#20bookslondon – the UK’s 20booksto50K #writers conference

It’s been a couple of years since I last went to a writer’s conference, and all those I attended focussed for the most part on improving craft and how to land a traditional contract.

20books is by and for indie authors – if you ever get the chance to go to one, grab it with both hands!

An author friend I had only, up until this conference, met online, introduced me to it with the ‘Are you going to 20books?” line. I had no idea what it was at that point, so now I’d like to introduce it to all of you, who also have no idea what 20books is about.

So here is the concept, to quote Michael Anderle, the founder:

“I’ve talked in the past about how I wanted to create an income of $50k a year by having a backlist of 20 books. I came up with this number because I noticed after the first few days of selling my first book, I was averaging $7.50 a day in income. At that number ($7.50 a day for each of 20 books) I’d make $54k. You only need $36k to enjoy a very nice retirement in Cabo San Lucas. That was my goal.”

And there you have it – real forward planning logic.

In fact, Michael has outstripped his goals way faster, because of the tendency for book sales to increase logarithmically as you publish more and more in a series – if you get things right. And that’s what this conference is about – putting back into the indie community (love this aspect of it) by sharing with others how to do what he’s already done.

Michael holding forth.

Very largely the focus was on marketing, with sessions including:

  • covers, blurbs and keywords
  • list building and general marketing
  • KU
  • Going wide
  • FaceBook ads
  • 2 authors sharing how they went from zilch to mega incomes (mostly by writing insanely fast)
  • Open questions

(Slightly fuzzy) picture of the speaker line up.

Other motivational sessions included

  • how to accept negativity and turn it around
  • using emotion in stories
  • world building – this relates to what Michael now does, having turned his series into a massive collaboration, with other authors writing in his universe. They now release 15 books a month!

I met several authors I’d only met virtually before (yes, they turned out to be real people!!), reconnected with a couple, made new friends and contacts, and got to speak with Dan Wood from Draft2Digital and finally found out why my first book (The Prince’s Man) was unceremoniously dumped out of Amazon (along with all D2D’s other books) back in 2013, and why they are now publishing to Amazon again after a 4 year hiatus. I won’t be going back to D2D for Amazon publishing, but its nice to know new authors choosing that route won’t suffer from the rank stripping and total loss of visibility I did back then.

The conference schedule was great – lots of breaks between sessions for tea/coffee/nibbles (all free!) to refresh our overloaded brains, and do tons of networking. The presenters were all really approachable and enthusiastic, and, where else would you find a conference that, having discovered they had overcharged (£165 seemed reasonable enough to me anyway) relative to the hotel conference suite costs, declared they will be refunding every attendee a not inconsiderable chunk of money!

So, folks, as and when I process the masses of info I accumulated (and took notes on – way, way more notes than I expected) I will share.

For now, here are a few bits I brought home with me

I believe next year they are going back to where this was originally held – Vegas. Might be worth the trip…

 

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18 comments

  1. Sounds absolutely wonderful, Deborah, and really useful and informative.

    1. It truly was, Robbie, I highly recommend this group and their conference to all indie authors.

  2. Thank you for s great post. As a newly published author, I needed a pick-me-up. I understand that being a successful writer, takes time, and a lot of effort. It’s good to hear people have made it.

    1. Oh yes, it can be done. It takes hard work but success as an author can be learned and attained – keep going!

  3. I’ve too found it’s a number game. I have over a hundred nonfoc and that gives me enough to live. My fiction–not there yet!

    1. Yes, my non-fiction is by far my bigger earner so far, but I will get there with the fiction, I’m too stubborn not to!

  4. Deb it looks like a fabulous event! And I didn’t know it originally ran in Vegas???? Let’s go next year! Now, I’m looking forward to your sharing what you learned there,. I heard you met Sacha Black another old and dear writing friend. 🙂

    1. It is really a fabulous experience. Its running in Vegas again in November, but that’s a little soon for me, if they do it again next year I think I might be tempted.
      I had supper with Sacha on the Saturday night, she’s great company! I’m booked into the Bloggers Bash again this year, hopefully I might make it this time! I guess with your hubby’s health you’re not planning on travelling any time soon?

      1. Great you met Sacha. She’s a ball of energy isn’t she?
        I checked out the site, yes I saw the November conference. I’d love to go to it. We’ll see what time does. As for the Bash, that can’t happen this year,. especially that it’s been moved from June to May – my husband’s big birthday. I’m throwing him a big bash that weekend. But. I am still itching to get to the UK. I have to see how things go in the next few months. I’d love to come and stay with my bestie and meet up with a few of my good friends while there. Yes. you are one of them! 🙂 She lives in Kent, how far are you from there. She told me if I want to meet up with friends who aren’t near her it’s best to meet up in London?

      2. Depending on where exactly in Kent, I’m anything from 50 miles to 120 miles away, none of which is too far 😀

      3. Cool! I’ll keep you posted! She actually lives about 10 minutes from Canterbury if that helps. 🙂

      4. Okay, that’s at the farther end of the range, but still perfectly do-able 😀

      5. No worries. When I’m ready to cross the pond I will most certainly let you know!!! ::)

  5. Great post, and thanks. Sadly Australia is a bit too far, but maybe one day we’ll have 20books coming DownUnder. 🙂

    1. That would be great, I might be tempted to follow it there…

      1. -grin- We have great food, beautiful beaches and the best coffee in the world. Come on over!

      2. Its on my list 😀

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