Monday, October 09, 2006

The "Express Yourself" Authors' Conference

From September 29 through October 1, I attended Infinity Publishing’s “Express Yourself” Authors’ Conference in Valley Forge, PA, near Philadelphia. Most conference attendees were those of us whose books have been published by Infinity, but the conference was for anyone interested in marketing his/her books, regardless of publisher.

This conference opened a new world to me: I listened to inspirational advice on how to market books, as well as some basic information about publishers large and small, traditional and untraditional. The speakers included many stars of the independent book marketing world: authors of marketing materials, designers of web sites, providers of publicity packages, even a copyright law expert. I was fascinated.

Does this mean that I can or will get rich by turning my book into a best seller? No way. Both my age and my lack on entrepreneurial spirit are against me. I’m sure that the speakers can sell almost anything to almost anybody, but that’s not me. Perhaps I’m too comfortable. Of course I’d like to sell more books, but for me, the necessary expenditures of time and money seem excessive—and probably futile.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the conference, and I learned a lot. I may try a few new book-selling strategies. There are plenty of them out there, including John Kremer’s 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, a book I own. I’ve used a few of Kremer’s easier tips, including’s tagging, author profile, “Inside the Book,” “Listmania,” and customer reviews, but 1001 ways? Talk about over-kill.

I admire the experts I heard: Kremer, Dan Poynter, Jerry Simmons, Penny Sansevieri, Brian Jud, Paul Krupin, and others. I enjoyed touring Infinity Publishing, as well as meeting its president, Tom Gregory, its vice-president, and other employees. I enjoyed seeing a few copies of my own book in the conference bookstore and on the publisher’s shelves. I enjoyed meeting some very interesting fellow writers and hearing about their books. They represent a wide variety of interests, experiences, and areas of expertise.

This conference made me happy to be an author, albeit a virtually unknown one, and reminded me how inspiring it is to learn new things, meet new people, and enter new worlds after retirement. But for me, it’s the writing, not the selling, that matters most.

Copyright 2006 by Marlys Marshall Styne

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