Hey, I'm heading out for the second mystery convention of my life, Left Coast Crime! Whatever shall I do? Especially if I want to save money?
Well, I’ve got three travel tips for you budget-conscious sleuths already.
1. Register early. You knew this. I blew that one, waffling about whether or not I would attend. So, late registration for me. $275 U.S. at a time when the Canadian dollar is plunging. Luckily, I had enough USD to cover it.
2. Google your flight.
I used a lot of different flight sites, but I found them frustrating. A lot of them want you to choose both departing and return flights together, without offering good options (one gave me a 13 hour layover. Are you kidding me?).
For example, I’m appearing at the PoisonedPen Bookshop's International Fiction Night featuring Jewish Noir night at 6:30, so I have to arrive in time on February 24th. And flying back to Montreal on a Sunday is not a popular option. Only Google let me choose arrival and departure times for both flights, sifting impartially through different airlines.
I’ve almost always had a good, and occasionally above-and-beyond experiences through airbnb, where you stay in someone's home. Although of course staying at the hotel is a swanky and convenient experience, I like meeting people, and sometimes they offer me food! Plus, what the heck. If you sign up with this link, we both get a few bucks off: https://www.airbnb.ca/c/myuaninnes?s=4&i=1
Now you're going to ask me, why go to a con?
1. You could sell a book, like Michael J. Cooper sold The Rabbi’s Knight.
|Michele Lang, Michael J. Cooper, and Melissa Yi. Yes, that's Jewish Noir instead of The Rabbi's Knight. Collect 'em all!|
2. You could hook new readers. I live in rural Ontario. I can pretty much guarantee that no one in Phoenix has ever seen one of my books, let alone bought one.
3. You could make friends. Travis Richardson told me a lot of writers hang out by the bar. He’s bringing his whole family!
4. You could sell a short story or two. Hey, that's how I got into Jewish Noir.
5. You could get some story ideas. I feel creatively listless right now. Maybe a con will help.
6. It’s a vacation. I don’t remember ever going to Phoenix. My parents did drag me on a cross-continental trip to California one summer when I was little, so it’s possible I did go and don’t remember it except as a blur from the back of a van.
7. Fanboy and girl squees. For me, this translates to “Dana Stabenow will be there!” I'll also be on a panel with Chantelle Aimee, Fan Guest of Honor (uh huh. Can't say anything more than that).
8. Kenneth Wishnia told you to.
Why NOT go to a con?
1. No time
2. No money
3. No interest
For me, it’s number four. I feel like I shouldn’t spend money on my writing. I should just slave over my laptop, ratcheting up my word count, sending out my stories, and get magically discovered by readers while I continue to work, work, work. I could be helping patients in the emergency room. I could be getting my kids on or off the school bus. Plus, I try not to travel because of carbon emissions.
Other people don’t feel this guilty. Theoretically, I’m allowed to have a vacation. My hair stylist, Christina Peeters, said simply, “I work hard. I deserve it.” Kris Rusch talks about how essential it is for writers to do continuing education. And the money’s mostly already spent.
Soooooooo…what about you? Do you go to cons?And if you’re going to this one, see you at Left Coast Crime!