Why In-Person Events Are SO Important (and where I will be this year)

One of my goals this year is to focus more on “being there.” On showing up, in person at physical locations with other human beings. For me, this means attending publishing and writing conferences, having coffee and lunch with writers, on opting to choose conversation over email.

With social media becoming such a useful tool to communicate, I find that we sometimes overlook the value of showing up to events, conferences or meetings. If you are someone trying to forge meaningful relationships, trying to differentiate yourself from an thousands of others screaming for attention, showing up in person may be the answer.

When chatting with someone in person, I am always pleasantly surprised where conversations go in between what we were “supposed” to be talking about. I always remember where I have been, but rarely remember a Tweet from 8 months ago. I love the serendipity of what happens when I commit to showing up somewhere.

Here is a series of posts that I have shared to help you get the most out of in-person events:

And here is my speaking schedule so far for 2013, some amazing events that I feel privileged to be a part of. All are in New York City. I provide details for my sessions below each:

MediaNext (formerly Folio: Show), Jan 8 – 10
Panel: The Two Paths of Social Monetization: Audience and Advertiser, Jan 8 4pm
Social media is the media of the future. It’s created great new opportunities for engagement and business development. Join our speakers for a look at hyper-successful initiatives in generating revenue from both advertiser and audience through social media.

Digital Book World, Jan 15 – 17
Workshop: How to Create the Content Your Audience Desperately Wants, But Doesn’t Know to Ask For, Jan 15 1:30pm
This workshop shows you specific ways to understand exactly what your audience wants, and how to translate that knowledge into compelling content. Whether you are creating books, a product strategy, or content for marketing campaigns, you will learn how to do deep research and analysis.

Authors Launch, Jan 18
9am: Communicating Your Purpose: Developing and Managing an Effective Author Brand
“Branding is… about communication. Effectively understanding your own purpose, that of your audience, and the ways to connect the two,” writes Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia. Dan has worked with hundreds of authors and leading book and journal publishers like Workman, Perseus Books Group, Library Journal, Springer, and F+W Media. In this presentation, he will cover the basics of establishing an author identity, building a brand, and connecting to an audience of readers.

3:30pm: Maximizing and Managing Your Brand
Dan Blank will follow up his main stage presentation with a deeper look at how to develop your author brand and create consistent messaging to better align with your target readership. Your audience has preexisting needs and a worldview long before they hear about or read your book. Dan will outline what you need to do to tap into what your audience might be looking for—information, inspiration, an escape, a solution, a good story—and how to make sure they know what value you represent to them as an author.

Book^2 Camp, Feb 10
I will be an attendee, and likely propose a session discussion. For a peek at what last year’s event looked like, here is my recap.

Tools of Change for Publishing Conference, Feb 12 – 14
Feb 12, 9am: Books at the Block Party: The Economics and Outcomes of a Local Literary Economy
Why does it make national news when Laredo, TX (pop. 250,000) loses their only bookstore and not their only flower shop or car wash? This discussion gets at why. Acknowledged out loud or not, we view books, authors and literature as emblems of a vital community. “Books at the Block Party” will explore the economic and cultural value of a thriving writing/book/publishing culture . Experts from urban planning, library, and nonprofit space will share data and case studies of what has worked, how and the benefits and challenges of making books part of a community’s lifeblood. The takeaway: An action plan and the supporting evidence for why books not only enrich a community but how that enrichment shapes the business and place of authors, publishers, booksellers and organizatons in the publishing ecosystem.

Author (R)evolution Day, Feb 12
I will be an attendee.

Columbia School of Journalism Social Media Weekend, Feb 15 – 17
I will be a “social media doctor” on Feb 16th, available to consult with any attendee on how to develop or rework their social media strategy.

Writers Digest Conference, April 5 – 7
April 6: How to Build An Audience For Your Books
How do you find and develop an audience for your book? In this session, Dan Blank of We Grow Media helps you understand the key steps to understand where your audience is, what engages them, and how you can connect with them in ways that are meaningful, not promotional. Whether you are already published or years away from sharing your work, the time to begin developing and growing your audience is always NOW. This session will review how you can make use of online resources, social media, events and other avenues, while protecting your time to write.

April 6: Marketing Panel (description to come)

Backspace Writers Conference, May 23 – 25
Details to come.

BookExpo America, May 29 – June 1
Details to come.

Thrillerfest, July 10 – 13
Details to come.

I will add more events to this list as the year progresses! I can’t wait to “be there” with writers and publishing folks this year.
Have a great day.