On the matter of fan conventions – I have decided that in-person events like Fan Expo are going to be a hard pass for me in 2023.
While it’s incredibly fun to meet readers and spend time with my writing tribe, the fan conventions often include 10-12 hour days of panels, table work, driving to and from Denver every morning and night, weeks of preparation etc… and it’s all extremely exhausting and time consuming.
Sure, I always make my expenses + some back, but I don’t feel like I get enough from it overall (career-wise) to attend these conventions regularly. It doesn’t energize me, and I haven’t seen huge returns or increased sales due to in-person events. As a matter of fact, my book sales have been better in years where I didn’t do in-person events and solidly focused on the writing. By focusing on the writing, I am putting my larger fan base first and spending more time writing books readers love, instead of wasting a month getting ready for a con, then spending a week or two afterward in hibernation mode to recover.
So, I think I’m going to spend my energy elsewhere, and in ways that energize me and bring me joy.
Does this mean I will never do in-person events again? Never say never. I may do in-person events here and there. Maybe smaller ones if I feel up to it. Writer friends will still catch me at local writerly events as I plan to do RMFW’s retreat again this year, and possibly the conference (since I have a few workshops I want to teach).
Alas, I am not alone in my decision to forego the in-person events for the sake of my productivity and ultimately my bottom line. A recent poll of high earning indie authors shows that most of the authors at my level (which is a stage 7-8 according to this poll) are skipping out on the in-person events for the same reason. The ROI isn’t that great, and all that time prepping for reader conventions could be better spent giving readers more of what they want. So, while this may not be a fact many writers want to hear (that in-person events are actually productivity and income killers), it’s actually true for a lot of uber successful indies like myself. 1.5 months is an extra novel for me – or time spent doing things that enrich and fuel my creative juices. And that’s super important so you don’t burn out.