The Importance of Attending Conventions as an Author
As an independent writer and designer I know first hand the amount of time and energy needed to put in to get your brand into the mainstream public eye. For all the different avenues you can use online there is still something to be said for getting out into the real world and pressing the flesh. The best way to do that is by attending events such as conventions. Not only is it a great deal of fun but it is also a chance to network.
For some of you that may sound like a dirty word. After all, we're artists. Our novels speak for themselves, right? Wrong. In this day and age the publishing world is saturated with books...some good, some bad. But even if you write the Great American Novel, if no one knows it exists then no one is reading it. Networking at conventions can only help you with getting your name out there in one of three ways:
Other authors - When you meet other authors it is not only invigorating to share your tales about being in the trenches of the publishing industry, but it also helps you to make new friends in an otherwise isolating career. And, believe it or not, authors are prone to help each other out. We're all in this together!
Bloggers - I met quite a few bloggers at some of the signings and all of them were more than willing to help promote your new release, cover reveal, guest post or more. They all gave me their card and followed my FB and Twitter accounts. In the book world, bloggers are your best friend.
Industry - Industry professionals are the lifeblood of the publishing world. Agents and publishers attend conventions all year looking for the next big name in the book world. This is your chance to put your best foot forward and shine like the star you are. I highly recommend taking advantage of any and all opportunities to speak with these gatekeepers. Even if they don't ask to see your manuscript this time, they will usually give you advice and you have the experience to go into your next pitch session.
All in all conventions are well worth your time and investment. Pick one close to your home and try it out. From there you can venture to other cities and start making a name for yourself.