Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why I chose AAD by Samantha Kane

Hi, my name is Samantha Kane and I’ll be going to my first AAD this fall. Stella asked if we’d share why we chose AAD. I’ve attended a few of the larger cons in the last four years: RT four times, and RWA once. I’ve also been to BEA (Book Expo America) twice. But this year I wanted to try an intimate convention that would give me more opportunities to meet and mingle with readers.

I have a limited budget for promotion and marketing. I don’t feel that I’m getting the bang for my buck at the big cons. For best-selling authors, the big cons are a great promotional opportunity. But for the rest of us? Not so much.

It’s so easy to get lost in the crowd of authors at the larger conventions. I don’t feel that there are as many readers at those cons as there used to be, either. If I want to effectively spend my promotional dollars then I need to be at the conventions where the readers are. Yes, authors are readers. But for the most part, when they attend conventions they are there to promote their own work first.

I chose to attend AAD this year because it is smaller—deliberately so. The organizers keep the numbers down so that authors and readers can interact. This was a big plus for me when making my choice. I also heard both authors and readers talk about how much fun they had at last year’s AAD.

Another reason I chose AAD is because of the m/m and steampunk workshop tracks this year. I have a m/m romance coming out this month and a m/m/f romance coming out this summer that I’ll be promoting at AAD. I’m on at least three m/m workshop panels, and two science fiction and/or steampunk panels. My writing partner, Mari Freeman, and I just finished a western steampunk romance that we are pitching right now. So the workshop choices and focus of the conference fit my marketing needs.

I know this all seems very business-oriented, and it is. For me, the time and resources I devote to conventions are an integral part of the business of being a writer, my business. Yes, it’s great to get together with other authors and readers and connect over our love of books and the craft of writing books. The truth is that when I’m at conventions I tend to forget the business and I just have lots and lots of fun with my friends. So it’s important that I think about my business goals ahead of time. Choosing the right conference is a major step in achieving those goals. If I choose the right one, the business aspect usually takes care of itself and then I can have my fun and promote, too.

7 comments:

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I would love to try to swing a trip to AAD this year myself. It looks like there will be a lot of interesting and useful(heh) stuff to see and hear and think about...scheming, scheming...

Robin K said...

Nothing wrong with being business savvy, I say! Great posts, cannot wait to mingle!

Kel said...

It's very interesting to me that authors seem to like AAD for the same reason as I (a reader) do. The bigger cons feel... unwelcoming. Oh, they have their place - I can't image some of the bigger authors making the time to come to a whole weekend smaller than their book signings... but all the same, I'd rather just go to a booksigning for them.

(And TeriAnne - There's no more time for scheming - AAD is full this year.)

Samantha Kane said...

I forgot to mention in my post that I was very impressed with the workshop process for AAD. They tailor the conference so that the authors attending can showcase their work and who they are. They ask you to tell them what you write and what you'd like to do panels on, and they make sure that every attending author has the chance to be on a workshop panel that will highlight his or her work. Really an excellent, hands-on, positive process.

Cat Grant said...

While I missed seeing you at RT this year, I do agree that it's difficult to get any kind of visibility at these larger conferences. I didn't hear about AAD until it was too late to sign up, but I definitely plan to keep it in mind for next year.

Samantha Kane said...

Cat~ I confess! I missed all my friends at RT big time. But it just wasn't in the cards this year. I hope I get to see you this year, but next year for sure at AAD!

Grace Fonseca said...

Love this con. AAD is one of the most fun cons I've ever been too. Plus I feel that everyone gets treated wonderfully.