Road in 2016
Our annual rundown of book fairs and
writers’ conferences for indie authors
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Wizard World Comic Con, New Orleans; Jan. 8–10
*ALA Midwinter Meeting, Boston; Jan. 8–12
New Delhi World Book Fair, New Delhi, India; Jan. 9–17
International Cairo Book Fair, Cairo, Egypt; Jan. 27–Feb. 10
Angoulême International Comics Festival, Angoulême, France;
San Miguel Writers Conference, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico;
*San Francisco Writers Conference, San Francisco; Feb. 11–14
Feria Internacional del Libro La Habana, Havana, Cuba; Feb.
Writers’ conferences, book fairs, and festivals are
an important tool for indie authors looking to market their work to a wider audience. Attending these
events allows authors to network with agents,
publishers, and other authors, as well as to meet
fans and learn more about the industry in general.
We’ve rounded up a selective list of relevant conferences, book fairs, and festivals happening
around the world in 2016. Events with a focus on
self-publishing have been marked with an asterisk.
Amazon’s bricks-and-mortor book store.
bestsellers would find shelf space at the
store. It will be a while before we know
whether Amazon’s expansion into the physical
retail sector breaks down the shelf-space barrier for indies on
any meaningful level.
The second barrier still stymieing authors in 2015 was the
lack of traditional media coverage for indie titles. Though indie
authors sell copies in the millions and enjoy a robust social
media following, recognition and validation from the traditional literary community is rare. To secure
reviews for an indie
book, authors had just
a few options last year:
paid review services (offered by outlets such as Kirkus,
IndieReader, BlueInk Review, and Self-Publishing Review); customer reviews (solicited by sending review copies to beta
readers or via Goodreads or social media giveaways); or a blog
tour, where bloggers run an excerpt, review, or q&a—none of
which usually leads to coverage in the traditional media.
Coverage is reserved for reportage of self-to-traditional publishing deals rather than reviews. Edelman agrees that the lack
of review space in traditional media outlets is a problem. “
Self-published authors still face a huge lack of respect, both from
readers and consumer media,” she says. She suggests that if
self-published authors were to pool their resources and advertise their books in traditional media, the reviews would soon
follow. “Money talks,” she says.
Edelman hopes that 2016 is the year that a consumer publication has the vision and muscle to reframe the narrative surrounding self-published books—by presenting them with the
same care shown to indie movies and music. By featuring the
best fiction, art, photography, graphic novels, and handmade
titles in the self-publishing world, publications could help
skeptical readers appreciate indie books. But until a high-profile
consumer-facing magazine (she suggests New York magazine as
a potential fit) or an influential public figure steps forward to
champion indie books, Edelman predicts that “self-published
books, for most people, will still mean ‘lesser than.’ ” ;