"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A qualified yes

I went to Left Coast Crime last weekend. LCC is a fan convention for readers who live west of the Rockies. Or the Mississippi, perhaps, I don't know. Last year it was in Sacramento and I went for the first time. I was on a panel discussing private investigators. I remember feeling insecure about it, because I've never been a PI and I thought my every answer would be, "I don't know. I make stuff up."

But it was a really good panel and I got to talk about Peri and not act like I'm a goofball who makes it all up. I hung out with a few authors, and met a lot of readers, and my ebook sales for that weekend SOARED. I mean, like higher than ever. I paid for the weekend with my ebook mysteries.

At the time, I saw that LCC would be in Colorado Springs this year and thought I wouldn't go. I mean, it's too far to drive. I hate flying. Flying costs money, then I have to get to the hotel, which also costs money, and eventually I'm just spending lots of money.

But The Hot Mess came out this year, and I felt I had no choice. I wasn't going to get to the other big convention, Bouchercon, because not only is it the same weekend as the Southern California Writers' Conference in Newport Beach, it's in freakin' Albany. That's New York, kids. Not just in another time zone. In another dimension.

I made all the reservations, packed all the necessary clothes, and hopped on Frontier Airlines to Denver.

"Gee, Gayle, how was it?"

Mostly like this outside.

We were a captive audience.

And like this inside.
Me and Michele

Our Crime Fiction Collective blog panel, Truth is more violent than Fiction - or is it?


The convention seemed smaller, and there seemed to be more writers than readers. There were a lot of new readers, which was great, but they didn't really know how to get the most from the convention. I realize I was having a lot of fun with my friends, but I wanted to meet readers and even though we were all trapped in the same snowy locale, I couldn't get to them, somehow.

As a result, my sales are not soaring. They are not sinking, of course. Floating. I'd describe them as floating along with the current. I came home feeling like I'd spent a lot of money without seeing a lot of return on my investment.

Dale asked me how the weekend went, and my first response was disappointment about my sales. Then I told him about spending an hour with a writer who has done a lot of successful things to sell her ebooks. I took tons o' notes and plan to implement quite a few of these. I also spent an evening with Michele Scott, whose YA horse-centric book is being released around the same time as the Snoopy memoir. We schemed about cross-promotional ideas and committed to a few things.

On Sunday, I went to the LCC board meeting to tell them that if they had the convention in San Diego, I could write to Dean Koontz and see if he'd attend as our special guest. By the time I walked out, I had agreed to submit a bid to host LCC in San Diego for either 2016 or 2017.

"I dunno," I said at last, still checking my numbers on Kindle. "It was enormously expensive and I just don't know if it was worth it."

"Of course it was worth it," my darling hubby told me. "Look at all the stuff you got done." One more reason for me to love that guy. He pointed out that success isn't always just about the dollar sign.

And when I got home, this was waiting for me.

A standup banner for Snoopy's memoir - sweet!

How do you measure success, or define disappointment?


JennyRedbug said...

Sounds like it was an "investment" trip...i bet y
ou will see the payoff down the road a bit!

JennyRedbug said...

Sounds like it was an "investment" trip...i bet y
ou will see the payoff down the road a bit!

Gayle Carline said...

I hope so - but I'd like the road to be a little shorter than it looks from here!

Tameri Etherton said...

Yeah, you need to go to Boucheron! If only so I can go with you to New York. Where's your adventurous spirit? I love to fly. Like, put me on a plane anywhere and I'm excited!

I love Dale's attitude. Your sale's might've been floating that weekend, but who knows what that weekend will pay for in the future. It's a long race, my friend. We're in it for the distance. It's all good.

Gayle Carline said...

Thanks, but if I go to Albany, I can't teach at Newport in September. But Bouchercon is in Long Beach in 2014. Sweet!

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