Self-Publishing Conference UK – Notes From Douglas Burcham | Guest Post

Authors Douglas Burcham shares some short notes on this year’s UK Self-Publishing Conference held in Leicester on March, 30th 2014.

Although not a current user of Troubador Publishing I attended their second Self Publishing Conference UK yesterday having enjoyed and benefitted from my attendance last year.  The other attendees seemed to be having a good time and the day was good for me in meeting new and old self published writers and learning from sessions.
The keynote speech was from Alysoun Owen, the Editor of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, about traditional publishers reinventing themselves and no short cuts to publishing as all the steps have to be gone through whichever way you publish.
In a really sparky session Polly Courtney talked about how she had successfully self published her first book Golden Handcuffs through Troubador and then lost control of her next three books published with a mainstream publisher before returning to self publishing. Her comments about marketing were interesting. The key to her success appears to be writing about something in fiction which is featuring strongly in the national press plus many hours of hard work and graft contacting potential readers. She managed to time her book launches to coincide with national press non-fiction articles on the subject written about in her books.
I attended a session on structuring children’s books where I scored 1/10 in the exercise. I like the simplicity and good easy reading in children’s books and the notes I made yesterday will be pinned up on my study wall.
Another session on book cover design was interesting but provided few answers other than confirming my choice to have a consistent brand on my covers. A sound approach confirmed earlier by Polly Courtney. In many of the examples I found the text on the cover hard to read. I noticed here and from my monthly inspection of covers on new books on the Waterstones’ table more rough edged wobbly text and pictures. There is all this new technology for design but to me few beat the old Penguin covers with pictures.
The final session was about developing one’s web site. Some useful stuff and complimented my recent reading of How to Build Your OnlineAuthor Platform.
Even semi retired I find it hard to find time to both write and market. Other silver writers I spoke to yesterday shared the same problem.
Over lunch I spoke to Helen Hollick – a writer of history – and spoke to her about the perils of writing about historic figures when regarded as saints by some and villains by others. She mentioned Cromwell and laughed.
Also over lunch I met a fellow traveller who had also taken a decision to write for personal satisfaction and not get involved in trying to prove himself as a serious writer. At least I am not so alone now we are in contact.
Good writing and publishing—if that is really what you want—to everyone!

Douglas Burcham submitted a post about his writing efforts since 2010 as the Allrighters on TIPM last year. He is an author and founder of the Allrighters group.

He tells me he has now passed his million draft words target and is missing the impetus the target gave to his daily writing habit. After drifting for a couple of months he has decided to split the million words into short 18,000 word chunks and to self edit and complete one of these a week. So an interlinked 50 book and 900,000 words target for completion by this time next year to keep him out of other mischief and his brain engaged. These will most likely be published as Kindle books during the year, or in a year’s time, if he can puzzle out the conversion process and covers. Also five to seven or 100,000 words of non-fiction to be self published in Kindle and hard copy as his Ywnwab! – Autumn Story-book

Mick Rooney – Publishing Consultant

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