Self-Publishers Online Conference News
Virtual conference, real publishing experts
Thursday, May 10, 2012 5:22 AM |
Wednesday, May 09, 2012 5:38 AM |
Tuesday, May 08, 2012 5:47 AM |
Monday, May 07, 2012 10:36 AM |
Interviews and Profiles
I met Andrea Vahl through Gary Barnes (another SPOC speaker). We were both on a call with Gary and realized that we also were both in the same marketing forum. Sometimes the Internet is a small place.
Around the time I met her, Andrea had just "come out" as the real person behind her alter-ego Grandma Mary, social media "edutainer" persona. Grandma Mary is on a mission to make the world of social media a little less confusing. (Andrea is too, but it seems to involve a lot less finger pointing and she doesn't have to wear a gray wig all the time.)
Because social media is a huge topic in book marketing, I was thrilled when Andrea accepted my invitation to speak at SPOC. On May 10, she'll be on hand at 5 pm to explain how you can Build Your Expert Status with a Powerful Social Media and Publishing Combination.
Connect with Andrea
Sunday, May 06, 2012 4:25 PM |
Interviews and Profiles
I've been trying to remember how I met Dana Lynn Smith. I think it must have been quite a few years ago before she branded herself as the Savvy Book Marketer because I always remember her company name: Texana Publishing Consultants.
The reason I remember it is because she told me stories about the various animals on her farm in Texas. Even though I live in a rural area, I don't have large animals like cows and goats. Because we both live in the country and love dogs and books, we discovered we had quite a bit in common.
Since then, both of us have written a number of books and guides and consulted with a lot of clients. I often stop by to read Dana's practical articles on her blog, so I invited her to speak at SPOC. She said yes, and on May 9 from 3-4 pm Dana will share her Top 10 Book Promotion Strategies for Authors. I'm sure it will be a fun and practical session, since I know I'm not the only one who doesn't do as much book promotion as I should!
Connect with Dana
Saturday, May 05, 2012 9:26 AM |
Interviews and Profiles
Sandra Beckwith is one of my favorite "book people" online. She's smart, funny, and just a pleasure to work with on SPOC. I also had the opportunity to take her online book publicity course and it's great. Sandy is a wonderful teacher who really "gets" what the media is looking for, so when she critiques your homework assignments, you start to get into that "news mindset" and get a feel for why some stories make the news and some don't.
Sandy has spoken at SPOC before, but she'll be doing a new presentation this year called "What's Your Hook?"
During her presentation a couple years ago, one of the big questions that people kept asking was how to get media attention on fiction books or books on really obscure topics. Sandy's answers about coming up with an angle or "hook" were great and people had a lot of "ah-ha" moments based on what she said. So this year, I asked her if she'd be willing to come back and expand on that topic a bit more, since getting the media's attention is vital to getting the word out about your book.
I hope you'll join us at 11 am on May 9. I know it's going to be an informative session and I'll be taking many pages of notes ;-)
Connect with Sandra:
Friday, May 04, 2012 6:05 PM |
Interviews and Profiles
Like a lot of people, I met Dan Janal "virtually" through his PR Leads service. I'm sure we communicated way back when I signed up, but it was a while ago. More recently, I got an e-introduction (or re-introduction) from someone I met online. Sometimes the Internet is a small place.
I will say that I got my biggest and best media "hit" by using the PR Leads service. I was featured in an article in Redbook magazine because I responded to a PR Leads query. (Yes, these things really do happen.) Redbook sent a professional photographer out here to the middle of nowhere to take photos of me and even hired makeup and hair people to fix me up so I looked significantly better in that photo than I usually do. (Fortunately, only my dogs and my husband know what I look like when I'm sitting in my office toiling away.)
Anyway, back to Dan. After the re-introduction, I asked him if he'd be willing to speak at SPOC and he graciously said yes. In fact, I think he was the first speaker to say yes this year!
It has been a pleasure working with Dan before SPOC. I was thrilled when he let me do a guest post for the PR Leads blog, since I've been reading it for years. On May 9 at 9 am (Pacific) Dan will be explaining how you can Build Your Brand and Get More Prospects with Publicity. You won't want to miss it!
Connect with Dan
Friday, May 04, 2012 10:23 AM |
The fourth Self-Publishers Online Conference is May 8-10, 2012. Many people have asked us what it's like to attend a virtual conference, so in this post, we'll share the experience of a typical "day in the life" at SPOC.
