Last week I had the pleasure of attending the second annual Author Pow-wow, hosted by 800-CEO-READ. This was an example of Tom's "Have Yous" list brought to life, vividly. 800-CEO-READ, a creative company that is serious about business books, decided it would be a good idea to bring together neophyte authors with the industry experts who can help them. A cynic (a.k.a. Jack Covert, albeit tongue in cheek) would say that they're tired of repeating themselves when speaking to individual authors, but it was obvious that their intention was to challenge their colleagues to seek excellence.
The invited experts weren't interested in stroking the authors' egos. Instead, seasoned professionals explained the ins and outs of business publishing and the speaking industry in ways that challenged common misperceptions. The presentations ranged from solid basics like revisiting core writing skills to the value of a good publicist and speaking agent to how to use the blogosphere to your advantage.
The message that rang loudest over the two days was the need for platform development—finding and honing ways to connect with one's audience. That seems like a fairly obvious branding message, but for people who have been focusing intently on written content, it requires serious gear-shifting to raise their heads from book writing and start marketing themselves. Most would-be authors think that if they can just land a good publishing deal, they can sit back and watch the royalties fill their bank accounts. That's very far from the truth. Publishers expect authors to not only submit a compelling manuscript but a public relations plan including an online presence (for more about this, see John Moore's post nicely excerpting Jeff Gomez's Print Is Dead).
It's clear that the folks at 8CR have an affection for mavericks. The event itself was held at the spectacularly inspiring Catalyst Ranch and the intensity with which people connected made clear how passionate we all are about sharing ideas. Have you planned an event that pushes your colleagues/employees/customers to the next level lately?
If you'd like to hear more about the event, check out the descriptions (numerous, but then, this was a conference about writing) from Kate, Barbara, Raj, Phil, Jose, Dan, Nick, David, Mike, Erika, and Kevin. For photos: Phil, Jose.
Keep your eye out for these authors (and can you find the 5 Cool Friends?):
David Meerman Scott
Ray Bard - Bard Press
Mark Bloomfield - Harvard Business School Press
Barbara Cave Henricks - Cave Henricks Communications
Mark Fortier - Fortier Public Relations
Nick Morgan - Public Words
Gerry Sindell - ThoughtLeaders Intl.
Les Tuerk - BrightSight Group
Dennis Welch - Cave Henricks Communications
Susan Williams - Jossey-Bass
Profound thanks to the remarkably talented team at 8CR for this experience!