Five Takeaways From the San Francisco Writers Conference
I’ve spent the last few days holed up at the Hyatt Embarcadero Center immersing myself into the world of writing, publishing, and book marketing. Here are a few things that I learned:
- I need to change my name. I need to brand myself as Julia L F Goldstein, PhD to distinguish myself from the other Julia Goldsteins out there, at least one of whom is currently much more famous than I. My main business website is already jlfgoldstein.com, and I’m @jlfgoldstein on Twitter, but I need to add those middle initials to my author name. They need to be on the cover of my book and on my author bio and website.
- Book distribution is both easier and harder than I thought. I came in with a plan: Use KDP to publish paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon and IngramSpark to publish print for distribution everywhere else. I’d heard about the need to distribute in multiple eBook formats and create an audiobook, but I didn’t know how I was going to do that. I’m now considering two sources for eBook distribution and contemplating recording my voice for the audiobook.
- I’m going to reconsider quiz marketing. Most of the quizzes I see on social media don’t fit me or my topic. But I came away with a new understanding of how to use smart quizzes to build my email list and offer tailored content. A reader who’s prepared thorough sustainability reports for his or her company for years will benefit from different advice than a reader who’s never heard of sustainability reporting, but they may both want to read my book.
- I should bring a copy of my book with me everywhere. The advance reader copy (ARC) is a great marketing tool. I met many people whose eyes lit up when I told them what I was writing. Handing them the book captured their attention and spurred further conversation. I came away excited about the opportunity to reach more readers.
- The presenters are truly approachable. Sure, I’m a target customer for their products and services, but they aren’t just there to sell. They want to connect with authors and help them bring their best possible books into the world. I especially enjoyed meeting in person the experts I had previously “met” online or over the phone.
If you were at the San Francisco Writers Conference, tell me about what you learned or how the experience changed your path as an author. If you’re an author or prospective author and haven’t attended a writing conference, I strongly encourage you to do so.I know that travel can be expensive and time-consuming, so you may want to try a virtual conference. The Nonfiction Writers Conference scheduled for May 8-10 is a great one for authors of all genres of nonfiction and features Stephanie Chandler and Carla King, whom you may have met in San Francisco, plus many other presenters. (Full disclosure: I lead the Seattle chapter of the Nonfiction Authors Association, also run by Stephanie, and the link above is an affiliate link that gives me a percentage of your conference fee. I would endorse the conference anyway, but you should know.)