The Women’s Media Group (WMG) provides content-rich programming that I am fully taking advantage of. If you’re a writer of any kind, this info will be useful to you. At last week’s noon hour event entitled Beyond the Book: How Authors, Publishers and Agents are Developing New Revenue Streams, I furiously took notes and left inspired that there are profits to be made in addition to simply book sales. The moderator and three panelists represent the top of the industry, so they KNOW!

With only 90 minutes to disseminate their wisdom, the quick and dirty highlights (IMHO) were these–

Re social media promotion: Pick the lane you want to be associated with (probably NOT twitter) and hang your hat and efforts there. If you have more followers on Instagram than Facebook, let that site do the heavy lifting for you. Don’t try to be in all places at once. If you can, study the audience’s engagement (or hire someone who is able to do that for you). “Engagement is more important than numbers,” we were told. If you have 30K followers, but only 100 interact with you, the large following doesn’t have as much value as someone with a thousand followers with 40% engagement.

Here are the modalities the public prefers: Watch, Read, Listen, Practice. Which means that if you’re selling a book, create a video to support it. Start a podcast, or be interviewed by those in your field so your readers can experience you in other dimensions. Can you create a questionnaire, survey or workbook where your followers/readers can continue to practice what they’ve learned?

Podcasting seems to be the coin of the realm these days. When Inheritance author Dani Shapiro launched a new podcast called Family Secrets, there were over a million downloads. The publishing world pays big attention to influence like that. BTW, Inheritance is an amazing memoir. (Email me if you want to discuss! It’s that kind of story.)

More on podcasting – 51% of the population has now listened to a podcast. There are 650,000 podcasts currently available. Only 12% of podcasters get beyond recording episode #1.

The basic message was that expecting to become rich by writing and publishing a book is a dream, not a reality. Figuring out other income streams and deliverables based on your content is advisable and essential.

I loved the summation of what podcasting offers: Being able to eavesdrop on a conversation you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to listen to.

My most recent listens have been to Family Secrets (the Dani Shapiro podcast), WTF – Marc Maron’s interviews with Phoebe Robinson and John Lithgow, and my new favorite based on my son’s recommendation: Conan O’ Brien Needs a Friend. Both Stephen Colbert and Ray Romano confessed to feelings of deep inadequacy along the way. Those are definitely conversations I would never have been privy to and love (over)hearing. Colbert had submitted a packet to write for Conan (pre Daily Show and Colbert Report days, of course) and was rejected. He figured he simply wasn’t good enough for Conan.

The biggest challenge they all acknowledged is getting heard above the noise.

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