My head is spinning with a plethora of lists. You see, I scraped together my courage and some royalties and I registered for the Romantic Times Convention. It's fairly local for me so I don't have to fly, something I really don't do any longer because of arthritis in my hip. Still, it's an expensive undertaking for me despite being a tax write off.
I'd almost decided not to go when it dawned on me that this was my best opportunity to press the flesh. I'd heard on some of the RWA loops that conventions were among the best chances to promote yourself and your books. A lot of authors have given up on the loop promo route and don't blog regularly in things like blog tours and guest blog spots and such. Since I've lately found myself falling into that same pattern and eschewing the frenetic round of promo that so many indulge in, I realized I needed to take myself to another level as an author. I needed to take myself seriously.
Romantic Times offers authors the opportunity to network with other authors, publishers, editors and agents. It also gives us the chance to meet readers and talk about books and writing. Signing print books (Fire Season, Ride the Lightning, and Honorable Silence) at the Book Fair and cover flats (for Insolence, Sunstroked, and Rock My World) at the Book Expo is good exposure. People who don't know you will come up and check out your stuff if only to get a signed cover flat or bookmark. And that is an opportunity to win a new reader.
These days, I'm all about opportunities. I'd rather take those and run with them than do another blog tour or guest blog post. Not having to pay for travel other than the gas up to Los Angeles is an opportunity for me. It seriously cuts down on the cost of the convention for me so despite the fact that the hotel is a chunk of change and so is the registration, it still represents a chance to gain readers that I would not normally have. And being part of the signing at the Book Fair, even if no one actually buys one of my books, is part of what I need to do to take this career seriously.
This is an investment in myself and my writing. I have a sneaky suspicion I'll walk away from it feeling more like an author than ever before. And it gives me the chance to meet some of my publishers and some of the friends I've made online. I'm really looking forward to that.
So this investment in my career as an author has led me to lists. I cannot travel without making lists of all the stuff I need to take and all the stuff I need to do beforehand. My list got so long today that it left me reeling. I had to close the doc before I gave myself a headache. The biggest list was the stuff I needed to buy that I didn't have on hand here at home. Like a suitcase. I don't really go anywhere any more so I don't have one! Eeek! There went an hour on Amazon and Walmart.com. (Yes, I got one at Amazon. It's giraffe print and if you know me, you are now laughing your booty off.)
I'm feeling good about this regardless of every wince I make as I buy something else I need for this excursion. Luckily, Dee Carney found me a roomie so I've now halved my room costs. That means more money for promo items. And I'm determined to take some nice promo stuff with me. None of the cheapie cover flats from Vista that look kinda meh. Nice ones from Next Day Flyers which is local for me and does a simply scrumptious job! Having my flats look outstanding is part of my campaign to make a good first impression. You only get one chance at those yanno.
So what do you think? Do you think this endeavor will be worthwhile? Do you think conventions are helpful to authors? A a convention newbie, I've no clue, but come the second week in April, I think I'll know. Whether it leaves my head still spinning is anyone's guess!
Have a great Sunday!
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