Understanding Libraries (I’m Speaking at Two Industry Conferences)

Attending, occasionally speaking at, and even running conferences used to be a regular part of my job in years past, but the pandemic put a hard stop to all of that. At first it was because there weren’t any conferences to attend, and then for a while, I simply didn’t have any interest in dealing with large work events, especially if travel was involved. I finally attended (and spoke at) my first small local event last Fall and enjoyed it, catching up with several people I hadn’t seen in years. Then I attended my first-ever PLA conference earlier this year in Columbus, OH, and was surprised by how re-energizing it was, despite mostly just doing in person what I’ve been doing via email and webinars the past few years.

I’ve always believed in the power and value of live events (RIP a little bit louder and Digital Book World), but it’s easy to be lulled into the belief that virtual alternatives are equivalent for everyone. While they definitely have distinct pros, particularly for being more accessible than live events for many people, they still can’t replicate nor replace the in-person experience — at least not when it’s well-conceived and convenes the right mix of people. A poorly produced live or virtual event is always worse than having no event at all.

That said, I’m looking forward to attending and speaking at two upcoming conferences later this year — one for indie authors, one for publishers — helping attendees understand the importance of libraries and educating them on how to treat them like partners rather than pirates!

BookCAMP 2024

BookCAMP 2024: How to effectively engage public libraries, with Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

“The BookCAMP 2024 event is a three-day event (June 23rd-25th) where independent authors, publishers, industry experts gather to learn, trade success stories and network.”

This conference seems to be aiming for something similar to the IndieLAB conference I launched with Writer’s Digest back in 2018, six months before our parent company filed for bankruptcy, and it hasn’t been revived since by its new owners. As far as I can tell, there’s still a gap in the market for an event like this, primarily focused on helping authors understand the business of publishing (rather than just the craft side of things), and most authors (indie and traditional) still don’t have a clue about how libraries work, so I’m excited to talk about how authors can effectively engage public libraries.

The event’s in Newark, next to the airport, so if you’re in the tri-state area (or have a generous expense account), check it out! Learn more at ipaBookCAMP.com, and use this registration link to save 54% off the registration fee. (Not an affiliate link; just direct access to the discounted rate.)

PS: The promo image they made cropped out my “Support Your Local Library” hoodie, so I just look skeptical af with my Monday mug!

Publishing Innovation Forum

Publishing Innovation Forum 2024

“The Publishing Innovation Forum is an in-person event where book publishing professionals from all sectors of the industry can come together, learn from each other, and exchange ideas.”

This conference, produced by the good people at Firebrand with a solid roster of speakers, seems well-positioned to replace the [original] Digital Book World-shaped hole in the market, while also being a nice complement to PubWest, which usually has a similarly practical approach to programming and networking. The one thing they were missing was anything about libraries, and my appearance is a perfect example of, “Careful what you ask for, you may be volunteering to do it!

EDIT: The session has been scheduled now: “Partnering with Public Libraries: Acquisitions, Discovery, and Reader Engagement.” Early bird registration ends on June 30, though, so I wanted to get this out ASAP.

I’m really excited to be able to put Nashville Public Library in the spotlight at an event in their own backyard, particularly because the PW feature I wrote about them happened right before the pandemic locked everything down, and I haven’t been back since.

Learn more at publishinginnovationforum.com.

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