And here are the Unreliable Posts for this fortnight.
A caveat regarding this post: This is one aspect about conventions that I’ve not been involved with until now. Some of promoting and touring can come down to doing a lot of what I’ve been talking about in other convention posts, like being on panels, and presenting a professional image, but the active promoting of a book? Well, this is where I am learning, just like you are.
With that in mind, let me tell you about some of the things that I have learned. Let’s start with promotion. It is GREAT if you can have a giveaway for a convention that will remind people that your book exists, and that they might want to look it up to buy it. I’ve seen bookmarks, pens, pencils, cards, buttons, all manner of items. The most successful freebies I’ve received from authors go to Mary Robinette Kowal for her fans with card attached to advertise her historical fantasies, Jim C. Hines for his Jig the Goblin tattoos, and Ann Leckie for her spaceship lanyards. Swag should be cost effective (not too expensive), but memorable. So. I am currently looking into Egyptian swag, as The Vessel of Ra has a definite Egyptian vibe. It would perhaps also be good to go with something alchemical, or shadow-y. Here are some ideas that a casual search of the Internet has yielded.
Team Drusus or Team Khun buttons or lanyards
Egyptian beaded bookmarks
So, I will let you know whatever little thing I decide on. First, I’m waiting on my cover image, and then I will start planning.
Touring. Again, I’m in new territory. I think going to a convention can give you an opportunity to be in an area already, and if you’re in a city, you might take some time before, during, or after the convention to visit a bookstore nearby. I will be playing with this as soon as the book comes out. For example, I could be in Minneapolis for a convention, and then make arrangements to have a Thursday night or a Sunday night signing with a local bookshop. Another idea I am playing with for summer of 2018 is a tour to several cities on one of the coasts. As I learn what are good tips to set this up, I will share.
Next time, I’ll talk about touring. What have I heard about what works best? Stay tuned.
Hey there! I was doing the spring break thing this week, so I am just a little behind on getting this done. Nevertheless, here are the Unreliable Narrators links for the last two weeks.
As we continue our post on conventions, we would be remiss if we didn’t include a budgeting post. And by we, I mean me. Sorry. I’ve been watching The Crown. But yes, unfortunately, it’s not free lots of times when we invest in our writing. The good news is this: If you are a writer, these expenses are tax deductible against your business.
Occasionally, and especially if you become someone who is invited as a guest to a convention, or a speaker, you can get fees eliminated, if not have the whole con paid for. That said, most of the time as a beginning author, you will be paying the bill. It never hurts to ask if you can get assistance. The worst that can happen is someone will say no, and yes, you’re used to that!!!
I always think it’s worth it to check out the cons near you. You might be able to attend a local con for just the cost of the con. For example, I could attend Icon and commute back and forth from my home. That would mean that the cost of the con and the cost of food would make the con very cheap. I would do that if I weren’t hosting a writing workshop, by the way.
So, let me break down a few costs, so you can take a look.
A Nearby Con that you can drive to: I drive to conventions in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Minneapolis, and Chicago, and potentially the range of cons I could drive to include Omaha, Kansas City, and St. Louis. It’s vaguely about 50 cents or so for mile traveled in your car for reimbursement. Hotel, food, and the convention membership are the biggest expenses. Depending on the convention and the cost of the hotel, I might pay $500 for a 2-night/3-day inexpensive, nearby convention. I might pay $800 for a 3-night/4-day convention. Usually, this kind of con is a good investment. You can make this kind of con less expensive by staying at a friend’s house, or sharing with a roommate, because hotel is usually the biggest expense.
Flying to a convention: The above convention price is pretty much the same, plus an air ticket. I live in Cedar Rapids, so some tickets might be more expensive for me than you, if you were catching a Southwest connection. In general, I pay around $400-$800 a ticket, depending on distance, access, and connections.
Ergo, the average convention will cost me
Transportation: Car or Airfare
and run me about $500 for a very local affair when I stay at home all the up to about $1800 for a convention I fly to for a few days.
Are conventions worth it? Lots of opinions there. I would say yes, because you can introduce yourself in fandom and present yourself well. If you can pair the convention with some book signings, all the better. A little more bang for your buck and stretching of your travel dollar.
Next week: I will talk about conventions and promoting your book! Like I know so much about this…but I’m going to tell you what I’ve seen and what seems to work for other authors I know. Hint: having a unique give away seems to be key…
We’ve been a little quieter this fortnight. 🙂