At the end of last month, Michael La Ronn, one of ALLi's regular podcast team and a highly successful indie author, went to represent our organisation at the new IndieLab conference, run by Writer's Digest in Cincinnati, Ohio. Today he shares with us his key takeaways from the experience – including the value of attending author conferences in general.
This past month, I did something I’ve never done: attend an author conference outside of my city.
Somehow, on the journey to writing 40 books and running a YouTube channel, I hadn’t placed a priority on the personal interactions and networking that’s often required to have a successful writing career.
Shame on me—I know, I know. But when I had the opportunity to attend IndieLab by Writer’s Digest in Cincinnati, Ohio—a new conference of its kind focused on self-publishing and entrepreneurship for writers—I couldn’t turn down the invitation.
- Amazing content? Check.
- Represent ALLi to authors who have never heard of us? Check.
- Network with successful publishing industry professionals? Sold!
What's Different about IndieLab?
Writer’s Digest has been doing conferences for a long time, and they’ve got events down to a science. However, IndieLab was a different kind of conference. Per the IndieLab website:
“Entrepreneurial writers have myriad options—traditional and self-publishing; print and ebooks; bookstores and libraries; copywriting and ghostwriting; journalism and content marketing. Learn which ones are best for your short- and long-term goals, and what resources and connections you’ll need to succeed.”
The IndieLab Program
Over a jam-packed two days, a vibrant crowd of authors heard some of the following talks (and more):
- Today’s Key Publishing Paths by Jane Friedman
- Discover Your Readers by Amy Collins
- Expanding Your Readership via Audiobooks by Diane Lasek of ListenUpIndiePub
- Platform for Success (Build an Audience with Blogging, Podcasting, and Online Video) by Michael La Ronn
- Why Metadata Matters by Robin Cutler of IngramSpark
- Finances for Indie Authors by Sophie Littlefield
Those were just a few of the many great sessions at the event.
ALLi's Part in IndieLab
ALLi had a table, provided sponsorship at the event, and we even provided a scholarship for one lucky member, Dan Grant, to attend the event. And best of all, we had several US ALLi members present in the audience!
What I Took Away from IndieLab
I met some amazing writers who were driven and determined to become successful writers. Most of them had published a book already or intended to publish very soon. Every session I attended was full of questions and engagement, which speaks to the level of these writers’ drives.
As I reflect on the conference, I had several major takeaways that I’d like to share with you:
- We’ve come far as a publishing community. When you think about attending a conference like this, a few years ago we would have been having tough conversations simply trying to justify self-publishing. Here, it was widely accepted and just a fact of life that it’s a viable path for writers. This is just one conference, and we still have a long way to go, but we at ALLi should feel proud of the impact we’re making in the industry in helping writers become the creative directors of their careers.
- Audiobook growth isn’t stopping any time soon. We all knew that, but there has never been a better time to publish an audiobook if your book has a good cover, is well written, and appeals to your audience.
- Indies still have an opportunity to go “back to basics”—having a good website, utilizing social media purposefully, understanding genres, practicing basic marketing fundamentals in order to reach a broader audience, etc.
- ALLi’s Watchdog service is more important than ever to make sure that authors are getting the best value for their money, with reputable service providers.
- The path to bookstores is still misunderstood by many indies. There are some services like DartFrog that are innovating in this space, making it easier for indies to get access to bookstores.
Overall, I’m glad I attended IndieLab. I’m glad that ALLi was represented there. Special thanks to Writer’s Digest for putting on a great conference, and to all the speakers and writer attendees who made it a success.
Onward, indies!#Indieauthors - learn the top takeaways from the recent @WritersDigest #IndieLab conference for #selfpub authors from @MichaelLaRonn: Click To Tweet
OVER TO YOU If you were at IndieLab, we'd love to hear what YOU gained from the event – feel free to share your views via the comments box!
From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive