I attended a really useful seminar – well, two seminars – run by the Society of Authors. The morning session was on tweeting and blogging, and the afternoon one on ebook self-publishing.
Anyone who still doubts the usefulness of tweeting and blogging ought to have attended. The talk on blogging was useful from the point of view that it reminded me of stuff I already knew, or at least already thought, such as the importance of having an image in every post.
Alex Johnson, who is part of The Independent newspaper's online team, made a very useful point. He said your blog should provide lots of “entry points”, such as pictures, news articles, videos and links to other posts. I tend to include all those sorts of things on my blog, but I’d never thought of them as entry points before. Makes a lot of sense: it provides several reasons that people feel the need to return to your blog, ie entry points help to make your blog “sticky”.
Alex also stressed the importance of being regular in posting, another point with which I very much agree – and which I have sorely failed to do myself on the Writers’ Know-how blog. Mea culpa.
The Twitter talk was given by Nicola Morgan, an author who runs the blog Help! I need a publisher! I hadn’t come across this site before, but am glad to have done so now. It’s full of good, down-to-earth advice on using Twitter and blogs. Check out, for example, Blogging for writers: making your blog work, which is full of useful suggestions.
The afternoon session, on ebook self-publishing, was very well-organised and extremely useful.
First, the organisation. The Society’s Kate Pool chaired the session by asking a series of questions, and inviting delegates to answer from their own experience. This was a good approach because there was a vast range of experience in the room to draw upon.
I was hoping to come away with a definitive algorithm for calculating the exact price to charge for a self-published ebook given certain conditions. I didn’t think I would, however, and I was correct in that assumption. It seems to depend on a combination of what you think the market will bear, your marketing strategy, what Amazon will allow you to charge, if you’re selling through Amazon, what return your looking for, your personality and probably several dozen other factors I haven’t heard or thought of yet.
So, how was that useful? Well, it was nice to know that I’m not alone in being unable to discern the arcane art and science of ebook pricing.
The seminar was also useful in providing a dozen or so website addresses I didn’t know about. I’m looking forward to investigating them, and I will be sure to report back on the ones which seem the most useful.
(One unexpected pleasure was finding myself sat next to Anthony Campbell, whose book Seven States of Consciousness was one of the more readable books of its type when I bought it in 1974. It still resides on my bookshelf.)
All in all, an excellent two seminars, and well worth the price of £25 in total.