Guest Blog: Self Publishing Panel Recap

How to Successfully Publish Your Own Books: An Evening of Discussion with Industry Experts by Jenna Vaccaro, Guest Blogger


March 11, 2014 at Wix Lounge

WNBA-NYC and Book Industry Guild of NY

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If Wednesday’s event attendance is any indication of trends, self-publishing is HUGE and everyone wants a piece of the action. Co-sponsored with the Book Industry Study Guild, the audience was full with bloggers, writers, and publishers looking to learn and share successful methods of self publishing and self promotion. The evening began with introductions of our two organizations, and an introduction to WIX, a free website building company that was lovely enough to donate space for this event (thanks WIX!)


Panelists included:

Bridget Marmion, moderator and Marketing Consultant at Your Expert Nation

Tim Anderson, author of Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries and Sweet Tooth

Matt Cavnar, VP, Development, Vook

Andrew Conway, Sales Executive, Fast Pencil

Justine Schofield, VP, Development, Pubslush

Karen Strauss, Marketing Consultant, Rockstar Publishing House


Technically speaking, one has always had the ability to self publish. If you have the capital, know-how, and drive, anything is possible without being tied to corporate contracts. Of course, recent technology developments have made it easier than ever to create a book quickly and easily. As moderator Bridget Marmion said about publishing, “there are two people who matter- the writer and the reader. Everyone else involved will change.” She is referring to the constant flux of the jobs of publishing: what used to be a typesetter might now be an HTML coder. What used to be a marketer might now be a social media executive.  The author and reader are still what’s most important.

There are seemingly limitless options of corporations to self publish with, in terms of the finished product. According to the business end of the panel, they are largely all interconnected in some way on the back end, via distribution methods for print on demand, or their connection with Amazon. The best service to use will depend on your own skill level with design and computer access, as well as cost. Some services to try out include:


Of course, writing and producing the book is only half the battle. How can one stand out in a crowd of literally millions of other titles? Author Tim Anderson found much success going the self publishing route. His advice to aspiring authors was to realize that you will need to ask for help from professionals or friends, particularly when it comes to editorial support. Typos, plot inconsistencies, and narrative are very important- without paying attention to this, readers will quickly get turned off. A beta reader will be able to identify things that will be problematic. Goodreads is a great place to find these types of readers, as well as a good place to promote your work. He recommended these five steps to promoting your work:

  • Blog early & blog often- create an audience and connect with people through social media.
  • Take advantage of any and all options- paid reviews, networking events, publicity
  • Reach out to your favorite blogs- write about the things your favorite blogger writes about, and submit it- they might take notice and work with you in terms of guest articles (writing for their blog) or promoting your work
  • Giveaways- everyone loves free stuff right? By giving away your book to tastemakers, you will probably get a review or two on places like Goodreads or Amazon
  • Use a deliberate voice in any and all communications that matches the tone of your book. If you’re writing a humorous novel, you might not want to sound completely earnest and serious with your pitches and letters.

The most important thing, true in publishing or any other industry is passion. YOU have to go out and make your own luck! Don’t wait for opportunities to knock on your door, you should be knocking on THEIR door! Seek out the audience that you know would want to read your story, and be proud of your work. Confidence and excitement shine through, and make others want to get to know you and your work.

Here are more pictures from the event:

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About Blog Editor

The Women’s National Book Association was founded in 1917 by female booksellers who weren’t allowed in the men’s organizations. Nearly 100 years later, the WNBA is still supporting women in the book industry through literary events, networking, literacy projects, workshops, open mic nights, book clubs, and many other entertaining programs throughout the season!

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