Welcome and Introduction

Jeremy Thompson, Managing Director, Troubador Publishing Ltd

jeremyJeremy is the founder and Managing Director of Troubador Publishing Ltd with over 30 years’ experience in commercial and self-publishing. He founded the Matador self-publishing imprint in 1999, making it the UK’s most widely recommended author services provider, and launched the Self-Publishing Conference in 2013. In 2015 he acquired The Book Guild Ltd for Troubador. Jeremy regularly speaks at conferences and events on self-publishing, including the London Book Fair, Self-Publishing Conference and the Westminster Media Forum.

2018 Keynote Speaker

James Spackman, Publishing Consultant

JamesSpackmanJames Spackman is a publisher and consultant, commissioning books for Profile, under his imprint Pursuit and helping companies with branding, presentation and copy. He is an influential thinker and speaker in the publishing industry and also founder of The Spare Room Project, a regional diversity initiative. His career has also involved roles with Bloomsbury, John Murray, Hodder & Stoughton and Osprey Group.

In this Keynote Presentation, James concentrates on the importance of good copywriting and blurb writing for authors. With a wide and varied experience of publishing in the UK, James promises to shed light on the prospects for smaller publishers and the future of book publishing in general.

2018 Plenary Speaker

Molly Flatt, Author and Journalist

MollyFMolly Flatt is an author and journalist who specialises in the impact of technology on publishing, culture and identity. She is Associate Editor of FutureBook, Associate Editor of The Memo, Digital Editor of PHOENIX magazine and her debut novel, The Charmed Life of Alex Moore, will be published by Pan Macmillan this May.

In this challenging and empowering talk, Molly will discuss how a modern author needs to think like an entrepreneur – understanding what they want, marshalling their resources and playing the long game. She will examine three key trends influencing the publishing industry right now, and explain how savvy authors can use them to increase their chances of getting their stories heard.

2019 Session Timetable

In a packed day, delegates can choose from a range of sessions to suit their own knowledge requirements. Here is the preliminary session timetable (subject to change).

  • 8.45 – 9.30am Registration and coffee
  • 9.30 – 9.45am Welcome
  • 9.45 – 10.45am Session 1: Matador ‘Masterclasses’
  • 10.45 – 11.00am Morning coffee
  • 11.00 – 12.00am Keynote presentation
  • 12.00 – 13.00pm Session 2
  • 13.00 – 14.00pm Lunch
  • 14.00 – 15.00pm Session 3
  • 15.00 – 15.15pm Afternoon Tea and Cake
  • 15.15 – 16.00pm Session 4
  • 16.00 – 17.00 Author publishing success panel
  • 17.00 – 18.00pm Free drinks reception

Session One: 10.20AM – 11.20AM

Publishing rights for beginners

Caroline Hill-Trevor, Independent rights agent

What gives a book rights potential and how much that should inform the writing process? So then, how do you go about selling rights to your work, and what kind of deals could you expect to make? Independent rights agent Caroline Hill-Trevor looks at the world of rights, with a particular emphasis on small and independent publishers.

The Big Five: Common Writing mistakes and how to avoid them

Cressida Downing, The Book Analyst

This is a practical workshop on five common writing mistakes: focusing on ‘show don’t tell’, using speech modifiers, not walking your characters through every moment of their day, lecturing your reader on your hobbyhorse… and why some authors get to break the rules but you don’t!

Using the right vocabulary in children's books

Ian Billings

Too many authors believe that writing a children’s book is easy, yet pitching the level of language correctly for different age ranges can be incredibly difficult. In this session, Ian Billings examines what you can do to ensure thatr you don’t fall into the language black hole…

How to be media savvy in a digital age

Helen Lewis, Lewis PR

Knowing how to obtain good quality media coverage, and when, is the key to jump-starting sales of your newly published book. In  this session, Helen Lewis looks at how to prepare a plan for marketing, how to go about each step involved, and what to realistically expect from your PR work.

