How do you choose where you will go each year? There are so many conventions, conferences, and workshops out there to choose from. I’m totally overwhelmed! I want to go to them all. If I went to even half of them, I’d get nothing written though.
How do you decide where to go? Here is what I do.
· I put them all on one calendar with where they are located
· I put the cost of the convention on it
· I put the general cost of travel/hotel on it.
· I cross out anything that is just too expensive for me to handle.
· I highlight all of the ones I’ve gone to in the past that seemed to show me a good return on my investment. (# of books sold during that week and the week after, number of hits and friends on my website and Facebook during that week and the week after, and compare it to the cost to see what my ratio of cost to potential sells is.)
· I highlight in another color those that I’ve been to where I didn’t see quite the same results.
· I put an * by those I’ve never, ever been to that are in a place I’ve never been, like, say Seattle, Washington or Idaho.
· I choose the three main ones that I plan to go to based on if I can be a featured author and/or give a workshop/sit on a panel.
· Then I cross off all the others in that month. I can’t go to more than one in a month. Tried that and have the nervous breakdown report to prove it.
· Next, I check with all the rest to see if I can present or give a workshop or panel and go from there. If I can, I pick out those in areas I’ve not been to for a new experience and chance at reaching new readers. I cross out all of the rest in that month.
· I don’t go to workshops or conventions in November or December unless they are one day affairs near me.
· If I get a personal request from a reader, I try to accommodate them since they rock! And they took the time to contact me. If it is possible, I will come. If not for the entire thing, then maybe for a day to visit with that reader.
· If I get a request from a convention/workshop coordinator to be a featured author or workshop presenter, I will try to work those in as well. That is always an honor to be asked out of thousands and thousands of other authors out there.
So, I now have about five maybe six workshops/conventions I’m planning to attend. That’s six weeks out of every year that I get very little writing down which means I have to double up the rest of the year! Yikes! How do I do that?
Well, I cut out things that a lot of people do without even thinking about it most every day.
· I don’t watch TV—at all! End of story. I plow through the news on my computer for top stories that I need to know about. I listen to other people talk about news when I’m commuting, eating, or otherwise occupied but hear them chattering.
· I buy/rent/stream movies and TV series that are of interest to me for writing such as Sons of Anarchy and Dexter and Gigolos and True Blood to watch short takes when I’m writing that particular genre for inspiration, to get in the mindset, and for entertainment. But only short bits, like one episode at a time.
· I listen to books on tape in my genres whenever I’m in my car when I’m alone or exercising, using my MP3 player.
· I read at doctor’s offices, waiting on appointments, on planes, at railroad tracks, red lights, stop signs…well you understand. I don’t normally take a few hours every day to read. I need to write. Sometimes I will have an excellent weekend of writing and reward myself with half a day of reading. Those days are rare and very, very special!
· I shop on line and have everything except perishables delivered to the house so I don’t waste time browsing at the store for things I don’t need and can’t afford anyway only to waste even more time waiting in long annoying checkout lines.
· I make the most out of any non-writing time I take. For example, if I’m going to have to get up to go to the bathroom, I also get a refill on my water, drop off dirty clothes, and pick up any mail, and folded clothes to be put away. If I have to leave to go somewhere, I plan my trip so that I don’t waste time doubling back for other errands, like going to the bank, post office, pharmacy, etc.
· I have a unique work schedule since I work at the EDJ Monday through Wednesday from 6:30am till 6:30pm. Then I’m off Thursday through Sunday’s to write. I do edits, promo, and the business side of things after work on Mondays thru Wednesdays until 10pm. Then I’m off to bed. On Thursday’s through Sundays, I write, write, write. Yes, things interrupt me that have to be handled, but everyone has that. Plus, it keeps me from getting stiff sitting in my chair for 12 hours a day non-stop!
So, that’s how I make up for going to conventions and workshops five or six times a year. I do one other thing that helps make up my word counts. I schedule a week’s “vacation” where I go to my writing retreat where there’s nothing to interrupt me (for the most part) and I’m alone and can write non-stop. I also schedule one or two long weekends at my writing retreat for the same thing.
Is this the best way to do it? I highly doubt it. No two authors are the same. All of us are unique, which is why we have so many different writing styles and ideas. What works for me won’t work for someone else. What works for them, wouldn’t work for me.
Some of you are going to read this and think one of two things.
1) I don’t really do this. I’m just making it up. Many of my colleagues will tell you, that yes, I really do live like this. I’m different from others. I don’t have children. (I do have my parents living with me) I don’t have a big social live, but I do have writer friends who I talk with and visit occasionally. It’s not for everyone or even a few others. If I’m not writing, I feel guilty and get nervous and the voices in my head start talking about ways to torture me. Believe me. You don’t want my voices discussing the merits of one technique of torture over another!
2) You’re going to say I’m crazy and probably an introvert. Well, you’re right. I am crazy and an introverted hermit except when I’m at conventions and workshops. Then I will talk your ear off because I haven’t had anyone to talk to for about the last forty-five weeks!!!
Okay, I got off on a tangent. Choosing what conventions and workshops to attend isn’t easy and more than likely, something will come up to throw you off just when you thought you had it all worked out. That’s okay. Another opportunity will come up. I’m posting my planned 2014 schedule on my website www.marlamonroe.com and here. Just be for-warned.
For a complete list of all Conventions/Conferences/ Workshops that I’ve got information on, check back later and I’ll post a link to my spreadsheet.
For all of you wonderful readers out there, have a great week and hope to hear from you sometime. Maybe I will even meet you at a con.
For all of you busy writers, don’t change your process if it works. If you see something you like that someone else does, try tweaking your process and if it doesn’t work, go back to your original method. You don’t lose anything by trying something new, but you might miss out on something if you don’t.
March 21-22, 2014
Memphis, TN at Hilton Memphis
939 Ridgelake Blvd. Memphis, TN 38120
April 9-13, 2014
Las Vegas, Nevada
Details Coming Soon
June 19-22, 2014
RomCon Denver, CO
Crowne Plaza, Denver Airport
July 23-26, 2014
Romance Writers of American Convention
34th Annual Conference
San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter & Marriott Riverwalk
In San Antonio, TX
August 21-26, 2014
BDSM Writers Conference
New York, NY Manhattan
Hotel TBA Later
Check out my BDSM Author Page
September 18-21, 2014
Lora Leigh’s Reader Appreciation Weekend
Website to follow soon
October 9-12, 2014
Destiny Blaine’s Writing Workshop & Reader Rally
LaQuinta Inn and Suites
10150 Airport Parkway
Kingsport, TN 37663