In April 2013, I attended IBPA Publishing University in Chicago. I had heard good things about this event from members of St. Louis Publishers Association and decided to go with my SLPA friend, Kim Wolterman. Kim said, “There’s always something to learn.” She was right!
Some take away lessons and ideas worth sharing:
• Dig deep; your book should evoke an emotional response
• Good reasons for writing a book include to enrich people’s lives, further a cause, or meet an intellectual challenge.
• Context and positioning is about touching people and how you do it,” said Dominique Raccah, founder of Sourcebooks.
B. Your target market
• Start building your marketing platform the day you start writing your book
• Become “findable” six months before your book launch
• Identify your specific target market; should be (one or more of these key groups) readers
—who will read your book
—who will purchase your book
—who will refer your book.
C. Marketing ideas
• Guy Kawasaki gave postcards to each attendee with a scratch-off offer for his ebook, APE. He mentioned that the postcard can also be used for autographs (too bad he left the conference immediately after his keynote talk).
• Author Melissa Silverstein experimented with two business cards, each with a special limited-time coupon code on the back when you purchased her book from her website.
D. Technology and professional partners
• Test your ebook on all devices: Kindle (tablet, apps, and cloud reader), ipad ibook, Nook, Kobo, etc.
• Optimize for all markets: online retailers want to carry your book in ebook, print, and audio formats.
• Make your book available everywhere, in all media (what do you mean by media? Formats?), everywhere; distribute internationally.
• Don’t do it alone; get an expert team to help you; create strategic partnerships with editors, designers, and ebook converters (aggregators?).
E. Creative is crucial…
• More than one expert said, “Hire a cover designer.” Your book cover competes at a postage-stamp size image.
• “Cover design is super important” said Mark Coker. “People make snap judgments about the book at thumbnail size.”
• Designer Joel Friedlander said, “Your book cover is a sales tool. Does it compel?”
• Dominique Raccah advised, “Focus on creative first.” Positioning, titles (titling), and the right cover can make a difference. Covers trigger images.” [I totally agree!]
Was it worth going? Yes. Even though I’ve heard some of these messages before, being at Pub U was inspirational. I’m a sneezer (someone who spreads the word), and I’m ready to share stories with fellow SLPA members and especially with my clients—self-published authors who are looking for expert book design and publishing advice.