Reflections on the 9th Self-Publishing Conference

17th May, 2023

4 min read

Reflections on the 9th Self-Publishing Conference

Reflections on the 9th Self-Publishing Conference

Written by:

Jonathan White

On Saturday 22nd April the Troubador team and one hundred delegates and speakers returned to College Court Conference Centre in Leicester for the 9th annual Self-Publishing Conference. With over fifteen presentations to choose from, including Troubador Masterclasses run by the Troubador team, the event gave delegates the opportunity to hear from a wide range of publishing experts to guide them on their writing journey, whether they were exploring routes to publication or were already experienced self-publishers themselves.

The day opened with Matador Masterclasses run by the Troubador team, covering a range of topics, including how indie authors can get their book into bookshops; how they can best promote their book post-publication; the importance of utilising multiple book formats (print, ebook and audio) to maximise reach; and everything an author considering self-publishing should know about book production. Following on from this, Phil Turner, chair of the Independent Publishers’ Guild and MD of hybrid cookbook publisher Meze, took to the stage for a fantastic keynote presentation. Phil spoke in detail about growing Meze as a solution for chefs and restaurateurs looking for alternative routes to publication and provided lots of inspiring advice on how authors can be successful. Our main takeaways from his session were:

  1. Don’t be a wallflower – lean on your contacts and sphere of influence.
  2. Work hard to grow your audience. 
  3. And, finally, don’t give up, even when you don’t get something right the first time. 

The keynote was followed by a series of sessions held by industry experts. Clive Herbert from Nielsen BookData spoke to authors about the importance of metadata and how it can make all the difference to a book’s success; Julia Eccleshare from The British Library talked to her group about how they could receive extra income from their writing by utilising Public Lending Rights; and Aki Schilz from The Literary Consultancy returned to the conference to advise authors on how they should ‘interrogate, clarify and polish’ their manuscript before publication.

Following a delicious lunch and a chance for authors to network and discuss the morning’s sessions, the afternoon opened with our plenary session. Unfortunately, the Q & A session originally planned with author Nicola May was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, but the Troubador team were very pleased to be able to call on Sophie H. Morgan, whose novel The Witch is Back will be published by Harper Collins in the UK and Harlequin in the US later this year, to talk about her author journey so far. This lively session led to many interesting questions from the audience and, despite it being a last-minute change, many delegates described it as their favourite session of the day! Key points from this session included:

  1. Be open to all opportunities that come your way. You never know where they might lead!
  2. Do your research and pay attention to the terms and conditions of your publishing arrangement. 
  3. Know your genre and market inside and out.

The afternoon saw delegates attend another selection of sessions from industry representatives. Bill Wood, author and BookToker, led a session on how authors can use TikTok to promote and sell! their books effectively; editor and author Stefan Mohamed spoke about what to expect when working with an editor and how authors can use their skills to take their work further; Lynette Owen, a copyright and rights consultant, led a session on how authors can use subsidiary rights as a great source of additional income from their writing; and authors Iain Kelly and JD Pullan discussed bookselling from an author’s perspective, talking about how author proactivity and brand building is the key to achieving maximum book sales.

The day ended with an inspiring talk from Troubador’s Business Development Manager, Alex Thompson, summarising the day’s sessions and providing suggested next steps for how authors can meet their publishing goals. In this session Alex recommended authors:

  1. Define their publishing goals and choose their approach based on those goals.
  2. Leverage expert knowledge to help navigate a complex industry and seek support from other authors. 
  3. Finally, get your work out there! 

The day ended with some drinks and canapes and a chance for authors to discuss their experiences of the day and their next steps with their fellow delegates and the Troubador team.

We’ve received some fantastic feedback from delegates following the event, including:

‘All in all, a wonderful event, and one I would fully recommend to any writers thinking about the next step into the publishing world, whether that is through self-publishing, hybrid-publishing or even traditional publishing route.’

‘Met lots of lovely people and was very inspired to hear their writing journeys. Great speakers and lots of useful advice. I would recommend next year's conference for anyone considering self-publishing.’

‘If (like me) you're serious about self-publishing the Self Publishing Conference is the place to be. See you in 2024.’

We are already looking forward to next year’s event. You can sign up to learn more about next year’s Self-Publishing Conference and other events run by Troubador