I Went Inside A Book Publisher, And This Is What I Learned.

What happens when a publisher invites their authors in and does a day-long session on how to best use digital & social tools to engage readers? Well, let me tell you.

This week, the good folks at Abrams invited me to speak at their Digital Day for authors. It was a lovely event that included a wide range of authors – from icons in their industry to first time authors awaiting the release of their book.

Okay, let’s take a tour:

Many of the hallways are lined with shelves of books, some with dire warnings:

Publishing is indeed a labyrinth filled with danger. Not sure you can see it here, but there is an extreme hump in the floor here that is totally unmarked. I tried to look cool as I tripped over it.

Navigating this place took all of my skills. Notice the strange angled hallway that cuts down the middle. Why? And I wonder who got stuck with that small triangular office:

Okay, let’s get to the main event – AUTHORS!!!! Yay!

This is the moment when my heart skipped a beat – Stefan Sagmeister! In person. Here! In front of me. And in front of bagels! Doesn’t it look like he just stepped out of a Tardis?

Abrams CEO Michael Jacobs welcomes everyone:

Abrams’ Director of Digital Marketing Jeffrey Yamaguchi is the mastermind behind the event:

And here is me presenting! Photo by Thyra Heder.

A discussion among the authors.

Coffee, coffee, coffee!

I have to say, the signage at the event was AMAZING. This is (seriously) often overlooked by organizers. The only disappointing part is that there were no hashtags in the bathroom itself.

Here is Tumblr’s Rachel Fershleiser sharing examples of literary culture on the social web.

And can we just zoom in on this amazing jacket for a moment?

Nothing – NOTHING – makes authors happier than free food:

And yes, I am the type of person that stands behind photographer Bob Gruen and takes a photo without his knowledge. I’m sorry. But it’s BOB GRUEN!

So what did I learn from this event? A few things:

  • Jeff made a great point about “IRL” or “In Real Life” – and how important it was to forge relationships. Love that. Life is more than a series of Tweets.
  • Even though everyone in attendance likely has some introverted tendencies – they all showed up, took time away from their otherwise busy lives, and engaged with total strangers about their hopes and their challenges.
  • Jeff, Rachel, and the other speaker (not pictured) Ami Greko shared WONDERFUL examples of real authors engaging with real readers in ways that were deeply meaningful to both.

So excited to have all three of these folks speaking at my online conference on Nov 13th and 14th: Get Read: Marketing Strategies for Writers. Register here.