The recent Publishing Basics Seminar played to a packed house in New York City the Monday prior to the opening of Book Expo America. This seminar was received so well that the group has decided to offer it again for our West Coast friends on August 1st in Anaheim, California. California … here we come!
The 2nd Annual Publishing Basics Seminar was held on Monday, May 23rd at the Seminar Center in New York City. The day consisted of presentations by four different industry professionals, a working lunch and a day-end panel discussion. There was not a single person who not only felt they got their money’s worth but most would say they got at least ten times their money’s worth. The event was a success by anyone’s standard.
Some of those of you who know me might be wondering why it took me so long to offer a seminar like this. The origins of this are much like the origins of many other ventures I’ve become involved in over the years. As with everything else I do, I would never sell something to my customers that I wouldn’t purchase myself. I’d rather offer nothing at all, than something I don’t believe in 100 percent.
Unfortunately, the whole self-publishing industry is riddled with glorified snake-oil salespeople. The lure of the “easy money” of the vanity press industry has corrupted more than one industry “professional.”
While this isn’t going to be one of my rants on the ills of vanity publishers like AuthorHouse and PublishAmerica, as always, it’s all related. While I never ruled out the idea of a seminar, the longest presentation I had ever done was a three-hour course for the Learning Annex, and I was running “thin” after the first two hours. The problem I had was finding others who had not already crossed over to the “dark side.” Enter Fred Gleeck.
A little over a year ago I received a Facebook message out of the blue from Fred. I had no idea who Fred was, other than one of my several thousand Facebook friends. The message looked a bit like a sales pitch for who knows what, so I deleted it. A week or so later … another message. This time I at least looked up who it was from … Fred from Las Vegas … great … I deleted it again. Another week went by, and I received a third message. This time I answered it: give me a call when you get a chance.
I think it took about ten minutes for my phone to ring. It was Fred. My memory isn’t quite what it used to be, so I don’t remember all the particulars, but that call ended with an agreement to meet in New York the next week. About fifteen minutes into that meeting I realized that I was talking to a mirror image of myself—from a core belief standpoint—and that Fred’s publishing expertise complemented my own.
Wow! By the end of the meeting we had decided to offer a seminar together to coincide with Book Expo in New York. A price was set at $97 for a full-day seminar and the stated goal was to provide at least ten times that amount in value to the attendees. We had four presenters who represented four different areas of the publishing process. That initial program worked out well, and everyone left the program happy. A year later, many of the first seminar’s attendees had gone on to publish, or be published.
The year-two Publishing Basics Seminar was modeled after the successful first seminar. I started the day with the “nuts and bolts” of self-publishing (and yes, a short rant on the evils of the vanity presses). This part of the presentation varies depending on the audience mix and takes the author from finished manuscript to opening the first carton of finished books.
The next presenter was Fred Gleeck. Fred concentrated on developing revenue streams beyond the book. I was physically exhausted by the end of Fred’s presentation, as he took the energy level of the room up about five octaves. While some of the items covered were in the general knowledge pool of self-publishing, most of the material was new and unique. I couldn’t take notes fast enough. This presentation alone was worth many times the $97 full-day charge. Following Fred was a quick run to the sandwich shop. Then we returned to the room for a group discussion and Q&A session.
After lunch, the afternoon started off with one of my favorite new friends and colleagues, Burke Allen. The only part of the self-publishing process that has more charlatans than the vanity press business as a whole is the book marketing business, in particular. I had gotten to the point that I wouldn’t let any of the so called book “marketers” and “publicists “anywhere close to my customers. Enter Burke Allen. Talk about a breath of fresh air! Much like the first meeting with Fred Gleeck, my first conversation with Burke was identical to having a conversation with me. It was amazing. It was almost like we had met somewhere earlier in life and “programmed” to be the knights of the self-publishing roundtable and champion the cause of the self-publisher.
Well, as much as I know about the nuts and bolts end of printing and publishing, that’s how much Burke knows about media and publicity. The most unique item, in my opinion, that Burke offers is that you give him a list of the shows you want to be on, and then he gives you a cost per placement for each show. If he books you, you pay him. If he doesn’t, you don’t. Double Wow on that one!
Try telling 99 percent of the publicity people out there running around the circuit that you want to work that way. They will scatter like rats off a sinking ship. Burke is the real thing. As with Fred, you will find yourself out of breath at the end of his presentation.
I ran the mile relay back in high school track. Anyone familiar with track & field knows the importance of the final leg of the race. With the Publishing Basics Seminar, the final leg was left to Bill Hanlon. Bill was the perfect person to close out the day. He has not only successfully self-published multiple titles, but had been traditionally published by major New York publishers. He was one of the few authors I’ve met who had actually been on Oprah. By the end of the presentation, the audience was left with a very clear picture of how the whole publishing game works as well as an easy-to-understand list of what to do next, no matter where the person was in the process. If you can find one attendee who did not feel that they not only got their $97 worth but ten times that amount worth of information, I’ll give you a free ticket to the next seminar. Next seminar?
The next Publishing Basics Seminar will be held in Anaheim, California on August 1st, 2011. Space is limited, so please sign up early. The cost will be the same $97 with the same promise: if you don’t feel like you got your money’s worth, I’ll refund your money. I hope to meet a lot of my California customers at this seminar. There will also be a special announcement made at this seminar that pertains to self-publishers all over the southwest. I guarantee you are going to like it. See you on the 1st. Thanks!