Working as a professional author and artist is rewarding, fulfilling, and so very difficult.
My first novel was published in April 2018, with my second novel close behind in June 2018. This first year (6 months) I was focusing on my big move back to the city so I could set the stage for my creative life to thrive. I hosted several release parties and attended a handful of conventions as a vendor.
To be honest, my career seemed “less than” what I had hoped for by January 2019. As always, I keep overly-high expectations for myself and my work. But my determination is what fueled the next phase of my work – the investment phase.
Thus far in 2019 I have attended 3 conventions and 2 events as a vendor for my art and my books. This may not sound like much, but the winter months are always slow and table fees for conventions can be pricey. As it stands, I currently have 10 conventions booked for the year. This does not include conventions I have applied to and been placed on a waiting list, and those I have yet to apply to for lack of current funds.
This year is what I’m referring to as the “investment phase” because I am spending as much as my monthly budget will allow for conventions and events despite not turning an overall profit. Some might think this is foolhardy, however, as they say “you have to spend money to make money”. This strategy is about building my branding and cultivating a following. The more events and conventions I attend, the more people I meet, and the more people see my books and my art. I have seen a slow but steady trend these past few months of more interest and more sales per convention and event. This is ultimately the goal.
The investment phase may take more than just 2019. I am prepared to have it last as long as 2021, so long as the upward trend remains in tact. This is also a learning period where I can discover which conventions and events are worthwhile. It’s also how I discover new events and conventions I can attend as the other vendors are open to discussing what future events they are attending.
Yes, this is a difficult phase in my career. It can be disheartening when I come home from an event and pull up my finance spreadsheets. However, anything worth doing is never easy and I’m in it for the long-haul. Ultimately, working as a professional author and artist means putting the work in, and that’s precisely what I’m doing.
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