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On Saturday I watched a live recording on YouTube of a publishing event taking place in Dublin organised by Kindle Direct Publishing.  Each hour through the day a varying panel of writers talked about various aspects of self-publishing in response to questions from a chairman and the audience.  Livechat went on from listeners in a corner of the screen.

I’d received an email alerting me to the event just the day before.

Featuring bestselling authors and Amazon experts, this day-long conference in Dublin will be streamed on the KDP YouTube page. Topics under discussion will include “How to Write a Bestseller,” “The Art of Editing,” “Marketing Your Book,” and “The Business of Being an Independent Author.” The conference and stream begin at 9 a.m. (GMT) on November 19th.

With the aim of learning something about marketing, I tuned in on the 19th about 11 o’clock.  I could see no way of learning the programme of events, so I kept on watching, hoping that something would be said that would be of relevance to me.   I should have realised from the email, quoted above, that the conference was geared to people writing and publishing their first novel as an ebook.  All well and good for aspiring writers, but not for those who are further down the line.  In the end I live-chatted a question: when will the subject be marketing?  I was told (quickly, efficiently) that it was scheduled for 3 pm.

I returned to watch at 2.30 and stayed watching until 5 p.m.  I did learn something about marketing, namely that being active on social media is essential.  So is a blog.  Content should be varied, and everything should be linked together.  The panellists I saw were dynamic, fluent, and hugely successful.  As far as I could gather, they’d each written one book after another, at the rate of at least two a year.  I was open-mouthed.  They seemed to inhabit another planet.

Here is one panellist’s answer to the question I’ve put in my subject heading: 65,000.  My jaw dropped to my knees.  I had 147 on my list of people to receive emails announcing publication of my books.   How do I increase the number from 147 to 65,000 and do I want to?  No.  For one thing, best-selling authors write the kind of books that sell best:  romance, thrillers, crime, war stories, often in series.   That is not the sort of fiction I want, or am able, to write.  Writers of what’s called literary fiction have a much smaller potential pool of readers but we still have hopes of increasing sales.  I believe there are a good number of writers and readers who inhabit the same kind of planet as I do.   I wonder if KDP’s marketing advice works for us, too.

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