It ain’t easy being a writer. And I’m not talking about the hard work, the solitude, the craft—that’s a post for someone else’s blog. I’m talking about the money we want to spend wisely. Namely, the money most of us don’t have.
And this isn’t about the not-enough-to-live-on advances either, or the expenditures of time/money expected when we do sell the book and have arrived. I wanted to bring up the fun stuff, the times we get to come unglued from our computer chairs: conference time.
I’ve been to a few of these, and they’re lots of fun. I come away recharged, newly inspired, and up-to-date on all things publishing. Plenty of reasons to go.
But let’s look at the price tag that comes with a conference: $250 for the plane ticket (if you’re lucky), $300 for the conference fee (on average, unless you’re going to Thrillerfest). Then the cab to the hotel—and then there’s The Hotel. Which is usually about $200 a night, because it’s The Hotel, and has a bellhop with better clothes than you, and a $20 breakfast. Three nights sets you back $600.
So we’re already at $1150. Then there’s some souvenirs for the kids, food, a banquet you should really go to that adds $60, and you’re spending $1500. And that’s assuming you still have a pair of conference pants that fit, and something that can pass for a banquet outfit.
For me, this is as much as a family vacation on a budget, or a mortgage payment, or my utility bills for a year. If you look at that price tag, going to a conference seems like a frivolous and selfish expense.
So instead, I’m looking at local events, or online ones, so there’s no hotel, no airfare, and I can drive my own car. I’m already looking at such events next year. Events where I can smile at the bellhop on my way in without my little suitcase, instead of feeling like I have to hand him a tip. And I use Facebook or CrimeSpace to catch up with my faraway writer friends.
Still… I wish I was going to Indy this week, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.