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Self-Publishing Rises

19 Oct 2014
Writers' conferences are a great idea in concept, but until last weekend I never attended one that satisfied, the key metrics being time and money. Is it a coincidence that the Indie Recon Live, which might also be called the Western Self-Published Writers Conference, had not a single workshop on how to right good, I mean, write well?

Probably not. Self-published writers are torn between two worlds. What self-published writer wouldn't like to be published by traditional means? There are a few, but these are folks who already have a successful publishing career going. Once a writer makes the decision to self-publish, many of the commonalities with the traditional writers disappear quickly.

Traditional writers conferences are based around two types of activities: writing workshops (How to Write a Query Letter to an Agent, How to Develop Characters, Guns for Writers), and pitching to agents. I've never yet attended a conference, or even looked at a conference online, that had agents in my genre, thrillers. The genre still hums but the agents are few and far between. The writing workshops can be useful, but if you go to the same conference two years in a row you will discover a lot of recycling and not much new material, which makes that high-dollar conference admission, usually $400 and more plus travel costs, a depreciating asset. Those conferences with real promise, such as the Los Angeles Writers Conference, require a minimum investment of at least $2,000 for admission, travel, hotel, and food. Such an investment could easily yield no returns at all, whereas investing it in self-publishing would definitely yield a result.

Which shows you how authors end up thinking about self-publishing. We do it not to print out of vanity, but because the traditional publishing pipeline is so clogged that it requires introductions from people who are connected in order to get anywhere.

Enter Indie Recon Live. Now the subjects are How to Create a Cover That Sells, Bookstore Distribution through IngramSpark, and most importantly, marketing. And no agents! More than 80 percent of those attending, about 300, were already self-published. About 20 percent of those are developing a side business guiding others through the self-publishing process - which I have done holistically, when others come to me for editing or relating services.

Held outside Salt Lake City, Indie Recon Live was a great event that will surely be repeated. It could stand to be repeated in other parts of the country, in fact. The one thing missing, the one thing that would have made it a complete writers' conference, was workshops on the craft of writing itself. With that addition, traditional writers' conferences would become irrelevant to a lot of writers who see their future in self-publishing. On the other hand, if much more was added it might be overload. The balance is delicate but worth considering.

To learn more and to subscribe to the Indie Recon Live newsletter go to http://www.IndieReconLive.com . To learn more about my most recent self-publication go to http://www.WhiteHouseStorm.com .

You may also like this related article: Self-Publishing Emerges (182)
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