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Novelist, Inc. Writer’s Conference

Novelists, Inc. or “NINC” is a professional and long-standing organization. Over 200 professional authors attended the NINC conference in sunny Florida in late October to discuss issues regarding writing and the publishing industry.

The Mission Statement of Novelists Inc. says-

Novelists, Inc., in acknowledgment of the crucial creative contributions novelists make to society, asserts the right of novelists to be treated with dignity and in good faith; to be recognized as the sole owners of their literary creations; to be fairly compensated for their creations when other entities are profiting from those creations; and to be accorded the respect and support of the society they serve.

In keeping true to their mission, the conference reflected their goals as may workshops, lectures and panels spoke to the future of publishing and what authors need to know. Many workshops discussed self-publishing, the future of the publishing industry and marketing for both traditional and digital works.

The conference boasted some of the top industry professionals in the US as guests and speakers. Don Weisberg from Simon & Schuster Publishing, Liz Scheier of Barnes & Noble, Mark Coker CEO of Smashwords, Sheila English CEO of Circle of Seven Productions, Barbara Vey of Publisher’s Weekly, Linda Quinton of Tor-Forge, Carolyn Pittis of HarperCollins, Joan Schulhafer, David Wilk, Lou Aronica and many other notables shared their experience and expertise on a variety of topics specific to the professional author.

The panels included how to work with professionals to get your book marketed or distributed and how to go it alone for the DIY crowd. Many attendees sent out tweets during panels. You can find the record of those NINC tweets at #NINC.

Some of panels that caused a lot of discussion included Linda Quinton’s lecture A Marketing Discuss where she shared how Tor-Forge was working to promote books and what seemed to really be working well for them.

The ever-popular Publisher’s Weekly blogger Barbara Vey did an overall recap of author etiquette, social media and opportunities for authors.

Barnes and Noble’s Liz Scheier had standing-room-only for her talk Making Digital Self-Retailing Work For You: How to Profit & Gain an Audience with your backlist. Liz talked about epublishing an author’s backlist including what makes a good book cover, what format is needed, suggestions on how to release those books and a multitude of other insights.

David Wilk’s talk Marketing is Not Your Enemy was a big success with attendees. His no-nonsense approach to marketing was refreshing and inspiring. He talked about sites where you can promote your book and marketing tools. He suggested that YouTube is underutilized by authors and recommended authors take a video camera and do an author interview themselves just to get out into the video realm.

The panel for Promoting Your Work in 2011 and Beyond included Sheila English, Rebecca Crowley, Joan Schulhafer and Marc Milot who talked about the industry overall and what kind of marketing was working. Discussions about transmedia, book trailers, QR codes and ebook marketing were all hot topics.

Undoubtedly the highlight talk of the event came from the CEO of Smashwords, Mark Coker whose talk on The Five Biggest Trends Shaping the Future of Publishing—and why there has never been a better time to be an author was insightful, humorous and inspiring! Coker was quoted heavily in the Twittershere where he spoke about self-publishing statistics and trends. He talked about how ebook buyers discover books and shared some statistics from his blog.

His top trends included “Honor your reader with a great book”, “Publish another great book”, Maximize Distribution”, “Give (some of) Your Books Away for Free”, “Patience is a Virtue”, “Trust your Readers and Partners” and “Marketing Starts Yesterday”. He spoke about the importance editing your book well, that self-publishing is more of a long-tail than an instant cash cow situation and that you should get your book to as many outlets as possible.

The event wrapped up with a general assembly meeting where it was revealed that NINC would be publishing an anthology in the future written by members of NINC. No pub date was mentioned, but with the high caliber of authors who are members of the organization it’s one book that will be worth waiting for.

All in all the event held promise, positive outlooks and an excitement for authors who are looking to further their career.

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