Indie Author Conference Helps Guide New Professional Authors

Digital Book World LogoAre you one of the “new professional authors?” If so, you are driving your own career just as if you were in business for yourself.

You direct your own output. You determine your own branding. You coordinate the production of your book. You execute on your own market strategy. And whether you choose to pursue traditional publishing or not, you must be an agent for your own success.

If you accept this description of new professional authors, check out the first  DBW Indie Author Conference for independent and hybrid authors. It will be held Thursday, January 19 in conjunction with the eighth annual Digital Book World (DBW) conference January 17-19, 2017 at the New York Hilton Midtown.  (DBW is an event where publishing professionals and their technology partners will come together to learn about the latest tools and techniques for smarter book publishing in a digital world.)

Indie Author Conference

At the DBW Indie Author Conference, you will get a high-level view of current challenges and opportunities for indie authors plus practical information that can help you become a better professional publisher of your own work.

“The landscape for independent and hybrid authors is ever-shifting. That creates a lot of questions and confusion among people who are very new to the industry, and frankly for those who are experienced as well,” said Indie Author Conference Captain Jane Friedman. “There’s a proliferation of businesses out there that serve the indie author market, especially when it comes to book distribution and marketing. But there’s not much information or instruction on how to make the best decision for your career, your book, or your goals. The DBW Indie Author Conference will address all of these important topics.”

The DBW Indie Author event speaks directly to entrepreneurial authors with actionable sessions such as:

  • The Sophisticated Ways of Today’ s Indies
  • What Independent Can Mean in Today’s Industry
  • The Rise of the Platforms
  • Face-to-Face Conversations with Enablers of Your Career
  • The Indie Universe Quantified + The Author’s Career
  • Success Stories;
  • The New Professional Author Is in Control

Workshops for intermediate and advanced authors include:

  • The Indispensable Elements of an Author’s Marketing
  • Readership Development: They Can’t Read You If They Can’t Find You
  • Branding Your Future: When to Hire Help
  • Reaching out to Readers Through SEO.

At the DBW Indie Author Conference, you can talk with leading service providers who can help you decide how to move forward with your publishing goals.

The networking opportunities at the Indie Author Conference can help you catch a new direction, spot a new trend, and access marketing know-how.

Conference Speakers

“Our speakers know that indie authors are at a turning point,” said Porter Anderson, co-founder of The Hot Sheet, “After years of development, the independent movement is coming into its own.”

Speakers include:

Jane Friedman, editor and publisher of The Hot Sheet, columnist with Publishers Weekly, a professor with The Great Courses, an award-winning blogger at JaneFriedman.com and a DBW 2017 program captain

Judith Curr, president and executive vice president, Atria Books Division of Simon &
Schuster

Mary Rasenberger, executive director, The Authors Guild

Orna Ross, author and the founding director of Alliance of Independent Authors

Jon Fine, publishing consultant and strategist for digital and traditional media organizations, content creators and the creative community, and former Amazon director of author and publisher relations

Margaret Harrison, director, product metadata, Ingram Content Group

Porter Anderson , co-founder of The Hot Sheet, editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives, principal of Porter Anderson Media and a DBW 2017 program captain

Richard Nash, digital media consultant , start-up adviser and serial entrepreneur

Dana Kaye, owner and publicist, Kaye Publicity, and author of Your Book, Your Brand: A Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Sales

Data Guy, the tech and data wizard behind the Author Earnings website who oversees Author Earnings’ data scraping and analysis

Registration

For more information about registration, visit www.digitalbookworldconference.com. The early registration discount ends December 2.

Digital Book World is sponsored by F+W, a content and e-commerce company that connects passionate, like-minded groups of people to share an ongoing exchange of information, idea and inspiration. Many writers know F+W as the long-time publisher of Writer’s Digest magazine and writing-related books and online resources, including Writer’s Market.

 

 

Authors on Wattpad Writing Platform Can Earn Cash with In-Story Ads

Wattpad is an online writing platform for the creation and discovery of original stories. The Wattpad community connects more than 45 million people around the world who want to write, read, or comment on serialized stories about the things they love.

Wattpad writers comes from all walks of life. Some are best-selling novelists who want to build their audience. Others are casual writers who share stories for fun.

Every month, more than 2.3 million writers on Wattpad devote countless hours to writing, editing, and engaging with readers around the globe.

You can read Wattpad stories anywhere you go without downloading a PDF. You can also share comments on the story as you read it.
You can read Wattpad stories anywhere you go without downloading a PDF. You can also comment on stories as read.

The founders of Wattpad understand how much effort writers put into their stories every day: “We also recognize that making money from writing can be difficult – especially for online writers.”

So, Wattpad has created another way for writers to increase their earning potential. When ads are strategically placed between chapters of some of the most popular stories on Wattpad, the writer earns money every time a reader views the ad.

