Sorry this is so late. I woke up dead. Okay, okay, not really dead. Though Dan has argued that my drive to write is so great I’ll become a natural zombie, it’s not that bad yet. However, I’ve been up for two hours and struggling to stay awake.
This is a problem because I’m trying to finish an overdue short story. It’s a difficult convoluted story because it’s a noir mystery, as well as a fantasy. I know every step, but because of the nature of the beast I have to mind every word. Which is difficult when you write 500 words and then have to sleep for two hours. Yesterday I managed 2k words, but I have about 4k to go.
Also, Larry has sent me back Guardian for my part of it now, and I haven’t even been able to read it, because I conk out after reading anything mildly challenging.
Fortunately I saw older boy and his lovely bride to be, both younger and fitter than I go through this, so I’m not panicking. It’s just a bad virus with a long ramp up and residual depression in its wake.
I’m about a week behind them, so much as I’d like to clean and finish writing Guardian (the story needs to be written today, even if I sleep in between) I might need to work relly hard to be health for Liberty con.
Speaking of which there’s a whole lot of evaluation and re-evaluation of cons going on in the house.
Cons were never big marketing events for me. Not that I’m not personable, and usually I make a few fans every con, but I’m… well… when I broke in the kids were little, so I couldn’t travel, and also we didn’t have a ton of money, and then when those improved I just seemed to have no immune system left (mostly because of thyroid issues.)
But thing is, I have a lot of very good friends who are wholly indie, and some who are amazingly successful. Some of the best earners have never attended a con. Some attend cons for fun, but see no bump on their sales. My own indie sales show no bump when I attend a con. Oh, ten or so extra sales, but even if all those people become lifelong fans it doesn’t pay for itself.
That used to be my check for cons “will it pay for itself?” World Fantasy usually did, because I got enough invites to anthos, and sometimes invites to submit that I usually made more than I spent. Worldcon was bigger and I rarely got work from it, so I went there less.
Cons were sales tools only to the extent that they allowed us to appear successful in front of publishers, who then put muscle into pushing us and made it so. Since the push model only sort works-ish and most editors have become really sparing with the travel, this is not a viable strategy even for mostly-trad writers.
For hybrid or indie only, cons seem to have absolutely no effect on money/sales. Which is why I say cons need us more than we need them, at least for those of us who are fine going indie.
And yet I told you I’m trying to be okay for Liberty con. Well… That’s because there’s a high concentration of my fans there, and I like my fans, and I like meeting with you. I’ve always been solitaire, partly because I was the much younger kid in the family. (There’s nothing as sad as learning to play multiple sides of a board game because no one will play it with you.) And then in school I found I was Odd and very few little kids wanted to talk dinosaurs and space or play at being Robin Hood and the Three Musketeers.
There is still that aspect to cons. I get to see my people.
Right now I do Liberty con because so many of you go there, and I do Cosine because it’s close enough for a day trip.
In future we’ll try to see those of you in other cities. We think once the boys are off the paycheck (Two years, G-d willing) and we’re doing a little better (right now ALL my income goes to boys) we’ll schedule weekends away every other month, and arrange to meet with you guys wherever, like we meet with locals at Pete’s Kitchen around 4 pm the first Saturday of the month.
Not for sales but because, I’m sorry, I think you’re my tribe, and even solitary writers need to belong sometimes.