Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Build it and they will come

NOT!

I’ve learned when it comes to events, people will attend if they want to.

Let’s talk about the hot topic of the week the Christian Book Expo. They set up this wonderful expo and the readers didn’t come.

WHY?

This is the question every event planner wants to know. We can debate about it for months, but the real deal is, they didn’t want to come. If they knew about it and it sounded interesting enough, they came. If they knew and didn’t want to pay the fee or if didn’t offer what they wanted, they didn’t come. If they didn’t know about it, they couldn’t come.

Why didn’t I attend?

When I look at events for the year, I look at the cost for me to leave St. Louis and get there and the cost for hotels and what is it I want from the event. This event sounded fantastic on paper, but only a few of the authors I read were in attendance. None of the African American authors I read were going. None of my reader friends were going, which meant I would be bunking alone if I attended.

To me it sounded like a book fair you had to pay to get in. I love book fairs because it usually means that I’m going to get books and meet authors. However this year I knew I couldn’t justify a book fair that wasn’t in St. Louis. Flying to Dallas for one didn’t make financial sense.

I’m sure others had the same conversation with themselves. Is this the event for me?

There are many events each year and trying to decide which one to attend is hard. For those planning events, always take this into consideration. Who do you want to attend? Will your event make the list of events these people will attend? Or will you be wondering what happen to the attendees?

This year I’m hosting another online conference. Each time I try to feature workshops I hope people will attend. It’s a hard job organizing an event. However you learn from your mistakes and hopefully the next one will be even better. Hopefully next year, the Christian Book Expo will be the expo that draws all the readers. Maybe I’ll be able to attend.

How do you decide which literary event to attend?

2 comments:

Jessica said...

Money and time, also what they offer in terms of agents/editors/classes. :-)

Rhonda McKnight said...

All the same factors you and Jessical listed. Looking for ROI (return on investment).