Tuesday, July 19, 2011

BEA DIY report

Rick Spilman posted a nice review of the BEA DIY meeting. Here's an excerpt, followed by the link:

The Saturday "DIY" seminars preceded the Book America Expo, a week-long event beginning Monday in Manhattan. I suspect our little seminar was called "DIY" because the phrase "self publish" can't be popular with the mainstream publishers who are the main BEA sponsors. So while the crews set up for the big show, we "DIYers" attended our seminar in the far lower corner of the Javits Convention Center on the banks of the Hudson River. 

The morning began with a keynote address by veteran industry insider, Alan Rinzler, who spoke on "Why the DIY Revolution has Made it the Best Time Ever to be a Writer." He said that traditional book marketing no longer works. Book tours are expensive and ineffective. Books reviews in newspapers and magazines have largely disappeared. What does sell books these days is "buzz," which is to say word of mouth, which is largely spread by social networking. Increasingly, traditional publishers are requiring their authors to do their own marketing through websites, blogs and social networking. Authors are becoming the key players in selling their books, which is resulting in a shift in the balance of power between authors and publishers. Authors are now dealing directly with their readers, essentially cutting out the publishing intermediary. Self published authors are also receiving higher royalties rather than being happy to let the publishers take their 90% cut.

The flip side to this is that self published authors have to put out high quality professional work to succeed. He suggested that the claim that self-publishing is "easy" is a myth. It is as hard or harder as traditional publishing. Rinzler highly recommended hiring a developmental editor to help shape a writers manuscript. He mentioned Hemingway's editor, Max Perkins and half a dozen other notable writers who use editors, and so on. Rinzler also happens to be a free lance editor who handed out his cards at the end of his talk. Overall it was a fascinating talk. 


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