Every time after a convention or writer’s conference, you’ll see posts going up about how the convention has taken a downturn and isn’t worth attending anymore. So many people seem disappointed in their experience and vow to skip the next convention in favor of something else. And I get it, I really do. In my profession (working with authors as a service provider) I see many people attending multiple conferences a year. Multiple BIG conferences. Multiple EXPENSIVE conferences.
Early on in my business, I decided I wouldn’t follow the pattern. I would do events that offered greater value than the overall cost, even if I really wanted to go. Less fun, but overall it has been one of my smartest business decisions.
When deciding if an event has more value than overall cost, I make a list. For BEA 2015, the pros column:
With that in mind, and considering this will be the last year I’m close enough to take a cheap train into the city, I had already decided BEA would be a worthwhile conference to attend.
And then something unexpected happened.
I started a Twitter conversation with a member of the board for the BEA blogger conference. In that brief Twitter exchange, I was invited to speak on a panel.
And I said yes.
Now realistically, not everyone will end up becoming a speaker at every convention they attend. But it can happen. My client AD Starling also was invited to speak at UPublishU, something that never would have happened if she hadn’t attended.
BEA 2015 was the right option for me this year, but maybe it wasn’t for you, and that’s okay, but never dismiss a conference because it wasn’t right for someone else. Only you can decide what is worthwhile for you. Only you know the goals you want to achieve.
Are you looking to learn how to self-publish your books? Well, look at conferences with a strong self-publishing focus like IndieReCon.
Are you looking to connect with people in the industry? Try BookExpo America.
Are you looking to learn more about blogging? Attend BookExpo America’s Blogger Conference.
Be clear about your goals. I picked BEA for convenience, the mix of industry and book collecting, and to connect with those in publishing I couldn’t connect with online. I didn’t attend the conference looking to take home suitcases full of books or to gain a whole new group of clients. In the end, I got exactly what I was looking for and more. I was able to connect with people in the industry I couldn’t reach online. I was able to connect in person with those I know online. And I was able to get up on stage and share about what I love (and hopefully helped all those who came to the panels).
Publishing events and conventions ARE worth it, as long as you know what you are looking for.
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Kate Tilton has been serving authors since 2010. Founder of Kate Tilton’s Author Services, LLC, Kate works as an author assistant, social media manager, and speaker with the mission of connecting authors and readers. Kate is the creator and host of #K8chat (Thursdays at 9pm Eastern on Twitter) and has appeared on popular media such as Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. You can find Kate on katetilton.com.