I attended Houston Writers Guild’s first IndieFest Conference “Indiepalooza” this past weekend. With Indie-Publishing becoming more and more popular, this event held vital tools and information in phases through the process of Self-Publishing. The two-day conference included guest speakers, authors, and a panel of experts in the industry. I couldn’t take notes fast enough! I am happy to report that this will be an annual event.
One special moment for me was finally meeting Kathy L. Murphy, a licensed cosmetologist and an avid reader who opened a beauty/bookstore called Beauty and the Book in early 2000. Eventually, she started a book club for women who like to read and have fun. Pulpwood Queens became the name of her club. Today, the Tiara-wearing Pulpwood Queen Kathy presides over nearly 600 book clubs and she herself is now a published author. In 2008, Grand Central Publishing released her book, “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life.” It not only sold well, but I hear there’s also a movie in the making from Dream Worlds!
As an author, whether you decide to publish the traditional route or the self-publishing route, here are some takeaways I jotted down from Kathy’s presentation Saturday night:
You have to know how to present yourself. Get a look! Be kind to everyone. Never burn a bridge. Never be so busy that you can’t autograph someone’s book.
Kathy’s recap (with permission) is as follows:
1) Finish your book before you ever submit it to anyone and that means a clean, well-written copy that has been edited, free of any mistakes. I don’t want anyone calling me to tell me about their book that they have not finished or as an author have anyone calling me to tell me my publisher misspelled Ruston, Lousiana.
2) Create a look, and brand yourself as a professional author. For me it’s big hair, Tiaras, and leopard print, my Pulpwood Queen signature look. It’s hard to forget someone if they look the part. Dress for success. Men wear killer suits, and women create their own signature styles. No gift was ever as happily received as one that is magnificently wrapped. No matter how great the gift, if it comes in a Walmart bag, well there is not much enthusiasm.
3) Gather your tribe. Friends, family, clients, network people. Since I started my Pulpwood Queens Book Club, that’s a given, but I am also a member of The First United Methodist Church and Rotary International, I let the word get known to them that I have a book and will speak. But don’t limit yourself there, area book clubs have the best word of mouth, (which is to me, STILL, the best advertising in the world. Free program = big book sales.
4) Think outside of the bookselling box. If you wrote a book on underwater basket weaving well for goodness sake, contact YMCA’s, swim clubs, basket weavers, and craft shops. Volunteer to give a demonstration and then send out a press release when it is going to happen. If you don’t have a media list. Take a day to call every newspaper, radio station, email blogger, what is their contact for press releases. Hmm, that’s how I did it and it worked. And if they don’t respond to your press release, follow up with a personal phone call. Be polite, and don’t burn bridges. They may not choose to feature you this time but The Wall Street Journal calls me now periodically for quotes.
5) BONUS TIP! If you have a secret talent, share that talent. On my Beauty and the Book Show, you can watch all twelve on YouTube.com. I asked authors to share if they had a secret talent. Fire baton twirl can say all the President’s names in under a minute, you name it! The audience loved those moments, make you stand out from the million book authors published a year and have some big-time fun while you are doing it!
And there you have it, great tidbits from the queen herself! Overall, it was a great conference.