Authors spend most of their time at a desk be it in a coffee house, an office (oh, the luxury!) or at home. It’s quite a solitary profession, something which I’ve had real difficulty to come to terms with since I turned full-time author two years ago. Attending author events has helped me a lot with the sense of seclusion, but there are other reasons authors should attend live seminars and conferences on subjects other than writing.
Networking is an obvious benefit of ‘getting out there’. Whenever I attend an event, I see a small hike in my book sales that same night or the next day. I always carry lots of business cards (with my book covers plus a QR code for speedy shopping), and I usually tell everyone I am an author and what kinds of books I write.
Networking is also useful for my mentoring business: many of my clients have come directly, or indirectly, out of events I’ve attended.
Seminars and conferences are great places to learn about a subject that you need more training for. I am really looking forward to Janet Murray’s Media Live Conference next week. I am hoping to meet a lot of marketing professionals, learn about effective PR, social media marketing and hopefully get to know what commissioning journalists for newspapers, magazines, radio and TV are looking for today. I’m aiming to come home from the two-day conference with some names and business cards of people I can work with, as well as those that I can contact for possible coverage when I’m planning my next book launch (which, fingers crossed, should be late September).
Real life networking can also be useful to find like-minded authors or marketing and other professionals to collaborate with. During my time as an indie author, I have made solid business connections at events with various people, some of whom I now consider my friends. For example, I met Yen Ooi of CreateThinkDo at an event at Foyles Bookstore in London. A few years later, she contacted me to ask me if I’d like to become CTD Fellow. Having known about the effectiveness of this marketing analysis and strategy builder for creatives, I said, after careful consideration and training, ‘Yes’. (To find out more about CreateThinkDo, go here.)
I cannot emphasize enough how much inspiration for writing and marketing getting out of the house (office/coffee shop), gives me. Especially if it’s at an event that has this mission statement at its core:
Driven Woman is a network for women with ideas and ambition who want to achieve their goals.
I’ve been a member of the DrivenWoman Network for three years now, and the help and support that this group of women has given me is really immeasurable. Their annual conference, The Festival of Doers, is just an amazing day, where you get inspired to live the life you want and reach the goals you’ve set for yourself. Or, find what it is you want or the goals you have but didn’t even realise. DrivenWoman has its first international conference in Zurich later this year, and I am hugely tempted to go, especially as I’ve never visited this beautiful and historic city.
Going to seminars and conferences can give you that much-needed support, or validation that what you are doing is the right thing for you. Or confirmation that, even if the journey sometimes feels very hard indeed, you’re going in the right direction and that it’ll be worth it in the end!
Before I even became a self-published author, I joined a very special organisation, the inauguration of which I witnessed at the London Book Fair in 2011. Had I not attended this annual Fair, I’m convinced it would have taken me much longer to get where I am today.
Over the years, The Alliance of Independent Authors has given me a huge amount of support, informed me about the book industry, provided discounts for services, given me numerous friends and introduced me to various colleagues amongst the indie community. I really, truly, don’t think that could be a published author and a successful mentor if it wasn’t for ALLi.
If you see me at a conference or seminar, come and say hello!
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