Monday, September 28, 2009

The Indie Author & Temple of DIY

April Hamilton has generously shared her slide presentation from her talk on indie authors and self-publishing.

Download the presentation here as a PDF file.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

O'Hanlon closing address (continued)

O'Hanlon wraps up with his own story of how he went from "Pissed to Blissed."

The short version: He never enjoyed writing, but wanted to "have written." The way he started writing was the he got "pissed off" after leaving home, dropping out and feeling suicidal. He became interested in the field of psychotherapy where he discovered people in the field didn't care or take it seriously. He was angered by this and felt that to be taken seriously he should have a book. So he was spurred to become an author.

He closes with a quote from Churchill: "Never ever give up."

"What are you doing sitting here listening to me for," he adds, "Get up, go home and write."

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful conference! Best of luck to you all! Thanks so much on behalf of the entire staff at Writer's Digest.


O'Hanlon closing address (continued)

O'Hanlon's "Not to Do List"

The discussion has turned to important things to avoid in your writing life.
  • money leakage
  • energy leakage
  • shifting attention to the wrong areas
  • wasting your time
He makes the point that you need to think about all the things in your life that contribute to all of these wasteful habits and create a NOT TO DO LIST.


O'Hanlon closing address (continued)

Other, examples of the energy writers can draw from that O'Hanlon presented came from Stephen King, Laura Lippman, Laura Hillenbrand, Sue Grafton and others.

O'Hanlon's presentation reminds me of a point that Chris Brogan made in yesterday's keynote address, which was don't just talk about yourself... give your audience things that they can go out and use. These examples are ones that help the audience really understand the concept of drawing from different areas of life.

O'Hanlon goes on to ask the audience to consider what kind of energies speak most to them at the moment and challenges them to consider how they can transform those energies to fuel their writing or help them build their platform.


O'Hanlon closing address (continued)

Everyone seems to be engaged in O'Hanlon's message. He's using examples of soundbytes as examples of the kinds of energy writers can draw on to get inspired.

Right now his example of "dissed energy"--where a writer is spurred on by some kind of rejection-- is from Patsy Rodenburg's Right to Speak.

Closing Address: Bill O'Hanlon presents "Show Me The Energy"

It's been a great conference and now we're wrapping up with a great speaker Bill O'Halon, prolific public speaker and author of numerous books including Write is a Verb.

O'Hanlon is discussing the energy that writers need to fuel their careers. He starts out by saying that by saying that the energy comes from a few places:

  • blissed
  • blessed
  • pissed
  • dissed
His point is that writers draw energy their experiences, whether that energy comes from a positive event in their life that encourages them or a negative one that spurs them to action.


Twitter, Facebook, and I Really Should Update My Website

Q: Why do people have blogs?

Kassia: "I've never had an opinion I didn't want to share." It's the kind of writing she's been doing her whole life. It's a platform that works really well for her. Blogging has helped her establish herself in her career.

Christina: Blogging is living out loud. She prefers to keep certain things "inside" until they are ready to come out. Daily bloggers have a mindset that when they have an idea, they post it.

Kassia: "No one in the publishing industry new my name when I started by blog."

Jane: This is a topic that comes up a lot. (She's got a post on why to blog on her blog. She the blogroll at the right for the link to There Are No Rules.)

Q: If you're just starting a blog how to people get to you?

Jane: One of the most effective things you can do is comment on other people's blogs. If you are on Facebook and Twitter definitely link to relevant blog posts.

Kassia: Link to other blogs and sites.

Christina: There's also traditional connecting. Link, meet people, go to conferences, engage in professional development. It all creates a synergy. Do a little bit of a lot of things when it comes to connecting with others.

Jane: Look at things you can do online that will help other people, and they'll come back to you.


Twitter, Facebook, and I Really Should Update My Website

Q: (for Christina) How much time to do you spend writing vs. platform?

Christina: They was she uses her time depends on where she is in the process of a book project. You need to learn to steer your own ship and prioritize and don't drop your craft time.

Q: Do any of you pre-post your tweets?

Kassia: She times out her posts depending on what audience she's getting to. The average lifespan of a tweet is 5 minutes. When you tweet you're only getting an audience if they're online and they're reading you. If you think something is important, you may want to post is several times over a day or several days to have more reach.

Q: What determines how ou respond to Facebook posts?

Jane: When I'm prompted, I respond. She uses Twitter in a really intergrated way because she feels like her personal and professional lives are meshed.

