Monday, February 12, 2007

Self-Promotion Updated

A couple of things Lyda didn't mention in the (essentially) free section:

Update:I posted this simultaneously with Lyda's post above, and she responds to my convention note in comments on this one.

Conventions. If you've got a small press credit or a professional short story credit (or something bigger) the chances are pretty good that your nearest available convention will let you come for free if you agree to be on some minimum number of panels, usually three. If you're moderately articulate and have opinions on writing and a few fannish passions (Star Trek, LOTR, Buffy, Heinlein, whatever) you can do your career a lot of good this way. You can also have a ball and make new friends. This one is variable cost-since it depends on how far from the con you happen to live and whether you can do the thing from home, but can be quite cheap, or even free.

Writing reviews. There are a lot of F&SF fanzines, semi-pro, and even pro venues that are looking for reviewers of F&SF books and other media. This one's often a twofer, free press and free stuff, because many of the higher profile venues will actually send you books to review.

Of course, these things do cost time, and even if you're a devout believer in the power of self-promotion, you should have some calculation for what your time is worth vs. expected return.


lydamorehouse said...

How funny! I just posted that I didn't consider conventions free. I know you get comped Kelly, but most people don't. Especially when they're first starting out. And, if you happen to live in Nowheresville, you're going to have to factor in the cost of GETTING to the convention -- these days, even driving isn't cheap.

Kelly McCullough said...

On the comping thing, I noted that you need some sort of professional credits to make that work. It's been my experience that most conventions, especially the smaller ones, have a comping policy for folks with professional credits who are willing to do panels. Certainly there are some that don't but it's worth checking out.

Also, you mention book signings in your list of free promotions, which requires transport costs just as a con does, and a bigger publishing credit than most cons require for comping. You also put having a website on the list. Decent webhosting services cost most people more than I spend on cons.

lydamorehouse said...

I did actually mention that web hosting costs money, though you're right that I didn't budget in money for transportation to a booksigning -- which is not the same as going to a convention, IMHO, because I'm trying to think outside of our wonderful local venue for people who may be reading this who may not live within close driving range of a convention hotel, that's all.

tate said...

Oh, and I wanted to say -- REALLY good advice about reviews. To keep my name in the "public" eye I also do interviews with other writers (which is kind of a win-win-win-for-me situation, since they get free publicity, I get free publicity and *I* get paid.)

Kelly McCullough said...

Sorry if I implied that you didn't note some cost to the idea of a webpage. And yes, we absolutely have better access to cons than most folks do. But if you're even moderately close to one and have a book contract, it can be cheaper than several of the other "free" options.

Of course, different people will have different definitions of close. I live far enough out from the Twin Cities that a day at a con involves a minimum two-and-a-half hour round trip, but I consider that to be close.