Saturday, March 2, 2013

Conventions- go or no?

I've seen a lot of authors talking about conventions lately; the big question seems to be whether it's worth it to spend the money. Well, I can't speak for anyone other than myself, and it's from a publisher's perspective more than an author's. But for us, you bet it's worth it!

I'm not going to lie, conventions are fun. You're meeting new people, and in some cases, people you've been reading for years and never thought you'd meet. The authorly camaraderie is great. We're all floating around in this industry trying to earn a decent living and swimming beside someone else for a while sure helps you hang on. So that's the first benefit: a renewed sense of purpose and rejuvenation of your writing spirit. There's not a conference I've come away from without being pumped up after.

Second, while meeting all these new people, you're doing important industry work--networking. Who knows what that will lead too? I've definitely asked writers I've met at conferences to specifically send me a story. Someone I've only met online? Not nearly as often. Face to face still leaves a more lasting impression.

And that's the third benefit--pitch sessions. Hate those dreaded cover letters? Take advantage of a pitch session with your targeted publisher and get some face time. You have a chance to tell them about your novel in person, answer any questions they might have, and impress them with your professionalism, all of which are harder to convey in written correspondence.

Fourth--bring your books! Any thing you happen to have published, or bookmarks, business cards, pens, anything with your name on it. And hand them out. Not in an irritating manner, ( just handing them to everyone you pass as though they should have a clue who the heck you are), have a conversation, then give the person something to remember you by. Maybe they'll get back and read your book, look at your card, and remember you. Following up with "it was great to meet you" emails to people you connected with (that means more than five words at a crowded party when you stumbled into them and sloshed your drink) are always a good idea. If they don't respond--don't badger them. Or, you can always sell your books if you've booked a signing.

As a publisher, we go to cons to meet other publishers and talk shop, to meet authors we'd like to work with, to get our name and face out there along with those of our authors, and to sell our products.

Our table at Killercon.
We have found it to be invaluable. We've made some great contacts in the industry, we've met authors we might not have worked with otherwise, we've sold product, put our name on people's refrigerators (magnets, y'all), and yes, we had fun. But we also busted our asses ninety-five percent of the time we were there.
So if you're thinking about a conference, not sure if it's right for you, let me nudge you. Pick a conference where you'll meet not only industry professionals, but readers too. WHC in New Orleans this year is a great one. Killercon in Vegas was great but not as many readers attend that one. There are many others to choose from as well. And just remember--present yourself professionally. It really does make a difference.
Angelic Knight Press will be represented at World Horror Convention 2013. Other conferences have not been decided at the time of this posting.


  1. They're great as authors as well, even if you don't have a table. Networking is so much easier when everyone is in one location.

  2. I've been to some in the "old" days and always learned and had a lot of fun. Today, I think it's even more important to attend. There are a lot more than six houses. It's a must to get your name out there!



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