“The dynamic Wattpad community is unlike any other social platform. It’s the interconnected community of storytellers and audiences that makes the Wattpad Futures program a viable income source for writers,” said Wattpad’s co-founder and CEO Allen Lau. “Readers have always encouraged their favorite storytellers with messages, comments and votes. Now they can support Wattpad writers in a way that increases the writer’s income without having to pay out of pocket.”

White writers earn money doing what they love, advertisers have the opportunity to connect with millions of engaged, mobile-first Millennials and Generation Z readers.

Wattpad Stars

Writers who succeed in building an audience of readers with stories that go viral can apply for the Wattpad Stars program. Wattpad Stars receive career-building opportunities to see their writing come to life in feature films, publish books, or brand stories.

Wattpad has published tips for writers who want to publish their stories on the platform.

 

New Crowdfunding Site for Indie Authors

BookFuel, a company that provides professional self-publishing services to aspiring authors, has launched FundMyBook.com. The author-friendly crowdfunding site can help authors raise funds for self-publishing services through sponsorships and support from family and friends.

FundMyBook.com provides a viable option to writers who may have been intimidated by the expense of self-publishing or the amount of effort required by other crowdfunding sites.

Authors participating in FundMyBook.com should have a goal of raising a minimum at of $5,000. This amount not only covers the cost of self-publishing their book through BookFuel, but also the delivery of the printed books to people who backed the project.

FundMyBook

BookFuel will also help promote the book through their own social media channels.– something other crowdfund sites don’t offer.

“This is giving authors who want to professionally self-publish their material another option they didn’t have before,” said Bill Van Orsdel of BookFuel. “There are stories out there that deserve to be told and shared, and we’re helping authors do that with the involvement of the people in their lives who most want to help make that happen.”

Authors can choose to run crowdfunding campaigns through sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But book projects will only be featured separate publishing and writing sections that are listed with a plethora of other categories. This makes it more difficult for writing projects to stand out. These other crowdfunding sources also don’t provide the social media exposure or reward fulfillment services that FundMyBook.com offers aspiring authors.

BookFuel experts can guide and assist authors through every step of the self-publishing process. Their goal is to help you maintain complete control of the process and the ownership of your work. BookFuel services include copy-editing, proofreading, substantive editing, print layout, cover design, illustrations, e-book conversions, marketing, and arrangements for worldwide distribution.

BookFuel offers a Boost Publishing package that can be paid for through a monthly installment plan.

What Authors Should Know About Changes in Book Publishing

WRITERS. When leaders in the book publishing business gather at the DIgital Book World Conference + Expo (DBW) March 6-7, many of the topics they discuss will affect how publishers work with authors.

For a preview of trends that are re-shaping the book publishing industry, download the free white paper “Viewpoints on Publishing’s Digital Transformation.”  Contributors to the white paper include speakers from Digital Book World.

Digital Book World white paper

The white paper covers topics such as:

  • how Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are affecting the publishing business:
  • what publishers need to know about copyright;
  • changes to global copyright law;
  • the state and future of audiobooks;
  • the elasticity of e-book pricing;
  • personalized content and other new revenue streams.

The Destructive Impact of Digital Monopoly Platforms

In the opening chapter of the white paper “Sleeping Through the Revolution,” Jonathan Taplin, of the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Southern California, says scientists who helped create the Internet in the 1960s had a utopian vision of decentralizing power and harmonizing people: “For creative artists, the prospects of a democratized distribution network indeed seemed to generate endless possibilities.”

But the reality of the Internet shifted as Google, Amazon, and Facebook began using deep customer surveillance to sell advertising and products.

Taplin writes that “For artists, the dreams of digital democracy have turned into nightmares: the music, movie, book, and journalism businesses have been decimated by the rise of digital monopoly platforms. A massive reallocation of revenue, on the order of $50 billion a year, has taken place, with economic value moving from creators and owners of content to monopoly platforms.”

Taplin notes that, “In Amazon’s view, as long as the customer gets lower prices, society should not care that writers cannot make a living, that independent book stores go out of business, and publishers die.”

About The Digital Book World Conference

The Digital Book World Conference is dedicated to the business of digital publishing. DBW focuses on digital content and digital book strategies, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing publishers and content providers of all sizes and business models.

The event is organized by the F+W Content + eCommerce Company in partnership with Publishers Launch Conference.

Although e-book sales seem to be at a plateau for big books and big publishers, the event organizers emphasize “That doesn’t mean that digital change has stopped.”

For example, publishers and authors must become more skilled at online marketing because consumers typically use online channels to learn about what books they want to read next.

The relationship between publishers and authors is also changing.

