The Author Business: helping turn your creativity into a living

Location: Manchester
Address: Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL.
Event time: 10am-5pm
We've cherry-picked all of the best talks from the SoA events programme and put them into one great value day conference for members of Authors North. A full day of advice sessions, training and workshops on the business of being a writer.

Save £20 and book your earlybird ticket by 30 September!

Event details


10am Registration, tea and coffee

10.20-10.30 Opening remarks from the Chair of Authors North, Niel Bushnell

10.30-12.30 Morning workshops, choose either:

A) Stepping into e-publishing: Ebook workshop with Ian Skillicorn

This two-hour ebook workshop covers the main points you need to know when considering whether to self-publish your writing as ebooks. The workshop includes practical advice and guidance on preparing your book for publication, where to sell it and how to market it.

About Ian Skillicorn

Ian Skillicorn is the founder and publishing director of Corazon Books. Titles include ebook reissues of works by some of the most popular authors of the 20th century, including Catherine Gaskin, Lucilla Andrews and Ursula Bloom, as well as bestselling debut fiction. The imprint has had many bestselling titles in the UK, US and Australia. 

Ian is a member of the SoA and the Historical Novel Society, an associate member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. For further information, please visit Ian's website.

B) Managing your money: Tax workshop with HW Fisher Accountants 

Are you mystified by tax returns? Does VAT leave you baffled? Ajay Jassal, Barry Kernon and Andy Levett, Senior Accountants and Tax Advisers in HW Fisher's Authors & Journalists Team, are here to tell you everything you need to know.

This two-hour workshop will cover income tax (expenses, claims, how to save tax, etc.), record-keeping, VAT, taxation of copyrights, manuscripts and other tax and accounting related matters, as well as tea and biscuits!

You'll learn how to run your business in the most tax-efficient way so that you understand the taxes you need to pay, and can manage your business to be more profitable. Attendees of this session will receive a copy of the Authors and Journalists Guide to Tax 2017-2018.

About HW Fisher 

The Author and Journalists team provide specific accounting and tax advice on issues including:  Self-assessment | Time limits | Simple record keeping | Accounts and tax return preparation | Professional expenses | Royalty accounting and audits | Appealing against the taxman | What happens when you send in your tax return | Author’s averaging VAT, including the flat rate scheme | Domicile | Incorporation | Partnerships | National Insurance.

Places are limited at these workshops. Members are asked to express their preference on booking and then we will allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis.

12.30-1.30 Lunch and Author Spotlight

This year, for the first time, we are trialling 3-4 members’ book stalls over lunch in the café. If you are interested in manning a stall, please contact Anna Ganley. You will need to bring your own books and be prepared to man the stall over the lunch break.

1.30-2.30 - Making the Most of Digital Media with Paul Teague

How to use the internet to market yourself and your books. In this info-packed session, digital marketer and indie-author, Paul Teague will reveal:

  • How to get to No. 1 in the Amazon kindle charts using a simple digital strategy (plus proof that it can be done and repeated!).
  • The best social media channels to use for quick results as an author.
  • How to harness other people's digital platforms to accelerate your own career.
  • Why you need a mailing list and how to gain email 5,000 subscribers in your genre in one month for free! 
  • Plus, lots of information, tips and examples along the way.
  • About Paul Teague

Paul Teague is the self-published author of six YA/sci-fi/dystopian novels and five crime/thriller novels.  He also writes non-fiction books on digital topics and runs a self-publishing podcast at Self-Publishing Journeys

2.30-2.40pm Water break

2.40-3.30pm Parallel sessions, choose either:

A) Creating Swipe-Stopping Content Online with digital media expert, Will Francis

In this short and punchy session, Will Francis shows how to turn your smartphone into a professional photo and video studio, with apps and techniques for creating stand-out visual content for social and digital channels. Learn how to promote your work and personal brand with tips and tricks for the latest social media platforms.

About Will Francis

Will is a digital and social media expert who has worked with the world’s most loved talent and brands. He regularly appears in the media and at conferences to share his opinions and expertise, something he nowadays does for clients through consultancy and training. His first book, Cocktails of the Movies, was published by Prestel (Random House) in 2015 with a new edition out the following year. He has more books (both boozy and not!) in the pipeline and is developing documentaries uncovering how technology and culture drive each other. His agent for broadcast, live and books is Peters, Fraser & Dunlop. See Will's website. Watch Will's Showreel

B) Making a Living as a Writer Panel Discussion with Julia Forster, Will Mackie and Cherry Styles

This session offers an overview of the funding and financial opportunities (and challenges!) for authors in the UK. Offering hard-won perspective, advice and solutions for both emerging and established authors alike, our speakers will discuss the practical and financial aspects of carving out a career as an author today. 

About Julia Forster

Julia's most recent novel is What a Way to Go, published by Atlantic Books and in audio by WF Howes in the UK. She has travelled across the UK to talk about her sassy and smart heroine, Harper, including appearances at Hay, Gladstone's Library, on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, as well as speaking at author events at many independent bookshops. In 2016, Julia was awarded a K Blundell Trust Award from the SoA for her third book, which she is now working on.

