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
- 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…