by John F. Harnish
Your book is published and selling so-so, but you want to learn how to go about selling more copies. Perhaps you’ve discovered the truth that for some folks writing the book is the easy part – marketing the book is the hard part. Now you’ve hit this difficult phase in your publishing venture and frankly you need professional guidance to master the challenges of effectively self-promoting your book.
After considering your finances, you make the commitment to invest several hundred dollars and a long weekend away to attend an authors’ conference, where the focus is how to be more successful with your efforts to promote your book. With the investment of your time and money you now ponder about what benefits there will be from this gathering adventure. Well, don’t expect to learn the secret of the origin of the universe, or to magically be graced with the enlightenment to sell hundreds and hundreds of books the week after you return home – but that has been known to happen for a few motivated authors.
Some primary realistic benefits from attending an authors’ conference would include:
1. The focus is on teaching participating authors current marketing and promotional techniques specific to selling more copies of his or her book to the masses. This differs from experts presenting at writers’ conferences telling writers how to pitch a manuscript to one agent.
2. Time spent discussing book selling tactics that can be adapted so the concept will work with the books of all attending authors and everyone benefits. An in-depth critique of your book’s problems in chapter 3 (for instance) only directly benefits the writer of the discussed work-in-progress.
3. The presenter’s handouts have a wealth of take-away information to later reference, with useful links to materials mentioned in their presentations.
4. All authors with books-in-print have their published works for sale at the conference bookstore – usually at discounts off the cover price. There’s a special rush experienced by just-published authors when a fellow author at the conference buys your book and asks you to autograph it. And authors are avid readers (read that book-buyers) – like anyone else, we’re always looking for the next great read.
5. Networking opportunities abound, along with time to mingle with other authors and talk informally with all of the participating publishing professionals – the more author-friendly authors’ conferences don’t charge extra for one-on-one consultations with the pros.
6. At writers’ conferences participants focus on the individual challenges of crafting their unfinished manuscripts; but at authors’ conferences there is brainstorming ideas for generating more exposure for the authors’ books. Taking away a doable plan of action for realistic ways to promote your book is more beneficial than a page of hastily written notes to do yet another rewrite.
7. Connections for future contacts with leading publishing professionals and making enduring friendships with other authors are marvelous benefits that extend and expand for years through phone calls and emails, sharing promotional ideas. A good authors’ conference will offer new marketing concepts year after year, because there are always evolving strategies that evoke fresh discussions about making successful thrusts into the marketplace – and this is what keeps you coming back.
If you have a book in print or on the verge of being published you need to explore attending an authors’ conference that will put you on the successful path for producing more book sales. For more information about authors’ conferences visit www.authorsconference.com
Photo courtesy of Mike Johnson.