Although CompletelyNovel is all about providing online tools for authors, we love switching off our computers and meeting people face-to-face as much as possible. As a Brighton-based company, we couldn’t resist getting involved in the annual Brighton Digital Festival, so we partnered with New Writing South and BookMachine for an informal evening of pop-up talks, networking and free goodies called ‘Publishing Deconstructed’. Here’s an overview of some of the top tips learnt from the authors and industry professionals on the night.
The event kicked off at 7.30pm with authors and industry experts keen to meet new friends and catch up with old ones with a glass of wine. Dotted around The Writers’ Place were several interactive stations, each of them representing a different aspect of publishing. People could walk around and talk to experts in eBook conversion, editing, publishing and cover design, or pick up a voucher for a free copy of A Completely Novel Guide to Book Marketing.
On the night, attendees were asked “what makes a great author?” and recorded their answers on Jane Austen’s head with post-it notes. The best responses included; “keep writing even when you can’t,” “never give up,” “grait speellng,” and “versatility.” Our favourite tip was to “walk around in your character’s shoes to make sure your readers can do the same.”
Editing experts Susanne Hillen and Caroline Hynds offered plenty of editing tips during the evening, emphasising the importance of following an editing plan – starting with a structural edit, following with a copy edit and then proofreading. As Susanne said on the evening: “structural editing considers the bigger picture while proofreading is the final stage of the book production process.” Thanks for reminding us, Susanne!
Brighton-based cover designer Simon Avery was on hand to advise people about what makes a successful cover design. This was put to the test, as they were then asked to design a cover for Peter James newest thriller. As you can see in the photo, the cover for ‘Dead Wet’ has all the necessary cues for a crime cover: a murky image, large, distressed text and a ‘killer’ blurb!
Matt and Diana Horner of eBook Partnership offered their expertise in eBook conversion to help those authors navigate the world of eBooks. Diana’s two golden rules for those frustrated by their own eBook conversion efforts are; “keep it simple” and “be consistent.”
We set up laptops so guests could explore CompletelyNovel’s advice section and learn more about the how they can get their book into print. As with all our events, our top tip is to choose the route that makes the most sense for you. There were a few writers who were looking for high-quality print books, so we look forward to keeping in touch with them.
Speaking to authors on the night, it seemed that many felt a little overwhelmed with the idea of marketing their book. Our top tip: start with identifying your audience. Once you have a clear idea of who they are, you’ll have a better idea about how to target them.
For those of you that couldn’t make ‘Publishing Deconstructed’, check out our virtual event in this blog post. We hope to meet you at a future event soon!
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