SoAiS Conference 2011

I’m still buzzing with ideas and flush with the excitement of making new friends, catching up with fellow tweeters and sharing fruitful connections at the 2011 Society of Authors in Scotland Conference. Anna Ganley and Rachel O’Malley hosted an imaginative and well-planned day of talks and seminars, not to mention a very splendid evening drinks reception.

The setting was the richly historical Royal College of Surgeons building in Edinburgh. But the conference was themed around how authors can take advantage of new technology so it was highly appropriate that the first sessions were held in the modern extension.

The marriage of traditional with new continued throughout the day in the range and depth of talks on everything from managing your online presence, using traditional methods to get the message out, the benefits of ebooks to how to make useful connections with your independent bookseller and … when not to call her!

The focus of the day was very much on embracing the new with the added proviso of not forgetting that traditional ways of selling books, marketing books and authors and publishing still have value.

The first panel discussion involved Caitrin Armstrong ( SBT), Colin Fraser (Anon), Peggy Hughes (SPL) and Vanessa Robertson (Fidra Books/Edinburgh Bookshop) who talked about a range of topics on author self-promotion. I was particularly chuffed that Colin mentioned #elevensestime as a go to place for authors. Those who follow me on twitter will be familiar with the hashtag and the chocolate cake that often accompanies it!

Allan Guthrie shared his experiences of turning books into ebooks – and how he built an online presence, Andrew Dixon (Creative Scotland) talked about new funding structures and how they opened new avenues for authors to explore and exploit and the afternoon panel, including Jenny Brown (Jenny Brown Associates) looked at the current position and ways of harnessing traditional publishing methods in the fluid digital era.

Despite the uncertainties and flux in publishing, the whole day was refreshingly positive in atmosphere and tone [as you can see from all the very smiley faces!] with many of the speakers discussing how authors can embrace the new and adapt the best traditional methods and make the most of the new opportunities available.

The evening rounded off with a drinks reception in the magnificent Playfair Hall where much merriment and networking was had to the accompanying swoosh of red wine.

Over the day I blethered to many lovely authors – pictured and not pictured here – including, Bryony Stocker, Harriet Smart, Alison Baverstock, Sara Sheridan, Joanna Hickson, Lin Anderson, Caroline Dunford, Victoria Finnigan, David Manderson, Dr Vee Freir, Colin Duriez, Simon Mawer, Elizabeth Reeder, Aimee Chalmers, and Maggie Craig. I urge you to seek them all out – follow their tweets, friend on Facebook and G+ subscribe to their websites and blogs – get involved, be engaged and show your support for their writing.

If you’ve ever thought of going along to one of the SoA conferences don’t hesitate – I’d highly recommend it. After all, if such an event can convince SoAiS Chair, Angus Konstam the value of twitter, think what it can do for you! Follow @Anguskonstam

This post gives just a flavour of the day which fairly flew along – for more details about the discussions hop over to an ingenious post on  12Booksin12Months where Ali George has used magic or wizardry to gather all the live tweets together.

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10 thoughts on “SoAiS Conference 2011

  1. davidtmanderson

    All excellent stuff bookrambler and thanx for the picture with IR – ’twas a great day. I’ll be back next year.

  2. Pingback: Scotland Panel Brown

  3. As far as I’m aware, no one discussed QR codes during the conference – and they are an interesting subject. I’ve recently seen several on advertising posters, for example, so I’m imagining it won’t be long before you can use them to get a free chapter to read on the tube/bus if you fancy the look of a book… I’ll make a note and next time we’re organising an event I’ll see if I can squeeze some info in…
    I should also say we will have QR codes during the 26Treasures exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland this winter – they will enable you to hear all the writers reading their own submissions for the exhibition. This will include @bookrambler, @fictionwitch – and me!

    1. Thanks for jumping in Sara – hope this is helpful Mar. I’d agree it’s a good thing that technology is headed that way. I found out when organising business cards that you can have QR on it which smart people with smart phones can swipe and take in all your info. without manually typing it. Can’t see why it wouldn’t be useful on programmes etc. Not everyone has the technology to use it so it’ll be a case of traditional with the new for a while, which is best of both worlds.
      Thanks too for Scottish organising, Sara. You’re on the committee aren’t you? Lovely goody bag!

    1. Hi Marianne – yes, sign of a good conference that we couldn’t get around everyone. Interesting day. I should have mentioned I was in the break out session on diversification with Caroline Dunford who covered a lot of ground looking at ways of using writing skills in different mediums from screenwriting to radio drama.
      Will seek you out next time.

  4. Sounds like it was an amazing event and very educational while being friendly. Just wondering if QR codes were mentioned at all as I’ve recently seen a few tweets from publishing tweeps mentioning them and how to use them.

    Thanks for the great write-up and for sharing!

    1. It was really worthwhile, Mar. I don’t have an immediate answer for you but will try and find out as it might have come up at a break out session which covered technical things in more detail. Main sessions gave a general overview of the situation.

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