Self Publishers Online Conference

spoc120For four years, Susan Daffron and James Byrd hosted the Self Publishers Online Conference (SPOC).  The online live event featured 15 speakers discussing topics related to publishing and promoting books.

The Self-Publishers Online Conference was the first and the largest online conference specifically dedicated to self-publishing.

SPOC was not just another “telesummit” with a bunch of prerecorded audios that try to “upsell” people other expensive programs. SPOC was held live using a custom-programmed web site that was integrated with audio. Every year attendees raved about how accessible, helpful and “real” our speakers were. For four years, James and Susan worked to find speakers focused on education and sharing what is working in publishing.

Here are a few things that separated SPOC from other online events:

  • SPOC was a live event. Even though the conference was online, it was live. After people registered, when it was time for a session, they could just open your Web browser, log into the SPOC Web site, and click on the session page. It had a discussion board and links to handouts. Everything an attendee needed was right there, just as if they had walked into a conference room and sat down. (Except the chair is probably more comfortable and you can wear your ugly bunny slippers if you like.)
  • Live question and answer sessions. Like any other in-person event, attendees could interact with other attendees and the speakers. (Attendees actually got to communicate with the experts too.) Got questions? Get answers. Each day had a special session set aside just for Q&A, so people wouldn’t get overwhelmed.
  • Interactive discussion area for each session that is monitored by James and Susan. Many attendees actually were able to get clarification or their questions answered during the sessions because the moderators watched the discussions and could seamlessly steer an interview toward the exact issues attendees wanted addressed. (People did not have to sign up for any extra social media tool, monitor hashtags or even open up another browser window; everything was built into the SPOC site.)
  • A virtual exhibit hall with special SPOC-only deals. Attendees could learn more about products and services offered by speakers and vendors at their leisure. (Products and services were not mentioned in sessions, which were exclusively focused on education.)
  • Session handouts, bonus reports, and slides from speakers that could be downloaded.
  • Audios of every session. If people had to miss a session, they could get the recording later. Recordings were generally posted within an hour. Also, unlike some live events, there are no concurrent “tracks” that force you to miss a session. SPOC ran over 3 days, but sessions were not held at the same time. Attendees had time between events to eat lunch, walk the dog, and so forth. In fact, some attendees treated SPOC like an in-person event and took time off from work or their business to ensure they could attend every single session.
  • Follow-up after the event. Unlike most conferences, after the event is over, people could still get help through a publishing mastermind group.

What people said about SPOC:

I liked hearing the conflicting advice from different speakers. It showed that there is not just one path, but many paths, to choose from. You need to go with what works for you.
~ Pat Dranchak


I liked how you had successful authors talking about ways to get your writing out there. There were many things mentioned that I hadn’t thought of before. The thing I noticed about all the speakers that I heard is that they wanted to help people succeed. I really liked how some of the speakers were talking about what the future trends are to be expected.
~ Tara Johnson


Made me more than ever want to self-publish rather than keep waiting for traditional publishers to decide.
~ Shelly Campbell-Harley


I have a much better sense of how to write for a niche audience and market my work effectively. Most of the presenters were able to get across their own experiences self-publishing, and it gave me hope that I could do the same.
~ Miriam Ruff


Incredible hands on advice. Great expertise. Loved the moderators. Really seemed to “get it” and redirect speakers to help new writers. Had a real sense of honesty and “good people” feel. Incredibly talented mix of presenters. Liked that material was detailed yet presented so that even a novice could understand. Absolutely wonderful. Presenters made it plain how involved process is.
Thank you so much. Loved it.
~ Pat Bratianu RN PhD


“Great Presentation and information! I am VERY pleased with all the presenters and them giving great tips, resources and content on all of the calls. AWESOME CONFERENCE!!!”
~ C. K.


“I would like to say thank you so much Susan & James for your amazing conference. You were both wonderful! I wish you both and everyone attending much happiness, success now and through the years. I look forward to keeping in touch!!”
~ K. M.


What you’ve put together is impressive and SO organized! You guys have really put together something unique and made it so easy to participate! Am grateful.
~ B.G.


This is my second day on the Conference….and I want to say this event has been SUPER! I have learned from every speaker, been inspired, motivated, educated and directed. Thank you for the tremendous effort and GREAT line up of speakers. Kudos to the SPOC TEAM!
~ S.P.


I have been participating in the conference and want to thank you thank you thank you for the wonderful help I am getting from this. You are wonderful for doing this. Thank you so much!!! Please send along my thanks to everyone. This feels really good. 🙂
~ J.W.


I learned, among other things, that the successful people actually got stuff completed, and followed a plan and gots lots of help along the way. I’m already better at strategic decision-making since SPOC, and always thinking about how I can turn any current project into a book.
~ Stephen J Barrett


This was full of very useful information and the auditory features allow me to listen while I run. Thank you.
~ Jenny Hadfield


As a wanna-be self-published author, I now feel much more confident that I can do this. I have new methods for preventing procrastination; I now know how to become a publisher and get ISBNs. I more well-rounded idea of what goes into getting a book published, as well as specific steps to take to get my book written and published.
~ Kathy Goughenour