A lot of people have been asking me if I'm going to RWA (Romance Writers of America) National conference this year and then the questions always move to various local conferences and reader events. Here's my answer for everything: No.
Why? Well there are several reasons that I'm not traveling at all this year:
1. Last year I traveled too much. I was gone at least one weekend a month almost all year. When you add up the time for travel, the prep time and everything else, by the time the year ended, I was exhausted and burned out. I was sick of airports, sick of packing, and sick of losing three days before each trip and a week after to catch up, laundry and jetlag.
2. We're moving. By the end of the summer, we will be packing up and traveling across country to our new home in Arizona. All my time, energy and finances really have to go into making that move happen. What a lot of people don't realize is that 99% of the time, I have to pay for all of or at least part of my own travel expenses. Neither of my publishers pay for it, so if the organizers of an event don't cover my costs, I have to do it myself. That's airfare, hotel and most of the food I eat. A weekend could cost $1000 for me and a longer event like RWA usually puts me out of pocket for at last a couple grand. That's just not an expenditure I can make right now.
3. I'm no longer traditionally published. I have one final book coming out from Avon in August and one last book from Orbit in July and then I am no longer traditionally published. I love being self-published (independently published) but again, I have to weigh the benefits against the costs for traveling. With my independent books, which are my main focus at present, I can't "sign" them. And readers can't buy them at a conference the way they can buy a paperback. So in terms of promotion, which is a big reason why I travel, it just doesn't make sense. My time would probably better be spent here at home tweeting, posting and writing (and moving and freaking out about moving).
Does this mean I'll never travel again? Absolutely not. If an event makes sense in the future, or if an organization invites me and covers my costs for travel, then I'd absolutely go somewhere in the future. Also, if an event is close enough by me for it to be less of a chore to get there, I'll be participating. But for 2011, at least, you can find me here, online. Hopefully putting out stories you love instead of making packing lists and flying all around the country.