Durand Fantasy Expo – Was it Worth it?

Reminder: I’ll be giving away two autographed books in the next day or so, for anyone who hasn’t yet entered.


I spent Saturday at the Durand Fantasy Expo. From ten to four, I spent most of my time in a hard plastic chair behind a table, with a one-hour break to head to the library and do a small writing workshop/chat. Add in almost two more hours of driving time. Counting up the books I sold, I earned somewhere around forty-eight cents an hour … before expenses.

After including the cost of gas, lunch, and the book I donated to the organizer? Well, that’s just too depressing to calculate.

I know a number of authors who don’t do many signings and events, because you almost never sell enough books to make it worth the time and expense. And I admit I don’t push myself to do as many booksignings as I used to five years back.

But looking beyond the immediate financial numbers, on Saturday I also got to:

  • Talk about writing with a small group at the local library, which I always enjoy. (The library had also purchased all four of my princess books, which is a nice bonus.)
  • Meet a Star Wars comic artist and chat about the realities of an artistic career.
  • Meet and talk to a fan who had been trying to get to one of my events for several years. This was his sixth attempt, and he finally made it. (::Waves to Bobotar::)
  • Pick up an $80 Pirates of the Carribean LEGO set for $15 at the library sale. Score!
  • Hang out with my tribe — with people who wore Doctor Who T-shirts and joked about Star Trek vs. Star Wars and played Dungeons & Dragons and thought the costumed Jawa was the coolest thing ever.
  • Chat with a few people from the 501st, including a Stormtrooper whose wife was a fan of my books.
  • And of course, this happened:

This was of course a totally natural and spontaneous moment, and not in any way staged by me. (Side note: I love the 501st.)

So was it worth it? That depends. If you’re worried about the money in hand, then absolutely not. But I enjoyed getting to chat and hang out with folks. I had fun. That’s the important part to me, the part that so often gets forgotten in debates over whether or not these events are worth it.

And from a purely mercenary perspective, fans who’ve met you in person are more likely to become long-term readers, and to spread the word about you and your books. (Unless you’re an asshole, I mean.)

I can’t say whether this sort of event is worth it for everyone … but I can tell you it was worth it to me.