Getting down to business at conference

Appeared in April HT by Sharyn Swanepoel, Business Appointments Coordinator

One of the most anticipated parts of the RWA conference every year is the chance to network. This can be in catching up with old friends, fan-girling your favourite authors or meeting new like-minded people. 

One of the most under-utilised parts of the RWA conference every year is possibly the business appointments. 

Unrecognizable business person analyzing graphs and taking notes

It shouldn’t be. Here’s why: 

We know many of you have questions about different aspects of the industries represented in these appointments. After all, they are asked all the time in the RWA Facebook community group. This is the chance to get information straight from the horse’s-mouth.

Not only do you get the answers you need, you make important connections at the same time. When you think about it, this is the perfect chance to network. 

There’s not the same pressure to impress with your writing as when you are pitching. 

This is still about you and your writing, but is more focused on your specific needs than what you might hear in the various workshops and presentations.  

Jodi Spiteri-James, Australian Society of Authors, (Attending Conference) will be available to discuss the various pathways to publishing. ASA, the national peak industry body for writers and illustrators, offers advice, support and advocacy for members, with lots of resources available.

Jodi said other benefits include things like being able to enter books in the monthly bulletin New to View, which showcases new publications, as well as mentorships and workshops available for authors at all stages of their career. 

“The professional development program has been reinvigorated with many new and exciting workshops and sessions plus members have the chance to pitch directly to publishers and agents in our Virtual Literary Speed Dating event run several times a year.”

Kevin Tumlinson, Draft2Digital,  (via online – Texas) said he most often gets asked about the cost for authors using the online distributor. 

“The honest answer is that it really is free, and the only time we make money is when you make a sale through one of our distribution channels,” he said. “We take 15%, and that is it. I promise. No fees, hidden or otherwise.”

Kevin is happy to answer any of your questions about ebook layouts and conversions, print layout, their D2D Print currently in beta testing, or anything to do with the D2D’s various tools. As a fellow author he’d also love to answer questions about writing craft in general and marketing.  

Debbie Lee from IngramSpark (Attending Conference) knows all about the print-on-demand service available to both authors and publishers and will be attending the 2021 Gold Coast conference. “We work with publishers large and small and can often convey market knowledge and insight from a local and global perspective,” she said.

While she encourages authors to do their research, utilising IngramSpark’s online resources, including working out format, trim size, stock type and pricing, she’s happy to discuss any specific requirements. 

“They can come with questions, with a specific book in mind, or they can just come to learn.”

Nick Coveney and his team (online – Toronto) will be available to talk about opportunities available through Rakuten Kobo. This global digital bookseller has 23 dedicated localised stores offering dedicated promotions, plus exclusive relationships with several leading retail partners including Walmart,, Fnac and Booktopia.

Nick said as well as offering a free and easy to use indie publishing platform, there are lots of benefits as well as unique ways for authors to share their stories. 

“We have a popular KWL podcast series in addition to Facebook live events,” he said. 

Will Dages, Head of Findaway Voices and Scott Curry, Marketing Manager are available to take online appointments. Audio books are a rapidly growing platform for authors. Did you know Findaway Voices help with both the creation and distribution of audio books?

Ask Scott anything about Marketing Strategy (website and marketing evaluation/consulting/best practices) and Will anything about audiobooks.

Bookings for business appointments will be available at the same time as the pitch appointments, so make sure you add the dates into your calendars, so you don’t miss out.

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