You’re smart. Now get smarter.
Smarter Artist Summit

Reserve Your Spot


The Smarter Artist Summit Is Back

(and it’s bigger than ever!)

February 26 & 27, 2018 at the
Renaissance Austin Hotel in Austin, Texas




Do you know the single smartest thing you can do for your author business?

No, it’s not talking to your readers on Facebook.

It’s not buying another marketing book.

It’s not even applying to study with a dude wearing a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows.

It’s attending a real-life event filled with real-life authorpreneurs.



Aside from cranking out more amazing books, there is NOTHING you can do that will have a higher return on your investment — in both time and money — than investing concentrated time with people that have gone through the same challenges you’re currently facing.




Authorpreneurship can be lonely

And it can be especially lonely when you’re choosing to go Indie — when you feel like you have to do it all yourself.

How many of the people in your everyday life  truly understand what it takes to develop, draft, and polish an idea into a book, and then swap hats to produce, launch, and market it?

Not many, right?

But you know who does get it? Fellow authorpreneurs.



We love live events.

We’ve been attending them since our old internet marketing days.  In fact, the first time Johnny and Sean met was at a conference.

But so many live events treat their guests like cattle, herding you from breakout room to breakout room, and packing the schedule so tight so you have to buy the replay CDs to find out what you missed waiting in line for the bathroom.

We wanted to offer something more real. More focused on community and connection. More about you and less about us.



The Smarter Artist Summit is your chance to focus on leveling up your author career.

February 26 and 27th, authors and publishing experts from around the world will join us in Austin, Texas to spend two days teaching you strategies that will outlast the “what’s working yesterday” tactics everyone else is talking about.

We’re keeping the Summit intimate, small enough to make connections, but large enough to bring authorpreneurs from all genres and experience levels together to share their superpowers.

And we’re creating a program with the perfect balance between information, practical application, and events to help you develop relationships that will keep you growing throughout your career.

You don’t have to be published to benefit from attending the Summit; you just need to be ready to stretch yourself, apply what you learn, and share what you know.


Reserve Your Spot




We’ve invited some of the top names in Indie publishing

They’ve agreed to share timeless strategies and practical tips you won’t find in any online publishing summit.

The takeaways from these speakers will set you apart from the thousands of authors who throw any old eBook up on the Internet. The information you learn will help you rise to the top of your genre.

Why would successful authors share their secrets?

Because we believe there’s room at the table for all of us. We trust in abundance.

Readers can read faster than any of us can write (and a few of us can write pretty damned fast!).

Readers choose a variety of genres, and Smarter Artists can write in any genre they love.

When we share what we know, we all get better.




You’ll learn what matters

We’ve leveled-up our topics and speakers this year to make sure you get the BEST information to level-up your author business in 2018.

You’ll walk away from the Smarter Artist Summit on Tuesday night with a list of the specific actions YOU need to take for YOUR author career, based on YOUR unique goals and situation.

Every speaker will offer practical tips and specific strategies for growth at every level, from beginner to established full-time authors.

You’ll learn:

  • How to grow your full-time author income (Honorée Corder)
  • Do’s and don’ts for a meteoric career in fiction (Michael Anderle)
  • How to leverage data-driven best practices for marketing that converts
    (Carlyn Robertson and Julianne LaBrecque from BookBub)
  • Ways to futureproof your author marketing (Michelle Spiva)
  • Designing your book to sell from Day 1 (Julie Hopkins)
  • The inside scoop on collaboration (Johnny, Sean, and Dave)
  • What the industry experts see coming for 2018 (Industry Expert Panel)

And that’s not all!

Johnny, Sean, and Dave will also teach you exactly how to sculpt any idea into a great, marketable story in our groupwide Storytorium keynote session …

… Then we’ll give that Story Starter away (with a complete beats package, a custom cover, a series of story coaching meetings, and a customized marketing plan) to one lucky attendee!



You won’t want to miss these speakers!

