Thursday, April 24, 2014

12 Adventures in PubSmart (Part One) by Kate Tilton

PubSmart is a new conference for writers – but before you sigh and say “not another writer’s conference,” take a closer look. PubSmart was created to bridge the gap between publishing routes. PubSmart is about learning how to publish smarter no matter how you publish – indie, self-publishing, or traditional. Finally.

I was honored to be able to attend the first annual convention. I went in with the expectation of meeting connections and friends, and hoping to learn more about publishing. And PubSmart delivered more than expected.

Instead of focusing on the differences between publishing methods, the sessions were on topics every author needs to know about. Master classes were held to give authors an in-depth look at topics such as metadata and social media. Authors and professionals from all publishing backgrounds held sessions on authorpreneurship, getting reviews, editors, and more. PubSmart is the first conference I have ever known to focus on the business of writing.

Now that you have an idea of the concept behind PubSmart, let me give you a sneak peek at some of the sessions and keynote highlights. Due to the wealth of information at PubSmart this will be the first of six posts featuring different events from the conference, so sit back and enjoy!

Master Class

IBPA’s Mini Publishing University: Publishing Smart in the Modern Age
Speaker: Angela Bole, executive director of the Independent Book Publishers Association

This was a two-hour mini version of IBPA’s publishing class. The session focused on the great democratization of content and how authors can stick out of the crowd of free content online now that anyone can publish.

Tips for authors: 
  • Create a code of ethics. This is something IBPA has done and it is a good practice for all professionals. 
  • Professionalism matters. 
  • Pay attention to your brand as an AUTHOR; your brand is who you are as an artist. 
  • Whatever you publish, find others who are publishing the same and learn from them. 
  • Be generous and it will come back to you. 
  • There are two kinds of digital content, reflowable content (ebooks) and fixed layout/static content (print books, pdfs). Therefore your ebook does not need to look like your print book. 
  • Metadata is king! Correct metadata is vital to success as an author. Learn about metadata and how to use it. Many authors skip this step. 
  • A detailed subtitle can help your book be found, but remember you cannot use an author’s name in your subtitle (tip via Hugh Howey). 
  • For textual descriptions of your book, put the most important things first. Avoid complex styling, and do not copy and paste from Word. 
  • Subject headings are NOT keywords. Use only two to three subjects from the industry approved list. 
  • Avoid using “general.” The more specific you can be, the more your book will stand out. 
  • For your cover, the longest side of your digital image should be 1,000 pixels or more. 


  • We must promote publishing smarter instead of the idea that anything we write is automatically worth publishing. (It isn’t.) 
  • ebooks is still a growing market; don’t let the “statistics” fool you. 
  • Romance/erotic fiction is still the top selling genre in ebooks while cookbooks are last. 
  • The competition between ebook distributors is good. If one controlled the whole market they would make the rules instead of the authors. 
  • There has been a shift from ereaders to tablets for reading, so authors now have to compete with other forms of media as well. 

Angela Bole is the executive director of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). For more information about IBPA check out there website, If you have any questions about this article, publishing, or social media I would love to hear from you! Just leave a comment below or connect with me on my website,

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About Kate Tilton:

Kate Tilton has been in love with books for as long as she can remember. Kate believes books saved her life and strives to repay authors for bringing books into the world by serving as a dependable author assistant. A cat-lover and fan of many geeky things, Kate can likely be found curled up with the latest Doctor Who episode, plotting world takeover, or assisting authors and readers in any way she can. Kate is also a self-proclaimed Twitter addict. You will find her hosting #K8chat, her own creation, every Thursday night on Twitter from 9-10pm Eastern.

The rest of the dates that we will be posting about PubSmart are

April 26th (part two)
May 8th (part three), 10th (part four), 22nd (part five), and 24th (part six)

So make sure you follow along with the posts!


  1. This sounds like a great conference. When and where is it held?

    1. This conference is held in Charleston. The first one was last week. Dates for 2015 have not been released yet but they will be on :)

  2. Lots of great tips and information! Thanks :)

  3. Kate, I am so delighted to have met you at PubSmart and thrilled beyond words that you found the experience so illuminating! Thanks for sharing us :)

    1. Aw thanks Jacqueline! It was such a pleasure to be able to meet you and I'm so glad to be sharing the PubSmart love! :)

  4. Great information..I will follow you forever K8 Tilton <3

  5. Thanks for this great post, Kate. I think you already know how much Team Bublish adores you. :-) Hope will see you again soon!

    1. Aw, thank you Kathy! You know I adore the Bublish team right back ;). I can't wait to come to Charleston again (and PubSmart!)

  6. Thanks, Kate, for providing such a wonderful recap! It was lovely participating in PubSmart this year. I hope to be back next year, as well!

    1. I'm so glad you were at PubSmart this year Angela. You are a great speaker and I love the work you do with IBPA. I can't wait to see you and your team at BEA this month and hopefully again at PubSmart in the future!


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