Yesterday saw another insightful day at the London Book Fair. I attended a session on copyright, which I responded to here: Copyright Conundrum.
Also, a session entitled How To Reach More Readers and Make More Money From Your Books (in association with the Alliance of Independent Authors). Much of what I heard was not new to me, but I do find it useful to be reminded -- and also to be assured that the ideas I've had independently are not too far off the wall. Adam Croft told the audience his 'secret' for successful self-publishing: having a business mindset and working 16 hours a day <groan>.
I have to say that in my experience of becoming a successful freelance writer, and an independent consultant, Adam is absolutely right. Hard work trumps luck every time in my opinion. (I'll be writing a blog post about that but in the meantime you may wish to read this post from Jessica Bell: It's not luck, it's bloody hard work. Incidentally, I'm reading Jessica's memoir, Dear Reflection: I never meant to be a rebel, which she kindly sent me as an advance review copy. I haven't finished it yet, but am really enjoying it. More about that in another blog post. That link is an Amazon affiliate link, by the way.)
Gabriel Mercer gave some interesting insights into mailing lists and, especially, list segmentation, which I've been looking into recently. I won't try and explain it because I'll just make a hash of it because I'm still learning myself. One thing Gabriel did say, which I was relieved to hear, is that you should send an email to the people on your list at least every other week. I've been trying to send one every week or two (failing miserably in the last month because of personal circs), and was worried that people might become sick of hearing from me!
He also said that 30 unsubscribes at a time from a list of 1500 is no big deal. Good grief: I fret when I get around 5 unsubscribes from a much larger list, so a huge sigh of relief from me.
Joanna Penn gave a good talk, with slides, about different income streams from your books. If you go to her website, The Creative Penn, you'll be able to sign up for a webinar with Joanna and Mark Dawson about how to use Amazon ads.
Cally made the astute comment that the book you end up with is never as good as the one in your head, so at some point you have to stop trying to perfect it. I'd not thought of it that way before but she is absolutely right.
She also spoke about how awful it is when you've spent weeks and weeks on a book and then decide that 20,000 words have to go. But as Rosanna said, nothing is ever wasted, because that writing has been good practice, and anyway, the process of writing those 20,000 words will have led at least in part to the book you do write.
Interestingly, a few weeks ago I decided to abandon a book I've been working on for three years (three years!), in favour of a much lighter book. It was taking me so long because I was continually trying to complete it, but every time I thought I had, a new research report would be published and I felt, in the interests of absolute perfection, "I must include that". Fortunately, I realised before driving myself insane that this was a hopeless, and ultimately pointless, quest.
My first thought on deciding to abandon it was "What a waste of three years." But my immediate next thought was "No it wasn't, because the new light version is not only much better, but also would not have emerged had those three years' effort not taken place."
So, all in all, an excellent day at the London Book Fair, full of learning, insights and meeting people.