Kassia: I feel like a lot people do Facebook wrong. She only accepts a friend request on her personal Facebook page if they are not her actual friends. She does not want people to know personal information about her.

Christina: She uses Facebook for professional purposes only. She doesn't want to hang out with people in her personal life online. She enjoyed connecting with other writer mamas. She finds it interesting to see how people respond to her posts. Nobody really used these tools in the exact same way.


Twitter, Facebook, and I Really Should Update My Website

Christina: Set up Google alerts on yourself so you know what other people are saying about you. These can be viewed in Google reader as well.

Kassia: She has allerts set up for her full name, her last name, and common misspellings of her name.

Christina: Has approximately 10 Google alerts set up.

Jane: What's something that you find essential on a daily basis?

Kassia: Twitter. She rarely reads email newsletters anymore. She can accomplish on Twitter and 15 minutes what used to take her an hour and a half.

Christina: Facebook. She's visual. If she had to choose between Twitter and Facebook, she'd probably choose Facebook. But she uses Twitter to expand her reach. She uses Tweetdeck to organize her Twittering.

Jane: She interacts on Facebook and used Twitter as a listening post.


Twitter, Facebook, and I Really Should Update My Website

Jane Friedman, Christina Katz and Kassia Krozer are offering a session on managing time when it comes to social networking.

Kassia: "I live my life online. I check my email before I pour my coffee."

Christina: She has 3 e-newsletters, 3 blogs, 3 websites, a -year-old daughter. She suggests weaving into your day the things that you feel will advance you as a writer.

Jane: Do you use an RSS readers?

Kassia: She uses Google reader on her iPhone at the gym. She has a process by which she reads blogs and info online. RSS, she says, is the best invention. She subscribes to the information that she needs and is interested in. (RSS stands for "really simply syndication.")

Christina: You asked what could be a big time suck--that would be Google reader. She's now a convert, but she had to recognize that she only needs to read on her focused topics.


Amy Cook: What should be in Periodical Contract?

When writing an article for a newspaper, magazine or anything else along those lines, your contract should cover these key issues:
  • Detailed description of work
  • Length
  • Due date
  • Fee
  • Payment on acceptance, not publication
  • Acceptance based on objective criteria
  • Time for publication
  • Kill fee

Blog Hogs, Social Twitter and Online Tools for Authors: Writer Websites (Continued)

As Kassia Krozser mentioned earlier that the writer website is THE most important tool for writers. Here's her take on why: The writer website allows writers to own their fans.

Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms may change or fade in popularity (think MySpace), but the writer website should be considered the constant that survives all these changes and is always ready to receive visitors from the new platforms.

One last quote from Kassia: "Nobody cares about your website until they need it."


Blog Hogs, Social Twitter and Online Tools for Authors: Blogs and blogging (continued)

Kassia Krozser endorses topical blogging. This means, pick a topic and focus your blog around that topic to establish yourself as an authority.

An audience member asked, " How do I get people to my blog?" Kassia answered that she believes in generous linking (to the blogs and websites of others).


Amy Cook: Defamation (Libel)

What constitutes defamation?
  • Injury to a person's reputation
  • Only living people may sue for defamation
  • Must prove that he/she is identifiable to reader by setting, physical description, etc.
  • Changing names is not enough (Amy has lots of exclamation points behind this note)
  • Truth is a defense to a defamation claim

An Aside: A Writer's Epiphany

So, earlier today, in the hallway, I overheard one writer speaking to another. She said, "I don't have the time to handle all this."

I was not surprised to hear this kind of statement at a conference on publishing and marketing and communicating and podcasting and basically everything we've been going over since Friday. But, of course, I started thinking about how successful writers should be, at least, trying.

Well, after a long pause, she continued speaking to the other (very good listener) writer, "But I have to make the time if I'm serious about making this work."



Amy Cook: Who Holds Copyrights?

Here are sites that will help you find out who holds the copyright to any particular book:

Blog Hogs, Social Twitter and Online Tools for Authors: Writer Websites

Here are a few (of several) things Kassia Krozser advises making sure is on your website:

  • Author bio
  • Decent author photo (make sure it represents you as a writer)
  • Complete book list (not just most current release)

And Kassia advises (strongly): Keep your website as up to date as possible. If the information gets old or out of date, then readers, editors, etc., will find wrong info when they visit your site.

