As an author and indie/self-publisher, I attended the 2015 Florida Authors and Publishers Association’s (FAPA) conference. The lineup of speakers was great! Even though the focus was on self-published authors and indie publishers, I kept thinking that traditionally published authors would also appreciate the info. Here’s my brief recap:
Session 1: Business Tips and Taxes for Writers. Presenter: Carol Topp, CPA
I know taxes may not be the most exciting way to begin a conference; however, Carol’s explanations were informative and interesting; and her presentation style was open and friendly. She discussed whether authors and indie publishers should file taxes as a sole proprietor, an LLC, or a corporation. She responded to questions about which tax deductions are appropriate and which would be “red flags.” Did you know that crowdfunding is taxable income, not a donation? Carol also discussed how to calculate a deduction of your home office.
Session 2: DIY Using Bookbaby. Presenter: Steve Spatz, President of Bookbaby
Steve explained the basics of how Bookbaby works, and the benefits of Print on Demand (POD). He covered “6 Essentials for Success” for self-publishing, including cover design, websites, and book pricing. It’s clear that Steve is a big cheerleader for his company, and he emphasized benefits that Bookbaby has over its main competitor.
Session 3: Failing Faster to Succeed as an Author. Presenter: Tara R. Alemany, Aleweb Social Marketing
I was extremely impressed with Tara’s knowledge in marketing and social media. After hearing her presentation and later speaking with her, I bought her book, THE PLAN THAT LAUNCHED A THOUSAND BOOKS. Tara has a practical, no-nonsense style that I love. In her speech, she covered book marketing plans, identifying your niche book topic, and how to create a title that sells. She is scientific in her approach to book titles. She doesn’t just think of something fun off the top of her head. She researches the keywords in a systematic way. Tara also discussed ways to get book reviews, and encouraged people to build their brand.
Session 4: Constant Contact: Newsletters and Announcements. Presenter: Ken Countess
Some authors and publishers may want to email periodic newsletters to increase book sales. I appreciated the details Ken provided on what exactly a newsletter should include and how it should look. He went through a sample newsletter from top to bottom, including placement of social media icons, your header, and the appropriate length of your message. Keep it short! He also gave hints on creating better email/newsletter subject headings, so that people are more likely to open the email.
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It's rare to find a conference geared for both indie authors and indie publishers. Everyone was friendly and generous with sharing info, including outgoing FAPA President and author-illustrator Mark Wayne Adams, author & designer Ginger Marks, editor Susan Hicks, author and bookstore owner, Patti Bresard Jefferson, and Javier Perez from Page Turner Publicity. The authors and publishers I met did not all have backgrounds in areas one might expect, such as writing and teaching. I met a realtor, a truck driver, a brick and mortar business owner, a financial advisor, a judge, a mountain hiker, a photographer, and you name it. The publishing world is definitely changing.
Part 2 of the 2015 FAPA conference recap includes topics related to bookstores and libraries, and turning your book into a TV or Film Property.
Stacy B. Davids, Ph.D. (@stacybdavids) is a psychologist, indie publisher at Upswing Press, and the author of the upcoming children’s picture book, ANNIE’S PLAID SHIRT. Find out more.
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