December 9, 2011
News & Opinion: Pow Wow 2011
A few of us just returned from this year's Author Pow Wow in Austin, TX at The Driskill. As for me, I'm exhausted, but also refreshed with a sense of perspective. In support of my previous post, I do feel empowered, and I know others that attended do as well. How are we empowered? We heard from Erika Andersen, author of Growing Great Employees and Being Strategic about Being CEO of your book, which included great added comments by upcoming author Dick Cross. We participated in a great discussion with Nena Madonia about agencies being a hub for an author's platform, and how they act as both communicators and creative assistants to serve and develop an author's brand. We listened to a great panel of publishers, including Ray Bard, Clint Greenleaf, and Karen Murphy discuss their different approaches to publishing, which culminated in a discussion about how publishers and authors do, and need to, view their customers to determine how to shape and develop the pool. We joined in a discussion with Tanya Hall and Erika Heilman about digital publishing, and how ideas can be distributed in different ways, and what limitations and opportunities exist in working with such a flexible medium. Next, Will Weisser, David Hathaway, and Bill Roth talked about selling books, selling ideas, and the critical things for authors to understand and build in order to be profitable from sales of their ideas. It was a fascinating and serendipitous occasion to have Dave Hathaway present. Prior to his time at Greenleaf, Dave served as Barnes & Noble's buyer for over 10 years, and his insight into what retail looks for, how they make predictions, and the growing challenges they face, was eye-opening for all involved. Noah Rickun and Victoria Labalme both gave compelling presentations about speaking, showing what works, and what doesn't, in smart and interesting ways. From slides to body language to content to value, they covered a lot of ground in a short time while remaining clear and entertaining. A perfect lesson. They certainly made it all look much easier than it is. And to boot, I got an official Victoria Labalme lip balm, which has me protected all winter, and a reminder of her awesomeness each time I use it. By now, we were all nearly at mental capacity. Then Tim Sanders hit the stage and literally worked us over. Part re-energizing, part mind-boggling, and 100% amazing, Tim's insight and research into human behavior, digital practices, the publishing industry vs. similar and disparate industries was captivating, enlightening, and at this point, nearly overwhelming. Ever hear the term "drinking from a fire hose?" This was like getting blown down the street by one. It was awesome. We celebrated Day 1 by busing miles out of town to Salt Lick BBQ, and quickly filled our stomachs to the same level as our heads. Now, completely stuffed on all levels, we headed back to the hotel to rest and prepare for Day 2. Day 2 was more focused on getting to work, as Barbara Cave Henricks, Adrienne Lang, David Hahn, Rusty Shelton, and Phil Gerbyshak discussed publicity angles, social media strategies, marketing, branding, communications, media placement, and a variety of other outreach endeavors authors are doing, and need to be doing more of, in order to spread their ideas. Erika Andersen recapped the 'ownership' segment she began with, and everyone in the room teamed up in various groupings to talk about Doing - new ideas, project help, platform partnerships, and more. It was a great way to extend all the information and knowledge into action. Arriving back home, I quickly set up a Pow Wow! group on LinkedIn, in order for us all to continue the conversation, and add to it moving forward. The Pow Wow family grows further! Thanks to Noel Weyrich, Kalina Mazur, Les McKeown, Jennifer Ferrasci-O’Malley, Paul Sliker, Alexandra Kirsch, Rajesh Setty, Kevin Kruse, Denise Lee Yohn, David Osborn, Terry Doerscher, Richard Imperiale, Richard Hunter Cross, Erika Heilman, John Moore, Richard Shapiro, Judson Laipply, David Edward, Jennifer Whitt, Dain Dunston, and David Nour for being there, listening, engaging, and helping make the event so great! And I can't resist adding this poetic recap by attendee Judson Laipply: Twas weeks before the Holidays When we arrived at PowWow To learn about the book world And answer the question “How?” We mingled with each other Then said our goodnight Some awoke in the morning With no power or light We started by learning To be CEO of your book And we’d better be ready For the Ipad, Kindle, and Nook. We heard from some insiders Who helped lay out a plan You have to build a platform To help drive demand Is your book market An ocean, well, or lake? If it’s a bayou or puddle Then publishing’s a mistake. They helped us to see That the book world is unusual To be really, really successful You have got to be delusional Sales!Sales!Sales! Supply no longer drives demand You have to give content away And create book-buying fans. Then it was Noah With his presentation skill Who help us realize What it takes to absolutely kill. Victoria helped us to see The 3 parts of a show Seen through the prism Of feel, do, and know. A few more insights They did say Like never end your show With Q and A. Tim was up last Before we went to dinner And he was a force to be reckon No wonder he’s a winner. From Yelpification To the digitizing age Soon E-books will dominate And be all the rage. To Salt-Lick we went On a bus that swaying But the best thing of all Was that we were not paying. Then some sleep we did get And awoke to full power We started right back in To maximize every hour. Publicity was up next And some stories were fun But we learned that after p-date The work has just begun. Twitter! Link’d Facebook and more! Get yourself a Social Media Strategy Or you’ll seem like a bore. We discussed the merits Of authentic tweeting But had to stop short To wrap up the meeting. Then it was over So much to digest That our brains are not likely To soon get any rest. #PowWow11 Had come to an end We meet lots of new people Made some new friends. But the information was key And in abundance it was dished. So that we all might fulfill Our publishing wish. Thanks to Rusty’s, Hendricks, Greenleaf and 8CR For hosting the PowWow11 That will make us a star.