8th February, 2023
6 min read
Learn How to Get Your Book Published at the Self-Publishing Conference 2023
The UK's longest established writing and self-publishing conference returns to Leicester for its 9th year on April 22nd 2023 and is the perfect forum if you are wanting to learn more about how to get your book published. In this second preview article (read part one here, we look at how the conference can help you get your book published and chat to three of the 14 speakers who will be sharing their knowledge and expertise during the day.
How to get your book published: what is the best route to publication for you?
Mainstream, hybrid, self-publishing, digital, multi-format – these are just some of the options that today’s publishing world can offer to those who want to get their book published. Understanding these different publishing routes and the implications of each is therefore important for authors at any stage of the publication process. To set this in context, the 2023 Self-Publishing Conference will open with a keynote presentation from Phil Turner, Chairman of the Independent Publishers’ Guild and the MD of hybrid cookbook publisher Meze Publishing, who will be talking about the importance of Indie publishing in all its forms. ‘As an independent hybrid publisher, we are not bound by the same constraints as larger mainstream publishers, and as a result, we are able to work more closely with authors to create a book that fits the author's vision,’ explains Phil on the benefit of working independently. ‘We offer a more personalised editing process and be more flexible in terms of the design and layout of the book, allowing the author to have more control over the final product. And we are more open to experimenting with new and innovative marketing ideas that the author might suggest.’ This flexibility is one of the key pillars of publishing independently that Phil’s keynote will celebrate. He will also look at the changes that have happened in the publishing industry that make self- and hybrid publishing more attractive for authors. ‘There have been several significant shifts in the publishing landscape in recent years,’ continues Phil, ‘these have had an impact on the publishing industry, and it's likely that we'll see more changes in the years to come. For example, there has been a huge rise in self-publishing. Digital technology has made it easier and more affordable for authors to self-publish their work.’ In fact, with so much information now available about publishing, one of the biggest challenges facing today’s debut author seeking to learn how to get a book published is understanding where to look for genuine, helpful guidance and information.
Alex Thompson, part of the Conference organising team, acknowledges this: ‘Knowing how to get your book published can be complicated. The Self-Publishing Conference – which began in 2013 – was born out of our desire to help writers access as much information as possible about all the different aspects of publishing to help them make informed choices about how to publish their work. Phil’s conference keynote will show how vibrant, entrepreneurial and exciting the indie publishing sector is and the opportunities and challenges it can bring, but in total there are 14 sessions across the day on pretty much all aspects of publishing (explore the sessions here that will set authors up with so much knowledge to take forward.’
How to get your book published and sold: Learn from successful authors
A particularly important aspect of the Self-Publishing Conference is that it gives writers a chance to learn from others – be that the speakers, all of whom are experts in their field, published authors themselves or who work for organisations that can help authors – or from the delegates themselves, most of whom are writers. This year we are running a Q+A with bestselling indie author Nicola May , who is a rom-com superstar and author of 16 romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Nicola will be answering your questions about her own publishing story. Her experience in publishing straddles both self-, hybrid and mainstream, so she has plenty of wisdom to share. ‘I self-published initially and did OK, earning enough for a nice holiday every year. I then signed a seven-book deal with a small publisher and was disappointed that despite selling a fair number of books, the revenue was low,’ explains Nicola, ‘so, I decided to go it alone again and amazingly, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year. In 2020, I signed another publishing deal with Hodder & Stoughton, but have now reverted to self-publishing digitally as it suits me better.’
For Nicola, the benefits of self-publishing are the flexibility and speed. ‘In my genre (romantic comedy), a series is the preferred read and readers don’t want to wait long for each book. Binge-reading is similar to the binge-watching trend that we are experiencing and self-publishing lets me meet those readers’ needs!’ Nicola’s conference Q+A gives conference delegates a chance to ask questions about how to publish successfully – and to ask about the different routes to publication.
Nicola is a great advert for a proactive author, but this year at the conference we are also running a seminar titled ‘Bookselling from an Author’s Perspective’, led by Justine Pullan and Iain Kelly. These down-to-earth writers offer a full and frank author view of self- and hybrid publishing and the marketing effort you need to make to improve your chances of success. From do-it-yourself online marketing to dealing with independent bookshops and nationwide bookstore chains, and from attending and hosting author events, Iain and Justine will highlight the things that you should do, the things that went well for them and the mistakes and pitfalls encountered along the way. As well as these specific author-led sessions, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the day to network and engage with speakers and other writers, giving you the chance to learn more about how to get your book published and selling.
How to get your book published: Leave the conference with a plan for the next stages of your publishing journey
The packed 2023 Self-Publishing Conference programme ends with a final presentation, led by Alex Thompson from Troubador Publishing, that draws the threads of the day together, encouraging you to put together a plan for taking what you have learned about how to publish your book and turning that into a publishing road map. ‘My presentation is geared entirely around helping you to action what you have heard during the day from all the speakers. I’ll be sharing what I think your next steps should be once you leave the conference so you can start, or continue, your publishing plans. My talk will offer practical tips to help when considering how to publish your book.’ And for those of you at the start of the process, the final piece of advice for those looking at how to get a book published comes from Amazon bestseller and our Q+A guest for 2023, Nicola May: ‘Get a copy of the most recent Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. It really is the bible for new and established writers. Check out the genre you are writing under on Amazon and what books are hitting that specific bestseller chart. Also remember that writers’ write! Just keep getting the words down, even if it is a few a day. Set a goal and stick to it!’
The Self-Publishing Conference is the UK’s longest established self-publishing event, offering authors a chance to find out about a wide range of publishing options, to hear from and question those who work within the thriving self-publishing world, and to network with fellow authors, many of whom will already be experienced self-publishers. The conference is the ideal event for you to learn more about how to get your book published, so make sure you sign up here. In 2023, the event will take place at the College Court Conference Centre, Leicester, UK on April 22nd.
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