I had the pleasure of attending the Author 101 Conference this last weekend, put on by Rick Frishman and his team. I’ve been to a lot of speaking events, but I can honestly say, I’ve never seen one with so many good speakers and such a high energy level. Rick did a magnificent job of coordinating the event, held over three days, at the Westin hotel next to the Los Angeles Airport (LAX).
While the event had over 20 speakers and a plethora of products, services, and vendors, I’d like to share with you three take-a-ways that I received from the conference.
1. You can become an expert in your field. This was the main premise of the conference. In today’s web connected economy, it has never been easier to find answers to your problems and locate proficient and profession people in a given field. Through the conference, it became clear that being an expert could take many forms. One of the most interesting was speaker Alex Carroll, who wrote a book about beating traffic tickets. While the self published book languished at first, it really took off when Alex started promoting it on Radio.
Think about this for a minute. Most of us think that becoming an expert means years of schooling and prominent letters behind our names. But what I found at the conference was that offering solutions to common problems was the real trick. In this case, we have all had traffic tickets, whether deserved or not. Wouldn’t a book on the subject be helpful? With tickets costing hundreds of dollars, an inexpensive book on fighting them might really be helpful. With thousands of books sold and appearances on hundreds of radio shows, Alex obviously found a great niche.
Here are a few questions to ponder…
- What problem are you good at solving?
- What do you know how to do that no one else does?
- What new way of doing something have you discovered?
- Once you have that figured out you need to …
2. Write a Book. Most of the attendees at the conference have either written a book or are in the process. What became clear quickly was that it was beneficial to write a book for credibility, but not to make money. As speaker Craig Duswalt put it, a book is an expensive business card.
In my journey as an author, I’ve certainly found this to be true. The conference brought up some startling statistics…
- Over 300,000 books are published in the U.S. each year (Excluding self published titles)
- The average self published book will sell under 200 copies
- The average person will read one book after college
- The average person will not read past the first chapter
While this news is rather disheartening, many speakers talked about using your book as a foundation of your business, to build credibility and to spread your ideas. The good news is, there are a plethora of great self publishing options to take your ideas and get them put in book format, whether you like to write or not.
The conference featured vendors that could help you at any point along the book publishing process, from formatting and printing all the way to distribution and marketing. Unlike a writer’s conference, this event was not focused on the craft of writing, but really about getting you published. If you have a book in your future, this is a great conference to attend.
3. Create a Product. Once you have found your niche and published a book, you need to create products or services that your customers can buy. While most of the products shared were “info products,” featuring E-books, CD’s, DVD’s and the like, some people offered software programs, video services, and web design.
It was interesting to see how some of the speakers had leveraged the power of marketing with the incredible vastness of the internet to build businesses quickly and profitably. When you can truly find your niche, tell the world about it, and create and share products, there is not a better business on the planet.
To sum up this post, I’d like to share an amazing gift of passion and purpose, that was created by one of the speakers at the event. It sums up what this event was really all about. Find your passion, build a business, and share your joy with the world.
Enjoy this video about heartstones.
Overall: If you are a writer or just have something unique to share with the world, this conference is for you. I would suggest that you leave your checkbook and credit cards at home, and just take in the vast amount of information offered. While there are a lot of things for sale here, you’ll need some time to process the information and make choices wisely. Once you figure out your niche, you’ll be better prepared to develop the tools to share it with the rest of us.
Question: Have you ever attended an Author 101 event?