Publishing in the Digital Age

Laura writes: A few months ago, Mala and I were approached by Wilson Wyattboard member of the prestigious The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD to speak on a marketing panel at their “Publish Now! Publishing in the Digital Age” conference.  Mala was going to be out of the country which left me. I said yes…why not…the event was months away.

But as it grew closer, I panicked. Mala would be in Paris, on a romantic vacation with her husband, Roger. (A riveting blog entry yet to come! I learned not only that our panel was the last session of the conference, but that I would follow legendary master marketer Austin Camacho, and Jennifer Millerrenowned for rousing groups and book clubs to boost her book, The Year of the Gladfly, to 2012 Best Book by Kirkus Reviews and Self Magazine. Ack. No pressure.

Laura, Amy, Austin at Writers Center

Wilson was reassuring, “Share what works for you.” His advice was invaluable. “Share” was the key word, not “Sell.”  This is what I shared at the sold out conference on Saturday, October 26, 2013.

Earlier this year, Mala mentioned that the Director of the St. Michaels Community Center was making videos on a website called I checked it out and was astounded. Easy, fun, and at the basic level FREE! Video templates, music, drop and drag photos, add some text, push a button and you have a video trailer!

Our Animoto videos enabled us to share our e-novel Big Skye Ranch, as well as promote our romantic, holiday musical comedy stage play, The Santa Diaries

Basically, what our marketing session boiled down to was find what marketing approach works for you. And then just do it. Like Stuart Ross. He got thousands of hits on YouTube for his video book trailer made with nothing but his cell phone and some kick ass attitude. I have no idea how many books this trailer sold, but I guarantee you won’t forget him or his video. And that’s half the battle.

If you didn’t get to the conference at The Writers Center, here’s who you missed.

AMY ABRAMS, is a novelist and journalist, as well as former publishing executive at national art magazines including Art & Antiques and more recently, in Washington, D.C., associate publisher of Museum & Arts Washington magazine. Her short stories have been published in Denver Quarterly and Hobart. She is fiction co-editor of The Delmarva Review. Her book about a nationally renowned Pop artist, Bill Schenck, was published in 2013. Her first novel, The Cage and the Key, was published in June.

KEN ACKERMAN, a writer and attorney in Washington, D.C., is the author of four books and dozens of articles. His titles include: The Gold Ring: Jim Fisk, Jay Gould and Black Friday, 1869; Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield; Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York andYoung J. Edgar: Hoover, the Red Scare, and the Assault on Civil Liberties.

AUSTIN S. CAMACHO has written five detective novels about private eye Hannibal Jones and four international adventure thrillers.  He is also a co-founder of Intrigue Publishing.  He’s been active in several writers’ organizations and teaches writing at Anne Arundel Community College. By day he answers media queries for the Defense Department. Camacho lives in Upper Marlboro, MD.

BARBARA ESSTMAN, M.F.A., is a National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Virginia Commission for the Arts fellow, and a Redbook fiction award winner, among other distinctions. Her two novels, The Other Annaand Night Ride Home, are in numerous foreign editions; both were adapted for television by Hallmark Productions. She co-edited an anthology,A More Perfect Union: Poems and Stories about the Modern Wedding, and has taught extensively in universities.

NEAL GILLEN has self-published eight novels and a memoir. Born and raised in New York City, Gillen received his Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University. Gillen serves on the board of The Writer’s Center and the American Independent Writers. His titles include Kitty’s Rules, The Night Clerks, Altar Boy and Lonely No More.

C.M. MAYO is the author of the novel The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, which was named a Library Journal Best Book of 2009. She is also the author of Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles Through Baja California, the Other Mexico, a travel memoir of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula; and Sky over El Nido, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. She is the editor of a collection of Mexican literature in translation, Mexico: A Traveler’s Literary

MARGARET MEACHAM is the award-winning author of 14 novels for children and young adults, with two new titles: The Ghosts of Laurelford, a historical mystery for young adults, and The Survival of Sarah Landing, her first novel for “grown-ups.” Meacham teaches writing and children’s literature at Goucher College and Gotham Writer’s Workshops in New York City. She holds degrees from Trinity College and University of Maryland.

JENNIFER MILLER is the author of The Year of the Gadfly, chosen as a 2012 Best Book by Kirkus Reviews and Self Magazine. Her first book, Inheriting the Holy Land, won Moment Magazine‘s Non-Fiction Award for Young Writers. Miller’s journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, Fast Company and The Daily Beast. A native of Washington, D.C., she now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with all the other writers.

PHIL SEXTON is the publisher of Writer’s Digest, overseeing the production of Writer’s Digest magazine, as well as the WD book line, conferences, online education and competitions. For nearly 25 years, he’s worked in the book business, serving in numerous capacities, including vice president of sales for F+W Media, sales director of Adams Media, and – most proudly – independent bookseller. He has worked with Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million and most every other major book retailer and wholesaler in the country. He is also the author of A Picture is Worth 1000 Words, Legends of Literature and The Writer’s Lab.

WILSON WYATT is a writer and photographer who leads several writing initiatives on the Delmarva Peninsula. He is executive editor and a founder of The Delmarva Review and was president of the Eastern Shore Writers Association. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. He has published two books of photography, Yosemite-Catching the Light, in 2011, and Chesapeake Views-Catching the Light, in 2013.