PubSmart: the next great writing conference?


PubSmartWell, if you are an aspiring writer on the verge of publishing I think it is, and here’s why.


My writing career to date: Internet courses, followed by night classes in a room full of real people, followed by an MFA program. Along the way I’ve participated in many workshops and attended numerous writing conferences. Early on, everything was about craft. Now, as I stand on the threshold of the publishing world, I need to know how to navigate that landscape, and neither the courses, nor the classes, or the MFA program has prepared me for that.


I’ve been to AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) twice, and the PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association) a few times, and they are both (increasingly) offering publishing and marketing panels in their programs. PubSmart, however, is all about publishing and marketing, and it caters to independent authors as well as those who have published, or are seeking to publish, with the traditional publishing houses. 


Last month I attended the inaugural PubSmart conference in Charleston, South Carolina, and I was very impressed. In fact, I was so impressed, I’ve posted the complete list of panels and keynote speeches below, and for $149.95 you can purchase online access to the video recordings of all these sessions (but they are only available until July, 15th).


You should know that I am in no way affiliated with PubSmart and have no financial relationship with them. I’m plugging this conference because I found it exceptionally useful, and I encourage you (if you are at the pre-publishing stage of your career) to consider buying this year’s videos and/or attending next year’s conference.


PubSmart 2014

Two Keynotes:

  • Breakfast Keynote by Jane Friedman: What Does it Mean to Publish?
  • Lunch Keynote with Hugh Howey (Hugh is the latest poster boy for self-published-best-selling-Amazon-author who landed a contract with a traditional publishing house.)

Five Masterclass Sessions:

  • Setting Yourself Up for Success at PubSmart
  • IBPA’s Mini Publishing University: Publishing Smart in the Modern Age
  • Know Your Rights: Copyright, Contracts and Content
  • Distribution Deep Dive: Ins and Outs of Print and Digital
  • Social Savvy & Media Mastery: Take Your Message to the Masses

Twelve Regular Sessions:

  • Who Is the Editor You Need: Hiring and Working With Editors
  • PubSmart: Which Publishing Option is Smartest for YOU?
  • Acquisitions Editors: What’s the Next Big Read?
  • Foundations of a Bestseller: Creating a Strong Foundation for Stellar Book Sales
  • Authorpreneurship: From Cost-Planning to Funding to Reinvestment
  • Literary Agents: From Gatekeepers to Creative Marketers to Publishers
  • Distribution Basics: The Churning Channels of Print and Digital Delivery
  • Powerful Branding: You, Your Book, Your Brand
  • Discoverability in a Digital Age: Tools and Techniques
  • How to Approach Booksellers and Libraries
  • Ask a Publicist: Creative Book Marketing and PR Strategies
  • Cultivating Influencers: Reviewers and Book Clubs

Final morning: breakfast and an interview of Hugh Howey by Porter Anderson.


To buy the videos or to learn more about next year’s conference, go here.

If you were at PubSmart 2014, please share your thoughts. 


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