Saturday, October 21, 2006

Quick Visit to the Women Writing the West Conference

Today I spent four hours driving and six hours at the Women Writing the West Conference in Colorado Springs. It was well worth the drive. Since I joined Women Writing the West 4 or 5 years ago, I've attended the conference every year. But this year October was booked for me, so I decided not to attend. That is, until I was asked to give a presentation on internet marketing for authors. Still swamped, I thought I'd just drive down for the day instead of spending the weekend. It worked out well, but I didn't want to leave this afternoon and now I'm dead tired.

I got up at 5:30 (which is my usual time to get up so no great sacrifice there, except that I usually sleep in until after 6 on Saturdays), picked up my friend Rosemary Carstens, and headed out for Colorado Springs. The weather report was for snow, so I was a little worried about the drive, which goes through an area known for bad roads. But my little Mini Cooper did great and even though the roads looked slick, I didn't feel any slipping or sliding at all.

Rosemary had agreed to come with me to the conference to help me with my presentation about internet marketing. She had self published her book, Dream Rider a few years ago. Her website and marketing were so successful that she sold most of her print run in a short amount of time. Since then, Rosemary has started an email newsletter called Feast, that is about food, books, films, and travel (yes, she ties them all together beautifully), that has over 1,000 subscribers. I wanted Rosemary to talk about both of these projects.

After her part of the presentation, I also talked about my own online marketing for my second book, Arctic Lace that was published on October 1, 2006. I have been talking about the book on the web since April, 2004, when I went to Alaska to kick off my research. Since then, I've kept my website and book info in my email signature, written about the writing and publishing process on my blog, plugged my book whenever I could on listservers and discussion groups, and kept my readers up to date in my own email mailing list. As a result of my online marketing, Arctic Lace is already going into its third printing. I also have a friend who has set up a Knit-a-long blog, because the book includes knitting projects in addition to extensive historical information. Coming up soon, I also have a blog book tour, where Arctic Lace will be featured on 20 blogs in 20 days.

(For those of you who are WWW members, I'll be writing up more detailed information about starting and maintaining a website, setting up a blog, and many other ideas in the upcoming newsletters and adding links and tips to the "members only" area of the website. For those who are not members, you'll have to join to get access to all of this great information!)

Besides giving my own presentation, I also attended two others. The first was a panel of editors talking about the publishers they work for, what kinds of books they publish, and what they want to receive from authors. The second was a panel on writing for film and television.

While I was signing books, one of the editors came up to buy my book. Unfortunately, I'd just signed the last copy for someone else! The editor told me that she'd love to talk to me about future book ideas because her press was very interested in publishing more books about textiles and history. I also to talk to a producer/writer from the second panel I attended, who is interested in talking with me about a possible travel TV show about textiles around the world. Needless to say, it was a very exciting and productive day to me and I am SOSOSOSOOSO glad I decided to drive down for the day!

On top of all of that, I got to catch up with a few great friends and meet several new e-mail friends in person. If you've never gone to a WWW conference before, you really don't know what you are missing. It is the best networking and most inspiring writing conference or workshop I've ever been to. I hope to see you all -- old and new friends -- at next year's conference.

Donna Druchunas
WWW website coordinator

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