Honorée Corder is the author of dozens of books, including You Must Write a Book, The Prosperous Writer book series, and Vision to Reality. She is also Hal Elrod’s business partner in The Miracle Morning book series. Honorée coaches business professionals, writers, and aspiring non-fiction authors to launch bestsellers, create a platform, and develop multiple streams of income. She also does all sorts of other magical things, and her badassery is legendary. You can find out more at

In his first two years as an indie author and publisher, Michael Anderle has written 21 books, 2 novellas, 3 short stories. Further, he has collaborated on over seventy novels in the best selling Kurtherian Gambit Universe and is a co-creator and Publisher of the Oriceran Universe with Martha Carr. His publishing house is home to over twenty authors writing in these two universes, and they’ve produced over fifty projects in Audible and growing at a rate of 5 to 7 audio books a month.

With a MBA-Finance, MA-Psych, M-Div (Education Concentration), and 20+ years’ experience as a psychotherapist and Corporate Finance strategist, Michelle Spiva has made her second career as a best-selling romance author a profitable one. With thirty-plus books published, tens of thousands of authors coached to succeed as perpetually profitable publishers, and a thriving coaching-publishing company, Michelle’s approach to all things publishing and personal management for the innovative author is relevant, contemporary and useful wisdom.

Julie Hopkins is Sterling & Stone’s Director of Operations at Stories To Go and the founder of Indie Book Cover Design. She gets to spend her days distilling authors’ stories into eye-catching visuals. Though she now works exclusively in the indie world, she earned her book industry stripes at a traditional publishing house in Asheville, North Carolina. Since then, she’s approached every artistic endeavor — from her romance series to her online book cover design course — with a business mindset. She is currently writing a YA dystopian novel about a spoiled princess. Julie lives anywhere she can find a wifi connection and an Airbnb — the more remote, the better.

And of course …

Sean Platt is the founder of Sterling & Stone and loves that he not only gets paid to make up stories and come up with crazy ideas, but that he gets to do so with his best friends. Sean’s boundless enthusiasm is the cornerstone of everything we believe Smarter Artists can be.

Johnny B. Truant is the author of the Fat Vampire series and The Bialy Pimps, in addition to everything he has written with Sean at Realm & Sands. Johnny’s intensity helps him focus on deep, thoughtful stories and on equipping Smarter Artists for success.

David W. Wright is the Eeyore to Sean’s unrelenting Tigger. He hates you all (but not really). He lives in [REDACTED] with his wife, [REDACTED], and child [REDACTED], and he carries a decoy wallet in case he gets mugged. We’re not kidding.


We’ll also host a panel discussion with top leaders in the indie publishing industry to discuss upcoming topics and trends in the industry for 2018 and beyond.

​… and you won’t want to miss the special presentation from our friends at BookBub!



Look! Successful authorpreneurs, out in the wild!

Most of the time, these folks are tucked away in their writing caves (okay, coffee shops and coworking spaces!), and you’d never get the chance to talk with them or blurt out the question you’ve been dying to ask.

But because they love the Smarter Artist Summit (most of them are alumni attendees), they are willing to share just about anything inside their brains to help YOU grow your author business.

Whether you’ve got questions about craft or marketing, production technology or wrangling a street team, you’ll find an expert at the Summit.

And even better still, you’ll join an exclusive, attendees-only Facebook group where you can ask for advice, share feedback, and get to know everyone ahead of time. So when you land in Austin, it’s more like a reunion than meeting a room full of strangers.



You are ready for this!



So how much does a ticket to the Smarter Artist Summit cost?

Only $799!

Reserve Your Spot



Don’t miss your chance

Many of these experts value their time so highly that you can’t even pay to pick their brains.

But at the Summit, everyone is an open book.

You get two full days to eat, learn, drink, and hang out with them at the Smarter Artist Summit! We’ve got social events (with free drinks) lined up every evening, because we know that the most important conversations happen outside the conference hall. And did we mention you can eat? Austin has some of the best food ever, and there are usually a ton of informal meet ups and social events on the days before and after the Summit.