“On the one hand, authors are a more important component of a book’s marketing than they ever were before,” explains Mike Shatzkin, chair of the Digital Book World Conference. “At the same time, authors have more choices of ways to reach readers than they had in the past.”

 

Freelancing Guide Helps Newcomers Navigate the Universe of Opportunities

The creative people at FreshBooks’ cloud accounting service for freelancers and small businesses have developed “The Freelancer’s Guide to the Galaxy.”   Because I have been freelancing for a long time and use FreshBooks’ services, I accepted their invitation to comment on the guide.

FreshBooks_GuideGalaxyHeadlineThe infographic (published below) points out that the freelance universe can be complex place to navigate on your own. The guide highlights 9 places new voyagers can expect to encounter. Here is a quick recap of the 9 zones and what I have learned traveling through them.

CLIENT STAR FIELD: Potential clients abound but they can be elusive if you take the wrong approach.

My experience: This is true. The right approach matters because competition also abounds. You will also discover that not all clients and opportunities are right for you. At some point, seeking new clients becomes like perpetual online dating or job hunting. Eventually you may prefer to settle down with a few clients who value your work and treat you like part of the team.

LAND OF PEAKS AND PITS: Some months you’ll have to trek through mountains of work from multiple clients. Other months you’ll have to slog through a desert of dry spells.

My experience: Mountains of work are fraught with peril (e.g., missed deadlines, neglected marketing projects, overlooked accounting tasks).  The deserts can be unnerving because you never know when the dry spell will end. But slowdowns in paying assignments are great opportunities to pursue personal projects that refresh your skills and enthusiasm. Dry spells can also give you time to streamline your workflows, update your skills, or connect with clients who can give you a predictable flow of steady work.

ISOLATION ZONE: Sometimes the life of a work-at-home freelancer gets a bit lonely. Stay connected to professional peers at networking events or informal get-togethers.

My experience: I am more productive and creative working in isolation than in an open-space office environment. But staying connected to the outside world is essential. Traveling to trade shows and educational conferences can expand your universe of contacts, opportunities, and ideas for new projects.

TIME WASTER’S BLACK HOLE: Online (and offline) distractions can be a powerful force.

My experience: You can’t afford to fall into the black hole of wasted time. As a freelancer, your time is your most valuable asset. Ultimately, your earning potential depends on how many hours you spend on income-generating projects.

GRAY AREA: The boundaries between work and home become especially blurry when working from home.

My experience: This was particularly true when my children were little. But children grow up and move out faster than you imagine.  So, I have never regretted the times I let my own work slow down to spend more time with them. Still, I have always appreciated my separate home office space. I close the door and leave work behind at the end of a busy day.

PLANET YOU: You are responsible for your own success.

My experience: Like other freelancers, I was shocked by how little time is spent doing work I truly love. Instead of “being your own boss,” you must adapt to the diverse work styles and expectations of multiple bosses. Plus, in addition to marketing yourself, there will be times when you must be your own IT person, accountant, and training expert.

Continuous training is especially important because it can help you differentiate yourself from competitors and become indispensable to your clients. Freelancers with leading-edge skills or unique expertise can command higher rates.

ACCOUNTING ALLEY: The land of taxes, deductions, and accounts payable can seem like entering a whole new universe.

My experience: In addition to exploring the brave new world of accounting, you may encounter clients who require specific types of business insurance and licenses. If you approach freelancing as a business instead of a sideline, you will be better prepared to handle the realities of taxes, local home-business regulations, and insurance.

CORPORATE TEMPTRESSES: Guaranteed health coverage and 401k contributions could lure you back into the life of a salaried employee.

My experience: Weaving between the worlds of freelancing and full-time work can be a good thing. I worked at home when my children were toddlers, and happily accepted a part-time job when the kids went off to school. When the part-time job morphed into full-time work, I forged valuable connections that guaranteed steady work when I opted to return to freelancing. In today’s world of “contingent workforces,” a full-time job isn’t necessarily more secure than freelancing.

RETIREMENT NEVERLAND: Don’t neglect the need to plan for your financial future.

My experience: Yes, it’s critical to plan for secure financial future. But if you reach the point  in your business where you can do more of the work you love, you may not want to retire. At some point during your freelance career, consider diversifying your work so that not all of your income comes from paying clients. Creative professionals today are discovering dozens of new ways to create and sell their own products.

FreshBooks_GuideToTheGalaxy600pix-

Final Words of Advice

With the rise of the gig economy and contingency work teams, dozens of new services have been developed to make life easier for independent workers.

I started using FreshBooks several years ago, when I learned about it during a virtual conference on International Freelancer’s Day. The founder of FreshBooks was a freelance designer who learned the hard way that general-office tools for creating documents and spreadsheets aren’t sufficient for the needs of independent business owners.

