The lesfic community is a fairly small niche. How many conferences can lesbian writers and readers attend in a year? As a writer, do you feel that attending a conference will help your visibility, hence, your sales? Or do you find that meeting other authors and readers in a social atmosphere is what enriches and rejuvenates you as a writer?
I'm sure attending a conference isn't on every writer's or reader's most important things to do, but most writers, aspiring writer or adoring reader will attend one or more in their lifetime. Choosing which is becoming more difficult when there are more than just one to choose from. Granted, for the lesbian purist, the hot places to be seen are at the Golden Crown Literary Society Conference and Provincetown's Women's Festival Week. The later isn't really a "writing conference" per se, merely a week-long revelry of music, dancing and activities where bookstore readings are attended by new and popular lesbian authors. The Golden Crown Literary Society is an organization dedicated to the study, encouragement and preservation of lesbian literature. A very admirable goal, for sure. Their yearly conference moves around the country and they award the Goldie Awards for lesbian fiction. The GCLS offers a great benefit to authors strapped for cash by offering Scholarships which helps out in conference fees, food, lodging, etc. Before I move on, there is another very popular and worthy conference held in New Orleans each year, Saints and Sinners. It's a high powered conference with popular and new gay and lesbian authors filled with interesting panels and activities dealing with all aspects of gay and lesbian literature.
All of these conferences have their sponsors and favorite "sons and daughters," or popular authors who attend those select conferences year after year. What I have noticed is that certain sponsors and some authors have pulled out of some conferences, including their sponsorship and attendance. One can't help but wonder why and what makes a certain author prefer one conference over the other, besides relative proximity to the location where the conference is held. Travel and hotels are expensive as are the conferences themselves.
Which brings me to the economy. With the shrinking budget squeezing every dime and nickel for life's necessities like food, meds, car payments, mortgage, rent, etc., how do you decide if or which conference to attend? Will the economy put a hit on one or more of these conferences?
I invite authors, publishers and readers to comment. There are also other genre conferences that are not gay or lesbian oriented like Fantasy, SF, Romance and Horror conventions. Do you feel you, as a lesbian or gay genre author, can benefit more from attending one of these conventions instead of our beloved gay/lesbian conferences?
I would love to hear your thoughts.