Wow! That title probably makes you think this post will be 10,000 words or more. No worries. It won’t be. This is part 2 of a week-long series of posts I’m doing where I look back at my 2013 writing expenses and ponder what worked, what didn’t, and what I might do differently. I welcome and encourage other authors to share their own experiences. Newer writers, feel free to ask questions. Readers, these posts may be a bit dry, but they offer you a peek at what we authors do behind-the-scenes to get our work in front of you. There’s more to it than just writing. And your feedback is appreciated too! Each post includes reader specific questions at the end.

To see a complete list of my 2013 expenses, see yesterday’s post. Today, I’m discussing #2 through #4.

EVENTS

Yesterday I talked about promotion costs, which accounted for about 14% of my expenses in 2013. Costs associated with events came in at #2 – 12%. That sounds about right with one caveat. A writer should always have a purpose in mind for attending an event. There are three basic in-person events for fiction writers: writer’s conferences, fan conventions, and book signings/readings. Conferences tend to be educational. There may be some signing events, but most writers conferences are geared toward writers. They offer networking opportunities and workshops. Fan conventions are – obviously – geared toward fans and readers. There are signing events and panels, as well as other events where readers and authors can have fun together. In store book signings and readings tend to be smaller travel and time commitments. There’s usually a more limited audience but, because of that, the event can have a nice intimate feel.

In 2013, I attended the Liberty States Create Something Magical Conference. The conference has both a writer’s and a reader’s track, which is nice. I also gave a talk at the Library of Congress Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum, which was a really neat experience.

LESSONS? Nothing earth shattering. Events can be expensive unless your publisher pays for them (which isn’t happening at my level). So I don’t feel guilty that my calendar isn’t loaded with them. Still… I could be a bit more diligent in my efforts to attend them. At some point in the future, I’d love to go to another fun, fan conference. And I’d love to coordinate a multi-author book signing closer to home some day.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Whoa. Coming in at #3, which struck me as a bit high. What’s up? Well, I subscribe to RT Book Reviews, Writers Digest, and Entertainment Weekly (all terrific publications that are inexpensively priced)… and I subscribe to Publishers Marketplace and Publishers Weekly, which are also terrific – giving you access to information you can’t get elsewhere – but expensive.

LESSONS? I’m loathe to let go of any of them but if I ever need to start pinching pennies, these are expenses I might consider cutting. I love having the ability to look up imprints, authors, editors, and recent deals on PM but the problem is, not every deal is even reported there AND, even if it were, writers shouldn’t base their next projects on what’s selling now. They need to be coming up with fresh, new stuff. So having access to the PM database doesn’t really do much for me except satisfy my curiosity. As for PW? If I were cutting back, this would be another tough, tough call. But even if I cut the paid subscription, I would never give up PW Daily (its free eNewsletter)! I skim it nearly every day and, if you are a writer, you should too!

WEBSITE AND RELATED ONLINE EXPENSES

Another catchall category representing 8% of my 2013 expenses. It’s worth noting I had some upgrade renewals come due in 2013 that I didn’t have in 2012, which pushed this expense higher.

I included payments for my iCloud backup storage plan, payment for additional storage for my website, my Norton internet security fee, and expenses associated with my website (web forwarding fee, email address fee, website address fee, private registration fee, “No Ads” payment) here, as well as some software I purchased because I bought a new laptop in 2013 too.

LESSONS? Nothing exciting to talk about here. (Is ANY of this exciting? LOL. I’m just hoping it’s helpful or interesting to some people). I don’t think I could cut any of these expenses. They’re all pretty basic and I consider them necessary. I’ve mentioned before that I pay for “No Ads” on my website. I’ve often thought about trying to monetize my blog, but for now, I’m very content focusing my efforts on writing novels and doing things that support that.

So those are my #2 through #4 2013 expenses. How about you?

Writers, did you attend any events recently? Do you subscribe to Publishers Marketplace or Publishers Weekly? Do you have ads on your blog?

Readers, what’s your favorite fan conference? Do you subscribe to any book review magazines? What do you think about author websites with ads?

Tomorrow, mailing costs, stock photos, and office supplies! 😀