Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Broaden Your Concept of Conferences--They're About More Than Writing

I believe most authors think too narrowly when the word "conference" comes up. We think writers' conferences. Conferences where we go onsite to learn craft and marketing and to talk to agents. Conferences online, like the Muse Online conference I cosponsor with Lea Schizas that are free.

However, a new year is upon us and I'd like you to start thinking about conferences in general. In The Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) I talk about examining the themes and other elements of your own book to help you get more publicity for it by exploiting current events related to them. You can exploit conferences the same way.

Almost every industry--even every sub industry--has a conference each year. Your job is to find the one that attracts people who would be interested in your book.

It is nearly always true that this process will be easier for nonfiction writers but it can be done for any book, even fiction and poetry. It requires analytical skills (that examining of your own book thing) and research. A good place to start is by rereading your book, keeping all its elements and how they can be applied to the outside world in mind. You might also check www.fictionmarketing.com to read the chapter by Phyllis Miller Zimbler and me on marketing fiction. You will need to sign in so we can notify you when the book comes out. It's part of the marketing campaign!

From there go to www.allconferences.com where you'll find conferences and trade shows of all sizes and types located all over the world. Once you've found a match ask yourself how you can put it to work for you. Ask yourself:

1. Could I reach a good number of readers among attendees? Then rent a booth.

2. Could I reach my audience by speaking at that conference? To those with booths? To attendees? Then pitch their program director with a query letter and include a video that shows your speaking skills.

3. Could I benefit from taking ads in the conference directories? Would it increase my chances of success if I offered some special benefit?

4. Could I offer to barter some of my lists and exposure (say on blogs) for some kind of return favors from the conference administrators?

5. Could my tax bill benefit from some business travel deductions? A conference might fill the bill. Don't forget that if your travel includes research for a future book, those expenses might qualify for a deduction, too.

Happy Writing, Promoting and Editing. And Happy New Year, too.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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