This ticket not only includes two full days of information-packed sessions, but also a Sunday evening meet-and-greet with a LIVE recording of SPP, structured genre meetups on Monday, a free Tuesday night Karaoke for Introverts, and best of all, a free hug from Dave (provided you approach him properly and are wearing closed-toed shoes)! Travel, meals, and lodging are not included.



You’ll also get access to a private Facebook group exclusively for speakers and attendees.

In an effort to maximize the amount of one-on-one time you can spend with our experts, we’re only selling 250 tickets.

We sold nearly 10% of the seats without even telling people tickets were available. Last year’s attendees were sneaky snakes and managed to find the link.

And the rest are going to go fast.

Want to make sure you’re one of the 250?


Reserve Your Spot



You’ve got this!

Unlike other conferences that have speakers and panelists on a pedestal, telling attendees how hard publishing is and how they need to keep setting themselves up for rejection after rejection, or the ones that have everyone doing jumping jacks and patting each other on the back and saying “anyone can do it if you just want it enough,” Smarter Artists will invest their Summit time learning actionable strategies to produce great work over and over and to find the readers who will buy book after book.

With every session and connection break, this Summit is packed with experiences you can’t get anywhere else.




Who should (and shouldn’t) come to the Summit?

At Sterling & Stone, we believe in hard work, and we believe in making that work fun.  We believe in abundance — there’s room for all of us to succeed — and we believe in generosity and encouragement. We believe everyone has something to share, and everyone has something to learn.

If you believe in those things too, the Summit will be a great time for you to learn, connect, and grow as an authorpreneur.

If those things are hard for you to accept, then the Summit might not be the right fit for you right now.

  • If you believe you’re the smartest person in the room, or that you can only learn from people who are “more successful” than you, then the Summit might not be the right room for you.
  • If you expect dry, ultra-professional speakers with bullet-pointed slides and corresponding handouts, the Summit might not be for you.
  • If you’re offended by colorful language and light-hearted shenanigans, the Summit might not be for you.
  • If you expect to find an easy-button to help you make lots of money without much work, the Summit might not be for you.
  • If you’re not willing to stretch yourself to connect with other like-minded authors; if you just want to sit in a seat, write notes, and sneak back to your hotel room without talking to anyone, then you might miss some of the best parts of the Summit.


If you’re an author who is willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work of writing great books?

If you’re ready to take on the challenge of publishing and marketing them effectively?

You’ll feel right at home in the room.

Whether you’re an author, an editor, a marketer, or an author assistant, or even a creative entrepreneur building stories in another medium (graphic novels, video games, app development, or film), you’ll learn something to add depth to your art, and new strategies to get visibility for it.


Reserve Your Spot


You and your business deserve this!



Got Questions?

What does the ticket price include?
The ticket price includes admission to the event — two full days of information from our brilliant speakers and connections with the most motivated Smarter Artists on the planet.

We’ll have killer amenities like chairs and air. We might even have water so you don’t shrivel to the size of a banana chip during the event.

Oh. And there are bathrooms. Like indoors. And for those of you who were with us the first year … there are MORE THAN TWO TOILETS. (Yeah, for real!)

And this year? Parking is FREEEEEEEEEE!

So what does the ticket price not include?
It does not include use of a helper monkey during the event. It does not include skateboarding lessons or a free unicorn tattoo. It also does not include meals, travel or lodging expenses, or any add-on workshops.

Are there sponsors for the Summit?
Yes. But we’ve rejected about as many as we’ve invited. In fact, we *only* have accepted sponsorship from companies we already love and believe in. It’s crazy important that we not appear to endorse anyone we can’t actually stand behind.

You’ll see folks from Draft2Digital, BookBub and Kobo, as well as our friends from Bookfunnel and Reedsy around at the Summit. Every one of them has a strong track record of helpful generosity (see the “one asshole” rule), so make sure to meet them all!

How do I get to the hotel/around town?
Austin is located on Earth, where standard modes of transportation are fairly consistent.

We do allow cars in Austin, whether it’s your own, one you’ve rented, or one you’ve hired for an individual ride. Great news — Uber and Lyft are back. Or you could call Fasten, Fare, or an old fashioned taxi.

