Welcome back to our new series of articles ALLi Out and About. The Alliance of Independent Authors AskALLi team is asking members who attend book fairs, conferences or industry events (be they in-person or online) to share the lessons they've learned attending the events. This is ALLi Out and About: 20booksto50k Seville.
If you'd like to participate, and you've attended a book event, fair, conference or something else you think members would benefit from hearing about, please reach out to Sacha on sacha @ allianceindependentauthors.org.
The 20booksto50k Seville Conference
Michael Anderle founded the 20booksto50k group on Facebook when he realised that if he had 20 books and each one made roughly $7 a day (two sales) he would make 50,000 a year and be able to retire to Cabo. Roll on a few years, the Facebook group now has over 70,000 members and they run conferences all over the world. Vegas is the annual staple, but there have been conferences in Adelaide, Edinburgh, Holland, Madrid, Seville, and London.
The Seville conference was spread over two days in April, 2023 and had an attendance of around 150. There were three session tracks, two in English and one in Spanish. Set in an architecturally quirky building, with intricate iron struts criss-crossing above us and huge glass windows pouring light in. The sessions themselves were in cinema theatre rooms which was awesome and made me feel a little like a professor presenting at university.
My Takeaways from Seville
I know this will elicit a groan, but these are my personal takeaways from Seville:
AI isn't coming anymore. It's already here. Much of the conference was focused on using AI as authors. Michael Anderle said, “We're at the point where AI tools mean we can publish a book for a dollar.”
What I took from that, is that this is no longer a race about speed. As a community we have obsessed over publishing hard and fast, 5 books a year, 10, 20, 50. Cowriting and making it 100. But it doesn't matter anymore. We will never be as fast as a machine, we cannot beat the pace of AI.
Michael went on to say that his goal is to publish “10,000 books a year.” And then he quoted a recent movie. “My goal is to have everything, everywhere in every format, all at once.”
This really is the power of AI. We were discussing how quickly this would impact us, and just like every other development of late, things happen faster than we expect. So it won't surprise you that it tickled me pink that Amazon announced it's release of Bedrock— it's own generative AI service while we were there.
This is all to say that, my main takeaway is that we can no longer enter a speed race. For those Indies who were playing the speed to market game, it's time to do something different. Our super power as indie authors is our ability to pivot. It's time to don your dancing shoes folks, the game is changing.
What I’m Going to Do Differently
I'm still intellecting on the specific ins and outs of what I am going to do differently. But something that Joanna Penn said during her Creator Economy talk, really resonated. “It's time to step out” by that, I interpreted it to mean step out of the speed game, step out of the algorithms and play a different game. The bit I'm trying to figure out, is what that game looks like for me.
It really felt like there was a shift in the mindset of attendees while there. For one, there was a global understanding of what the Creator Economy is, it's importance and an acceptance that we must embrace the business side of writing if we want to survive the AI disruption.
My first step is to think more about my brand, and what skillset I have that's uniquely me. That's where I will find the biggest gains. There's a lot of talk about being more human, and the wonderful thing about that, is we will all do it in a different way. I like to think of this as a gift, if we need to be more human to retain our readership than really it's an opportunity to embrace our true selves. When we do that, we're happier, more grounded and more joyful, and that is always good for business.
Seville is in the south of Spain, which means in April it's lovely and warm. It's a stunning city with beautiful architecture and I found myself snapping a number of photos of random buildings as I strolled through the city.
The highlights for me were the Real Alcázar. The Royal Alcazar of Seville is a palace that was founded in the early Middle-Ages. It's a sweeping compound filled with flowing fountains, ponds with brightly coloured fish, pavilions with ornate tile work and arches. The gardens are just as stunning with giant trees and ancient plants peppered with statues and maze like paths. All in all, it was a beautiful few hours walking around and I highly recommend it. Another place I recommend is the cathedral situated opposite the palace.
One thing I would say, is that if you're a vegetarian—as I am—learn a few key Spanish words to ensure you double check everything. I made the egregious error of asking what a delightful dark-chocolate coloured cube was. I told it was chocolate. Delightful, I thought. I am, if nothing else, a massive chocoholic. So I popped it in and promptly had to suppress a series of gags. I managed to swallow it down, but alas, I later discovered the dark chocolate was in fact, goose foie gras!