Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Where are you going?

As an author, where have you been?

If you have been on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gather, blah, blah, blah and so on and so forth. Good for you!

Now get over yourself! You haven’t done that much.

Answer this question, how many conferences have you paid for and went to. Can’t hear you.

Do you think your book is that good that you don’t have to go to conferences?

Maybe you think that you’re as big as James Patterson. Maybe you think that your handsome/pretty face is enough to turn a few heads and sell a few books. Ok, well maybe you are cute/handsome; but that doesn’t make me buy your book. What makes me buy your book is seeing you. Putting my four eyes (yes, I wear glasses) on you. I want to see you on your grind. I want to see you at some of the conferences I attend. Look at Rahiem Brooks; this man has been to so many conferences, I can’t keep track of them. If you go to his website and look at his calendar, http://www.rahiembrooks.com, you will see a man on the move. Literally!

This man is EVERYWHERE. He has been to at least two literary events every month. Most of you haven’t been to one.

Now he could do just about anything with his free time, but he chooses to promote himself and his company.

I know one other person who does this and his name is Austin Camacho. I met him four years ago in Borders (moment of silence for Borders please) I met him at my first book signing; his fifth. I decided right then, that I would do what he says we should do when self-publishing our books, “you should imitate what is already on the shelves.” So that is what I have been doing; I’ve been imitating him, with one difference; I wear stilettos.

I am now hooked on conferences. I’ve been to Thrillerfest, Love is Murder, Bay to Ocean and Baltimore Book Festival. Next year I plan to go to BourcherCon, Thrillerfest, Love is Murder, Richmond Festival of the book and Creatures, Crimes and Creativity right here in Baltimore in September of 2013.

So now I ask you; where have you been, or where are you going?

Hopefully we will run into each other. I’ll be the one wearing the sexy stilettos!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Dream Book Event for an Independent Author

By Lauren Carr

Back in the days of the “giant lizard” (aka dinosaurs), after my first book, A Small Case of Murder was published; I was told in no uncertain terms, “You need to go to conferences. That is where you meet and make fans and they get to know you.”

So I started going to conferences, where I met some fans, as well as authors who showed me a few ropes that I would not have learned otherwise. As with everything, there were a few problems in fulfilling this conference attending requirement.

Problem Number One: Conferences Are Expensiveespecially if they’re out of town, which is usually the case. Between the registration fee, meals, and hotel, especially in today’s economy, the cost can be prohibitive. If you are mid-list or below, most likely you aren’t going to make enough money in book sales at the conference to cover the cost. Argument can be made that the benefit of going to the conference comes from meeting fans who will buy your books at the event and hopefully continue purchasing your books in the future.

 Problem Number Two: Lack of Exposure for Independent (self-published) Authors—which, in conjunction with Problem Number One, can drive most authors to stay home.

With the vast changes in technology opening doors for independent authors, I began independently publishing my own books when I released It’s Murder, My Son.  (That’s another story.) At the same time, some conferences made the decision that self-published authors would not be assigned to author panels. This means lack of exposure to authors who have the confidence to invest in their own books. Fans don’t meet or see them, which renders attending these conferences useless.

In spite of this, It’s Murder, My Son, and my other independently published books (Old Loves Die Hard, Shades of Murder, Dead on Ice) have been receiving great reviews and great sales.

When other authors, seeing my success asked for my help, I ended up becoming a publisher: Acorn Book Services.  In working with my authors, I have struggled with ideas in how to personally introduce them to readers at great events like a conference, where they can experience the pride they have earned as authors.

I was playing with the idea of establishing my own conference when I got an e-mail from Sandra Bowman of Intrigue Publishing announcing the dates of Creatures, Crime, and Creativity Conference to take place in Baltimore. Immediately, I hit the reply button and asked, “Is this conference friendly toward independent authors?”

Moments later (seconds really!) came Sandra’s reply, “Certainly.” We set up a dinner meeting with her and Austin S Camacho (author and publisher). I was so excited that I barely ate. This was the type of conference I was looking for not just for myself, but my authors.

Days later, Acorn Book Services was a sponsor for the Creatures, Crime, and Creativity Conference (C3), to take place in Baltimore on September 13, 14, and 15, 2013.

Not only is the C3 conference friendly toward independent authors, but it is affordable. This is the first conference I have seen where the meals are included in the event for the whole weekend!

C3’s goal is to introduce fans to new authors, no matter how they are published. None of that matters. Yes, fans will be drawn by the big names who are attending (Jeffrey Deaver and Trice Hickman, to name two), but during the weekend, through author panels and other events (including a scavenger hunt), there is no way they can leave without meeting new names in mystery, suspense, paranormal, crime, and fantasy writing.

If you’re an author, you will be one of those authors that fans are going to meet!

Fans will also be meeting new authors through the C3 Anthology, which Acorn Book Services is going to publish exclusively for this event. Every fan, author, and agent attending this event will get a free copy of the C3 anthology. After the conference, Acorn Book Services will be publishing the anthology in e-book form, which means the marketing benefit will be continuing after the weekend for those authors published in the C3 Anthology. Space in the book is limited only to authors registered for the C3 event.

My next post will be more details about the anthology. To learn more right now, go to the anthology page on the C3 website and register for the conference today. This is your chance to meet and make new fans!