You can also ride a unicycle, a pogo stick, or simply use your feet (and join the SA fitbit group). It’s really not that deep, y’all.

Where should I stay?
I hear there are still spots to lay out a sleeping bag under the Bat Bridge.

Yes, the hotel is lovely, they’ve set up a great discounted rate for us, and it’s super-convenient to roll out of bed and stumble down to get a yummy coffee in your sponge-bob pajamas and slipper socks. But no one is required to stay there.

There’s a wide range of nearby options for nearly every budget. We are reasonably confident in your ability to use the Internet and a map to find something that will work for you.

What about sharing rooms?
We’re all introverts, and we can’t possibly imagine spending even one more hot minute around humans after a day of peopleing. But if you like being around other humans (or you just care about your budget), you’re not alone.

Once you’ve picked up your ticket, you’ll get an invitation to an attendees-only Facebook group, where you can meet other insane extroverts who are looking for even more people-time. We can’t manage the coordination of room sharing or guarantee that one of y’all isn’t a finger licker, but if you’re willing to take the risk, well, we’ll give you a forum to connect.

What’s the parking situation? Because the first year, I almost died having to ride shuttles with everyone else, and last year, I could have bought a vacation home with the parking fees I paid.
Welp, here’s the deal. Austin is full of cars. And people. But mostly cars (including cars that drive themselves. Noah Fucking West.).

Knowing this, the friendly folks at the Renaissance built a kick-ass parking lot, and they’ll let us all put our cars in it (and get them back out!) for FREE. The perks of suburban sprawl, y’all.

Volunteers / How can I help?
Wear shoes in Dave’s presence.

Watch your email for a call for help a little closer to event time. Like last year, the venue will be providing minions, so we don’t anticipate the same intense setup/teardown needs we had in year 1, but we will certainly need someone to wrestle the Know Your Why sign, and someone else to run for Dave’s Diet Coke.

Refund/cancellation policy
Tickets are non-refundable, but they are transferrable until February 1 (we can’t allow transfers after that date, though). In the event of a zombie apocalypse, you’re welcome to bequeath your ticket to your favorite survivor. Just make sure to let us know before you turn feral.

Are we selling video / audio recording?
Um, then why would you come? Really…why?

But seriously, no. The magic is in being in the room where it happens.

Can I be an asshole?
Well, we have a very strict “one-asshole” rule, and Dave has already claimed the spot. You can fight him for it, but you will lose. But you’re here and still reading, so you’re probably not a jerk anyway.

So pretty much no, you can’t — because you aren’t like that anyway. Besides, the Smarter Artist community is worth protecting, so if you’re a rotten apple, one of us will just invite you out to the patio and then lock the door behind you.

Will you have vegan/gluten-free/paleo/treenutfree/legumefree/grainfree/sugarfree snacks? All organic sweeteners? almondmilk/soymilk/soyfree/dairyfree/chemicalfree creamer for coffee?
Christine is still waiting for all-natural, organic Diet Dr. Pepper. Until that’s available, we’ll have water, coffee, tea, and a variety of light snacks, but we can’t accommodate everything. If you have special dietary needs, you might want to tuck something in your bag.

Will you pre-chew my snacks for me?
Absolutely. Just flag Christine down and she’ll take care of you like a bird-mama.

Can we plan a meet-up??
No. No one is allowed to speak to anyone else without direct supervision. Ever.

But seriously, go for it. There will be a lot going on, and we love it when the community organizes fun and unique ways to connect. We can’t keep track of it all, but feel free to reach out in the Facebook group and plan/organize to your heart’s content.

How should I say hi to Dave?
Establish (brief) eye contact from a distance, then begin your approach with your arm slightly raised in a pre-fist-bump position, to signify that you do not intend to initiate a full handshake or hug. Keep your interaction to a minimum, knowing Dave would rather not be talking to you in the first place, and that there are now 10 more filthy people in line behind you.


Got it? Good. Get your ticket here!

Reserve Your Spot



*All event photos courtesy of Scott King Photography