Decisions, Decisions
J. Dianne Dotson – Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer - Decisions, Decisions

This has been quite the year. I was to attend cons and book festivals, and those are either all canceled or postponed. Those were the right calls on behalf of the organizers.

I realized, while sorting through the maze of business expenses I have, that I’m really rather tired of the whole mess of trying to make an in-person presence at cons make sense financially. I’m an indie author. I now have three books, and next year I’ll have a fourth. But I will be honest, I am exasperated by this method. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, and I’m over it. After I finish The Questrison Saga® (and Accretion arrives May 26!), I don’t want to publish any other unrelated work by myself.

I will switch to traditional publication for all future work.

I put a lot of thought and care that went into making all the swag, the banners, the table posters, etc. over the past few years. Heck, even the Book Signing Brownies! But the numbers don’t lie. It was a massive financial loss to have a table at any convention. They were fun, and I met wonderful people. But it doesn’t make sense from my unique, personal business standpoint.

The pandemic has really underlined what is necessary, and what is not. A convention presence for me is not only unnecessary, but it’s costly. It costs a lot of money AND a lot of time, and there’s a physical toll as well. I’m still recovering from a leg injury, and being confined to a table for days just does not make sense. Frankly, I also don’t like being away from my family that long.

I do, however, want to continue participating on panels. Panels DO make sense, because I can discuss my work, both in fiction and in science. Panels are valuable ways to engage an audience that I could never do from a crowded convention floor vending area. Book festivals might still be a possibility, because they showcase authors. They also tend to require a much more truncated presence.

Given the need to move events online this year, I think some of these new remote activities will continue. They make much more sense financially. And in some ways, there’s better reach.

And at the end of the day, I am a WRITER. I should be writing, not spending all the time promoting, designing, dealing with aspects of publishing, etc. I want to write, I need to write. So that’s where I’ll focus my energy and my resources. With some luck, maybe I’ll be traditionally published one day. Writing is oxygen for me. It’s my North Star. Deciding to focus on writing is, to me, the best decision in all this.


Image Credit: Dianne’s much-worn keyboard on her nearly-defunct laptop. Photo by J. Dianne Dotson Copyright 2020.