Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Book Expo Australia, 2015

This weekend just past, I went to Book Expo Australia, and I must say I got a lot out of it.
To quote from the web site:
"Book Expo Australia is a dedicated event for the reading public to engage with authors and publishers."
I believe it's unusual in that rather than being mainly targeted at the publishers, this book expo is targeted more at the readers and authors. Here's a summary of what was on:

  • Booths in a very large hall, for authors, publishers, and everyone in between (or "alongside"). It was nice to catch up with people I knew (Edwina Harvey and I were in the ten finalists in the 1998 George Turner Contest: the multi-talented creator has several web sites for her guises as reviewer, editor, artist, and of course author), and Lama Jabr who runs Xana Publishing & Marketing, as well as meeting a lot of interesting and helpful new people.

    The booths were typically manned by the author or publisher personally, and all were approachable and very happy to chat. There were a range of booth options from AU$150 to AU$1950.

    I'd like to mention one stand in particular, since it was all about some technology in development for reducing dolphin deaths in fishing nets: Whale Guardian? (How does that relate to books? Well, the talk about crowd-funding and marketing was just as applicable for writers as for anyone else, with good advice helping build an author platform and brand. Whale Guardian was used as an example.)

  • A small cafeteria, as well as additional food/coffee places nearby and, and the usual amenities, including but not limited to ATMs. :-)
  • An area where various events were held to entertain the kids (like learning to draw cartoons). They had a "pitch fest," where authors could sit with publishers to pitch their book. Again quoting from the web site: "Pitchfest Australia will offer potential and established authors the opportunity to sit in front of a publisher for ten minutes.
    "Book Expo Australia will work with potential and established authors to ensure that they:
    • Have the best manuscript possible
    • Have all the paperwork required by each publisher
    • Have prepared the best three minute "Elevator Pitch"
    • Have worked to have answers to all questions possible for the remaining seven minutes."
    (I didn't take advantage of that because I'm quite happy with my decision to self-publish; but it sounds especially valuable and helpful.)
  • They had a whole series of talks/workshops (and a film!) running on both days:
  • And a writing workshop from very influential screenwriter Karel Segers:
    • Screenwriting – Your next Career
    • From Book To Screen Adaption
    • Setting Up Your Writers Website
  • And the events for kids: Children’s Interactive, Mr Arthur Puppets, Dad Reading Comp, Rob Feldman, Mum Reading Comp, Kingdom of Chen, Duncan Ball, Jodie Wells-Slowgrove, Tony Harris, Eumundi and Friends.
  • A "Getting Published" series of workshops:
    • Social Media Marketing/Crowdfunding (Two experts in the area of Social Media and Marketing talk about building markets and achieving business goals. Presenters: Robert Coorey&Tim Lea)
    • See also How I became a best-selling author on Amazon.

    • Enhanced E Book (Self Publishing an E-Book that succeeds. Presenter: Amanda Greenslade)
    • Ingram Spark Self Publishing: The Challenges – from concept to distribution (Deborah Lee)
    • Book Covers: What makes it Work. Presenter: Julia Kuris
    • Oh, and not to mention "Murder by the Book," an interactive murder mystery (I didn't find time to get involved).

      Last but very far from least, there was a meet-up for lots of booktubers from Down Under – they struck me as a young and enthusiastic group of vloggers who just love books and vlog about anything book-related that takes their fancy. I mainly spoke to Chami (@ReadLikeWildfire) and Miranda (@BooKss101M), but also a little bit to Nicole (@NicsandNacs), and Rebecca, but they all seemed very positive and open. (There was supposed to be a bloggers conference stream too, with very interesting-looking topics, but a misunderstanding/miscommunication lead to its cancellation and forced some urgent reorganisation.)

      Here's my clumsy photo-stitch of a couple of barely-adequate candid photos of the happy crew:

    • Let's see if I can embed a link to their Expo videos here, for your convenience:

      First Nicole's:

      ... and then Miranda's (in which I make a brief and sheepish appearance :-) ) :

    I found some good books to buy directly from their authors (of course!), got info to follow up on more books, got to meet and ask questions of authors, and learned several important things that improve and in some cases dramatically change my plans. But rather than "smear out" the information in several places, what I'll do is update the relevant blog posts with my fresh discoveries, and I'll just post links to the various topics here, so you can find them that way. The new info will be in a "Book Expo Aus 2015 Update" section at the end of the updated posts, and I'll list the updates here as I complete each one.

    [Set of links to be added here]

    All in all I found it very interesting and useful, with some real gems. I also got the impression that the organisers would welcome help. It's a big job, and it was undertaken (in my opinion) out of the love of books, when the main organiser realised Australia hadn't had a Book Expo for twenty years. So I'd encourage people to support their efforts!

1 comment:

Barbara Strickland said...

Hey Luke, it sounds like it was quite an experience. I live in Townsville,and some opportunities are limited obviously by distance so your post was very informative. The networking is such an important part of being a writer. I can't believe I was worried about publishing (still am) but it's what happens afterwards and how much we are willing to put into that is the real crux of 'authorhood'. Thanks for the tour, Barb