Workshops / Speaking Engagements

I have been teaching face-to-face and online workshops for authors for 11 years. I began as an invited speaker at RWA Chapter meetings and then at the RWA National Conference. As the Indie publishing opportunities rose I was able to use my computer science background to assist numerous authors in understanding the technical details of indie publishing, ranging from formatting to distribution and a variety of marketing options.

In addition to my face-to-face workshops, many attendees have asked when I will have video tutoring available. Not everyone can travel to my face-to-face workshops, and I don’t have the time to travel all over the country doing workshops.  Due to the technical nature of the business, I realized that many of my students preferred video instruction so that they could learn at their own pace and revisit the videos whenever they needed.

In late 2018, I will begin offering video workshops. Rather than a long course of 20 or 30 videos, I will over shorter courses of 3-4 videos on specific topics. This allows me to price them reasonably. It also allows the learner to choose those topics that are of most interest and not having to purchase a course with topics they have already mastered.

Stay tuned for an announcement in Fall 2018.

Face-to-Face Workshops

Contact me for pricing details. Pricing depends on travel needs, my costs for materials, the number of attendees, and any specialization needed for your audience.

90 minute to 2 hour Workshops
These are usually scheduled for a regular daytime or evening group meeting time. Due to time constraints they are informational rather than interactive, though questions are allowed and encouraged.

  • people sitting in a circle in seminarBranding for authors, books, and series
  • Maximizing Your Social Media Strategy
  • Author Marketing: What Works and What’s a Waste of Time
  • Effective Self-Publishing Overview
  • Distribution Channels Demystified
  • Start Business Planning Now
  • Your Intellectual Property Estate: What happens after you die
Six hour Workshops

These detailed workshops tend to be scheduled for full day learning events. It allows for participants to get some one-on-one attention and to implement the learning while in the workshop. This is hands on with participants working on their own books, programs, computers, spreadsheets for each workshop. Some groups have scheduled two or more workshops back-to-back in a weekend or a 3-5 day retreat format. It is highly recommended that students come with a laptop in order to participate in the technical portions as well.

For an advanced audience, such as authors who have already self-published multiple books, workshops may be reduced to 4 hours each. Thus allowing for two in one day.

Your Publishing Plan: Effective Indie Publishing – 6 hours
At the end of this workshop attendees will have a plan for publishing their book or series, including step-by-step instructions for executing a plan that includes writing, editing, cover design, distribution, and basic marketing. A laptop is not required for this workshop, though it is helpful to put each step into spreadsheets and calendars.

ebook inserted inside print book with text flowing from one to the other easilyFormatting Ebooks and Print Books with Vellum – 6 hours
Vellum is a popular templating and file conversion software that runs only on Apple systems. However, PC users can also use Vellum in the cloud. Vellum allows a single file to be used that can then generate appropriate individual ebook files for Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Nook, Google Play and all aggregators (e.g., D2D, Smashwords, Publish Drive, StreetLib). It also creates beautiful print book files that can be uploaded without error to Createspace, KDP Print, and Ingram. It also seamlessly allows you to quickly create ebook boxsets using these files.

Students must come to the workshop with Vellum downloaded to their MAC or an account at MAC in cloud. At the end of this workshop attendees will have uploaded a current manuscript, formatted it into beautiful ebook files for Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Nook, and Google, and print. A demonstration of how to create a boxset will be provided. If students already have the Vellum files for a boxset, they may follow along to create theirs at the same time.

Building and  Using Your Social Media Platform – 6 hours
You will set up the social media platforms that are most important to your brand and business plan (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.). By the end of the day you will have made appropriate branding and sales posts, as well as developed an effective ongoing maintenance plan for posts. The software BUFFER will be demonstrated as a way to manage and schedule posts into various social media platforms, including Facebook Groups. A laptop or tablet is recommended for this course. Though you can do this on a phone, some learners may find it frustrating.

Developing and Executing Your Business Plan – 6 hours
You are the CEO of your own business. Learn how to set up your author business, develop and execute plans for success, and evaluate your progress. You will formulate both short and long-term plans, as well as begin detailing your literary estate. A laptop is not required for this course as you can complete forms and plans by filling in the templates. However, it is recommended in order to use spreadsheets and calendaring tools.

Career Author Planning – 6 hours
This workshop helps authors develop a three-year plan for writing, editing, publishing, and marketing their books and series. It provides tools for scheduling and planning, as well as ideas about maximizing content by reusing it in various packaged forms (e.g., box sets, collections, serials, etc.).A laptop is not required for this course as you can complete forms and plans by filling in the templates. However, it is recommended in order to use spreadsheets and calendaring tools.

