It’s been a great, inspirational, and educational couple of months for me, with the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold conference in September and the Nebraska Writers Guild Fall Conference this month.
This was my fourth NWG conference, and I found it to be the most valuable one so far. The sessions this time followed a theme of promotion and marketing and included presentations by not one, but two New York Times Best Selling Authors.
Here are some quick thoughts about the sessions:
Victorine Lieske – The Secrets of BookBub
Victorine has sold like a billion books and shared some good tips along with her experiences marketing on BookBub.
My take-away: BookBub is an incredible resource and affordable advertising tool for self-published authors, or for traditionally published authors who can control the price of their books. It’s something I’d like to do, but at this moment, I don’t think it would make sense for me, since I only have one book to sell. It’s more useful to use it to give away a free or discounted copy of one book in order to bring in readers to purchase other books.
Carrie Pestritto –Needed Mindset for Success
Carrie, a literary agent at Prospect Agency, spoke and answered questions on what agents look for–and what they don’t look for–in in prospective clients.
My take-away: As far as what agents look for, I didn’t hear anything really new here, which is perfectly fine; there were plenty of people at the conference that haven’t spent the last five years researching traditional publishing. One thing I did find out during her talk was that different agents look for different types of clients. Carrie, for example, wants someone who is willing to work closely with her throughout their career. Other agents might just want someone who is going to keep a safe distance and just cash check and send in new books as needed.
Taylor Stevens – Lessons from the Self-Taught Path
Our second New York Times best selling author, Taylor Stevens, gave a brief talk on how she got where she is and then took questions from the audience.
My take-away: I’ll tell you this, listening to her life story was much more interesting than listening to her talk about anything fiction-related. And that’s not a slam at what she had to say about writing at all. She grew up in cult and escaped from it with her husband and two children in her late twenties. Her talk was about starting with absolutely nothing and with no knowledge of fiction (until she fled the cult, she was only allowed to read the writing of the leader) learning how to write, how to write well, and how to become a best selling author. It was just as inspirational, and frightening, as you could imagine.
Sabrina Sumsion – Effective Social Media for Busy Authors 101
Our final presentation was on social media by literary publicist, author, and speaker Sabrina Sumsion. Sabrina gave the basic do’s and don’ts of social media.
My take-away: I’ve been doing most of these things already, but a good refresher is always welcome, and I’m sure her talk was a great benefit for the other writers there that hadn’t yet developed a social media platform. The biggest thing to come out of this talk was to decide early on what you want your writer brand to look like, and then rarely stray from that image. And don’t post about politics and religion or you risk alienating your audience, which is something I say all the time (even if I forget that advice sometimes…)
So to close things out, I have to say this: If you’re a writer who has never considered attending a writing conference, do so the very next time the opportunity arises. You owe it to yourself, and in the long run, if you plan to make a career out of writing, what you learn–and who you meet–at one of these things will be worth every penny.
If you’re a writer in Nebraska and would like to know more about the Nebraska Writers Guild, feel free to contact me and I’ll let you know what my experiences with the group have been like so far or who to contact if you have other questions about the group.
Have you attended these or any other writing conferences? Leave a comment and let us know which ones and what you though about them!