By C. Hope Clark –
I touched on this subject in another post earlier this year, but I want to hammer it here. You are a writer. Your time is torn between the keyboard and marketing yourself (not to mention your private life and whatever job is subsidizing your endeavors). Your time is money. It’s ALWAYS money, so don’t throw it away. So when you decide to get involved in any writing activity, you must be able to measure the return on investment. What’s it worth in terms of your annual income for you to get involved?
Conferences – Don’t go without a mission. What will you bring home from this event? While you’ll make friends the purpose isn’t social. It’s business. What will you achieve here that makes it worth your money AND the time away from your writing? Is the conference too large for your taste? Do they provide answers to exact topics you need? Do you need an agent and do they provide one that fits your genre? Measure a conference from all angles before attending.
Signings – Will you be the only person at a poorly advertised event, selling three books in as many hours? Or is it well-advertised with expectations of good sales? Yes, it is controllable and predictable. If it isn’t, someone isn’t doing their job.
Mass signings – There’s a trend to gather as many authors as possible together and meet in some venue to sign. However, if there are as many authors as attendees, or even 30 authors and 200 attendees, will you sell enough books in that day (or two) that will justify the travel and cost? What are the genres represented? How much advertising has been done? How many books have sold at these events in the past? How much percentage of your sales do you have to pay for the privilege?
Book Fairs – These little events can net huge rewards, or reap nothing. Know the event. Keep it as local as possible, both diminishing expense and capitalizing on the homegrown author reputation.
Classes – What are the teacher’s credentials? What do previous students say about the class? How much is the fee and how much time will you have to invest? How will you specifically implement this class into your writing plans?
Webinars – What are the presenter’s credentials? What are they selling? Does the program fit into your schedule AND your writing plan? Be wary of impulse-to-buy deals.
Book Clubs – Believe it or not, these little gems often pay for themselves. Not only does the club choose your book (meaning sales to the members), but they may pay you an honorarium to attend. And since the members already read one of your books, you have the chance to promote your others in person…and offer to autograph them while you’re there! Ask the club what they expect to learn more. They love to talk about themselves.
Advertising – Know before purchasing advertising how others have fared. Are you better off paying for advertising or writing twenty guest blog posts and stealing your writing time? What is the net profit for each of your books so you can determine how many books you must sell to justify the expense. Don’t play if you don’t know.
To know how to calculate your investment, to determine whether to participate or not, you do your homework, and that’s where most writers fall short. They listen to what’s said on Facebook or in chatrooms and don’t actually research the events/activities themselves, thinking they don’t have the time. There is no excuse for not doing your homework. Not with all the information readily at your fingertips as you sit so comfortably at your desk. To say you can or cannot afford to do something should mean you have the knowledge of why, to include the pros and cons of how it accurately can aid or inhibit your career . . . or pocketbook.
TWITTER – http://twitter.com/hopeclark
AUTHOR SITE – http://www.chopeclark.com
FACEBOOK – http://www.facebook.com/chopeclark
GOODREADS – http://www.goodreads.com/hopeclark
BOOKBUB – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/c-hope-clark