by Tara Cremin

As the world begins to open up, Kobo Writing Life is finally venturing back to some in-person events.

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending The Self Publishing Show Live in London. This was my first in-person event since February 2020! It felt both like an eternity, but also like no time had passed.

The Self Publishing Show Live (SPS Live) is hosted by Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula, and is touted as Europe’s largest indie writers’ conference. If you’re not familiar with The Self Publishing Formula, it’s a one-stop shop for everything an author needs to know about self publishing, including a weekly podcast, Facebook Community of 25K members and lots of courses (both free and paid) on craft, production, and marketing. This wonderful community was founded by Mark Dawson, an award-nominated USA Today bestseller, with more than 20 books published and over 2 million books downloaded in multiple countries and languages.

SPS Live was a jam-packed two-day event that had lots of sessions, from inspirational success stories to hands-on marketing advice. It also offered an opportunity for authors to meet different retailers and vendors – Kobo Writing Life included! One of the best parts of my job is meeting authors face-to-face. I loved chatting to everyone that came to the KWL booth.

My biggest takeaways from SPS Live were that there are immense opportunities for authors on TikTok and that AI isn’t as scary as it sounds.

Likewise, Joanna Penn is such a visionary when it comes to seeing the future of books and publishing, and I loved her talk. She highlighted how AI should be viewed as a tool to help authors grow their catalogue and expand their offerings.

Speaking of AI, ProWritingAid were there too, offering a great demo of their AI tools.

Tara and Joanna Penn

In-person events like this offer wonderful networking opportunities and I loved learning about the books that people were writing and what stage they were in their publishing journey. There’s nothing like chit-chatting with authors, overlooking the Thames on a lovely sunny day. The only regret I have was not talking to E.L. James, who was in attendance! Without the Fifty Shades series, I do wonder where self-publishing would be today – James’ success undoubtedly opened doors for so many authors to achieve their dreams of writing for a living.

If you’d like to learn more about SPS Live, every session was recorded and edited by a professional film crew. You can buy digital tickets here.

We’re so happy to see this shout-out from KWL author Skye MacKinnon in Wide for the Win!

Are you attending any events in-person this year? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to more dispatches from the KWL team.