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 as a Troubador company. Jeremy regularly speaks at conferences on self-publishing, including the London Book Fair, Self-Publishing Conference and the Westminster Media Forum.

2019 Keynote Speaker

Orna Ross, Founder-Director, ALLi

OrnaRossOrna Ross is an award-winning and bestselling independent author. She writes novels, poems and non-fiction for other indie authors and creative entrepreneurs. A creative facilitator and advocate for self-publishing and digital micro-business for creatives, she is Founder-Director of the Alliance of Independent Authors and has repeatedly been named “one of the 100 most influential people in publishing” (The Bookseller).

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 and Introduction
  • 9.45-10.45am Session 1: Matador ‘Masterclasses’
  • 10.4511.00am 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 Panel: Mainstream or Self-Publishing?
  • 17.00-18.00pm Free drinks reception

Session 1: 9.45–10.45am – Matador Masterclasses

Covering all the bases in cover design


Chelsea Taylor and Rosie Lowe, Matador

Cover design is so often wrong on self-published books, with authors making the same mistakes over and over. So how can you get your book cover looking like something from a mainstream commercial publisher, so that it stands as good a chance as possible of selling? In this session, two of Matador’s cover designers look at the common pitfalls made by self-publishers with their covers, and how to approach cover design like a pro.

Ebook Essentials


Megan Lockwood-Jones and Stephanie Carr, Matador

Ebooks can be challenging both technically and because the market is so large and active. This session provides an introduction to all things ebook, from converting to ePub and Mobi formats, creating fixed format ebooks, ebook distribution through retailers, marketing through ebook retailers… and much much more. The session promises something for ebook novices and those already involved in ebook creation, distribution and marketing.

Social media for savvy self-publishers



Alexa Davies and Sophie Morgan, Matador

For self-publishers, social media can be of great benefit, but also a curse, in that it can demand a lot of time. From Twitter to Facebook, YouTube to Instagram, what social media channels can best be used to promote an author’s work, and how does each differ in the type of content that suits the widely varying audiences? This session looks at best practice in the use of social media for authors.


Using metadata to sell more books...


Clive Herbert, Nielsen Book

All authors want to sell more books, but most self-publishers know little about ‘metadata’ and how, by ensuring that your metadata is set up correctly, it can have a significant impact on sales. This session looks at the essentials of metadata… what it is, how the book trade uses it, and how it is possibly the most important part of the publishing process that self-publishers get wrong.


Session 2: 12.00–13.00pm

Pitch perfect: preparing your manuscript the professional way

Aki Schilz, The Literary Consultancy

Editing your work prior to publication is one of those steps often either underestimated or overlooked 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, going through some simple tips and tricks, as well as taking you through how best to perfect a book pitch: to help you approach readers, booksellers, and (if you are considering it) agents and publishers.


Promoting profitably with a podcast

Morgen Bailey

Podcasts have been around for years, but are now one of the fastest growing forms of broadcast media, and one that any author can use to help promote their own work. This session looks as the basics of podcasting, how you can go about creating your own podcast, the type of subjects to cover and finding that podcast USP.

Stand and deliver: public speaking for self-publishing authors

Ian Nichol, speaker and author

As an author you may well have to stand up and speak about your work… but public speaking can be terrifying for many. This session offers sound advice from a seasoned public speaker and author, looking at the advantages tha writers possess for public speaking, the myth of the writer as introvert, how to deal with those inevitable pre-speech nerves, and making the most of your book in your talks.

Your book's being printed... so what happens next?



Andy Vosper, TJ International, and Jeremy Thompson, Troubador Publishing

Many authors concentrate so much on getting their book ready for printing that they pay little attention to what happens next. What exactly do printers do with your PDF files? Why can it take weeks for printed books to appear? What different finishes do book printers offer? Then when the book finally appears, what happens next? Why can it take weeks to appear on bookshop shelves? Who gets the books there? If you’ve ever wondered how the print and book distribution trades work, this is the session for you!

Session 3: 14.00–15.00pm

Creating some noise: using publicity to sell books

Ben Cameron, Cameron PR

With so many books and ebooks now being published, standing out in a very crowded market is becoming increasingly difficult. Knowing how to approach the media and what they are likely to be interested in is half the battle. With many years’ experience in books public relations, Ben Cameron knows a thing or two about how to get the best from working with the media, and in this session he offers tricks for authors new and established.


