As you have read in my previous posts, my trip to the Utopia Author and Reader convention, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA in June of this year has had a profound effect on me. It has also inspired me to be brave and fearless enough to bring the format over to the UK, to create a convention that has a very special vision. That convention is Chapter.Con and it's starting to become real.
Today marks one of the very first steps towards building that community; it is the day that I have officially started fundraising in order to turn this dream into a reality. After speaking with several other convention founders, I have learned that running a convention is an expensive and most likely profitless endeavour -- but that doesn't matter. This isn't about making money, it's about building something significant and special, about creating a 'home' and 'family' for authors of YA and NA fiction in the UK, it's about supporting my local home community and creating a vehicle for change and growth.
Here is the Chapter.con Manifesto
A UK Author, Blogger and Reader convention designed to celebrate Young Adult and New Adult stories of all genres from the indie publishing, small press & hybrid community.
CONNECT. EDUCATE. INSPIRE
Whether you are a best-selling established author, an aspiring author, a blogger, a reader, a publisher or a book seller, I would like to invite you to the very first Chapter Con; one of the U.K's very first YA and NA book conventions especially designed to connect, educate and inspire women in the book world.
With a series of educational panels of experienced individuals, and inspirational key note speakers, Chapter Con is far more than a traditional literary festival, it's home, family and mentorship.
Chapter Con is open to Indie published, Hybrid published and Traditionally published authors of all ages and stages of their individual journey.
Although primarily a book conference designed for women authors, one of the primary beliefs of Chapter Con is inclusivity; of celebrating diversity and individuality, meaning male authors of Young Adult and New Adult are welcome to attend.
Chapter.Con 2017 is the first of its kind in the UK. An innovative, celebratory Author, Blogger and Reader con for YA and NA (Please note that Chapter.Con is a no erotica con)
As a residential conference, it offers Authors, Bloggers, Readers and other Book Creatives to foster a strong sense of community and belonging. It's a con that will promote positive messages of collaboration, skill sharing and empowerment.
It is also the chance to have a LOT of fun and make amazing friends.
The proposed plan is:
Thursday p.m - welcome key note and social evening
Friday a.m - exhibition rooms, school visits and panels.
Friday p.m - exhibition rooms and panels
Saturday - key note. Networking Breakfast. Public book signing event 10-4
Saturday evening - Awards Ceremony & Party
Sundy morning - key note, resolutions and farewells.
WHY THIS IS HAPPENING?
In 2015 I attended UtopYA in Nashville, Tennessee, USA; a conference founded by the incredibly inspirational Janet Wallace and her dedicated team.
Having been in the indie publishing scene for over 5 years as a UK author, I had found that the UK was a very different indie scene to what was happening in the USA. Social media taught me that my fellow USA indies were meeting up regularly, sharing, exhibiting, building community, collaborating and cheer-leading each other. The one event that kept coming up was UtopYA.
Sick of feeling isolated and left out, I made the bold decision to head out and join them. (A fear of flying and a transatlantic journey would be worth it) What I experienced at UtopYA literally changed my life. I found the most incredible acceptance, friendship, fellowship, knowledge, and belief.
I learned more in those 4 days with the incredible UtopYA family about publishing, marketing, writing, authoring, blogging, reviewing ... the list is endless, than I had in the 5 years going it alone.
I knew I had to bring this experience home to the UK. I knew I needed to build this kind of supportive, friendly, educational and inspirational community here.
When I spoke to many of my UtopYA American writer friends about this idea, they were totally behind it. Many vowing that if I got this project off the ground, they would come. And trust me, these guys KNOW what they are talking about. These guys know the mysteries of Amazon algorithm, formatting, marketing, building readership, PR.....
BUT a conference like this costs - A LOT
For this to work, it needs...
to be at least 2 days and 3 nights long meaning big location, hire expenses, especially as it is London pricing.
It needs a marketing campaign that not only draws in local people but people on a national scale. This kind of event is new to people and they need introducing to the idea.
It needs to subsidise hospitality so that we can attract the very best in the business from a global platform, which means flights and rooms.
It needs social occasions, such as an awards ceremony with hospitality.
It needs inclusivity, meaning we can supply grants to authors to help them attend.
It needs budgets for all the little things that add up, badges, tote bags, print material, events planning, tech teams, breakfasts and tea, cleaning crew.
THE REASON I'M CROWD FUNDING
Having spoken to several people who have gone on to run highly successful conventions, I am under no delusion that this is ever going to ever be a profitable exercise; the money (if any) that is made gets ploughed back into the following years, making it even better.
Authors, especially those in the indie world, really, really appreciate every penny they make on their books - it's a tough world and I don't want to gamble with their money in the early stages of this project. There have been too many events that have taken ticket money and then for many reasons flopped and authors have been left out of pocket.
£20,000 will NOT cover the whole costs of the event but it will allow me to pay the deposits for the hotel conferencing, initial marketing and promotional material. It will also allow me to start approaching Key Note speakers and get the whole ball rolling.
What about corporate sponsorship?
One day, I am hopeful that we will have on board an incredible group of corporate sponsors; we have a list we would like to approach, but we need to give those guys something tangible to invest in.
Although absolutely, with no doubt, I know Chapter.Con is going to be amazing and significant with the right funding, my word is not enough. We need to get Chapter.Con 2017 done and photographed, we need to sew the seeds of an exciting community they want to be part of.
I am working with a branding expert to put together an initial sponsorship pitch and hopefully when they see the energy behind this campaign and this idea becoming a reality, they will take a chance on us.
WHO AM I?
My name is Katie M John and I am the author of the UK Amazon bestselling series, 'The Knight Trilogy' and 'The Meadowsweet Series as well as several stand alone works and published short stories and poetry. You can find out more at www.katiemjohn.com
5 years ago I published my first book. Last year I quit the day job (15 years of English teaching) to concentrate on the writing world.
I am also the fouder of the small boutique indie press, 'Little Bird Publishing House' www.thelittlebirdbookstore.com which works with authors in a non-exploitative way. Little Bird is about building an author family.
I am a mummy, wife, author, blogger, publisher, tutor, and now it would seem, a convention founder.
Help me to build something beautiful.
Than you for your time, your generosity and your support. Every single penny helps.
WHAT YOU GET IN RETURN (This will be added too in the coming months as more authors get on board)
£5 A personalised thank you postcard and free download of 'The Forest of Adventures' by Katie M John
£10 A personalised thank you postcard and free download of 'The Forest of Adventures' and 'Witchcraft'
£20 A personalised thank you postcard and free download of 'The Forest of Adventures' and 'Witchcraft', A Chapter.Con limited edition badge
£50 Friday afternoon tea with a panel of authors, 5 x free eBook downloads (TBC)
£100 Friday Lunch with a panel of authors from the convention, 5 x free eBook downloads (TBC)
£250 Free VIP upgrade to the conference. Friday Lunch, Chapter.Con 2017 t-shirt, sparkly lanyard for convention tag. Signed paperback edition (TBC)
£500 Free VIP upgrade to conference. Friday Lunch, Chapter.Con 2017 t-shirt, sparkly lanyard for convention tag, Signed edition of a series (TBC)
£1000 - Corporate Sponsorship - inclusion of logo on events displays, banners, websites. Ability to distribute products through the conference gift bags. A free 1/2 size exhibition stand.