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sssLeighThis past weekend I attended a new event called The Imaginarium. The organizers billed it as a creative writing convention, though if you explored the venue you saw hints of a fan con as well. There was a room reserved for gaming, and some people did cosplay. The panels, for the most part, concentrated on craft and marketing and getting published. As an inaugural event I thought it was executed well, and I’m pleased to have been a part of it.

Since this was my last event for the year, I looked back at previous events I have attended either as a featured guest or a registered attendee. Not surprisingly (for me, anyway), I’ve been doing fewer cons and fairs. Here’s a breakdown:

  • 2009 – 13 signings and events
  • 2010 – 7 signings and events
  • 2011 – 9 signings and events
  • 2012 – 3 signings and events
  • 2013 – 5 signings and events
  • 2014 – 4 signings and events

There’s an obvious, steady decline, which I partly attribute to the rise of digital books. When my first novel was published in eBook in 2004 there was no Kindle, no Kobo, and no All Romance. We relied on direct sales and eBook retailers who no longer exist. Back then everybody asked, “When will it be in print?” In 2009 it was more important for me to have a print book than e. These days people want to know if they can read the book on their phones. Print is now an accessory I offer if I happen to be at an event.

Why have I done fewer events over time? There are a lot of reasons. The cost of travel and room/board versus how much I expect to make is a huge factor. If I ever came out of an event in the black, it was a local gig. If I had to fly or drive, I almost never made the money back, but I didn’t expect to. I hinged on hope that people would keep my promo and find me online.

For 2012 and 2014, personal travel factored. Both of these years I traveled to Europe and therefore saved the money I’d normally use for business trips to see other countries.

Lastly, there’s scheduling. My daughter is in school now. It was easier to bring her along when she was a toddler because I didn’t have to worry about her missing classes. Even with weekend gigs, she has things to do and I won’t keep her from them. As time goes on, I’ll limit signings and appearances to local events, things I can do in a day’s drive, and the occasional big event like Authors After Dark or wherever I’ll find the right audience.

This could change in the future. When little one is old enough to fend for herself I may have time to do more cons, or she’ll want to go with me. This will also depend on how my sales go for the future, too. It’s my hope readers will vote with their dollars – should I go to GayRomLit and find an audience there for my M/M? Should I go back to RT for a mainstream readership? Should I focus more on SFF cons like Balticon?

I want to go where readers want to see me. All authors wants this. If you enjoy an author, let them know what it is about them you like. If you prefer one genre I write over another, that would help me immensely as I steer the course. Who knows, I may run into you somewhere and I like to know what to talk about. 🙂

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