Astrophysicist Carl Sagan said books were “proof that humans are capable of working magic.” The Independent Authors Conference is proof that indie authors can make a mighty big bang!
If you were wandering around the Old City area of Philadelphia during the first weekend of November, you might have heard a very loud explosion.
That’s what happens when you mix 400 authors, editors, writers, publicists, marketers, speakers, and famous publishing experts into an action-packed weekend of learning. This highly volatile mix of publishing knowledge, insights, motivation, and inspiration was bound to cause a spontaneous reaction.
And the likely fallout? Hundreds of well-written and well-marketed books coming soon to a best-seller list near you!
That’s the best way for me to describe BookBaby’s second annual Independent Author’s Conference at the Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel. In my opening keynote, I outlined how indie authors are bursting into the mainstream publishing marketplace. Some choice nuggets include:
- Over 1,000 self published authors earned over $100,000 each on Kindle Direct Publishing according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in his latest letter to stockholders.
- Indie authors accounted for 28% of the top-selling eBooks in 2017 per AuthorEarnings.com.
- The worldwide publishing market is expected to be $121 Billion in 2018 — compared to just $38 Billion in movie box office gross!
I lit the fuse during the IAC18 Opening Night Gala reception, challenging the attendees to open their minds to new ideas while invoking the words of renowned astronomer Carl Sagan:
Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.
It would be presumptuous of me to claim that our second Indie Author Con was magical, so I’ll let our attendees describe what transpired over the weekend from comments we received in our post-conference survey.
This conference was just what I needed. I walked away excited, inspired, and with actionable next steps towards publishing my first novel.
I thought you did a great job of covering what an indie author needs and wants. I was impressed by BookBaby staff and the general friendly, welcoming atmosphere of the overall conference.
It was an amazing experience. I got great advice and perspective on some things for my book, and I plan to work with BookBaby to publish my book next year.
Great organization of the conference — you’d never know this is only your second year!
Thank you for having Joanna Penn. She is as kind as she is smart and that’s saying a lot!
It was a treat to bring self-publishing expert and UK resident Joanna Penn across the pond for the weekend to give the IAC18 closing keynote talk, “How To Make A Living With Your Writing.” Penn thrilled the audience with her vivid and personal description of her long journey towards commitment and acceptance of a writing career.
Penn was one of 25+ experts who shared their opinions, insights, and passion for self publishing with the IAC18 attendees. All told there were 36 information-packed panels and presentations that educated and enthralled our attendees. Some of the weekend’s best-attended sessions included:
- Jane Friedman’s presentation of “The Art and Business of Author Platform.” Jane’s key point: Most working writers have at least one thing in common: they seek to grow readership for their work. Her workshop explained some of the key points of what an author platform can do for a self-published writer.
- Brian Jud’s fascinating talk, “The Buck Stops Here,” delved into the world of non-traditional book sales. Jud told our attendees that every year, more books are sold to buyers in market segments outside of bookstores than are sold in bookstores.
- The worldwide marketplace was the focus of Lindsy Biven’s presentation on “Self Publishing & Global Markets.” She discussed the process of discoverability in the US and global markets by exploiting tactics of both off- and online activities.
Our speakers have also chimed in to praise the event:
To see contacts from almost every state in attendance blew our mind and was such a testament to the importance of the IAC. It’s exhilarating to see a Philadelphia writer’s conference taking shape. Thank you for allowing us to share in the event and speak to the eager authors, writers, and publishers in attendance. — Corinne Moulder, Smith Publicity
There’s no doubt the IAC is the place to be for writers and authors. I’ve enjoyed sharing my knowledge and learning from others, as well as connecting with industry professional and meeting so many creative people. — Ally Nathaniel, AN Better Publishing
Thank you all for hosting such a fabulous conference. I met so many terrific writers and vendors and was impressed by the amazing list of panels and speakers. — Patricia Mooseburger, Blue Ink Review.
Between sessions, our attendees also enjoyed talking and interacting with our IAC18 sponsors, including IBPA, Smith Publicity, Dart Frog Books, and many more.
I also have to give great thanks to my hardworking BookBaby team of publishing specialists, customer service team members, and marketers. Planning for IAC18 began in January with weekly meetings and a challenging calendar full of deadlines. We learned a lot in the in the planning and execution of our first conference, and the encore conference showcased our best efforts in producing the nation’s biggest conference devoted solely to self publishing.
I came away from this second conference feeding off the energy of our speakers, sponsors, and attendees. This conference made the statement that the self-publishing community is growing — and growing fast! The camaraderie we enjoyed during this fall weekend showcased a vibrant community of authors eager and willing to share and give of themselves. I talked with, shook hands with, and exchanged notes with hundreds of authors who are primed to make noise in the publishing marketplace.
Better get ready to put your hands over your ears. You never know when there’s gonna be a roar from one of these talented IAC18 alumni writers!
Authors note: The original version of this post overstated the number of self published authors who earned $100,000+ on the Kindle platform. The correct number is 1000, not 100,000. I deeply regret my error and wanted to set the record straight! Thanks to alert reader Luke Kendall for pointing out this error.
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