Growing your business through self-publishing

Georgia Kirke, Publishing Consultant

Using self-publishing as a means to promote your own business is popular, but how can a business owner make the most of their publishing project? This session looks at ways of maximising the return — both financial and in terms of adding value to a business through publishing as an ‘expert’ — and how publishing a book can impact in a positive way on a business.

Choose your words carefully: brilliant blurbs and successful synopses

Cressida Downing, The Book Analyst

Blurbs and synopses, seemingly the easiest of things for an author to put together… yet so many have trouble! Blurbs and synopses have entirely different aims, and are usually directed at different audiences: readers, yes, but also retailers and the media. What are those differences, and what should an author be trying to do with each piece of writing?

Crime writing capers: incisive insights from a successful author

Stephen Booth, Crime author


Crime fiction is the most popular genre for readers. This session explores the current trends in crime writing and what readers are looking for in a crime novel, as well as how to keep them reading, and whether the choice between self-publishing and a more traditional route to publication makes any difference to them.



Session 4: 15.15–16.00pm

Working successfully with a children’s illustrator


Dave Hill, Professional illustrator

There’s obviously an art to creating illustrations for a children’s book. As a children’s author, finding a good illustrator who can create what you envisage… and then trusting them to use their creativity to interpret that brief… can be a difficult (and costly) task. This session looks at how to get the best from an illustrator, and work towards a mutually beneficial publishing project together.

Using a blog tour to reach readers


Anne Cater, Blogger

Getting involved with blogging has long been a good way for authors to promote their work. But nowadays, the ‘blog tour’ has become an even more popular way of reaching a constituency of readers who are already looking for books in your genre. So how do you go about getting onto a blog tour, and how can you make the most of it when you are ‘touring’? Blogger Anne Cater looks at the best practice when blogging about your work ‘on tour’, making the most of proven method of publicity.

Navigating the literary agent’s role


Kate Nash, Literary Agent

Find the right literary agent and you have a champion and coach as well as agent for your work. In today’s publishing world the role of literary agents is evolving. What does a literary agent actually do? And how does self-publishing complement, support or compete with traditional publishing? Kate will discuss practical tips on how to approach agents and how to navigate the author-agent relationship.

Self-editing: choosing the right editorial service


Richard Sheehan, Editor

Good editing can make or break a book, but which type of editing should you choose? What’s the difference between copy-editing, substantive editing, line editing, developmental editing and proofreading? And how crucial is self-editing by the author, and what areas in the manuscript might benefit from it most?

Author Panel: Mainstream versus Self-Publishing?

This panel session looks at the different routes to publishing, the pros and cons of each, and the expectations that authors often have from each. Featuring both mainstream and self-published authors, the session will conclude with a Q&A.

Jane Corry

Jane is a former magazine journalist who spent three years working as the writer-in-residence of a high security prison for men. She had never been inside a jail before and this often hair-raising experience helped inspire her Sunday Times bestselling psychological thrillers, The Dead Ex, Blood Sisters and My Husband’s Wife. Jane’s next book with Penguin is called I Looked Away and will be published this summer.

Angelena Boden

Angelena spent 35 years as an international training consultant, specialising in behavioural management and conflict resolution. She trained in Transactional Analysis, the psychology of communication and behaviour, her preferred tool for counselling and coaching. She originates from the Peak District but has spent a lifetime travelling and living in places as far apart as Vancouver, Dubai, Paris, Seville and Iran. Now semi-retired in Great Malvern, she writes every morning, walks the hills and paints landscapes every afternoon and fits family and reading in between. She is the author of two traditionally published novels and many articles and blogs. Her most recent novel, Edna’s Death Cafe is published as an e-book by Matador.

Stephen Booth

Stephen Booth is a former newspaper journalist and the author of the best-selling Cooper and Fry crime series. His books have won awards on both sides of the Atlantic and are translated into 16 languages. As well as teaching writing courses, Stephen is a director of the writer development agency Writing East Midlands, and has self-published 16 titles under his own imprints.