How many times have you taken on a project, whether it’s personal or professional, where you wonder if you’re on an island all by yourself? You feel that perhaps you’re breaking new ground or nobody understands what you’re going through. Isn’t there someone out there that is facing (or faced) the same obstacles you’re up against?
Well, it’s no different than writing a book, publishing it, and then trying to find the magic elixir for selling your book. Trust me, after I wrote and published the first two walking tour books, I stepped back asked myself, “What now?”
As part of this wonderful journey into the publishing world, I began to explore the many roads in front of me. One of the smarter moves I made a year ago was to join the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). The organization supports folks like me—a deer in front of the headlights—by providing clear and concise advice for many of the publishing components.
I took advantage of attending IBPA’s annual symposium in Austin, Texas (in fact, I’m writing this blog post while waiting for the first break-out session to begin). I’m very excited about the next two days. There were multiple sessions and topics to pick from. How do you pick which sessions to attend? I decided that 2 primary issues were ones I needed assistance in right now: distribution and building a tribe through social media. Once that was determined, picking the right session topics was easy.
Last night, Sandy and I attended the opening social event that brought the Austin publishing world together with the IBPA members. To be honest, in an hour and a half, we never met anyone from Austin. We met folks from Wisconsin, Los Angeles, and yes, even an unknown neighbor of ours from Nashville (he lives right around the corner from us). It was also interesting that everyone we met either wrote or represented someone who writes children’s books. I’m glad my talents lie in a different direction because children’s books are a very crowded space.
After the “party” last evening, we walked down to the historic district for dinner. We’ve found that Austin is much like Nashville: state capital, universities, extensive technology community, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a thriving music scene. Like Nashville, it seems to be a young person’s town. We had dinner at the Driskill Grill located in Austin’s oldest hotel, The Driskill. It was built in 1886 and around 1934, Lyndon Baines Johnson had his first date with Lady Bird (then called Claudia Taylor) in the Driskill Grill.
Anyway, I learned one thing last evening. I’m not the only deer in front of the headlights on that island.
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Thanks so much for following my newsletter and blogs as well as my little journey through this incredibly interesting process of writing a series of niche walking tour books based on European historical periods or events.
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Copyright © 2015 Stew Ross