Celebration of Authors

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I am clueless when it comes to book marketing.  Ok…let me rephrase that.  I WAS clueless.  But last weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Celebration of Authors Conference in Austin, Texas.  This event, sponsored by the Texas Association of Authors, offered tips and advice about marketing not only my books, but myself as an author.

My weekend began by waking up at 5:00 A.M. on Saturday morning and taking the hour and a half drive up I-35, through horrid traffic, to Austin, TX.  I pulled into the parking garage of the Downtown Sheraton, snagged my parking pass, and circled up to the third level.  Once checked in, I stepped into the conference room to this amazing view.

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I guess that explains why the room was called the Capitol View Terrace.

My morning was crammed full of various sessions that targeted marking.  Sessions about advertising, making the most of Amazon Author Central, choosing keywords for search queries,  and information about e-books, internet radio, and how to utilize the internet.   I met many other authors, exchanged business cards, and even had my picture taken with some of my new connections.

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When we took a break for lunch, I popped down to the hotel restaurant, and to my surprise, the keynote speaker, Judith Briles (an award-winning author and marketing expert), sat down at the table with me.  Over lunch, she shared a few tricks of the trade, and I walked away with a signed book in my hands.

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Following lunch, I returned to the Capitol View Terrace and the sessions continued.  In the afternoon, I learned about an awesome app called Squirl and received information about audio books.

Around 4:00 P.M., when the sessions were over, I made the drive back home, overwhelmed with information and trying to soak in everything I heard throughout the day.

Sunday morning, I returned to the Sheraton to hear more tried and true marketing methods, including how to solicit appearances and how to market renegade style.  A fellow writer informed me about a few local writing groups I didn’t know existed, and we danced and sang along to a video called All About Those Books.

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Throughout the conference, three things stuck with me:

  1.  Learn how to be an author. Get yourself out there.
  2. Be unique.  Do something no one else is doing.
  3. Write what you’re passionate about and don’t try to feed into the market.  The market changes too much.

Overall the Celebration of Authors event was well worth the money I paid to attend.  It was full of networking opportunities and taught me a lot about the publishing world. By the end of the weekend I walked away with a ton of resources and gained many insights about marketing.  With all the ideas rolling around in my head, it will take me a while to digest all the information I received, and baby steps to implement it all.

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