I spent part of last week at Write Canada, an annual conference for Canadian Christians who write and/or edit. This is my happy place, where I gain practical teaching and build friendships, in an atmosphere that renews my spirit.
After many years at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre, the conference moved to a Toronto hotel this year to be more accessible. This was a positive step, although a few logistics need tweaking for 2016.
I missed the restful beauty of the grounds in Guelph, but the open-air market behind the hotel provided fresh Niagara strawberries and there was a lovely little park a few blocks away.
Best thing about this year’s conference, for me?
One of my sons attended with me. Matthew was a runner-up in the Fresh Ink Contest at the university level. He can write circles around me, and that makes me proud. If you like dark fantasy from a Christian perspective, keep an eye out for him in the next few years.
Other best thing? Early morning and impromptu prayer times with treasured people (you know who you are.)
What did I learn?
From the panel on book launches (I was one of the panelists): One panelist recommended the short ebook, Hosting a Virtual Book Release Party by Shanna Festa. Another reminded me to contact the local cable TV channel with my book news.
From the Titles, Keywords and Blurbs workshop with NJ and Les Lindquist: The homework gave me a decent beginning on the back-cover blurb for Redemption’s Edge #3, and the workshop suggested No Safe Place may not be the best title for this one.
Indie Author/Publisher class with suspense author Linda Hall:
- Free “simplenote” app for note-taking, syncs from one device to another.
- Beta Readers: give them a few questions (sequence, believability, characters etc)
- Android tablet: Google Play Books will read your manuscript aloud in epub format – read along silently with it to see what you catch.
- If your ebook includes internal graphics, reduce them to 500×700 pixels or less. Link them to full-sized images on your website if necessary.
- Cover: Can you read the print cover from 10 feet? Can you read the ebook cover in a thumbnail? Keep the title at/near the top so it won’t be lost if print books are stacked in a tier.
- theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/ is a list of reviewers of indie books.
- Goodreads for Authors course
Marketing Best Practices with Mark Lefebvre from Kobo:
- The “3 P’s of Self-Publishing Success: practice, patience, persistence” – to which I add a fourth: prayer.
- Your “street team” is your secret weapon. Treat them well.
- Set up an Amazon Central page for the Canadian and international sites, not just the US one.
- Book signing tip: have a stack of books ten feet away from you, so people can check them out without fear that you’ll “sell at them.”
- Wattpad can be a great place to find beta readers and reach your target audience, but it needs an investment of time.
- $1.99 is the worst price for an ebook online.
Going Global: Write Locally, Publish Globally, with Mark Lefebvre from Kobo: In the US, most ebooks sold are for Kindle, but Kobo outsells Kindle in Canada and in the rest of the world (Kobo started in Canada and is now part of the Japanese Rakutan company).
Writing from the Middle with writing teacher and thriller author James Scott Bell: I need to read this book. He made a lot of sense in the one-hour workshop. (No surprise. I’ve learned a lot from his other books on writing.)
The Word Awards Gala (for work published in 2014): My romantic suspense, Secrets and Lies, didn’t win in the suspense category, but to be a finalist is still a positive endorsement of the book’s quality. The suspense winner was Sandra Orchard’s Blind Trust, (Book 2 in an excellent series. I suggest starting with #1, Deadly Devotion.) You can read the full list of winners on The Word Guild site or by clicking the photo below.
Book finalists in The Word Awards, for work published in 2014