For two and a half days I was an author. I mingled with other authors, committee chairs and staff, fans of mystery/suspense novels and short stories, and a few spouses. I smiled, made small talk, sat on a panel, and tried to sound like I knew what I was talking about. The book store present actually sold three of my books and one reader asked me to sign hers. (I appreciated that.) On Saturday I found the “continuous conversation” a comfortable place to be, so I came early and stayed late, but our conversation wasn’t always about books or writing. One woman at the table had raised and shown Arabian horses. I used to own an Arab, so of course we shared stories. And one of the other writers present at the conference has Rhodesian Ridgebacks. So we shared pictures and tales about our dogs.
I attended the sessions on e-books and how to increase your fan base (and hopefully earn a billion dollars). Yeah, sure. I even wore a costume to the banquet Saturday night. I was dressed in prison orange, which I quickly removed before driving back to my motel (especially since I had to drive by a police station to get there).
I put 590 miles on my car to attend this conference. Was gone for 4 days. Too much was going on for me to get any writing done, and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since I returned. (Catch up on my sleep, on the laundry, on grocery shopping, e-mail, etc.) So was it worth it?
I really don’t know, and that’s the problem with much of the PR a writer does. There is no true way to determine if the people who listened to me on the panel or sat at the table during those continuous conversations, or if anyone I smiled at, talked with, or shook hands with will ever buy one of my books. There’s no way to tell if having my picture and bio in the handbook will have any influence on a potential book buyer.
There’s also no way for me to judge if the bits of information I picked up during those sessions on e-books and increasing your fan base will actually help me personally. Yet I’m glad I went, and I’m glad I met the people who were there. I did learn a bit more about the business I’m in, and I’ve already shared some of the information I gleaned at the conference with a women’s group here in the area where I live. Now I simply have to come
back down to reality and do what writers must do…WRITE.
(By the way, today I signed up to attend Sleuthfest next March in Orlando, Florida.)