Hugo House Writers Conference – Finding Your Readers – Day One

After work I headed over to the Richard Hugo House’s writer’s conference. The conference is focused on marketing and selling your work in both traditional and non traditional media. Tonight’s session was a round table discussion by Alan Rinzler, Barbara Sjoholm, and Jeff Vandermeer. Sjoholm read a history of publishing, while interesting, it was not particularly revealing. Alan Rinzler talked next and he covered the same ground he did a few months ago and you can read my review here.  Rinzler is part cheerleader, part realist and his talks always leave you feeling that you can do it with a bit of luck. Vandermeer’s talk was the most interesting because he talked about mixing social media into your publishing platform. Naturally, he noted that it is the correct mix of social media and writing that makes one able to finish a book. If you are not careful you will end up doing too much social media. He is an interesting case because he talks with his readers via his blog about what he is doing and that feeds back into his writing. I don’t know if I’d ever like to do that, but it is an interesting approach. I think he is right in noting that starting authors should be careful about doing too much social media because it only becomes chatter and gets lost amongst the noise. Ultimately, though, most of what they talked about was the oddities of the publishing business (book returns, etc), and the need to make yourself stand out, both in your work and the ways you talk to your readers.