business / digital books

38 Tips from Digital Publishing Conference

self-publishingOn October 12-13, I attended the Digital Author and Self-Publishing Conference, hosted by the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (GLAWS). I immersed myself in everything to do with digital publishing, digital authorship, social media, digital books–all that writing stuff that isn’t Main Stream Agents and Publishers. I learned so much, I can’t possibly organize it all–yet–so I’m just going to throw it all up here in a bullet list. I wish I could create categories and themes, but truly, my brain is still a muddle.

Here we go:

  • If you’re a Trekkie, the highlight had to be David Gerrold, the writer who penned Startrek’s Trouble with Tribbles (from the original series). He had lots of tips, all delivered with a sense of humor and a bit of an edge. More on that on the tips post
  • Lots of presenters pushing CreateSpace. I don’t get that. Yes, there are good things about using a company like CreateSpace, but there are serious downsides. I never did get to pursue that with any of the presenters.
  • Book cover size is 1600×2400. Since I end up creating my own book covers more often than I want to admit, that’s good to know.
  • I also didn’t know that all NASA images were in the public domain. I have a book in need of a NASA-like photo for its cover
  • There’s a Twitter stream called @tweetyourbooks. Send a direct message to them about your book and they’ll tweet it. Sure, I knew about groups like that, figured they were a waste of time. Apparently they aren’t. I’m on it immediately.
  • iPhone ear buds are also mics. Who knew.
  • Lots of details on using Word to format mss. Usually, writers are encouraged to avoid Word. It seems publishers have given up. Using Word by the majority of writers has become decided science.

  • Spread the news about your writing with ‘word of mouse’ (thank you, Alex Mendoza)
  • Jason Matthews, author-writer-blogger, has his entire presentation on his G+ stream–go grab it! I won’t even try to list all the tips and tricks he shared.
  • Kindle tops out at $9.99 if the writer wants 70%. Since most of my ebooks sell for more than that, I won’t worry any more about formatting them for Kindle
  • Brian at BookBaby gave a stellar summary of creating videos to promote books. He swears most of the information is on his website–haven’t checked. I just emailed him for the slideshow.
  • Another tip Brian gave us–sound matters more than you think. In my case, I bet that’s true.
  • Great writers brand themselves. Don’t think you shouldn’t.
  • Every blank page is a threat–from David Gerrold. Interesting concept, innit?
  • No flashbacks in Chapter 1 (darn)
  • Ezine.com–send them articles; they forward them to publications in your field. Of course, you aren’t paid.
  • Paper.li is for Twitter tweets. I didn’t know that.
  • Sign up on ‘networkedblogs.com’ on FB
  • Booktrakr.com tracks ebook sales across multiple fields
  • I bought Beth Barany’s wonderful book, Twitter for Authors. I’ll review that later.
  • Allura.com self-publishing was all around the conference. I don’t know anything about them.
  • WaveCloud had a booth. I chatted with them, haven’t gotten any further. They say they do everything. I need a little bit of everything.
  • Good Twitter targets include @indiauthornews, @twitterbooks, @author alliance
  • Good FB groups include Online Book Publicity Group, Aspiring Authors, Writers Helping Writers
  • Tweet 5-10 times a day (that hasn’t changed, but it has gotten easier to do)
  • Use popular# hashtags and targeted tweets often
  • Update your Twitter bio page every month (really? How have I changed?)
  • Create a group page if you’re an expert or leader
  • Engage in LinkedIn discussions
  • Update your LinkedIn profile monthly–including how to buy your books
  • Put video of you working on your book onto YT
  • Have audio and podcasts on iTunes
  • Update your Amazon.com author page constantly (oops)
  • Add links to Amazon author page to your website, YT, other places you have an online presence
  • Update your Goodreads page constantly
  • Pin your cover onto Pinterest
  • Create and update an email list
  • Make sure all links on social media are active, relevant

That’s enough for now. I see a few hands saying they have to go. We’ll talk more in the comments.

More books about digital publishing:

12 Lessons from Twitter

IPad Publishing

Kindle Your Blog


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, and a monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is  editor of a K-8 technology curriculum and technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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27 thoughts on “38 Tips from Digital Publishing Conference

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  7. This is an amazing list of pointed information. It’s perfect for me to share with our writer’s group, though I can already hear many of them balking at the sheer time it takes to engage in that much social media. Writers want to write rather than market, but the digital age requires more of us simply because it has redirected people on where they look for information. If writers don’t have something of themselves in all those areas, they miss out on whatever slice of prospective buyers might visit them. I guess I need to get more serious about Hootsuite where I can manage multiple social streams from one location.

    Thanks for sharing a summary of your valuable time.

    • I know a lot of people who love Hootsuite. I signed up, but never did anything. So many social media sites have options for retweeting and FBing that I find that gives me the required 9-10 posts a day. No need to schedule more.

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  9. Many of these tips revolve around social media, which illustrates how important it is to the digital publishing community. Joining author groups is a great way to get new ideas and connect with others in the industry. Regarding personal profiles, people like to get to know the authors that they enjoy- be sure to show some of your personality!

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