Dress in Overalls: Guest Post

St. Leonard's Hall, Edinburgh University, which hosted the 20books conference

“Opportunity comes dressed in overalls.” That comment, from Craig Martelle, was the first one I wrote in my notebook after sitting down at the 20Books conference in Edinburgh.

What’s 20Books?, I hear you cry.

20Books to 50K is the brainchild of Michael Anderle (Kurtherian Universe) who worked out that to retire on $50,000 dollars a year he needed to sell two books a day from his list of twenty currently published novels.

Starting out as an online forum for independent writers, Michael, Craig, RE Vance, Martha Carr et al, now put on conferences to share their knowledge. But being an independent author is not easy. It’s not a case of chucking a book out there and watching the dosh roll in. It is hard work. Hence the comment. This was not a conference for the fainthearted.

In just two short days we were provided with ten presentations/panels with authors who are the top in their field. Far from the lament of not earning enough to give up work, these guys are making money and are not ashamed of it. Perhaps that’s the American mindset. Money is not a dirty word.

There’s no snobbery here, just the ethos of working hard, producing very professional books, with the best covers, fantastic blurbs and then marketing it. As writers they create super fans out of the people on their mailing lists and give their fans what they want, which is more of their writing.

There are no corners to be cut. No skimping on editors or designers, but there’s still a keen eye on the bottom line and return on investment.

For the guys at 20Books, writing whilst creative, is very much a business. I came away totally inspired, but not a little overwhelmed.

Caroline’s debut novel Tangent was shortlisted for The Selfies Award at this year’s London Book Fair. You can buy her book here

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