I bought a new Honda Civic seven years ago. Right now I have 25,704 miles on it. I don't travel a lot. My health restricts me but even if it didn't I probably wouldn't be going many places. I love my life at home and after my dark years I found that I wasn't very social after all. Sitting around talking with three or four people is my idea of a good evening. Beyond three or four I tend to lay back.
Mystery Cat Bookstore in Cedar Rapids is nice enough to have me do a signing whenever I have a new book appearing. I order extra galleys and send them out to blogs I hope will review them. I get about a fifty per cent response. And that's about it. Even in the days when I was editing Mystery Scene I never went to conventions or seminars. Amazing how well the mystery world has done without me, eh?
So last night I'm reading Sandra Parshall on Poe's Deadly Daughter's http://poesdeadlydaughters.blogspot.com/ and I come across the follwing paragraph about writers attending mystery conferences:
"In virtually every case, writers have to pay their own way. A lot of mystery writers out there, especially first-time authors, are spending their entire advances and much more on travel and conference fees. It seems to make sense – after all, if you don’t get a rave review in the New York Times and your publisher won’t buy big splashy ads for your book, you have to get the word out somehow, don’t you?" (Then she goes on to suggest that it doesn't make sense, that, per an agent's advice, you should pick one or two conferences a year to attend and forget the others.)
Ed here: Wow "Spending their entire advances and more." Maybe I'd be better known if I'd gotten around some in my Mystery Scene days--I'm not questioning the value of that kind of publicity--but spending your advances and more? Is this sort of thing widespread?
And doesn't this tax your writing time?
Once again, I'm responding as someone in his sixties who grew up in Iowa and didn't meet a real writer until he was eighteen. And that writer was a sad alcoholic who wrote for a few pathetic downscale men's magazines (that I would gladly write for a year later. Henry Gregor Felsen of Des Moines (a REAL writer) was supposed to come to Cedar Rapids on the day of my fifteenth birthday but something happened and he couldn't make it. I'm considering forgiving him.)
Most of you may be familiar with the syndrome Parshall describes. But to me it's surprising.