I just attended the Chanticleer Authors Conference and Awards Ceremony 2015, right here in beautiful Bellingham, WA. It’s a book-business-oriented conference, focused on educating authors about tools and techniques for gaining readership, stimulating sales, and much more. I learned a lot and met many terrific people dedicated to improving their outreach or helping authors do so.
I admit to some skepticism when Kathi Brown (on the right, above) launched Chanticleer Book Reviews & Media about five years ago, offering paid reviews and promotion to indie authors. I had originally been published by a traditional “Big 5” publisher, which had gained me reviews from big trade reviewers including Publishers Weekly, SF Chronicle, Locus Magazine, and others. When I later turned to the indie publishing route, I realized that many of these doors were closed to indie authors, regardless of the quality of the writing. Chanticleer was offering objective, substantive reviews from qualified reviewers including literary agents, editors, and successful authors. And now that Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and others are offering indie review services, Chanticleer is also recognized as a respected trade reviewer.
Their small but dedicated staff attends far-flung conferences, making connections that have resulted in bringing remarkable talent to the intimate gathering in Bellingham. Over four days, we learned from presenters such as the savvy Shari Stauch of Where Writers Win www.writerswin.com , whose morning sessions about streamlining social media promotion and marketing out-of-the-box were especially helpful to this non-techy writer. I’ve followed the WWW website and newsletters, but connecting with Shari really clarified ways to get more organized. Check out her site for services such as the Winner’s Circle.
Another presenter, Elizabeth Dimarco, CEO of Books I Love, presented a new smartphone app to share your own titles, as well as book discoveries and ratings with simple images.
Diane Isaacs, a documentary film-maker, executive film producer, and president of production for Don Johnson Productions at Universal and Paramount, gave a presentation on pitching from book to film. Unfortunately, I was scheduled at the same time to present my own “pitching” workshop on writing the core book pitch and back-cover copy, but I connected later with Diane and got to practice and refine my own book pitch with her.
Bennett Coles, author and now hybrid publisher of Promontory Press, was a strong presence at the conference. He also provided staff to run the bookstore room for the concurrent Books by the Bay fair, where conference presenters and award finalists could sign and sell their books.
I haven’t yet tried paid review services, but I did enter for two of the Chanticleer book awards, which this year apparently had thousands of entries worldwide and kept the judges busy tallying votes up to the last day. To my surprise, I won both the Cygnus Speculative Fiction Award for my near-future thriller THE ARIADNE CONNECTION, and the Chanticleer Paranormal Mystery/Suspense Award for my Caribbean psychic suspense novel ISLANDS. These “First in Category” awards will bring me featured book reviews in the Chanticleer online magazine, as well as a promotion campaign.
Last year’s Grand Prize winner, Michael Hurley for his novel The Prodigal, has received a film production contract through his connections with Chanticleer and Kathi Brown’s tireless and enthusiastic promotion.
Thanks to all who worked hard on the conference, and congratulations to my fellow award-winning authors!
Sara’s award-winning novels from Book View Cafe are being offered in our online bookstore www.bookviewcafe.com at a discount of $2 for each ebook, through October 20. At checkout, use the code $2-OFF-STAMEY . Available as epub or Mobi (Kindle compatible) files.