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The Self-Publishing Workshop held on 30th September 2023 by the Michael Sedgwick Memorial Trust at British Motor Museum, Gaydon was a great success according to the feedback received from attendees and speakers.
After a welcome from the Trust's Chairman, former Autocar Editor, Ray Hutton, the keynote speech was given by the Editor-in-Chief of Autocar, Steve Cropley, as shown in our headline illustration. In an entertaining speech, Steve confessed that he was a bit of a fraud at this event, having never self-published a book, but was keen to learn about the process which might come in handy in the future.
The first speaker was Mark Hughes, current Managing Editor for EVRO Publishing and former Managing Editor at Haynes Publishing, who took the audience "From Concept to Reality", a process common to books produced by publishing houses as well as self-publishing. Richard Netherwood, who has a great deal of experience of commissioning print jobs covered "How and Where to Publish" looking at book formats with live costed examples which everyone found incredibly useful.
Bob Cartwright then took everyone through the business side of self-publishing, from the attitude of the Inland Revenue to the discounts demanded by Amazon and how a business plan of some description could help the novice self-publisher through the process. There followed a panel discussion moderated by Peter Card with three notable self-publishers answering questions from the audience as well as those set by Peter. Michael Edwards has self-published six books on De Dion Bouton, Chris Rees has self-published a number of books on specialist, kit and Mini-based cars, while Ian Dussek has published two editions of his definitive history of HRG as well as books on non-motoring history. The discussion was non-stop and lively and lunch was taken with the discussion still ongoing.
Over lunch, attendees were free to visit the Museum's extensive collections, but most were to be found in earnest conversations with the trade printers who were present or with other delegates and speakers.
The afternoon sessions were kicked off by Giles Chapman, author of many motoring books who took everyone through the process of "Putting Your Book Together" in an entertaining presentation. In the final presentations of the day, magazine stalwarts Martin Port and James Mann took the audience through "Design and Layout" and "Sales and Marketing". These essential aspects were covered in detail and James made reference to his experiences self-publishing the second edition of his book on "How to Photograph Cars".
The final part of the day was taken up by a lively question and answer session involving all of the speakers and many in the audience who shared their experiences.
The feedback that the Trust has received indicates that the event was found to be helpful, informative and enjoyable. Participants enjoyed the interaction with other authors and the printing companies and have asked that this kind of forum be held on a more frequent basis. The Trustees considered this at a recent meeting and are minded that visits might be organised to printing companies' premises to enable prospective self-publishers to discuss options directly and see the process in action. If you would be interested in participating in such a visit, please email the Trust at email@example.com
Our other photographs, also taken by Paul Skilleter, show:- Mark Hughes giving his presentation, lunchtime deliberations in front of the Lavenham Press stand, Richard Netherwood in full flow, attendees concentrating on the speakers, Martin Port and James Mann, Peter Card introducing Chris Rees, Ian Dussek and Michael Edwards.