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! 


  1. Thanks for your observations, Lauren. I know this conference is "Indie friendly" but with thinking like this, I don't think Acorn will be a small publisher for long... you have the attitude that leads to becoming big!!

  2. Hey, authors! You need to register now and get your spot in the C3 Anthology!


  3. I'm hard at work on my submission right now. But these darn creatures are a little scary! Yikes! Gotta go!