There are so many events and writer functions to choose from. It’s often a tough decision to make on whether to go or pass. I have several author friends who weigh their decision based on how many books they think they’ll sell.
Your writing is your business, and you do need to make sure that you have time to write and market your work. You, as a professional, also need opportunities to sell your books. And your time is valuable.
That being said, there are times when I’ll do a volunteer event or a workshop where I don’t have an expectation for book sales, but there are often benefits or surprises that go along with these.
Every event is an opportunity to talk to readers. Because I’ve attended an event, I have been invited to a radio interview, podcast interviews, marketing opportunities, book clubs, and other speaking engagements.
I love libraries and writing programs for new writers (especially kids), and I try to make time to do these kinds of events. I spoke to an English class recently about the mystery genre, and I was floored that multiple students had brought copies of my books for me to sign.
I did a group event at a wine festival once. It was hot. We were outside, and book sales were slow. But we did have an opportunity to talk to hundreds of people. I gave out bookmarks, pencils, and pens. I was also pleasantly surprised that my ebook numbers jumped the next week. People who were not ready to buy a book at the wine festival bought one later online.
Once, I did a book club presentation at a senior facility for a friend who was a program director. After a wonderful discussion, all the participants asked me to come back for a book signing.
So, yes, as an author you need to make sure that you divide your time. If you’re on the road constantly, you’re not writing your next book. But, if you don’t go out, you don’t have opportunities to talk to readers. I think it’s a balancing act.