This post was updated July 1st, 2020

Hello Lovelies,

As much as authors complain about the pantsing vs plotting debate, get frustrated trying to overcome writer’s block, and argue about the Oxford comma, we all know that writing is actually the easiest part of being an author. It is the part we love as much as we hate. The hardest part for most authors is the business side of writing. From whether to incorporate, whether to buy your own ISBNs, where to publish- the business end is HARD. Two of the hardest parts for most authors are A. Marketing and B. Networking. Marketing is tough, even for those of us who love doing it. *Heidi waves to the crowd* 

It takes a lot of resources and time. And figuring out where best to put your limited marketing dollars is a trick of the ages, let me tell you! But one of the best places I have found for marketing is at conventions, particularly conventions geared around books.

Book Events

I have gone to some great conventions over the years, Y’allfest, Aiken’s Makin’, Dragon con, Momo con, AWA, SLC Comicon several times. Most conventions are 2-4 days long, renting booths at the bigger conventions is not cheap, you also need to pay people to manage your booth if you plan to be on any panels, get a chance to eat or go to the bathroom, or get to enjoy other parts of the convention! Those conventions can get pretty darn expensive. If I broke even at a convention I counted myself lucky. The most I ever made was like $900 profit. Brutal.

And conventions mean crowds. Even as an extrovert, I would be completely sapped after a convention and need two or three days to recover. Most of us authors did not choose the writer’s life because we love hanging out in crowds, am I right?  Still, there is something amazing about live conventions and being able to go to author-focused conventions like Storymakers, 20 Books to 50K, and more are a great place to network with business professionals and grow.

Online Book Events

 My first experience with online book events was B2B CyCon.  Online events are phenomenal because you get the benefit of marketing at a convention without the massive expense. You get the benefit of rubbing elbows with readers without literally having to rub elbows! There are tons of awesome events that will provide you with evergreen marketing content that you can keep sharing.

The first B2B CyCon I attended I ended up adding over 100 subscribers to my blog, adding almost 400 people to my social media sites (across Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google + and Goodreads!) and that was with less than 1,000 attendees.

One of the best parts of B2B CyCon that seems to rarely get talked about is the networking. Why is networking important, you ask? I met a ton of awesome authors and groups through B2B CyCon, including Joe Compton of Go Indie Now, Joshua Robertson of Crimson Edge Press, Angela B. Chrysler of Brain To Books, Kori D. Miller of Back Porch Writer, Richard Mulder of SciFan Society, Karina Kantas of Author Assist, to name just a few. I also met tons of amazing authors who have been kind enough to share their platforms with me as I announced book tours, sales, and promotions. Those authors in turn introduced me to other amazing networking opportunities such as 20 books to 50K, Authors Supporting Authors, Support Indie Authors, Instafreebie, and many many others.  When we all lift each other up together, we see tons of indies hitting bestseller lists all over the country. We see indies really making an impact on the publishing industry.

Don’t give up! I believe in you all. A {writer’s} a {writer}, no matter how small! And you very small {writer} will not have to die if you make yourselves heard! So come on, now, and TRY!

Heidi Angell’s interpretation of Horton Hears a Who.

That networking helps in many ways, not the least of which is sharing one another’s audiences and helping with book events. Your colleagues are also great to talk with about what is and is not working with marketing, where to find beta readers, cover artists, and other services. The greatest support I have found is that when I am feeling overwhelmed, and like I can’t handle the writer’s life anymore, these amazing authors rally around to offer support. (I know I’m not the only one! This writing life can be SO HARD, right?)

  One of the benefits of Covid-19 is that a lot more conventions have chosen to have online events this year. So be sure to jump on this fantastic opportunity to grow your network of authors and readers.

What online book convention are you a fan of? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time,

Keep Writing!