We had the good fortune of connecting with Desireé Duffy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Desireé, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
This resonated with me: “If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to build theirs.” It is a quote by Tony Gaskins and upon hearing it while sitting in my glass-walled office, it made me shiver.
I was vice president at a creative digital agency at the time and that little jolt, along with recognizing (as a writer myself) the book promotional world needed modern, digital strategies, helped me break away. Those two factors led me to start my own marketing and public relations agency, specializing in books, authors and personality brands, and that was the birth of Black Château Enterprises.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Our agility, creativity, and willingness to develop custom campaigns for our clients is something that sets us apart. We’ve had numerous authors achieve bestseller status in recent months. We’ve facilitated high-profile media opportunities for them. We’ve created award-winning websites and author platforms for them. Plus, we have been a resource and an ally to not only our clients, but to an array of authors, organizations, and professionals in the literary community.
For example, the Black Château team created The BookFest®. What sets the Black Château team apart from others is how swiftly, enthusiastically, and expertly we created this online event in the face of Covid and social distancing in early 2020. We invited others from the writing community to join us as well, meaning other marketing and PR firms, writers membership organizations, publishers, editors, journalists, and businesses teamed up with us to deliver a fantastic online event for readers and writers.
The result: the first BookFest was created in just six weeks and aired May 9, 2020. The success gave us the gumption to do another October 24th and 25th of 2020. And another in April of 2021, and more are planned as The BookFest has become a biannual event.
It features an array of literary speakers, experts, and authors, which has included: Mitch Albom; Kevin J. Anderson; Mark Coker; Robert G. Diforio; Cheryl Willis Hudson; Wade Hudson; Sarah Kendzior; Jonathan Maberry; Lisa Morton; James Rollins; Michael Shermer; Connie Schultz; Danny Trejo and many others.
I am proud that we deliver it free, virtually, for people to watch from around the world. Also, it was nominated for a prestigious Webby Award for the 25th Awards. The BookFest captures our mission statement: We believe in storytellers. That is what I want the world to know about our brand and our story. We are here for you with The BookFest, producing vital conversations on the world’s stage for those who love to read, and those who love to write.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
How about a literary LA adventure? Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena is a great destination and there are a lot of fantastic eateries in the neighborhood, plus they have a great coffee shop.
If downtown is our destination, then we’d be crazy not to go to The Last Bookstore. Two stories of bookish fun with the selfie-worthy book tunnel and hollow to take some snaps in.
If it is used books, then nothing could keep us away from The Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood. Lots of rare and collectible books, plus they have resident cats that are always fun to visit.
And if we want to take a walk on the dark side, then we’d hop over to Dark Delicacies in Burbank. A horrific bookshop with collectibles, graphic novels, games and lots of gruesome goodies. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Bree Swider, an amazing paralegal and supportive daughter who helped from the very early days to build Black Château. She is a creative visionary who always elevates the brand.
Brian Bosch for not only helping in the early days of building the Black Château website, but now is a member of the team helping in building client sites, as well as the Books That Make You and The BookFest® award-winning websites.
Dr. Raye Mitchell, for being a wonderful ally and collaborator in this journey. Her keen expertise in IP protection and sharing stories with the masses is a big rock in our foundation.
Tony Todaro of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society and West Coast Writers Conferences. Our partnerships on events is an exciting collaboration.
Dave Duffy from Napox Photography who has helped with photoshoots, events, and most recently, operations as we continue to build. He always pushes me out of my comfort zone in the best possible way.
Black Château Enterprises