Saturday, April 27, 2019

Conferences: Tried It, Loved It, Stopped Doing It

Author's own photo from RT 2016
This week’s theme: Lit Cons, Fan Cons, Comics Cons: What’s Best For You?

I’ve been to NASA conferences, Romance Writers of America conferences, RT Booklover conferences and Wondercon. I’ve even done a couple of virtual conferences online and book readings fairly locally. I even got invited to a Star Trek con (on my own dime so I had to pass because it wasn’t in the budget at the time) because I’m an official Red Shirt Enterprise crew member, having read the part in a Star Trek audiobook! I had fun at all times. I enjoyed being a presenter, I enjoyed being in the audience, I loved meeting readers, meeting some of my own favorite authors,  going to parties, doing the book signings. Meeting up in real life with people I ‘knew’ on social media was wonderful!
With Author Friends at RT 2016 after a big reader event
Conferences of all types are off my radar now as far as I can see. Not to go into tremendous detail, travel is currently nearly impossible for me due to a couple of chronic medical conditions so I’m a homebody and internet denizen. I don’t even do days at Disneyland right now and that’s pretty darn close via freeway. I get to the grocery store and that’s pretty much it most weeks.

But even before that, I’d decided in late 2016 I was basically done with conferences. The travel and fees were pretty expensive for my budget and I didn’t feel the money spent was giving me a good return on investment as an independently published author. As a person having a good time, ok WOW, yes, bring it on and do more! But as a business decision for my particular small business (which a self-published author IS), I was better off spending the money on more targeted promo of my own books or paying for fabulous book covers, for example.

The experiences were priceless and I satisfied a number of my own personal goals about being a published author (do panels! do a big signing! do cosplay! Meet Nalini Singh!) But I couldn’t justify the hits to my bank account to rack up more of those fun milestones.

An additional consideration for me was that all the prep work before and the down time after that I required after a big conference and the associated travel cost me a lot of writing time while I recovered. Maybe other people can step in and out of their regular lives smoothly and do these big events with nary a ripple, but I’m not one who can.

I think my experiences go to show the truth of the rule that there’s no one right or wrong way to pursue being a published author and growing your base of readers. I tried doing cons, it was FUN OMG, but didn’t work for my particular business.

Not saying categorically I’d never do another but it would have to be a really special event that I could not resist and would require a lot of forethought.


  1. I'm still learning to live with my chronic illness and yes, the prep and downtime needed for traveling is a HUGE component of deciding to go anywhere. So I'm glad that you were able to check off a few things from the bucket list when you could! #goodmemories

    1. Me too, as far as getting to do a lot of fun things early in my author career! That definitely helps with my situation now where travel isn't in the cards for me. Never say never, if I got invited to do a panel at Comic Con for example (which will never happen LOL), I'd find a way to GO.