QUESTION: Does attending conferences bring me more readers?
I’ve never been to a conference, and it’s going to be a few years before the idea is even on my radar. When asked why, my response is I have kids to pay for, and by the time they’re graduating, I’m paying for college LOL.
While I don’t know firsthand that going to conferences equals more fans, I can tell you what I hear through the grapevine.
First, it depends on the conference. If you’re attending an all-author event, you network with new people and gain friends. Of course, authors are readers and fans too, so don’t discount that! But taking a ton of new swag to an all-author conference seems silly to me (feel free to comment and change my mind).
If you attend a con, big or small, and there are readers to be swayed, you will sway them. How? Because readers can look you in the eyes and see you smile and how animated you become when you talk about your books. That excitement is infectious. When you put a card or a bookmark in the reader’s hand, she looks at it later and remembers you. But if she picks up your bookmark at the library? Not so much.
On the other hand, if you’re a negative, unsmiling witch, you’re going to be remembered for that. Your personality is the key at cons, IMO. Even if a reader doesn’t like erotic and that’s what you write, your witty comments might cause her to pick up your book. Your funny costume or how you twerked might really do it.
Don’t forget the other opportunities at cons for you, such as workshop presentations and book signings. Being in the public eye means people are going to talk about you, and that word of mouth is what gains the most readers.
Now I’ve persuaded myself to want to sign up for the next con! If only I wasn’t paying for dance/baseball gear/music lessons/ and that thing they call FOOD!