November 3, 2013

One Person's Take on the Chicago Writers Conference

I met Shala Howell at The Chicago Writers Conference in September. Well, I'm not sure I actually met her in person (sorry, if I did,'s been a while now and my memory isn't what it used to be). I think we may have met on social media while Tweeting and Blogging about what was going on, and I love that - how many people in the writing world I've met through social media.
Anyway, Shala embraced that conference and everything she learned from the panels and presentations; social media, self-publishing, what agents and publishers are looking for, and she's making it work for her. She's new to Twitter but is doing a fantastic job, and we all know we need an online presence if we want to connect with readers. And she's writing smart, useful copy on her blog. Take a look (by the way, I'm not just posting this because she mentions me, but it didn't hurt):

“My book’s done. What’s next?” 
Notes from the Chicago Writer’s Conference, Part 2
by Shala Howell

If you’re just joining us, I’m in the process of working through my notes from the Chicago Writer’s Conference and turning them into digestible, topical tidbits on the publishing process. Last week I talked to you about how writers can tell when their book is ready to send out. This week, I want to talk about what comes next: choosing whether to pursue traditional publication or publishing your work yourself. 
I’m going to start this post off by saying that as I haven’t even made this decision for myself, I can’t possibly presume to make it for you. All I am going to do today is summarize what was said at the conference about the choice between traditional and self-publishing, and point you to a few reliable sources where you can learn more about both options.
 What traditional publishers had to say about self-publishing 
At the Meet the Publishers session, Jonathan Messinger of featherproof books frankly admitted that the stigma long associated with self-publishing is gone. In fact, demonstrated success through self-publishing can be very attractive to a prospective publisher. 
“Simon and Schuster may hate you,” Messinger said. “A small press will not.” 

Of course, there’s a caveat: If you were very successful marketing your previous book(s), your traditional publisher will probably want a new book from you. They are less likely to pick up any books you already have on the market on the theory that those books may have already saturated the market.
You can connect with Shala on Twitter: @shalahowell

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