Are you looking for a blogger or writer conference to attend? I’m sharing all the best secrets and tips I learned and what I wore at my first Alt Summit conference. To be fair, this is not a conference only for bloggers or writers but for all entrepreneurs and creatives—mostly female. Alt Summit takes place every year in the spring, usually in Palm Springs (California), which is blogger heaven. Palm Springs is filled with beautiful, colorful hotels like the Saguaro Hotel, fantastic restaurants, pools, hiking, and gorgeous nature abounds (Joshua Tree, for example, is only a short drive away). The 2020 conference I attended began Sunday evening and ended on Thursday though you can pick and choose what days to attend. There are so many different things to do each day from panels on a variety of topics (taught by a group of people), to solo talks (one speaker), roundtables (one or two speakers at table with a small group to make it more intimate), workshops (hands-on classes on things like photography and arts & crafts), and one-to-ones (where you can sign up to work with an expert). Additionally, there are also tons of other “nonlearning” things to do during the day like shop at the bookstore and pop-up shops, meet-ups, happy hours, sponsor dinners, and even a 90’s dance party. Now let’s get down to the stuff I did that bloggers and also writers would be into.
Blogger & Writer Activities:
- Writing/Book Themed Panels: There was at least one and usually two writing or book-themed panels each day taught by writers, agents, and/or publishers. Some of the ones I attended included topics like: “Writing a Book—From Pitch to Published,” “Everything you Wanted to Know About Publishing a Book,” and “Traditional vs. Self-Publishing.”
- Writing/Book Themed Workshops: There was at least one and usually two writing or book-themed workshops each day taught by writers, agents, and/or publishers. Some of the ones I attended included topics like: “So You Want to Self-Publish,” “How to Write Your First E-book and Sell it on Pinterest,” “Making Money Monthly—the Power of Subscription” (taught by the gals who own bookish box subscription company LitJoy Crate), and “Book Marketing 101: How to be Your own Publicist.”
- Tons of panels, solo talks, workshops, and roundtables on how to setup and run a blog, SEO best practices and increasing blog traffic, making money from your blog, and growing social media that would be helpful to any book blogger or social media influencer on BookTube or Bookstagram.
- BookSparks x Macmillan Audio hosted a pool-side audiobook tent each day where attendees could relax and listen to hot new audiobooks like ANNA K voiced by Glee actress Jenna Ushkowitz and Alicia Key’s autobiography MORE MYSELF. Free audiobooks were also given out!
- Amazon Home sponsored an afternoon keynote with authors Sara and Rich Combs on their new book AT HOME IN JOSHUA TREE. There was a book signing after and many attendees got a complimentary copy of the book.
- Bookstore and author signings: Just Fabulous Boutique set up shop at the Riveria Hotel during the conference to host a pop-up bookstore filled with books written by Alt Summit speakers and attendees and fun gifts. There were also author signings throughout the week.
- Meetups/Happy Hours: I hosted a bookish meetup one of the nights and Alt Summit provided wine. About a dozen of us sat by the pool and talked books and writing. Good times!
Alt Summit Secrets:
Some of the best secrets and tips I learned over the week relating to blogs and social media were:
- An e-mail mailing list has the highest percent of sale conversions of any other online marketing tool.
- Pinterest is a great way to drive traffic to your blog and social media but make sure you craft your captions specific to Pinterest and don’t just copy from Instagram. Pinterest works with SEO (same as your blog) so no need to use hashtags and do NOT use emojis.
- If you want to pitch a brand for partnerships, you must point out a problem or opportunity for their brand and how you are uniquely positioned to help. And before you cold pitch, make sure you “flirt” with the brand first by posting and tagging them in your content long before you reach out.
- If you want your followers to truly connect with you, you should provide them value and talk to them in captions like you are talking to your best friend. Try to make your content relevant to at least 1 of the 7 basic human needs (subsistence, understanding/growth, connection/love, contribution, esteem/identity, autonomy, significance/purpose).
- If you want to self-publish right, treat it like a business and invest money in professionals for book design, book covers, editing, marketing, and PR just like traditional publishing companies do.
- As fun and useful as social media is, the only thing you truly own are your website and your mailing list. Make them a priority!
- For website design, do not have any vital information in vertical text on your blog. Horizontal only.
- If you have a newsletter/email list opt-in on your website/blog, make sure you are giving your visitors something they really want like a freebie ebook, discount, deal, or something special (not just access to your next newsletter).
Now for the fun part: what to wear to Alt Summit! I had no idea what to expect. Was this business? Business casual? Turns out it was more resort casual or just altogether casual. Most people were in sneakers, booties, or sandals. No heels. Jeans and cute tops or dresses. Here’s what I wore:
SHOP THE LOOK: cropped jean jacket by Louis Vuitton, floral dress by ASOS, rockstud sandals by Valentino. Dupes:
SHOP THE LOOK: Polka dot dress by VICI, white boots by Christian Louboutin. Dupes:
SHOP THE LOOK: Floral maxi dress by Bloomingdales, belt by Gucci, sparkly sneakers by Golden Goose. Dupes:
SHOP THE LOOK: Avocado dress by Aritzia, sparkly sneakers by Golden Goose. Dupes: