Yesterday I went to the Vancouver Island Self-Publishing Conference. It was put on by the Federation of BC Writers. There were a number of speakers about different aspects of self-publishing, such as editing and book/cover design.
While I took notes and learned some great information, the first three-quarters of the conference left me feeling discouraged. The editor speakers’ advice? Ultimately, hire a professional. The author of Self-Publishing in Canada Suzanne Anderson’s advice about book design? Ultimately, hire a professional. (I do recognize the value of hiring an editor and/or a graphic designer. My point is not to make light of their services.) Then representatives from two book printers on the island spoke about their various services. Then Bruce Batchelor of Agio Publishing House spoke about marketing, and it was clear to me whom they felt the audience in the room was. He spoke about how “we” have discretionary income: if our TV breaks, “we” can buy a new one; “we” live in large houses with only two people in them; et cetera. The majority of the audience probably did have discretionary income. The majority of the audience was two or three decades (or more) older than I am. Of course, this is me generalizing, too. The speakers made it obvious to me that they were gearing their speeches toward a middle- to upper middle-class audience.
I have a discretionary income of zero.
I wasn’t the only person in the room like that.
However, I am glad I stayed for the whole conference. For one thing, I got to hear Shaleeta Harper and Philip Gordon talk about text, the free lit magazine in town. They talked about how they started the magazine, the philosophy behind it, and how they went about doing it. (I already knew some things about their magazine, having been to the magazine’s launch last October.) They also touched on crowdfunding, which they plan on doing in the near future.
I would have found it exceedingly helpful if there had been a speaker at the conference talking specifically about crowdfunding as a means to funding your publishing projects. I was pleased that I recognized the various crowdfunding sites Ms. Harper and Mr. Gordon mentioned (indiegogo, Kickstarter, Patreon). I am considering which crowdfunding platform will be appropriate for some projects I want to do, so stay tuned for that.