one. If one book is free, then readers are more likely to pay a premium for another book in the same series.
- No one can keep up with their readers as they will finish reading one of your books faster than you can write the next one. Since you need to keep your readers interested and on your side, hook up with other writers in the same genre and promote each others books. When your reader has finished your books then they can go to theirs and stay happy until you have a new book out.
- Have an email list, a website link, a twitter account and a facebook account and have links to all of them at the end of your book. Your readers want to stay in touch with you and you need to keep them interested in you and your writing. If you can connect with your readers then they will stay with you. Apparently, most book recommendations are via email. This is a seriously important point.
- Keeping in touch with your readership is vital. Send them snippets of your new novel as you are writing it to keep them interested in the book and in you.
- Invest in really good cover design and develop a brand line. A good cover can sell a thousand copies.
- Give your reader a reason for reading and make your book “outstanding”. If you take your reader to a higher emotional level then the reader will rate you more stars. The more stars you get on Amazon or wherever, the more people are likely to buy your books.
- Have a good title.
- Use pre-orders. Pre-orders are counted as sales on day one of publication and send your book high up the best seller chart.
- Promote, promote, promote.
- Keep writing.
Since I have to promote my own novel tomorrow, I am off to work on my synopsis.
The London Book Fair is about to start. The public event takes over the Earls Court Conference Centre for 3 days from the 8th to the 10th April, with several other book related events happening in central London.
In fact, literature seems to be the big topic in London at the moment. Writers are spoilt for courses to attend with adult education institutions such as CityLit and the Bishopsgate Institute running writing courses at different levels, the Faber Academy offering short courses and The Guardian teaming up with the University of East Anglia to run accredited writing courses on a variety of subjects. Add to that there are writing groups and workshops springing up all over the city. Waterstones are reigniting a passion for reading by running short talks, book signing and meet-the-author events. Foyles, the grand old lady of London bookstores, is about to move from its original home to the refurbished St Martin’s College building, compelete with an auditorium for reading events. This can be nothing but good news for the reading and writing community.
I have attended three short courses at the Bishopsgate Institute in London where the tutor (and fellow scribblers) have helped me to improve the crime novel I have been working on for the last months. I am now a far better writer than I was five months. To anyone thinking of getting into writing, I recommend joining a reading group (which is where I started) and a writing group (which is what I moved on to) as well as a writing course.
I have just signed up for the 43rd London Book Fair which is being held at Earls Court on 7 -11th April 2014. If you sign up before the event you get an “early bird” ticket for £30 which is a saving of £15 on the door price. Having checked through the seminars and events on offer I think it is more than well worth the £10 a day.
As a budding author and e-Publisher, I am interested in the many events aimed at writers and self-publishers. There seems to be quite a few seminars and sessions on both these areas as well as the chance to pitch a book “Dragon’s Den” style.
The website is already a mine of information and well put together. In the Author Lounge there are a couple of videos on Helping Readers to Discover your Books and finding an agent. These are very helpful. Even if you are not going to the event, it’s worth dipping in to see what is on offer.