Writer's Conferences: Are They Worth It?
Today KdBlog welcomes guest blogger Lonnie Cruse, author of the Kitty Bloodworth/'57 Chevy series and the Metropolis Mystery series. I recently visited Metropolis, Illinois to have my photo taken with the Man of Steel and to sit down for a face to face chat with my long time internet buddy Lonnie Cruse. She agreed after much arm twisting to write a blog post for KdBlog. One of the many things we discussed during lunch were the pros and cons of writer's conferences, so Lonnie decided a blog post about that was the perfect choice.
I really didn't have to twist her arm. Thanks for joining us today, Lonnie.
WRITER'S CONFERENCES/CONVENTIONS are they worth it?
By Lonnie Cruse
If you are a writer, somewhere on this planet, particularly in the U.S. there is a writer's conference or convention you can attend. Conferences are mostly for writers to meet, discuss writing, network with agents, publishers, or other writers, and try to get published and/or stay published. Some fans do usually attend and some books are sold.
Conventions are primarily for fans of writers to show up, buy the latest book, and get it autographed. Some networking is done by writers with agents, publishers, etc. but mostly it's for authors and fans to meet. Either event is going to cost an author quite a bit, beginning with the attendance fee, hotel room, travel expenses, any meals that aren't included, and of course, the dozens of book we swear we won't buy . . . but always do.
Writers are generally on very limited budgets unless we happen to be a household name, and many still hold down a day job and write at night. Or the reverse. But attending conferences is a HUGE chunk of the budget and many non-household name writers are lucky to sell ten books at one of these events. The really lucky might sell between twenty and thirty books.
So, what's the point? Why blow this much of the writer's yearly promotion money to attend one? The key is mostly networking. Networking with agents and/or publishers to become or remain published. Networking with other authors to keep abreast of the latest in publishing, or to get help with editing, or just plain get help. And to network with readers, get to know them, get them to know us, and more important, to know our work.
While there are a very few authors around who apparently have a death wish when it comes to their writing career because they treat fans and fellow authors alike with disdain, most of us are as thrilled as puppies at the pound to be noticed by anyone passing by. We love chatting about ourselves or our work. We love sharing tips, helping others, making new friends. And selling books, so we can write more or go to more of these events. If you are a fan, don't be afraid to approach an author for an autograph or a quick chat.
Are conferences or conventions cost effective? No. Not in my humble opinion. Do they help the author? Boy howdy. So if you have a chance to attend a conference near you, take advantage. And don't forget to keep receipts and turn this information into your accountant. Mine says mileage is my best friend. I believe her.
Lonnie Cruse writes the Kitty Bloodworth/'57 Chevy series and the Metropolis Mystery Series. Her website is: https://www.lonniecruse.com or you can catch her weekly posts on Poes Deadly Daughters.