At first, I used FreshBooks primarily for time tracking, invoicing, and preparing 1099 forms for independent contractors I managed for a major project. Today, I also use FreshBooks to track and categorize tax-deductible expenses. I can access FreshBooks on my iPhone, iPad and PC.

FreshBooks-ProductFamily

Today, companies that hire freelancers may ask you to provide specialized services that you don’t yet offer. FreshBooks’ partnership with Elance makes it easy to connect with a vast pool of other freelancers who could help deliver additional services a client might want.

The FreshBooks partnership with PayPal makes it easy for to give clients several options for how they want to pay (including credit cards).

Many other apps and services exist make it easier for freelancers today to find new clients, submit proposals, and provide a wider range of services.  I will share some of the services that have worked well for me in future posts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

FreshBooks

 

Analytics Help Authors See How Readers Engage with Their Books

Tablo Scholar is a new analytics platform that may redefine how authors edit and market their work. The data allow authors to understand how readers are engaging with their books.

For example, authors can gain insights such as which chapters readers find the most gripping or where readers typically stop reading their books. Authors can harness these insights to edit and refine their writing. Authors can also learn about the demographics that show the highest levels of engagement for their books so they can optimize their marketing strategies.

TabloScholarScreenshot

Tablo Scholar is part of the Tablo social writing platform where authors can publish books and connect with a large audience of readers. Each day more than one million words are published on Tablo. Authors published on the site come from 130 countries and the site attracts hundreds of thousands of readers.

Tablo CEO Ash Davies believes Tablo Scholar is a huge development for independent writers and for professional authors who are serious about their work: “Tablo Scholar helps any passionate writer, whether they’re an aspiring independent or a signed professional, learn more about their books and become an even better writer. Tablo Scholar offers all authors a dimension of understanding that’s never really been seen. We can’t wait to see how people use it.”

TabloFounderAshDavies
Tablo Founder Ash Davies

“The first thing that strikes people about Tablo Scholar is its simplicity,” Davies explains. “You can tell that the experience has been designed by authors. You can learn how many readers get through the opening pages of your book, where your most engaged readers are from, and even connect directly with the people who have shown the most love for your work. We’ve worked hard to create a meaningful set of insights that can help even the most non-technical author learn about and improve their work.”

“Our goal at Tablo has always been to help writers improve their work and have a better chance at success. Authors know us as a platform that promotes great talent and we have a few of bestselling authors who are already making a name for themselves on Tablo. We’re changing the very fabric of the publishing industry, and Tablo Scholar is going to give our writers an even better chance of success” says Davies.

Plans to access the Tablo Scholar analytics platform start at $9 a month.

LINKS

Tablo

Tablo Scholar

 

Gatekeeper Press Helps Authors Produce Digital and Print Books

Gatekeeper Press (PRNewsFoto/Gatekeeper Press)
Gatekeeper Press (PRNewsFoto/Gatekeeper Press)

Gatekeeper Press is a new full-service publishing house and distribution aggregator for independent authors who want to produce and distribute high-quality books in both digital and print formats.

Launched by Price World Publishing, Gatekeeper Press wants to open the gates of the book-publishing world by offering high-quality services to authors for the lowest-possible prices.

What makes Gatekeeper Press different from other companies offering similar services? “Everything,” says Rob Price, CEO of Price World Publishing. “Our prices are the lowest, and our payouts are the highest. Gatekeeper Press authors earn 100% of their royalties, retain 100% of their rights, and our distribution arm reaches readers around the globe.”

The company offers four services: eBook Conversion and Distribution ($249), Paperback Design and Distribution ($249), Cover Design ($189), and Editing and Proofreading ($10.50/1,000 words and $6.50/1,000 words). Prices are lower when the services are combined.

Price, who has been a publisher since 2001, says Gatekeeper Press can offer low prices because of low overhead, an existing publishing infrastructure, and efficiencies.

Gatekeeper Press’ distribution network includes 14 eBook outlets, including Amazon Kindle, Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Scribd. Print-book distribution is provided through Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, BarnesandNoble.com, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and NACSCORP.

Gatekeeper Press doesn’t require pre-formatted files and doesn’t charge extra to include the graphics, images, or audio or video files used to create enhanced eBooks.

Authors receive 100% of their royalties and can choose to have their books pulled from distribution at any time for any reason.

The company offers free 30-minute consultation sessions, free sample editing, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

If you become a Gatekeeper Press author, you will be assigned a U.S.-based publishing professional called an “Author Manager.” Once your book is published and distributed, you will be paid monthly. Plus, you will be able to view your sales online and see which venues are generating the sales.

Price, the newly elected Treasurer of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), believes “No one out there offers anything close to what we do.  We’ve beta tested our service and have received nothing but amazing reviews.”

LINKS

Gatekeeperpress

Independent Book Publishers Association