Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CIPA College Report

This past weekend I had a great time at the Colorado Independent Publisher's Association (CIPA) College, held annually at the Red Lion Hotel in Denver, CO. My one regret is that I forgot to bring my camera! I asked folks to take photos of me with friends and luminaries (including Mac, the CIPA mascot mannequin) at the conference with my cell phone, but it was too dark inside and the photos all came out grainy. So, if anyone reading this took photos of the event that included me, please, please email them to me.

I drove up to Denver Friday morning and arrived in time to set up my small table display in the Exhibitors Hall before lunch began. Here's where I got an inkling of how different I was from the most of the other speakers. They were in the role of providing services to authors, be it publishing, promotion, or what-not, while I was one of the few speakers who was an author myself. And this conference, which was all about the business of publishing, was very different from the writers conferences and mystery fan conferences that I had attended in the past. I was to get quite an education over the weekend!

Tama Kieves, the Friday keynote speaker, was both entertaining and electrifying, motivating all of us to stay true to our calling. I skipped the Friday afternoon sessions to check out the other exhibitors' booths, check into my hotel room, sell and sign a few of my own books, and meet and chat with some of my fellow conference attendees. The evening plan was an interesting concept. We loaded up a plate in the buffet line, then carried it into one of two evening workshops and ate while we learned. I came away from Gary Hall's "Web Video Book Trailers" session with a much better idea of what was required to put together a good book trailer. Hmmm, maybe I'll have to get some whitewater rafting footage this summer to use for a trailer for my upcoming Deady Currents release in March, 2011.

Saturday morning, I attended Mary Walewski's excellent "Social Media Marketing in 15 Minutes a Day" workshop. I really need to learn to be more efficient on Facebook, Goodreads, etc. because I can easily spend an hour a day or more on them. Hopefully Mary's tips will help me cut down on the amount of time I spend on social networks. Next came a stirring lunch keynote speech about "Turning Life's Lemons into Margaritas" by Mark McIntosh that had us all drooling for frosty beverages by the end. After lunch, I sat in on Mara Purl's "Book Events, Book Festivals, & Book Awards" workshop afterward and came away with a lot of good ideas, especially for book award competitions I need to enter.

Then came my presentation on "The Dos and Don'ts of Planning and Conducting a Virtual Book Tour." I couldn't believe how fast the hour went, and I had to rush through the last few points at the end. From the comments I received after the conference from the organizers, though, the attendees seemed to like the workshop, especially that I gave them lots of good, practical information, which was my main goal. Phew!

After sitting in on a "Round with the Pros" session, where those who missed my workshop could get a 15 minute quick overview and a copy of my handout, I quickly dressed for the EVVY awards banquet and hit the bar for a much-needed glass of wine. It was fun to see all the excited winners go up to receive their awards and clap for their successes. And boy, was the chocolate cake yummy! After a very full day, I slept like a log that night and checked out Sunday morning to drive back home, energized and full of new ideas about how to apply myself better in the business of publishing.

I was very pleased to receive as my speaker gift the illustrated book, Colorado's South Park by Bernie Nagy, which won EVVY Awards for Travel, Cover Design, and Illustrations. My husband and I have driven through South Park countless times on our journeys between our two homes in Colorado Springs and Breckenridge and loved seeing the excellent photos of familiar sights. I'll treasure the book for years to come.

Many, many thanks to Karen Reddick, who handled all the speaker arrangements smoothly, and to Sue Hamilton, current CIPA President, and Doris Baker, past CIPA President, for suggesting me as a speaker, and to all the board members and conference volunteers for making me feel welcome and for putting on such a great event!

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