Obviously, as the organizers, during the three days of SPOC, we are bit busier than an attendee, but here are a few the things you can expect at SPOC. (Note that all times are Pacific time.)
Last year, we opted to start SPOC a bit later, which gave people more time to stop by the site, log-in and download handouts before the first session starts. So, on day one (May 8) for example, about 10 minutes before the hour, you'll be settling in for the first session at 9:00 AM
On the days of the conference, you see a Log In button in the upper right corner of the Web site. Click button and enter the user name and password you requested when you registered. The site takes you to the member welcome page, which has tips for using the member area of the site. (If you want a look at the pages we'll be talking about, please check out the Behind the Login page on the SPOC Web site.)
You then click the Seminar link on the member menu near the top of the page. The site displays the Seminars home page, which includes a grid of the conference days and seminar times. It also has links to the individual seminars.
Now you click the link for the appropriate seminar. The site displays the seminar page with a description of the seminar and the speaker's biographical information. If the seminar has a handout, you'll see a link just below the seminar description. To download a handout, you just click the link, and your browser will try to open or save the file. You can save the file directly to your hard disk by right-clicking the link and choosing "Save Link As" or "Save Target As," depending upon which browser you are using.
You also see the phone number and conference ID you'll need if you want to hear the seminar via telephone. Or, if you prefer, you can listen on the Web through an audio player on your computer. Just click the Play button on the player (and make sure your speakers are turned up!) to join the seminar.
When the seminar starts you'll hear one of us (Susan Daffron or James Byrd) introduce the speaker, and then the seminar will begin. In some cases, the seminar is a question-and-answer format, where the host interviews the speaker. In other cases, the speaker takes off and runs through a prepared presentation.
During the seminar, you can use the Seminar Discussion area at the bottom of the page to post your comments or questions. One of the hosts will be monitoring these posts, and if we can work a question into the seminar, we will do so. You can also engage with other attendees before and after the presentation using the discussion area. Some speakers will take questions at the end of their presentation, which is yet another opportunity for you to get the answers you need. During the seminar, the phone lines will be muted to protect the quality of the recording, so the discussion area is your best means of communicating with us. In some cases, we may open the phone lines for questions after the seminar is over.
While you are listening to the seminar, you click the "Refresh Discussion" button once in a while to see what other people are saying. The most recent posts appear first in the discussion list, so it is easy to keep up.
The first seminar ends and you catch your breath as you try to assimilate all the great information you just received. The seminar may go on for a few more minutes as we wrap up and potentially get a few more questions answered. We are usually signed off within 15 minutes of the top of the hour.
You now have about 45 minutes before the next seminar starts. If you need to get some more coffee or visit the bathroom, here's your big chance.
You can also use this time to take a look around the Exhibit Hall, which has information about products and services specifically oriented around helping self-publishers produce books. Just click the Exhibit Hall link in the member menu and walk the virtual aisles of booths. Click the links in the shortcut bar on the left side of the page to display the corresponding exhibit on the right side. If you want more information about a specific product or service, just click the Request More Information link at the bottom of the page to take advantage of our "Virtual Badge Swipe" feature, which lets you request information without having to fill out any contact forms.
Before the 11:00 seminar begins, you log back on to the SPOC Web site and go to the appropriate seminar page. Once again, you download the handout if there is one, and get yourself set up on the phone or Web audio player. You'll be all set for another hour-long seminar packed with information you can use to put your knowledge and passion into words, and get your message to your audience.
Whew! So much great information in such a short time! After we wrap up the second morning session, you'll can take a break before the Q & A Roundtable discussion, so if you want to grab something to eat, now is the time!
The Roundtable discussion is an hour-long, open forum for questions and answers. We had an impromptu roundtable at SPOC 2009 when a speaker had an emergency and was unable to present her scheduled session. The Q&A session went over so well that many participants suggested we turn it into a regular part of the conference. We did in 2010 and 2011 people loved them, so yes, Roundtables are back in 2012 as well.
Each day has a Roundtable discussion at mid-day for one-on-one attention from the SPOC hosts. This is your chance to discuss what you've learned or get answers to questions about YOUR books.
