2016 Self-Publishing Conference

Last Saturday I went the Self-Publishing Conference at the University of Leicester.2016 Self-Publishing Conference

I took two key messages away from the conference (as well as a bag of leaflets and promos!):

  • Self-publishing is no longer an inferior, second best alternative to traditional publishing. Well-written self-published books that are put through similar editorial and design processes to their traditional counterparts are indistinguishable from ‘normal’ books. Readers choosing a book online, in a bookshop or in the library seldom check the publisher before deciding whether or not to have the book.
  • Quality is key when self-publishing. We all know that some get-rich-quick merchants push anything out on Kindle and, unfortunately, give the rest of us a bad name. However the rules are being tightened with Amazon cracking down on books containing errors. The successful self-publisher always puts his book through quality control procedures such as copy-editing and/or proofreading.

Throughout the day I absorbed other information such as:

  • How to get e-books into the digital catalogues of libraries through Overdrive (loans of self-published material are growing). There is no PLR but it is a sale which may get you known more widely.
  • It’s free to generate a QR Code which can be added to bookmarks and other promotional materials. The code will take readers direct to your website via a smartphone.
  • Bookshops and libraries will not readily order/stock Createspace books. If it’s important to you to have copies of your books available in this way then consider a different method of self-publishing, such as through a provider like Matador.
  • How ISBNs and metadata work. This was complex and generated a lot of questions! ISBNs can now be bought singly as well as in blocks of ten.

If you’re serious about your self-publishing activities and ambitions, this is a conference well worth attending. I’ll be looking out for the announcement of next year’s date.

P.S. There was also a very good lunch plus chocolate brownies in the afternoon!

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  1. #1 by Judith Brulo on May 12, 2016 - 11:09 am

    Hi Sally
    I was at the Conference too. (We had a chat and I’ve bought your book).
    The day was full of essential information on the various processes concerning self publication. It was good to know that there is now research to back it up too.

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on May 12, 2016 - 11:42 am

      Hi Judith – It was good to meet you and glad you got as much out of the day as me. And many thanks for buying ‘Bedsit Three’ – I hope you enjoy it!

      • #3 by Judith Brulo on May 12, 2016 - 2:57 pm

        Hi Sally, I’m enjoying it so much that I’ve recommended it to my son as well

      • #4 by Sally Jenkins on May 12, 2016 - 6:07 pm

        Great stuff, Judith! Thank you.

  2. #5 by Debbie Young on May 12, 2016 - 11:27 am

    Hi Sally, I agree, it was a great conference – really uplifting and inspiring, and it was an added bonus to be able to meet you in real life there at last!

    • #6 by Sally Jenkins on May 12, 2016 - 11:44 am

      Likewise, Debbie. We’ve popped in and out of each other’s virtual lives for a few years now, so good to finally see you in the flesh!

  3. #7 by juliathorley on May 12, 2016 - 2:01 pm

    Anyone can self-publish; the hard part is the selling. Did the conference offer much advice on this?

    • #8 by Sally Jenkins on May 12, 2016 - 6:06 pm

      Good point, Julia. There was a session on ‘Selling to Retailers and Libraries’ which I didn’t go to because it clashed with something else I went to. Other marketing type sessions were ‘Secrets to a successful Book Launch’ & ‘Using Your Author Website to the Full’ – these clashed with the one I went to about getting e-books into libraries. There was also a session on ‘Book Trailers’ but instead I went to ‘Self-promotion for Self-publishers’ – this was a whistle stop list of ideas, many of which I’d heard before. So there was advice on selling but it wasn’t always possible to get to all the sessions that you wanted.

    • #9 by Judy on May 13, 2016 - 6:10 am

      Hello Julia
      The Matador/Troubador group, who were presenting some sessions, have a whole package including selling and marketing. Their website is full of useful information.

  4. #10 by juliaibbotson on May 12, 2016 - 3:14 pm

    Hi Sally, Thank you for a most interesting post – as usual! I’m very interested in the issues on Overdrive, QRCode and why Matador is able to distribute to libraries and bookshops where other self-publishers aren’t (or maybe that was just that Amazon CreateSpace aren’t??). Anyway, I’d love to have a chat with you about these in further detail if poss? Many thanks.

    • #11 by Sally Jenkins on May 13, 2016 - 12:29 pm

      Hi Julia – Createspace can’t distribute to bookshops etc. Their books can only be ordered via Amazon at the full price. Bookshops need to have a large discount in order to make their profit. Matador (& some other self-publishing companies) are set up to take orders from the book trade and ship them out. The simplest way to get on Overdrive is to load up your book to Smashwords, which distributes to Overdrive – I hoping to try this over the next couple of months, so hopefully I’ll learn more about the process then. I haven’y yet had chance to play with QRCodes. Perhaps we can catch up for a chat at the June RNA chapter meeting?

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