Saturday, November 29, 2008

Conference Program Ads

We're sending a grayscale version of this little ad to be in the program booklet for Left Coast Crime. This image introduces Sunny's mystery novel, Where Angeles Fear, the release of which we are timing to intersect with LCC. (Poor Sunny! She has to go to Hawaii to promote her book!)

Ads in conference programs are a good value, IMO, and I do them often. They are very affordable, especially in this business card size. Sometimes I promote one of our contests, sometimes a title, sometimes just a blurb about the company. I believe these ads are going to a target-rich environment, since at least 99.9% of the people at a writers conference are writers and readers. Also, I believe that many of the booklets are kept for a while, and the "pass along" factor is a good bet also. So, there is a lot of bang for the buck, as they say.

However, even if there was little bang, there is still the factor that the fee for the ad is going to the conference organizers, which is a good thing. It takes a lot of work from a lot of people to put a conference together, and there is always the risk that it won't be a profit-making venture. Plus the front end of the planning is loaded with costs which must be paid during a time when registrations may be few and far between. The fees (even though modest) for program ads can be a real boost to the conference cash flow.

Why is this important? Because if conferences can't at least pay their own way, it's a good bet that the majority of them will cease to occur. And whether you like conferences for what you learn (like Gus Cileone) or for the interaction of it all like (like Mike Orenduff) or for both aspects (like Marilyn Meredith) or for the opportunity to make a Hawaiian splash with your new title (like Sunny Frazier), conferences are still a valued and valuable element of our industry.

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