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Durand Fantasy Expo - Was it Worth it?

Snoopy

Reminder: I’ll be giving away two autographed books in the next day or so, for anyone who hasn’t yet entered.

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I spent Saturday at the Durand Fantasy Expo. From ten to four, I spent most of my time in a hard plastic chair behind a table, with a one-hour break to head to the library and do a small writing workshop/chat. Add in almost two more hours of driving time. Counting up the books I sold, I earned somewhere around forty-eight cents an hour … before expenses.

After including the cost of gas, lunch, and the book I donated to the organizer? Well, that’s just too depressing to calculate.

I know a number of authors who don’t do many signings and events, because you almost never sell enough books to make it worth the time and expense. And I admit I don’t push myself to do as many booksignings as I used to five years back.

But looking beyond the immediate financial numbers, on Saturday I also got to:

  • Talk about writing with a small group at the local library, which I always enjoy. (The library had also purchased all four of my princess books, which is a nice bonus.)
  • Meet a Star Wars comic artist and chat about the realities of an artistic career.
  • Meet and talk to a fan who had been trying to get to one of my events for several years. This was his sixth attempt, and he finally made it. (::Waves to Bobotar::)
  • Pick up an $80 Pirates of the Carribean LEGO set for $15 at the library sale. Score!
  • Hang out with my tribe — with people who wore Doctor Who T-shirts and joked about Star Trek vs. Star Wars and played Dungeons & Dragons and thought the costumed Jawa was the coolest thing ever.
  • Chat with a few people from the 501st, including a Stormtrooper whose wife was a fan of my books.
  • And of course, this happened:

This was of course a totally natural and spontaneous moment, and not in any way staged by me. (Side note: I love the 501st.)

So was it worth it? That depends. If you’re worried about the money in hand, then absolutely not. But I enjoyed getting to chat and hang out with folks. I had fun. That’s the important part to me, the part that so often gets forgotten in debates over whether or not these events are worth it.

And from a purely mercenary perspective, fans who’ve met you in person are more likely to become long-term readers, and to spread the word about you and your books. (Unless you’re an asshole, I mean.)

I can’t say whether this sort of event is worth it for everyone … but I can tell you it was worth it to me.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Comments

reedrover
Sep. 7th, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
I totally agree about the experience being important to the fans. I blogged about WorldCon and how much it meant to me that I got to meet Seanan McGuire, got to talk to Lois Bujold, got to hang out with Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, and got George R.R. Martin to wish my bro-in-law a happy birthday in his autographing of my gift copy of A Dance with Dragons.

Specific to your point and mine: I had no idea that Mr. Martin was such a nice guy until I got into the autograph line. I got a chance to talk to him, and get my picture taken with him. And so now that I've had that experience of meeting Mr. Martin in person, I will now go out and tell everyone that he's a great guy, and he was really nice to me about my photo request, and we should all support such a great guy.

Edited at 2011-09-07 01:55 pm (UTC)
jimhines
Sep. 7th, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC)
Yep. But I think part of the key is that it has to be genuine. If you're there just to sell books, that comes across, whereas if you're there because you're truly enjoying meeting and talking to people, that also comes through and creates more of that great guy feeling you describe.

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