I wanted to get some detailed feedback to you about Author Marketing Live, but as I briefly mentioned to you I re-schedule a surgical procedure to this week in order to be able to fly in and attend Author Marketing Live. Believe me, the extra week of discomfort I had to go through by delaying the procedure in order to come to your event was absolutely worth it.
I have attended countless conferences for my job (I work in corporate communications and marketing) and I was not sure what to expect for an event targeted to authors/solo-preneurs. Author Marketing Live exceeded my expectations, from start to finish. Let me share some of the highlights:
A top-notch sales process. I heard you mention the event on your Sell More Books podcast and the Author Marketing Live website clearly projected this was a “big league” conference. The website was packed with benefit-rich information why you should attend. The author interviews were great. And the registration process was excellent- lots of communication from the moment you signed up until the morning of (and I am glad you have continued to communicate after the event with attendees…too many conferences and workshops squander this opportunity).
Pricing. The price was perfect. Impossible to not consider attending because it was a great value. As I told you at the first break of the conference, simply based on the opening presentations by you, Joe Pulizzi and J. Thorn, I already got my money’s worth by 10AM. Anything I would learn from 10AM to 5:30PM was a bonus. It’s like I was at the Horseshoe Casino and I was playing with the house’s money. The price was very affordable and there was no real barrier to entry.
The venue. The Renaissance was a great choice. Conveniently located and within walking distance of attractions (if the rail line was not out of operation on Sunday, I would have been able to take in that Indians game). The discount room block by co-locating with Content Marketing World was very helpful. Next year I am going to get my company to send me to Content Marketing World for the whole week, so all I will have to do is pay for my Author Marketing Registration.
The conference room was perfect for the size of the conference. Registration was very quick and easy. The light continental breakfast, boxed lunch and afternoon snack were great; I have paid more to attend other conferences and they offered less. These details were noticed and appreciated.
The speakers and topics. You picked a great “faculty” for this inaugural event. While I may have included similar comments on my Evaluation Form I handed in last week, I wanted to add some additional feedback:
- Joe Pulizzi: great presentation and great message. It was packed with a lot of actionable advice, and I liked how he positioned his talk so that the audience would think “beyond the book.” It is all about building a business. Your book(s) should be the centerpiece of your plan, but there are other components if you want to make this a recurring source of income (like a sideline business) or your fulltime work. I used to work for a not-for-profit global trade organization (they invented the U.P.C. bar code- they were originally headquartered in Dayton, OH) and one of the messages we used to emphasize to the employees was “no money…no mission”). You constantly articulate that message, Jim, and all authors- non-fiction or fiction- need to apply that to their creative goals.
- J. Thorn: he rocked the house! He was humble, but humorous. Lots of great information and his story was full of inspiration. He really engaged the audience. He could have spoken for three hours and it still would not have been enough.
- David Lawrence: he was exceptional. I had not really considered audio as a part of my marketing strategy, but David was a revelation. He was informative and funny, too. The only thing missing was an overview of what authors can make by offering audio versions of their books through ACX. I know people are saying the audio market is growing, but are there any real world examples or case studies to help authors make an informed decision?
- Andrea Vahl: I purchased her book this past spring and still have not gone through everything in the book yet. She did a good job in providing insights into Facebook marketing, but the challenge was the diverse attendee audience- some were more Facebook-savvy in terms of using it as an audience acquisition tool. Some topics, like this one, are a challenge because you do not know at what stage the audience is at.
- Hunter Boyle: he was excellent as well. As an Aweber customer, I think they have the best service out there, bar none. So I knew that Hunter would have an excellent presentation before he opened his mouth. You and just about every subject matter expert out there have preached the importance of building your audience e-mail list; it is the one thing you “own” and control. It would have been ideal if Hunter did not have to use time upfront to make that case and instead used that time to provide even more info and examples like the ones he shared. A tremendous presentation.
- Derek Murphy: another home run! It is such an important element of a book’s success in the marketplace. Derek did a fantastic job educating the audience about book cover design, tips and tricks. Even though he has a somewhat quiet/laid back personality, Derek had a very engaging and dynamic presence at the podium.
- Sean & Johnny: Perfect way to cap off the event. They were energizing and inspiring. While I said that Deb and Vinny’s joint presentation was not optimal, Sean and Johnny’s podcast experience guaranteed they would have instant chemistry as co-presenters. I would insist you give them the closing keynote for next year! I have no doubt their journey would allow them to provide fresh and helpful insights to the Author Marketing Live 2015 attendees.