Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I've changed my mind about
Self-Publishing Book Expo

The first Self-Publishing Book Expo was held last November in Manhattan, about an hour from where I live in Connecticut. The next one is scheduled for Saturday, October 2nd. It will be held at the Sheraton Hotel,  811 Seventh Ave. (West 53rd Street.)  from 9:30 to 5.

  • There will be about 30 exhibitors, including self-publishing companies, magazines, authors, PR services, printers, distributors, writing workshops, booksellers, Amazon, Bowker, the American Society of Journalists & Authors and others.
SPBE will give writers the opportunity to speak to representatives of companies they may know of only from websites and ads, and to pick the brains of other authors, and experts. It looks like the show will be appropriate for unpublished authors, newbie and experienced self-pubbers, and even authors who have deals with traditional "trade" publishers.

Admission to the exhibit hall is free (last year it cost $30.) A ticket for the seminars will cost you $125 and should be well worth the money. Visitors have a chance to win an $1800 publishing package from CreateSpace.

Although I am deeply involved in self-publishing, as both a self-publishing author and the author/publisher of several books about self-publishing, I did not go last year.

It wasn't the money. $30 plus about $25 for train fair wouldn't kill me. I don't mind spending $40 on a book if I get one good idea from it, and a trade show about an important topic with knowledgeable participants could possibly provide dozens of good ideas that would be worth much more than than the price of admission and transportation. In the past I've spent thousands of dollars traveling to trade shows that were important to my "day job" in telecommunications--and the trips were worthwhile investments.

But last year...

  • I was not going to pay money to listen to dishonest and ignorant Brent Sampson (the boss of Outskirts Press who lies about the difficulties of independent self-publishing and didn't know who wrote Roget's Thesaurus or the difference between a foreword and a preface).
  • I was not going to pay money to hear the wisdom of Bob Young (boss of, who boasted that “We publish a huge number of really bad books,” misspelled “misspell” and confused “less” and “fewer”)
  • I was not going to pay money to be exposed to Penny Sansevieri (an alleged expert on book marketing and the Internet who wrote that a typical writer's website should cost between $2,000 and $6,000 to build and needs both a designer and a “coder” to put the website together).
But this year...

I will go, and my ears and mind will be open. I have recently come to accept Brent Sampson's position that there is a difference between self-publishing companies and self-publishers. I heard Brent "speak" online and like him more as a speaker than as a writer. I expect to discover some valuable tidbits at the exhibits and seminars. There will be more seminars and speakers than last year. I am always optimistic. I like to learn. I  like to ask questions. I like to ask embarassing questions.

Some of the seminar speakers are people I've blasted in this blog and in my books. It will be interesting to see if they will respond to my criticisms, ignore me, or try to beat the crap out of me.

In the words of conservative radio talker Bob Grant, I'm looking forward to an interesting and stimulating "free and open exchange of ideas and opinions." Just in case, I always travel with Band-Aids, antiseptic and Tylenol.

(Grant photo from NY Daily News)


  1. Have fun, kick ass and give us a full report!

  2. It will be all the more interesting this year if you're going, Michael!

  3. Hey Michael, I'm looking forward to seeing you there. It's a great event. Though my comments as you've listed them are not entirely accurate, let's find some time to meet and discuss! Good luck, Penny

  4. To Bookgal...

    Hi Penny--I'll be glad to meet and maybe bury the hatchet, and I'll correct anything I've said in the blog that is inaccurate. You may be pleased to know that I did NOT include your book in Bad Book Week.