It’s a brave new – digital – world for authors

Many writers are excited about publishing and promoting their work online. So many options, so little time. It can seem overwhelming. So when fellow Dream of Things author Madeline Sharples asked me to join her on a panel at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference, I jumped at the chance.

Eleanor and Madeline at the Swimming with Maya launch party

Eleanor and Madeline at the Swimming with Maya launch party

The Annual Digital Author and Indie Publishing Writers Conference (DAISP 2016) targets writers who want to learn about the latest publishing options. Major digital publishers include Author Solutions, Amazon, Apple, BookBaby, and Smashwords, as well as the traditional “Big Five” New York Publishers.

Slated for Feb. 26, 27, and 28 at Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys, DAISP 2016 features industry experts, educators, agents and publishers, who will provide practical tips about how writers can navigate this brave new world.

Experienced authors in multiple genres, including memoir and narrative nonfiction, will join the discussion. That’s where Madeline and I come in. We’ve both used social media and online networking to promote our books successfully. Our panel, “Building a Platform and Social Networking,” will offer real life examples of how to use online channels effectively, including their limitations as well as advantages.

As publishing evolves, more authors are making their books available through indie and mid-sized publishers, or becoming a DIY publisher.  Each path to publication has pros and cons, but all require authors to become active proponents of their work using social media, blogging, podcasting, and other tools. A key issue for many writers is how to balance their writing time vs the time needed to connect with readers. We will talk about that at our panel on Saturday, February 27 at 11:15 a.m.

“The past four years have brought about more upheaval in the publishing industry than the previous 400 years combined,” says conference presenter Keith Ogorek, SVP-Marketing at Author Solutions and writer of the Indie Book Writers blog.

In the last few years, the publishing world has undergone an indie revolution. The exponential growth of e-books and digital readers has accelerated change, because physical stores are no longer the only way for authors to connect with readers.

Eleanor Vincent

Eleanor Vincent, picture by Lynn Watson

My experience with Swimming with Maya bears this out. When it was reissued in 2013 by Dream of Things, a micro publisher in Chicago, we focused primarily on digital channels to promote the new e-book and paperback. Since then, the book has twice appeared on The New York Times e-book bestseller list – sales have topped 20,000 – most of them to e-readers at a price point well below the original hardback. Amazon reviews (209 of them) have provided amazing word-of-mouth support.

As I used social media to market my book, Madeline provided a role model as well as practical support. Her memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, and all the work she did to promote it, created a high bar. With her help as well as online guidance from experts like Jane Friedman and Dan Blank, I created a platform.

This work is fun, challenging, and never-ending. As I query agents and publishers for my next book, a novel entitled Co-opted about the ups and downs of living in an Oakland cohousing community, I will need to retool my marketing. I’m eager to hear what other presenters at DAISP have to say.

I’m grateful to everyone who has joined my social networks, reviewed Swimming with Maya, or sent their friends to my blog and website. If you are one of those supporters, thank you!

If you’d like to attend DAISP, you can get admission to the Keynote address and a free lunch if you register and use my name. Just enter YOUR NAME in the Writer Club / Coupon Code / Student ID box for Saturday’s events. You can also receive a special discount and get the pre-registration price at the door if you use my name (ask for Lilly). May not be combined with other offers. That’s up to a $50 additional discount off the pre-registration discounts.

Registration is here: http://www.wcwriters.com/special/index.html – for the “friends of the conference speakers” special.

Please join us, or let your So Cal friends know. It’s going to be an awesome event.