The Unvarnished Truth About Marketing: What Works and What Doesn’t – 6 hours
This workshop helps authors to identify the value in their book(s) and how to use specific techniques to exploit that value. The top three proven techniques to actually sell books will be demonstrated with examples and timelines. Specifically: 1) Building a mailing list of true fans; 2) Continuously engaging your readers; and 3) Driving traffic to sales, including Facebook, AMS, and BookBub advertising options. It is highly recommended that students have laptops or tablets for this workshop so they can work on their branding and get technical help at the same time.

view of living room at writers retreat house with windows overlooking sea3 Day Get What You Need Retreat

There is no one size fits all workshop because every author is at a different stage in their career. Some are just releasing their first book. Others have many books under their belt but they aren’t moving sales as they’d like. And a lot are in between. Because it is hard to find a homogenous group of authors who all need the same thing, I now offer a 3 day retreat program that allows a small group (no more than 8) to get what they need technically and programmatically.

NOTE: This is three FULL days. Thus if travel is needed to a retreat site, participants come in the night before and leave the day after the last day. This makes for 4-5 days including the travel time. If you want me to travel to your location, my travel costs must be included in pricing. If you are willing to travel to Oregon, I will make all the retreat venue arrangements and quote a price for the number of people 4-8 who wish to attend.

Each day features a critical part of the author business. The day begins at 9am with a one to two hour overview, then I work one-on-one with individuals to develop, create, execute whatever they need throughout the day. We break for lunch–either together or separately depending on the group and location. We stop at 6pm. Evenings can be spent alone, together, or some combination as the group needs. I am happy to participate in informal discussions about anything you want related to writing, running your author business, or just staying sane in this profession.

Day 1 – Building Your Brand

Your brand is what guides you in every step of your writing, distribution, and marketing process. It helps you to make decisions on where/when to spend money and determine what you can do yourself and what you need to hire out. This includes determining a look and feel for your brand, creating images, taglines, sales boxes, interest images, book cover/series look and feel, and any other marketing needs that match your brand image and content. It also includes building or modifying a basic WordPress website that fits your brand and provides the information and sales opportunities necessary.

We will use all free software for this section: Canva for creating images, WordPress for creating or changing a basic website. Free fonts from a variety of sources. I will also give you a list of templates and plugins I use  on my own website, including a few that I pay for and why. If you have advanced needs, I will make recommendations to reasonably priced quality web  with a range of design services and management that fits each person’s needs.

Day 2 – Reaching and Engaging Your Audience

There are many ways readers engage with authors–on social media, through email, through your website, through contests, through group projects, and through face-to-face events. This day is focusing on which of those make the most sense for YOUR audience.

The morning introduction focuses on identifying your audience and the platforms they frequent. We will discuss who frequents which platforms and what works in terms of posting and engaement. We will also brainstorm some creative, out-of-the-box ideas. I will then work one-on-one with each individual identifying their audience, the platforms they want to learn and use regularly, and coming up with a plan for doing so.

One-on-one work may include: setting up or modifying an email list and an automation funnel; setting up a themed schedule for posts to a variety of social media platforms;  and creating a schedule for postings that can be executed consistently given the author’s personal life and needs.  Identifying a different distribution model based on YOUR audience, and putting into place a multi-faceted plan to get your books out and sold in the best way possible for your audience.

Day 3 – Build and Execute an Effective Marketing Plan for YOUR Books

Too many people prefer to skip Day 1 and 2 topics and go directly to marketing. The problem is that if you haven’t established a plan and identified your audience and what they want/need, then you can’t really execute an effective marketing plan.

The overview will cover the gamut of marketing techniques from email to Facebook parties, paid options to reach other email lists or social media platforms, and advertising via Facebook, AMS, and BookBub Ads. In addition, we will cover a few non-traditional advertising options that may fit certain genres and brands. I will share real data as to the effectiveness of each and who it works for consistently.

As with the other days I will assist individuals with the types of marketing they want to set up and get going. We will end the workshop with a discussion of what was helpful and what more you anticipate needing in the future. I do offer a free hour of consultation or troubleshooting via Zoom webconferencing for each person should you find yourself stuck or lost your notes when you get home and actually implement what you learned on a larger scale.

Interested in the 3 day Retreat? Contact me regarding location and number of people. Let’s Talk.

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Video Courses

Take at your own pace and come back whenever you want. Stay tuned for pricing and release information.

Indie Publishing Basics Topics
  1. Why Books Don’t Sell
  2. The Business Side of Publishing
  3. Demystifying ISBNs
  4. Copyright and Copyright Registration
Book Distribution Secrets Topics 
  1. Expanding on the Book Blurb
  2. Category and Keyword Optimization
  3. The Power of Aggregators
  4. Loading Files to Distributors
  5. Direct Sales Options
  6. Discoverability and Promotion Opportunities by Distributor
  7. Pricing Options to Enhance Discoverability and Marketing
  8. Direct Sales Options
  9. Driving Traffic to Distribution Sites

 

Build a Mailing List Topics
  1. True fans vs contest participants and how they make a difference in sales
  2. Landing Page and Form Creation
  3. Designing a Funnel
  4. Driving Traffic to Your Landing Page
  5. Drip Campaigns and Automated Emails
  6. Newsletters vs Emails
  7. Running an Effective Contest
  8. Working with Multi-Author Campaigns
  9. An introduction to FB Advertising
  10. List Management
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