I took the bus into New York on Wednesday, grabbed a delicious chicken cobb salad near my friend’s apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, and then prepped for panel at MWA-NY meeting that night.
I made a bad call about the subway and rode it to the Village. My best friend and I have a history of getting turned around on those damn diagonal streets. It’s always been a problem. So of course, I end up accidentally walking southwest instead of northeast.
Upside is I got to see some of my old haunts. And of course, I was early so I still arrived perfectly on time to the Salmagundi Club.
It’s a really cool space. Historic feeling. Perfect for the MWA meeting. There’s a room for the actual panel, another room for the bar and a third room for the dinner. Great flow and lots of opportunity to chat and meet amazing authors.
As I got my drink, I bumped into Laura K. Curtis, S.W. Hubbard, and Jillian Abbott–my fellow panelists and chatted with them. They are lovely and funny and charming and I am definitely adding their books to my tbr list!
After drinks, Jillian and I ended up eating together and I had a great time getting to know her. We were joined by fellow author Mitch and the hour passed far to quickly!
The food was delicious–steak, scallops, tomato soup, salad, veggies, mashed potatoes.
After dinner, we adjourned to the meeting room for the MWA monthly meeting and panel.
Big thanks to Laura K. Curtis for being a wonderful moderator! The panel went so fast! I learned so much from my fellow panelists. I wish I could have taken notes during our panel. We had a good crowd and there were lots of questions. Laura said we’d continue the discussion on the MWA-NY blog so when that happens, I’ll link to it.
Key takeaways were:
There are no short cuts in self publishing. You have to be involved in everything, even the stuff you delegate. You are the project manager and have to make sure all the pieces come together.
You also have to be willing to try things and then check and see if they lead to sales. If not, move on to another marketing tactic.
Marketing and promotion are a major part of self publishing. If you hate doing it, you can hire others to help, but it’s a money to time tradeoff. Also, you still have to know what they should be doing and make sure they do it. And keep in mind it’s your book, no one cares more than you do!
There are tons of resources out there and Google is a great place to start. Keep in mind the landscape changes so what worked for one person or what worked a year ago for sales may not work any longer. Tactics change, strategies don’t.
The next day was my day off in the city. I went to the dentist–no cavities. Got to see my friend Ant’s new digs out in Jackson Heights and walked around the historic district there. Grabbed some delicious Indian food for lunch too.
Came back to the city for dinner with Brett at Green Bo. We ordered our three favs. I picked up a few new scarves in Chinatown. Then we subwayed back to his place for Chinese pastries and a bad horror flick, Blood Lake.
Friday I took the bus home and got ready for Arisia where I was on a panel about friends of authors and how to support them with Crystal Huff (who was a terrific moderator), Timothy Goyette, Deborah Kaminski, and Elizabeth McCoy.
Saturday, we drove to Boston (Me, Mom, and Aunt Sue). We stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch and dinner. Arisia was cool. Love the costumes. I got to have a drink with Toni Kelner and get her to sign her newest release. She’s one of my favorite authors to sit and chat with. My panel went well. I love when I can share a couple stories that make the audience laugh.
The big takeaways are:
When they are first published, authors look to their close friends to write reviews or at least read the book and give them feedback.
The more prolific an author is, the less she/he expects you to read and review their work.
Authors appreciate a response when you ask to see their work. If you don’t end up reading it, just say so. Don’t make them ask. It’s awkward for everyone.
You can always find one nice thing to say about something. Even if you don’t particularly connect with a book, try to find the positive when you are talking to an author friend about it. Remember they spent years working on this. You wouldn’t want them to tell you that your newborn baby is ugly, even if it is. Show them the same consideration. While honesty may be appreciated, tact will keep a friendship intact.
We didn’t get to it during the panel, but there are lots of ways to support authors that don’t involve buying the book or writing a review. I have a blog post where I talked about other ways to support author buddies.