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Self Publishing Show Live Recap by Kitty Bucholtz

July 9, 2023 by in category Writing tagged as , , , ,
Self Publishing Show Live 2023 with Mark Dawson and James Blatch

I was thrilled to attend Mark Dawson’s SPS Live last month in London! It was exactly the shot in the arm I needed to bring back my thrill for my career! I thought you might want to know what happened there because you can still buy the digital ticket and watch the recordings of all the presentations. You’ll be glad you did. Soooo many people — onstage and off — made a point of encouraging everyone else, urging us all to watch our mindset in order to help us reach new levels of success.

First up was Bella Andre talking about translations. She was generous and clear about exactly how it’s been working for her. If you have a long series, this is something you need to look into.

Damon Courtney from BookFunnel gave a great presentation about how to build a book funnel to find your perfect readers and grow your list. Of course, if you use BookFunnel, he gave some advice about group promos and author swaps.

Next was an interesting panel on writing regional crime novels. Whether you write in this genre or not, there was a lot to learn from these incredibly successful authors. One tip — focus on character and setting over the crime and the procedural portion. That’s what brings readers back for more.

Then Fictionary (writing software) gave a story structure presentation. Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur shared tips on improving your Amazon sales page. Craig Martelle and Kate Pickford gave inspiring talks on perfectionism and getting in your own way. And we finished the first day with a panel discussing AI.

I was so fired up after the first day, my brain was bouncing off the walls of my skull! Hahaha!!

Marc Reklau began Day Two with a talk that was both inspiring and practical. Then Mark Dawson and Orna Ross of Alliance of Independent Authors shared the results of a survey about independent authors including income, sales, and trends. (I linked to the downloadable results. ^^)

TikTok shared an exciting presentation about TikTok Shop that was only disappointing at the end if you did not reside in the U.K., the U.S., or a few countries in Southeast Asia. (It’s not available outside these countries yet, and the TikTok app won’t show you the options outside these countries.)

Britt Andrews from ProWritingAid (writing software) gave a great presentation on building a fandom. Then the Kindle Storyteller Award winners took the stage for a group interview. And finishing out the conference, Mark Dawson and Emma Boyle (Written Word Media, the company that owns Freebooksy, Bargainbooksy, etc.) gave tips on elevating ebook promo success. (Mark’s Hello Books has joined up with Written Word Media for ebook promos.)

And there it is — a very brief recap and a reminder that you can still buy the digital ticket for $99. When the videos are ready in August, Mark and team are going to do a little launch that includes a few extra live classes, so come join us! Being there live was electric and I’ve made a lot of changes already with more to come. I hope you find a similar excitement in watching the videos!

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Teaching SEO Marketing and Author Brand to Writers At SoCalCWC 2019.

February 12, 2019 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby, Writing tagged as , , , ,

I’m super excited to announce I will be teaching for the first time at a writers’ conference in June this year. The SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference will be held at Hope International University in Fullerton, CA on June 20-22, 2019.

SoCal Christian Writers' Conference June 20-22, 2019. Denise M. Colby will be teaching two workshops - one on SEO Marketing and one on Author Brand

I will be teaching two workshops. My topics? 

  • SEO Marketing for Your Website
  • Developing Your Author Brand

And I’ve been given a cute social media button to announce that I’m faculty on my website and social media. I thought it would be fun to add it here, too.

SoCal Christian Writers' Conference Faculty Member Denise M. Colby will be teaching SEO Marketing and Author Brand

What is the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference? 

This is what is listed on their website:

Whether you’re a new writer or you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ll find a wonderful community of writers at the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference.

  • Meet with and learn from top-name professionals who will share their insights and expertise from their work in the Christian publishing industry, including agents, acquisitions editors, and best-selling authors.

There are several topics that attendees can learn about, but to help you find out more, take a look at their websiteor Facebook Page.

Did I tell you I’m excited? I am a little giddy about sharing my knowledge and experience with others in a way that I hope will be helpful. I’ve been waiting a while to have this opportunity. I also will have time slots for people to sign up and meet with me one-on-one for advice or input. I wonder if anyone will be interested in hearing what I have to say?

Whether you are a screenwriter, fiction, nonfiction, memoir or teen writer, this conference has something for you. The morning is filled with continuing sessions in a specific topics such as platform, editing, screenwriting, memoir writing, fiction, and nonfiction. There’s even a special section just for teen writers. Each morning session builds on each other throughout the three day conference.

Then there are also individual topics in the afternoon workshops in areas including; publishing, the writing life, fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, specialty and marketing.

This is where my two classes fit.

In the Developing Your Author Brand class, I plan to help attendees figure out what their brand is or at least narrow down options to help them decide later. And how to develop that brand with your target audience. We will brainstorm applicable content for future use and introduce apps that can help create posts for social media and websites. I’m hoping to have it be a hands on class, where people can actually make something on their laptop during class they can use right away.

