Writers work hard!
It’s hard work being an author. You probably think I’m referring to the work of writing books, don’t you? It’s true that writing a book is hard — it’s time-consuming, solitary work. I know many writers whose first novels took years, or even a decade or more to write (especially since most of them were holding down demanding full-time jobs and writing in any pocket of time they could find – instead of sleeping!).
But I’m actually talking about what happens once a writer finishes a book, and is lucky enough to have it published. You’d think the hard work would be finished then, and it would be smooth sailing and merely a matter of collecting accolades. But post-publication life is far from that. Post-pub is when another phase of really hard work begins for a writer. And it’s difficult to tell sometimes which is more challenging: writing the book or marketing it!
On March 13th, Open Book partnered with Philadelphia Stories magazine to hold The 2nd Annual Writers at Work Conference. The purpose of this conference is to offer writers ways to manage their career (what we call the write/life balance), along with really useful and practical information about marketing, publicity, events, building an author platform, and more.
Yesterday’s event was a great success. My fabulous event partner Christine Weiser and I are so grateful to all of our speakers (listed HERE) and to the many writers who joined us at the lovely Manor House in Blue Bell, PA.
Thank you for being there!
Here’s just a taste of what I learned yesterday:
*If you want to prepare to be a good speaker, have a friend or someone else interview you. That way you’ll get a sense of what the most interesting things are that you have to talk to an audience about. (That tip from Andy Kahan, director of events at the Free Library of Philadelphia.)
*Pitch yourself as a guest blogger for book sites. Make fun videos (I’m going to do that one!). (These tips from Jennifer Kasius of Running Press and literary agents Clare Pelino and Eric Smith.)
*What do booksellers have that Amazon doesn’t? Booksellers do community outreach, and bookstores offer the possiblity of serendipity. (From Kat Meyer of the Book Industry Study Group.)
*The term “read-a-likes.” This refers to books an author might compare their book to, one with similar style, subject matter, and/or readers. (Learned this from author Donna Galanti.)
*I met a new local bookseller, Ashley Montague, co-owner of Penn Book Center, and had a great time bonding and sharing ideas with her and with Cathy Feibach, owner of Main Point Books in Bryn Mawr. We three booksellers did some brainstorming on ways we can work together and support each other. It’s so nice to be part of the supportive indie bookseller community!
What a day!