Tuesday, October 05, 2010


BookCamp Vancouver calls itself an "unconference" and is held annually in the early fall at Simon Fraser University's downtown campus. The presentations and lunch are free - a sure-fire way to attract local writers and publishers, and last week's event was full. Sponsorship from BookNet Canada and other organizations makes this possible.

The "unconference" bit means this event is much more participatory for attendees than regular conferences. The presenters encourage not only questions throughout the sessions, but also ++ discussion and use of technology. Smartphones were abundant and employed all the time, especially by the younger crowd! Although one can simply listen to the goings-on, putting one's two cents in via Twitter or out loud makes for a livelier time. With 3 sessions running concurrently, we had to choose what to attend, which I found difficult. Of the eight presentations I wanted to take in, I managed only four.

This year's 12 offerings focussed on technology to do with publishing, from catalogues to social media to e-books. I felt it was more geared to publishers this year, but the insights I got into the industry's take on all things electronic and the future were eye-opening. This is the first in a series of posts over the next month about items I learned from BookCamp Vancouver 2010.

First up was a session called Feeding the Social Media Beast Without Getting Bitten, which was delivered from the perspective of organizations who are finding social networking as time-consuming and addictive as individuals do. I have extrapolated the following keepers for writers:
  • Book readers today want to engage in conversations with authors/publishers/media in real time, not just be consumers of content.

  • Twitter is by far the best way to engage and foster discussions about titles, as well as increase sales of your books. Make sure you have one account for your writing life and another for your personal life - they don't mix.

  • Use Facebook, your blog, and website to push out content and to publicize book events, etc; then drive traffic to those pages using Twitter conversations.

  • Best times to tweet are 9:30am to noon and again from 4:00-6:00pm (your local time); best days to tweet are Tuesdays, Fridays, and the weekend; best months to tweet are March, June, and October thro' November.

  • Restrict yourself to about 30 minutes a day on social media sites - it is enough.
QUESTION: How do you use social media to enhance your writing career? What works best for you?
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