Not the content. I enjoyed meeting fellow authors, comparing notes, swapping experiences. But the traffic, the number of potential readers and book buyers that came through, was tiny. I sold a few books, gave two away, and traded for two more with fellow authors.
The explosive Robert Barclay
I learned that most Ottawa authors here use Baico Publishing, a publishing service provider, to produce their print books. Most of the rest use Createspace, one LightningSource and one Friesen Press.
Surprisingly, few seemed to be big on e-books. In fact, two of the panel discussions denigrated e-books. "You can't wrap an e-book," said one author. Another said "I don't even know how my books got onto Amazon."
Well, e-books outsell paper books, at least in the developed world, and especially in fiction. Turning your back on e-books it turning your back on the future.
We need to learn how to reach readers
Almost all the authors showing books were independent or self-published; maybe five out of forty had a publishing deal, and those were with a micropublisher. So no one's getting big advances.
We all enjoyed interacting, but swapping or selling to each other is not going to do us much good. "Traffic," the number of potential book-buyers who came through, was minimal. I doubt even 50 came through the door.
There are lessons to learn here about promotion and publicity, but I don't think that anyone here can teach those lessons.
This is the challenge: we need to learn how to effectively engage with larger numbers of potential readers who will at least pick up our books and read the back cover.
That's all I'm looking for.
What do you all think?