After the Roundtable discussion, you'll have another hour-long break before the afternoon sessions begin. It's another chance to grab something to eat or just stretch your legs. (Here at SPOC World Headquarters, we take our dogs out for a walk.)
The afternoon sessions go a lot like the morning sessions. Each seminar goes for about an hour, and then you have about an hour before the next one begins. (See the SPOC Agenda page for details.)
Don't forget that you'll also be able to download the seminar audio files as they become available. The files are usually ready some time before the next session begins, or within an hour or so after the last session of the day is over.
I hope you enjoyed that little journey through a day of SPOC.
It is hard to describe the energy and excitement of learning so much valuable information and sharing the experience with your peers, but if you check out some of the testimonials sprinkled around the SPOC site from the last three years, you'll get a feel for it.
If you haven't registered, please do so right now!
We hope to "see" you at the conference. In the meantime, live long and publish!
Wednesday, May 02, 2012 6:19 PM |
Interviews and Profiles
by James Byrd
I first encountered Carolyn McCray through a series of articles she wrote for the Digital Book World web site. The articles were related to optimizing your book sales on Amazon.com, and I was amazed by the information she provided.
When I heard that Carolyn was giving a free webinar last year on the same subject, I had to attend. I was impressed by her research and her delivery, which were both illuminating and fun; the lady has a sense of humor. By the time the webinar was over, I was certain that I wanted to ask Carolyn to speak at the Self-Publishers Online Conference. When I contacted her about the possibility, she graciously accepted.
Carolyn is a successful fiction and non-fiction author, and she's a competent marketing data analyst. She uses that combination of talents to great effect in furthering her own writing career, and thankfully, she is willing to share what she has learned with the rest of us.
I have met few people in this industry who have a better understanding of how the Amazon recommendation engine and bestseller lists relate to book sales, in spite of how secretive Amazon is on that subject. Carolyn monitors the sales of over two dozen titles in real time and sells books at several price levels, so she has a great deal of experience with interpreting and taking full advantage of Amazon's book promotion algorithms. She can prove that her recommendations work!
If you want to solve the mystery of why books rise and fall in the Amazon sales rankings, you won't want to miss out on Carolyn's talk on May 10, 2012 at 11:00 am (Pacific.) The insights she gives you will be actionable as well as informative.
Connect with Carolyn
Website: www.CarolynMcCray.com or www.indiebookcollective.com
Monday, April 30, 2012 6:46 PM |
Interviews and Profiles
Kathy Goughenour is one of my favorite people because she is so enthusiastic about so many things. When I sent her an email asking if she'd be willing to do a SPOC preview call, she replied in all upper case letters: YES!
(She's like that in person too.)
Kathy and I met many years ago on a marketing discussion forum, but even after we both left the group, we kept in touch through email. One of the great things about doing business online is that you meet people all over the country. I have online buddies that I met when I first went online on CompuServe. (Yes it was a looong time ago!)
I haven't known Kathy quite that long, but we have a lot in common beyond just knowing each other through a forum. Kathy lives in Missouri, but even though she's way over on the other side of the country from me, our day-to-day lives are somewhat similar. We both choose to live in rural areas with questionable Internet and variable weather that means we both have back-up generators, so we don't go "out of business" during all-too-frequent power outages.
Kathy and I also share our offices with dogs. She has two adorable golden retrievers and anyone who has ever talked to me knows I'm a total sucker for fuzzy dogs. Not to mention golden retrievers. For both of us, every day is take your dog to work day!
A few years ago when the real estate industry went downhill, Kathy switched her virtual assistant business niche from real estate to self-publishers. Almost immediately, her practice filled with happy authors that she helps with marketing and publishing support tasks. Kathy has been a VA herself, but she has also trained and coached other VAs. She's also been a client of VAs. She'll share her expertise from both sides of the fence on the call.
Kathy's SPOC session is called "Tap Into the Power of a Virtual Author Assistant." If you've ever felt overwhelmed by all the things you're supposed to do to publish and market your book and feel like you need help, you won't want to miss this call!
The preview call is Wednesday, May 2 and it will be recorded. Registered SPOC attendees can download the recording along with the other two preview calls and all of the seminars during the conference. Be sure to REGISTER for the conference to get all the goodies! Use coupon code Publish12 to get 10% off the registration fee.
Connect with Kathy:
Website: ExpertVATraining.com / WeMarketYouProfit.com