The day started out with a brief introduction by Jeffery Marsh, the acquisitions editor at Cedar Fort. He offered two tips for our consideration:
1) Write to an audience - Great books are literally a conversation between you and your audience. Don't forget them. Keep them and their needs in mind each time you sit down to write.
2) Learn the art of storytelling - It is an art, a craft, and a gift.
Next, we heard from Abel Keogh, author of Room for Two. He told a little about the story behind his book and then taught about the importance of having an online presence. He reviewed websites and blogs and the importance of each, as well as the essential elements each should have. He is a very experienced blogger and has been blogging since 2000. You can check out his blog here. I won a copy of his book, and can't wait to read it. I'll be sure and review it for you after I'm through.
Janet Kay Jensen, author of Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys, taught us all about self-promotion. She is the self-promotion queen and had tons of great ideas to share. She gave us ten important keys to book publicity. Her book is also one of the ones in my lineup for reviews this summer.
Doug Johnston has many years experience in the newspaper industry and he shared surefire ways to get a book review in a newspaper. He also dispensed wisdom from a publicist's point of view. He told us what he does and does not want to hear from prospective authors. In a nutshell, he wants you to tell him what you are going to do, have done, and will do for your book. You are an important part of the team in making your book a success!
The highlight of the day was the final speaker, Eloise Owens. She is a popular motivational speaker and the author of Get off the Beach. You can read more about her at The Momentum Company. She had a dynamic personality and enthusiasm that enthralled the audience. She walked us through an author's look at The Messenger, The Message, and The Marketplace.
The Messenger - Take a good look in the mirror. What are your strengths and weaknesses as an author. We listed the qualities of a great writer--things such as passion, confidence, tenacity, creativity, and more. Eloise proposed that the greatest quality a writer can have is the ability to self manage. This quality is so important because all the other qualities listed above may go through a period of insufficiency. If you are self-managed you will stick it out, and continue to write through it, coming out the other end a stronger and more accomplished writer.
The Message - Achieving idea clarity is important. If you don't know and understand the message of your book, the audience will not understand it either. Clarify your book's idea--develop a short, crisp answer to the question: What is this book about? Eloise also discussed the importance of a title and gave suggestions for finding one.
The Marketplace - Keep your eye on the goal. Eloise shared an experience from when she was writing her book and learning how to surf. She wasn't successful until she kept her eye on the shore. She discussed things such as speaking engagements, writing articles and blogs, creating partnerships and a fan base, launching your book, and handling the media.
She wrapped up by talking about waves. There is always a bigger wave out there to ride. She encouraged us to not be afraid to try. If you hesitate, fear wins. The only limits you have are the ones you set for yourself, so keep your sights set high. You never know what impact your book--your message--will have on someone else. It may be the means to get them to ride a higher wave.
There is nothing quite like being in a room of struggling authors who have the same thoughts, feelings, and struggles as yourself. The feeling of camraderie and support at the conference was amazing. Thanks to Cedar Fort! I think all who were in attendance left feeling uplifted, motivated, and that it was a day well spent.