NOTE from CJ: Almost daily, I get requests for advice from people. When I have time, I try to answer, especially if it will provide insight helpful to others who follow NoRulesJustWRITE. If you have a question, feel free to email it to me—your answer may appear here in the future!
Question: Hi C.J.! I hope you’re well. I have a question about conferences. First off, here’s where I am at with my publishing career:
I just released the third book in my trilogy, and I am getting the rights back to my first book and will be re-releasing in May. I have audio books in the works for the summer, and then I am launching a new thriller series in the late summer/fall. Lack of visibility and exposure is the toughest part for me, and it’s a hurdle I don’t know how to cross. I am doing a BookBub ad at the end of the month, and I will probably make the first book in trilogy free in May.
I network with a lot of authors online, but most of them tend to be romance authors. An author mentioned to me that I needed to go to a conference to network with other mystery/thriller writers and get them to become interested in my career. That whole idea makes me feel smarmy, but I do wonder if I will never see big sales until I go to a conference. Right now, I h ave been putting my time and money into writing and editing. I have a great developmental editor and a great copy editor, but that eats up a lot of my budget. As a stay at home mom, I can only do so much. But in your honest opinion, am I hurting my sales chances but not going to conferences? Or should I just keep putting out content?
Thanks so much!
Answer from CJ: It’s your career, you need to decide what you’ll gain from anything you spend time and energy on.
I will give you my opinion (just my opinion–there are some folks who do the exact opposite of this, focusing on sales, sales, sales, and it works brilliantly for them) and that is if you ever are thinking of doing ANYTHING “just to sell some books” then you’re focusing on the wrong thing.
Getting books into hands of readers is a way to connect with PEOPLE…going to conferences and meeting your peers, hearing their stories, sharing yours, learning from those who’ve been there, done that, is another way to connect with PEOPLE…heck, doing a book signing in a bookstore has nothing to do with selling books, it’s about connecting with the people there (and being helpful by telling passerbys where the restrooms are <g>)
Writing a book is about you expressing yourself. Deciding to publish that book is about connecting with people.
Even if you’re a total misanthrope who hates being around people, telling a great story that affects your audience is still about forming a connection with them.
Up to you to decide if it’s worth your time and effort to forge those connections in person (sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t–no right or wrong here!) or to do it long distance via the “telepathy” (as Stephen King puts it) of your stories.
Hope that helps,
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