Session Two: 11.45AM – 12.45PM

In the eye of the beholder... working with an illustrator


Mike Bastin, freelance illustrator

How do you go about commissioning an illustrator? How can you ensure you are getting the right style of illustrations?  And how do you know that you’ll get illustrations that meet what you want? These and many other questions will be discussed in this session on getting the best from your illustrator.

Preparing your poetry for publication


Alison Chisholm, poet and columnist

Poet and Writing Magazine columnist Alison Chisholm looks at how to prepare your work for publication in this workshop-style session. Seven of Alison’s collections have been published by commercial publishers, but she prefers the artistic freedom of self publication, and has published four collections independently.

The essential marketing toolkit for authors


Jonathan White, Pip Iliffe and Alexa Davies

There are many ways to market a book that don’t need a big budget. But there are also means of marketing used by all publishers that require industry knowledge and know-how. In this session, we look at how to get both media and retailers interested in your book.

On demand the Ingram Spark way


Andy Bromley, Ingram Spark

Self-publishing is often incorrectly confused with Print On Demand, but POD is simply another means to produce and distribute a book. In this session, Andy Bromley looks at what the popular Ingram Spark POD offering can give to self-publishing authors.

Session Three: 14.45PM – 15.30PM

Reading the cover: positioning your book for the market

Angus Phillips, Director, Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies

Whatever they say, people DO judge a book by its cover. So how do you know that your cover will attract the right attention and convince someone to buy it? This session explores the vagaries of book cover design and how the market influences and often dictates what book covers look like.

Keeping it short! Plots and the short story

Ashley Lister, creative writing tutor

Writing short stories can be tricky, and not as simple as you may first think. Getting the plot right in a short story can be challenging, or what is planned as a short story can otherwise become a novel! In this session we look at how to best approach short stories from the very beginning, and how best to carry through to a successful — and short — conclusion.


The rise (and fall?) of the ebook...

Megan Lockwood-Jones and Stephanie Carr, Troubador Publishing

The success of the ebook has revolutionised how many self-publishers get their work read more widely, but the ebook market has matured and sales are falling. This session looks at developments in the ebook landscape, including subscription services, and evolving best practice in marketing your work.

Text: designing layouts for maximum impact

Chelsea Taylor and Joe Shillito, Troubador Publishing

This workshop looks at text design and layout in books. Often overlooked in favour of cover design, text design also influences the buying decisions of readers, and has an enormous influence on how attractive (or otherwise) a book looks. Typesetting involves both a designer’s eye and an in-depth technical knowledge, both of which are discussed in this session.

Session Four: 16:00PM – 17.00PM

Writing competitions and the self-publishing author



Morgen Bailey

Why should you enter writing competitions? What are the judges looking for? What makes a great competition story? Insider information and tips from Writers’ Forum‘s ‘Competitive Edge’ columnist, competition judge and entrant Morgen Bailey.

Beyond the DIY: book covers and the self-publisher



Chelsea Taylor and Rosie Lowe, Troubador Publishing; Andy Vosper, TJ International Ltd

We all know that good cover design has a huge impact on a book’s success. But what makes a good design? What factors come in to play, other than the obvious? This workshop session looks at the differences between the DIY cover and the professionally designed, and examines what factors a publisher should take account of when choosing a suitable design.

More than ''just an edit''...



Aki Schilz, The Literary Consultancy

Editing your work prior to publication is one of those steps often either underestimated or overlooked entirely by self-publishing authors. Yet good editing can make or break a book before it reaches the shelves. Aki Schilz discusses the importance of editing, and what pitfalls should be avoided.

The British Library and Self-Publishers



Andrew Davis, The British Library

The British Library oversees nation’s literary heritage, and yes… that includes self-published books and ebooks! But what exactly does the Library do? What is legal deposit and how does it affect self-publishers?