Yes, yes, the past week may have seen online leaks of an obscure little series about a power game between dastardly lords, a dragon queen and an imp, not to mention a certain publishing trade show, but for us and the attendees of IndieReCon, our online conference was the humdinger event of a packed publishing April.
With so many engaging speakers throughout the three days (April 15 – 17), coinciding with The London Book Fair and Book and Screen Week, it felt like Indie Authors Oscar Time. Cue the Oscars musak and have a gander at the closing remarks from IndieReCon founders SR Johannes and Ali Cross, plus ALLi Director Orna Ross, at just how much information, support, advice, and fun was packed into those lively three days . (Not forgetting the poetry – this was a literary bash).
The action may have been in London, but ALLi is a global organisation, and so it was all live-streamed and recorded.
Please don’t worry if you missed all or some of it, or fancy a bit of revision. All the IndieReCon 2015 sessions, including the live series of talks and panel sessions from a packed Foyles bookstore in London, will shortly be fully available online.
First, some stats to get your heads round. This year’s IndieReCon objective to attract even more attendees was fulfilled. Last year’s attendance figure was 25,000; this year the conference has had more than 100,000 visits so far. Although the live action is over, indie authors are still dropping by for information and education.
Super Authors: How did they do it? And how can we?
You can see just how much information and education was shared by dropping by. One live session was a particular highlight: when a panel of super-successful indie authors told an attentive audience how they broke out.
- “Persistence, and building an audience.” Nick Stephenson
- “By picturing my reader, then talking and relating to that reader.” Mark McGuinness
- “Focussing on readers – not sales. And keeping those readers.” Steena Holmes
- “Trusting my readers, and remembering they are God.” C.J. Lyons
- “Persistence, and a little writing and a little marketing.” Joanna Penn
- “When I wrote a marketing plan.” Rachel Abbott. (Can we have it, asked the excited audience? Yes you can, right here, replied the kindly Abbott.)
Additional tips from the panel, in no particular order, included:
- defining what success means to you, (e.g. gaining readers, making money)
- hiring a designer to make the inside of your indie books as beautiful as the cover
- remembering you are an entrepreneur as well as a writer
ALLi's Latest Campaign: Authors for Bookstores
Naturally, writers, being readers too, appreciate how calming and relaxing it is to while away an hour or an afternoon in a bookstore, whether it’s their local indie shop or a six-floor emporium like Foyles.
ALLi’s new “Authors for Bookstores” campaign envisions the mutual benefits for authors and owners of working together. But independent bookstores are becoming an endangered species. ALLi's Debbie Young outlined the current landscape in her native UK:
“In the past decade, we have lost a third of our bookstores; the number fell to 939 last year. Book buying has changed, with many people checking out a book in a store, but then going home to buy it online. At ALLi, we believe that as authors we have a duty to help redress the balance. Writers are super-customers for bookstores – we are bookbuyers with influence. We drive purchases. And bookstores are ambassadors for reading. They remind shoppers that books are great things to buy. They could also expand and become hubs for all manner of creativity, for writing as well as reading.”
How can you get on board? The ALLi website will shortly list 20 easy actions to support your local bookstore, but here are a few obvious ones to give a flavour of the campaign:
- Buy any print books you need from your local bookstore
- Suggest on your author website that your readers shop local
- Support your local bookstore online via your social media accounts
- Sign up for its loyalty card
IngramSpark Discount For Conference Attendees
None of this would have been possible without our speakers and sponsors. We make special mention of our Gold Sponsor, IngramSpark, which provided some great guidance on its platform and which has given all IndieReCon attendees, live and online, a fantastic discount for April and May, waiving all set fees on IngramSpark throughout April and May 2015. You can find out more here.
All Feedback Welcome
We're still absorbing what we learned from IndieReCon2015, but suffice to say that such a conference will become an annual ALLi event. If you have any ideas about how we can do it better next year, or would like to suggest new features for next time, please let us know.