February 18, 2012

SF Writers Conference at the midpoint

Midway through the second day of the San Francisco Writers Conference, and I have to say it's the best one in five years.

This conference tends to be focused more on the business of publishing than on the craft of writing, though there are hugely valueable sessions on craft. The topics range from nonfiction to poetry, and the attendees, speakers, and staff engage and collaborate and chat and have a good time.

Having just self-published my own book after four years of volunteering at the conference and learning about the industry, I was thrilled to see the session lineup. Instead of hunkering down and giving the floor exclusively to the established industry, the conference organizers arranged a diverse slate of presenters, both traditional publishing and independent publishig, craft and business.

I think it's worth noting that the conference is put on by a pair of literary agents. So for them to embrace vigorous and healthy discussion on what's really going on in the industry is admirable. Maybe it helps that San Francisco is both a literary center and a technology center, set apart from the New York publishing establishment.

Every session I've worked has been great this year. Of greatest interest to me were the two sessions about self publishing with Smashwords founder Mark Coker. Well spoken and stright to the point, Mark clearly articulated his thoughts on why self publishing is becoming the future, and why print is "dead" for self-publishers. I was particularly interested in Mark's comments since I chose to launch my own book through the Amazon KDP Select program, which means I'm exclusive with Amazon for at least the first 90 days of my book's existence. At the end of those 90 days, I very well may expand to Smashwords. Yes, Mark was that impressive.

Overall, the conference is high energy and has a positive vibe to it this year. There's a kind of a buzz of energy a step above the last year or two. I credit the organizers, Michael Larson and Elizabeth Pomada, and the others running the conference, with that. They genuinely want to bring the industry together and talk about what's really going on so authors can make the best of their talents and efforts.

Well done.

Personal Book Promo Update

By now everyone who knows me online knows I am in the middle of a three-day free promo of my book, Semper. It went free at the Kindle store Friday morning and will be free through Sunday night, in conjunction with the conference. So far the promo has exceeded my hopes. At 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon (San Francisco time), here are some statistics:

  • #128 in the overall Kindle free store
  • #22 in all children's books
  • #1 in children's action/adventure

The high water marks, which happened early Saturday morning, appear to be

  • #109 in the overall Kindle free store
  • #20 in all children's books
  • #1 in children's action/adventure

As for actual downloads, here are the statistics so far:

  • 2,370 new downloads in the US
  • 18 new downloads in the UK
  • 4 new downloads in Germany
  • 1 new download in France

The promotion continues through Sunday, with the addition of my short story "Distractions" also going free for the day.

If you haven't gone and gotten your copy of Semper, go get it! Please! Then come back and let me konw what you thought of it.


Terri Bruce said...

The conference sounds great - I'd love to hear more about what the smashwords CEO meant that "print is dead" for self-publishers? Just that most of their sales are in e-books?

Thanks for sharing your sales #s - it's so helpful to those of us thinking of taking the self-publishing plunge to know what to expect (and to have realistic expectations).

Thomas G said...

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