Here are some wordy words about some of the other panels that I attended at LibertyCon last weekend. As I stated in my last post about LC, the point of these entries isn’t to summarize panels in their entirety, but rather the parts that I found most interesting. Also know that I am summarizing words by the panelists and audience members and these shouldn’t be considered direct quotes. Lastly, forgive me for not including the names of the panelists. I intended to pull them off the LibertyCon site, but the powers that be have already yanked this year’s schedule, in preparation for 2013.
Self Promotion: Increasing Discoverability Through Marketing Technology
The panelists agreed that the most successful form of marketing is volume. Writing more books equals more noticeabiliy in various online stores, which equals more sales. The two runner-ups were Facebook and Twitter, along with the caveats that writers should only utilize social media when they have something interesting to say and not voracious crap like “buy my book, buy my book, buy my book.”
Self Publishing as a Viable Career Option
This was an informative panel that offered many pros and cons of self-publishing, including the following paradox: You have complete control of your work; as a consequence, you have complete control of your work. Meaning you can create something for a niche audience that would be impractical for a publisher to produce, but you don’t have any editorial safety nets unless you seek them out. Also, your work could be shit.
Copyright and Piracy Legislation
Definitely the most heated of the LibertyCon panels. Hell, it was the most heated of any panel that I’ve ever attended. Panelists passionately declared their stance on piracy, such as use of DRM, the practicality of policing pirated works, and–what I found most interesting–is piracy a benefit or detriment to writers? The panelists that opposed current piracy policing practices (is that enough alliteration for you?) stated that every illegal download of their work meant money that they didn’t receive. The opposition stated that simply because people download your work illegally or hack the DRM doesn’t mean that they would have bought it. It doesn’t even mean that they read it. Some people simply do it for the challenge. The panel got dirty about fifteen minutes in: One writer attempted to discredit another’s argument before he had a chance to articulate it because his only source of income wasn’t from writing.
This panel eventually meandered into something that was off-topic, yet no less interesting: publishers refusing to sell electronic books to libraries. The idea is that a library generally loans out a book twenty-five times before it has to replace it. An electronic version can be checked out an infinite number of times, meaning the publisher doesn’t get any more money. The audience and panel members firmly took opposing viewpoints to this topic that became no less heated, no less passionate than the panel’s original topic.
I don’t have DRM on any of the books that I self-publish, and I never will. As for a more elaborate viewpoint about where I stand with the rest of this stuff, look for another post in the coming weeks. Like my post on Hooking Your Readers panel (specifically, the ideas about cliffhanger endings) I have too much to say about this topic to cover here. And besides, the point of these entries is to summarize what I found most interesting, and not spend a great deal of time discussing what I agree or disagree with.
Look for more stuff on the remaining panels over the next week or so.