For the SEO Marketing for your Website workshop, I will go over what is SEO and why it is important, how to use search engines to find strong keywords and how to create strong SEO with your photos and text (and the steps to do it). We will brainstorm content ideas and create one item from your list.

SoCal Christian Writers' Conference 2019 Marketing Workshops by Denise Colby or Denise M. Colby, SoCalCWC2019
Look – My name is listed!

Years ago when I sat in on my first writers meeting, I had an interest to want to teach a workshop. But I felt at the time like I didn’t have anything to offer, especially because I didn’t know much about this industry. How would I ever have enough experience to provide knowledge and inspiration to both published and unpublished authors?

Well, it turns out I can use my knowledge in my 20+ year career in marketing. The only thing I didn’t have, was an understanding of the publishing world. Yet.

Fast forward five years and I’m ready.

I’ve had several years’ experience in creating my own website and evaluating other author’s pages, as well as practicing different theories and formulas and working with experts in the field. And I’ve learned that what comes naturally for me, may not be natural for other writers. But it doesn’t have to be scary. Thus, this is where I can help.

SoCal Christian Writers' Conference Faculty Member Denise M. Colby is teaching SEO Marketing and Author Brand at SoCalCWC2019, Denise Colby
Here’s my picture and bio on the faculty page

This year, the conference is in its third year. I wrote about the first year in my blog, What Do You Do At a Writing Conference? Since I’ve been involved from the beginning, I’ve made such wonderful friends and have learned something new each year I’ve attended. It’s the perfect place for me to get my feet wet as a new faculty member. I can’t wait!

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What Do You Do At a Writing Conference?

July 12, 2017 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

I have an updated game plan, thanks to my attendance at the recent SoCal Christian Writers Conference, held at Biola University. It was the inaugural year for this conference, but so many of the faculty and conference staff were old pros and brought with them wonderful insights and inspiration to share with us writers – both published and non-published.

So what goes on at a writers conference?

Not a lot of writing, that’s for sure. But there’s more to being a writer and that’s where attending a conference with other writers is so valuable.

As I reflect back on the three days I attended, I am so glad I went. If you’ve never gone to one before, here are a few opportunities to embrace when you do attend.

Form new friendships


Friendships formed with other writers is the bomb. They speak the same language and they understand what it takes to work as a writer. Depending on the conference you may find writers who write the exact same genre or you may find writers who write something unrelated (such as fiction vs non-fiction) but can share with you ideas such as how to do tasks differently. Almost every attendee is a writer and feels the same way you do about books and words. Take advantage of meeting writers while waiting in line to check-in, or in between classes, or during one of the many meals shared as a group.

Learn something new


Anyone can learn something new about the craft of writing or the business aspect of it. I took an amazing class about writing humor and learned there are specific things writers who write humor do to pull it off. It was fascinating and since I want to add laughter to my books, insightful.

Make Appointments


Most conferences offer appointments with the faculty. This is an opportunity to meet one-on-one with a professional to either show them your work, called a pitch, or ask specific questions about their career or experience. I signed up for several and even though I felt intimidated in the beginning of every single one, I walked away with fresh direction and insight of where I want to go with my writing career.

One of my meetings was with a writer with major blogging experience and I learned a few things about the right way to write a blog after she kindly read my sample and provided feedback. I walked away excited to go home and try my hand at writing my blogs better than before. Every single one of them was well worth my time and I’m extremely grateful for their time and encouragement.



Conferences are run with the help of volunteers. I volunteered during this conference. What I got out of it was so much more than what I put in. I worked the registration desk and met every single person when they checked in. I found myself saying hi to everyone as I walked around the campus and it made it easier to connect and exchange business cards. It gave me confidence to ask questions and learn more about them and what they do. Conferences are jammed with things to do the entire time, but offering to serve a little can go a long way too.

These are just a few of the things you can benefit from by attending a conference. If you haven’t considered going, I would highly recommend it. Take a good look at what sessions are being offered and if there are any faculty you would be interested in asking a question or two, even if they aren’t directly related to your genre. Who knows you might just meet your new critique partner there, like I just did.


Denise Colby |The Writing JourneyDenise M. Colby loves learning about history and reading fun, uplifting, encouraging stories that cherish and warm the heart. Combining two of her loves, she is working on her first inspirational historical romance, featuring Olivia Carmichael, a young lady who loses everything, including her faith, travels to California to teach and finds love in many different forms along the way. Passionate about all types of stories – whether they are from songs, theatre, movies or novels, Denise loves sharing these passions with her husband and their three boys. You can follow along with Denise on her writing journey at www.denisemcolby.com


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