9th January, 2023
4 min read
Why You Should Attend The Self-Publishing Conference 2023
The UK's longest established conference about writing and publishing, The Self-Publishing Conference, returns to Leicester for its 9th year on April 22nd 2023. The conference theme this year is self-publishing: beyond the book, and the sessions are all structured around maximising your self-publishing success, both during publication and after. Attracting speakers from across the publishing and self-publishing industry, The Self-Publishing Conference offers indie authors a chance to discover the ever-increasing range of options they have in today’s publishing world.
With over 11 seminars and workshops, plus a keynote by bestselling author, Nicola May, you can learn more about The Self-Publishing Conference here, including information on all sessions and how to book. This preview article is focussed on why you should attend the conference if you are looking for ideas to help you with the discoverability of your book – before and after publication, specifically looking at using BookTok to promote your book and metadata to enhance the discoverability of your book to book buyers.
Learn how to use BookTok to sell books
BookTok is part of the TikTok platform and continues to be hot news in publishing. William J Wood (Bill) is the author of the LGBT+ fantasy epics A Tempest of Emerald Dream and Do We Have Tomorrow and has over 77K followers on TikTok where he publishes video content about his books. Bill is leading this session for indie authors at the Self-Publishing Conference centred around using BookTok to promote and sell books. There is no one way to be successful on BookTok, but there are some vital steps that can increase your chances – and Bill will cover these during his Self-Publishing Conference seminar.
‘In the past few years, BookTok has become a vital part of the publishing industry,’ says Bill. ‘I’ve found my content works a lot better and connects with more people when I'm not taking it too seriously. You need to find your niche. What sets you apart? I've found the videos I create that do very well are the ones where I'm incorporating its central themes and tropes into a trend.’ For many authors, especially those who feel less comfortable with social media, knowing where to start with creating content on such a visual platform can be very daunting, so the first thing to consider is if it is the correct platform for your books. ‘The TikTok algorithm doesn't like big gaps between content. If you take a week or two off from posting, you will notice it in your views,’ says Bill. The platform does require regular and varied content. Similarly there are some books and genres that do better than others on the Booktok.
In a report by Nielsen the biggest user profile in 2021 was aged between 13 and 25 (though this age group might well be changing in 2022-2023), so if your book is not aimed at that market, an alternative social media approach will likely work better. Similarly the top performing genres on BookTok according to this report were Young Adult (YA), fiction, fantasy, romance and crime. So again, BookTok is worth considering as a marketing tool if you are publishing in these genres and aimed at the demographic that most engages with the platform.
‘BookTok is a vast place, but the community is still so tight-knit and loving,’ says Bill. ‘People want to see you do well, and they will help when they can. Whether it's reposting your videos or making their own, it all helps! I've made so many great friends on BookTok, so much so that it doesn't feel like a hassle promoting and making content. It's fun.’ Join the discussion with successful BookToker Bill Wood at The Self-Publishing Conference 2023 and learn useful tips about how best to use BookTok and other social media channels.
Learn how to use metadata to enhance your book’s discoverability to bookshops
Another opportunity to ensure your book is fully discoverable comes at the very start of the publishing process. Clive Herbert from Nielsen BookData will be running a seminar at The Self-Publishing Conference around this important topic and here he discusses why metadata is so important and what delegates will learn in his session in April. ‘Metadata is the oil that lubricates the book supply chain enabling books to be discovered by readers, ordered, distributed, sold and (hopefully) reordered,’ explains Clive.
The Nielsen BookData database ‘contains hundreds of pieces of information that can describe a book, but there is a core set of fields which are key for discovery and to differentiate your book. These core fields include ISBN, Title, Author, Format, Subject Classification, Publisher Name, Publication Date, Cover Image, Supplier, Price & Availability.’ Authors handling their own book data should therefore ensure that they provide the full metadata associated with their ISBN to ensure the book is listed on both physical and online bookshop systems.
Clive’s presentation will touch upon hints and tips for ensuring your book data is as up-to-date and as complete as possible. It is easy to make mistakes with metadata, and Clive’s session highlights the most common errors including: ‘Not getting metadata out there early enough. When I speak to retail buyers and event organisers who work months in advance, I am told all too often books from small publishers or self-published authors cannot be considered because their titles aren’t visible.’ Avoid this and other simple errors by getting up to speed on good metadata in this conference session.
What else can you learn at the Conference?
As well as the two sessions discussed, there are 11 seminars, workshops taking place at the conference. Learn about getting into bookshops, Increasing your author earnings with Public Lending Rights (PLR), preparing your manuscript for submission and more. We also have a Q+A with bestselling author Nicola May. You can check out the full list of sessions here.