Kassia: "Keep the private stuff private."


eBooks, Kindles, and the Digitization of the Industry (continued)

What were the challenges and lessons for ebooks?

Biglione: There are no industry standards and best practices. There are so many platforms. It's also difficult to define whether you're an author or content provider. The changes are moving so quickly.

Curtis: Ebook publishing is actually fiendishly complicated. It seems simple to users. But questions of rights, pricing, and technology are complex. This is why a decade ago ebooks were beginning to be talked about the so-called trend fell off quickly. The industry have been quietly regrouping.

Chapman: It's like if Barnes and Noble, Borders, and an independent publisher all wanted a book on different colors and thicknesses of paper. What's the publisher supposed to do.

Biglione: It's an evolutionary process.

Recommended Resources:


Blog Hogs, Social Twitter and Online Tools for Authors: Most Important Online Tool

Kassia advises that the most important, absolute, #1 tool for writers is the writer website.

This is your permanent address and the guaranteed way for readers, publishers, etc., to find you.

First thing every writer should do (whether they have a website ready to go or not): Buy your domain name. For instance, Kassia Krozser would purchase

Eventually, you want your website to be the #1 search result when anyone does a search on your name. Treat it as a regularly updated press kit.


Amy Cook: Stopping Others from Posting Your Material Without Permission

If you see your material somewhere you don't want and haven't granted permission, first send a cease and desist letter and be very specific about the material involved—"Please remove my article on whales from your website immediately."

If you are unsatisfied with the results or feel that the sharing without your permission hurt your future earnings on the work, you can bring about copyright infringement litigation.


eBooks, Kindles, and the Digitization of the Industry (continued)

Biglione: If you give ebooks away for free as a promotional copies, there is a boost in sales of print books.
Curtis: Even through piracy. There's usually a delay in how quickly it shows up on piracy networks, and even still it boosts sales.

Chapman: Piracy is a threat to the bestselling authors (the Dan Browns). The midlist, it neither helps nor hurts. For the least known authors, piracy actually tend to help because their being read and talked about where they may not have been before.


Amy Cook: On Copyrights

Packed house for Amy (pictured right), a copyright lawyer based out of Chicago. Here are a few introductory nuggets of info:

Work in a tangible format is copyrighted.

Things that cannot be copyrighted: Titles, names, short phrases, slogans, lists of ingredients, facts, ideas, procedures, methods, work that consists entirely of common knowledge (such as calendars, height/weight charts, info from public documents.


Blog Hogs, Social Twitter and Online Tools for Authors: Blogs and blogging

Kassia Krozser on blogs: "Not just for navel gazing."

Three types of blogs:
  1. Personal blog. Good for developing voice.
  2. Group blog. Pros: multiple writers producing more content (like this blog). Cons: these blogs can be a little scattered (not like this blog hopefully).
  3. Blog tour. This is where you can post on other bloggers' blogs. Make sure you have original content and that it's relevant to the blogger's audience.

Q: How long should a blog be?

Kassia: As long as it needs to be--and in your writing style. There are no rules.


Blog Hogs, Social Twitter and Online Tools for Authors: Social networks

Robert Lee Brewer (me) introduced Kassia Krozser for her session on social networking, and she's already rolling into her presentation.

For Kassia, social networking is about bringing people together.

Here's her take on a few social networks:

Facebook: A gated community. It's about developing a system of relationships.

Twitter: Free-for-all. A never-ending cocktail party. "Conversations flow in several different directions."


eBooks, Kindles, and the Digitization of the Industry

Jane Friedman, Publisher and Editorial Director of WD, Ryan Chapman, Internet Marketing Coordinator at MacMillan, Kirk Biglione, digital media consultant and publisher at Quartet Press, and Richard Curtis, a leading New York literary agent and founder of E-Reads discuss new digital opportunities.

If you sell your book to a traditional publisher, should you reserve your ebook rights?
Curtis: It's all but impossible to keep your ebook rights if you sign a traditional book deal. Not even nonexclusive rights. This isn't likely to change.
Issues with Amazon:
  • Amazon has a huge backlog of titles to go on Kindle.
  • Amazon isn't giving up sales numbers (so comparisons with print editions are difficult).
  • The ranking system can be a subjective.
What kind of royalty can you expect with an ebook?
Curtis: The industry standard is about 25%. This isn't set in stone.
Chapman: Some genre publishers, like romance, may be higher—up to about 35%.