After a variety of jobs within the publishing industry, Julia now sits on their bursary panel for Literature Wales where she, helping to award bursaries to both emerging and established writers, having herself received a bursary in 2011 which enabled her to begin What a Way to Go. She also works in the marketing and PR department for the independent poetry publishers, Nine Arches Press. See Julia's website.

About Will Mackie

Will Mackie project manages the Northern Writers’ Awards, the talent-development programme for writers in Northern England - and is the main contact for libraries, publishers and authors involved in Read Regional. He manages some of New Writing North’s prizes, and works with Northumbria University to deliver module content on Creative Writing programmes. He previously worked in publishing as a fiction and poetry editor, as well as at Scottish Book Trust. 

About Cherry Styles

Cherry Styles is an artist, writer and publisher, working across sectors with an emphasis on collective practise and community engagement.  By expanding ideas of what self-publishing can look like, across disciplines, and often outside of academic contexts, her work interrogates how this informs our communities and in turn generates media of its own.

Since graduating from Norwich School of Art and Design in 2008 she has worked with young people in and out of education, and has built a varied portfolio of freelance clients, allowing her to utilise this experience alongside her art practise. In 2012, she set up Synchronise Witches Press, primarily to publish her own zine project, the Chapess. Since 2015 she has helped run Salford Zine Library and, after moving across the Pennines in 2016, set up Publishing Archive Huddersfield based at Kin studios. See Cherry's website. Photo credit: Grace Denton

3.30pm-3.50pm Tea break

3.50-5pm Negotiation Skills Masterclass with Derek Arden

Negotiation is an essential business skill, but how well can you do it? 

We’ve managed to persuade member Derek Arden to offer the keynote session of the conference to outline key negotiating issues authors face when negotiating anything, including book contracts! Derek will share his seven secrets of negotiation, which he promises will be worth the cost of the conference itself! Want to be more persuasive in your business negotiations? Come along and take note!

About Derek Arden
Derek Arden is a leading negotiation expert and the author of Win Win: How to get a winning result from persuasive negotiations. An international keynote conference speaker, business coach and facilitator, he has worked in 27 countries, with 5 business schools and has been a visiting lecturer at the Henley Management College for 12 years. In 2016 Derek was voted No.1 Speaker on Negotiation Skills in the UK by members of the Professional Speaking Association. He also won their prestigious Founders Award for Motivational and Inspirational Business Speaking (awarded to only 3 people in 18 years). 

Derek will sign copies of Win Win: How to get a winning result from persuasive negotiations after the post-conference at the Arora Hotel, directly opposite the Manchester Art Gallery. 

5pm Closing remarks by Niel Bushnell

Post-conference networking

After an inspirational and useful day of advice sessions and training, we'll need somewhere to unwind and discuss what we've learnt. Join the Authors North Committee at the Arora Hotel (directly opposite the Manchester Art Gallery) for social drinks - always the best bit for networking!

Tickets and booking

These professional sessions are an allowable business expense, which can be offset against your business income. The cost of these sessions as separate events is significantly more, but we've managed to package them into a one-day event at a great-value price. And if you book before 30 September, you can save yourself £20 on the standard ticket price!

Member earlybird tickets: £69 (increases to £89 from 1 October)

Non-member tickets: £99

Tickets include lunch, refreshments throughout the day & VAT. 

You will receive an automated invoice when you book via Eventbrite, but if you are VAT-registered and booking offline, you should request a VAT invoice for your records.
To book offline please call 020 7373 6642 to make a card payment, or send a cheque made payable to 'The Society of Authors', with event code 599.
Bursary tickets
Would you be interested in attending this event, but find the cost prohibitive? Thanks to the ALCS we are now able to offer a limited number of bursary places to writers interested in this event, but who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford to come. To apply for a bursary ticket, please email Anna Ganley at by 14 October explaining how a bursary ticket would help you. 
Buddy Scheme
If this is your first time at an SoA event - congratulations! But seriously, if you would like to be buddied with one of our friendly Committee who will meet you at the event and introduce you to other members, please email Anna  or let us know when you book.
Arriving early?
Members arriving early can meet up at the Manchester Art Gallery Cafe, which serves breakfast from 9am. Join other members for an informal pre-conference breakfast. Let others know you're arriving early on the day by using the Twitter hash tag: #AuthorsNorth
Fancy a whole weekend of writerly workshops?

Join us for our Kickstart your Creativity Workshop from 10am-4pm on Sunday 5 November at the Manchester Art Gallery.

Set aside your everyday practical mind and boost your creative, intuitive side with this full-day creative workshop. 

The workshop facilitator is Jenny Alexander, author of Happy Writing: How to Beat Your BlocksBe Published and Find Your Flow and Writing in the House of Dreams