DPCON12 Wrap Up – Part 1
Yes, I am late. Yes, I am behind the 8 ball. Yes, probably all I say here has already been said.
But I can’t not talk about what I learned from DPCON12 in Melbourne last week.
There are 2 areas of learning for me – the actual conference learnings and what I learned as a first-time conference attendee.
For this post, I’ll go through my actual conference learnings for the first 2 sessions of the conference (I took lots of notes!) and leave the rest for another time.
I was taken back to my university days as I sat at my table with my ipad taking copious notes of all that I heard. Well, actually it wasn’t like uni as ipads weren’t in existence back then, but you know what I mean!
1. Social Media for Social Good
Of all the panels, this one spoke the loudest to me.
I knew before the conference that my personal experiences with autism and albinism could and should be used more seriously on this blog.
I knew already that I should take the time to sit down and write quality posts sharing my own knowledge and experience so I can support others.
But this panel really gave me the kick up the butt that I needed to make this happen. I want to be a better advocate for these conditions. I want to work to raise awareness and understanding. I want to do good with my blog.
Hearing Darren Rowse (Problogger) speak about what he is doing to help those who don’t have a voice in Tanzania was a revelation. He is truly living a life where social media is directly impacting on social good.
Richenda’s (World Vision) insight into how charities and not-for-profit organisations work and how they struggle just to be heard was a light-bulb moment for me. It was also a timely reminder that you should speak to a charity first before posting on their behalf to ensure that you are on message.
Listening to Lisa McLean (Madam Bipolar) and Gemma Klamer (My Big Nutshell) talk about their experience in bringing people together as part of RUOK? day last year was also amazing – it is staggering to think of the increased level of awareness they were able to achieve for such a taboo issue like suicide.
The main learnings I took away from the session were:
- find a cause that fits your passions
- build a relationship
- find a relevant tie into your blog
- tell stories
- blog with respect
- use multi-media
- give people a way to join you
- call to action
- why do this?
- it makes the world better
- it makes your blog better
- it makes you better
This was a powerful panel. I came away from it inspired and ready to do more for others on my blog. Watch this space for more as the year goes on.
2. Blog to Book
I have never had any inclination to write a book – I’m not that ambitious and, to be honest, it seems like a hell of a lot of work to me!
But, despite not having that innate need to be a published author, this panel was surprisingly inspiring for me.
I loved hearing the very different stories from the blogger/authors on the panel and how they were able to use their blogs to make it happen.
Kylie Ofiu got a dream approach from a publisher who wanted her to write a book based on a post about 1001 ways to make money. It was only a matter of months between the first approach and her eventual book submission which the moderator, Valerie Khoo, went to great pains to say was not in any way a normal situation!
Considering her blog was not huge when she was approached it shows that some publishers look for actual engagement and the potential for growth rather than just the hard numbers of existing followers and subscribers. It was an inspiring example for this reason.
Pip Lincolne (Meet Me At Mikes) emailed a publisher and was asked in to have an introductory meeting. She already had a successful blog and online shop to leverage off although for her it took 2 years between signing the contract and publishing the book. But she has never looked back – she is now working on her 5th and 6th books.
Her experience shows that luck, talent and strategy needs to come together to make it work. But in her case, a blog with a good following and a solid idea for a book was used as a basis to approach a publisher. It shows it is worth holding onto that dream and trying your luck because you never know if you never ask!
Karen Andrews (Miscellaneous Mum) self-published her children’s book “Surprise” (which was included in the goodie bag for the conference and is really very good.) She did 13 drafts before the book was ready and then had to find a distributor to put it into stores.
She noted that children’s books are expensive due to the pictures and she had her books shipped from Malaysia where they were printed. She thinks she has broken even now and estimates that she has sold around 1500 copies, including copies held in libraries which gives her small royalty payments.
The main learnings I took away from this session were:
- build your tribe
- improve and enhance your writing skills
- be open to opportunities
- pursue opportunities
I was surprisingly inspired by this panel – not that I’ll be writing a book anytime soon – but it was a fascinating glimpse into the complexities of the literary world.
In my next post I will share my thoughts and learnings from the middle two sessions of the day which dealt with working with brands and building a business from a blog. Stay tuned…