Happy Fall Y’all!
I thought I’d share my experience as a finalist at the 2017 InD’Scribe Author/Reader Con in LA recently.
As a ‘first time’ attendee, I arrived with many questions, a few nerves and great expectations for networking, learning and fun. Not knowing at the outset what I’d gain (beyond the chance of winning an award) I quickly met many wonderful, friendly authors and industry professionals from all walks of life.
Aside from the glitz ‘n’ glam of the red carpet, what was my takeaway? Should you consider attending an author event if you haven’t yet already?
Networking – lots of it. With authors (self-published and traditionally published), event organizers, readers, bloggers, cover designers, editors, photographers, and (in this case) some hunky Highlander models. My bag overflowed with business cards following each workshop and meal. If you enjoy interacting with like-minded individuals, this is the way to do it. I also spoke with several spouses and friends of authors who came along for support and ended up having a fantastic time. Amidst such a diverse group of people we all shared (at minimum) one thing in common—the joy of reading and writing. Welcome to a world of escapism, fantasy and good storytelling, layered within gorgeous covers.
We writers have our favorite authors too! My book bag bulged by the time I exited the book signing festival, with swag and signatures to sweeten the pot. I loved chatting with well-known romance authors and getting to know new authors for the first time.
Entertainment. What’s an event without some fun? Scrumptious meals, fashion (and Highlander models,) table decor and general Hollywood ambiance are a trademark of InD’Scribe. Throw in good music and costumes, and the party cranks up. I’ve never been a huge fan of costumes, but I’m a Medieval convert now.
Learning. With keynote speakers and 2 days of workshops, the opportunity to gain new insights and tips face-to-face is fabulous! I was able to choose my preferred workshops and hear industry pros share informative and usable hacks to help me along with publishing, writing and marketing. For example, I specifically sought information on how to effectively re-work my newsletters by adding automation . I didn’t need to surf through endless websites, instead I sat back and took notes, getting step-by-step instructions on how to do what I wanted to do. It also helped having feedback from other authors on how their newsletters are performing and what works for them.
Unsurprisingly, additional learning occurs during unscripted moments between authors during book signings. I found everyone approachable and more than willing to share tips and advice on all aspects of writing and marketing including design, editing, publishing methods and goals for writing.
Marketing inspiration. Ambling through the book signing room, I surveyed signing tables in all their glory. Authors are a creative tribe, and I gained tons of inspiration for table/book presentation. I discovered news ways to advertise my own books (magazine ads, postcards, banners, tablecloths, printed swag and quiz booklets to name a few). We all know how important marketing is, yet sometimes we become lost with creative ways of reaching our target audience. It never occurred to me to order a tablecloth with my logo/book cover printed on it! Very colorful and effective marketing. Another author created little booklets with story excerpts and recipes. Easy to produce and carry, they offered something different than standard bookmarks.
Freebies. Okay, this is not the reason I signed up to attend, but truthfully, it was great fun to receive a USB stick filled with free books, and peruse endless tables of free swag from authors. Chocolates, pens, stamps, bookmarks, booklets, beauty products, all kinds of gifts filled my green bag. It felt like trick-or-treating for adult writers. And it provided me with oodles of ideas for future giveaways.
Writing is often a lonely enterprise which is why it’s a good thing to connect and let your hair down! I enjoyed the social aspect of being together with people who write for a living. Importantly, this event delivered real people with real careers, serving as motivation to continue writing, despite the challenges and obstacles most of us face. Advice given to me: don’t bury your passion and don’t become complacent or lazy. Write. Keep writing. And go to a convention, workshop or chapter meeting and meet new people and learn!
Will I go to another convention? Yes. Will I return to InD’Scribe? Yes! Thank you to TJ MacKay, Tonya Smalley, the countless others who spend months on end creating this annual event and my publisher, Soul Mate Publishing!