Selling when things are shit

I won’t lie, two weeks ago, we wrapped up Ignite Denver a few days before social distancing was the order the day (we were about two days before the venue decided to close up). I thought, “You know this sucks, but things will continue like normal, more or less. It’ll just be inconvenient for a while.”

I couldn’t have been more wrong. We’re now in week two of social isolation and self-quarantine. Everything is closed except grocery stores, pharmacies and (here in CO) dispensaries. 180,000 people in CO filed for unemployment last week. Things are shit.

People (rightfully so, I mean tomorrow is scary, four months might as well be four years from now) aren’t thinking about conferences. They’re not buying tickets, not signing up to speak. Sponsors are waiting to see what events are happening before they write checks. All perfectly understandable because things are shit, but not helpful.

And I can’t file for unemployment. Well, I could if I fired myself, which would be closing down 360|Conferences. So I’d prefer to not do that!

I sent an email to one community earlier this week, another went out today. Essentially begging folks to buy tickets. I hate sending emails like that. I hate asking my communities for charity. I’d rather support them than ask them to support me. I’d rather be the one to bring them together. Help them grow, meet new people, do awesome things. Not beg for their time. I did it because things are shit.

No ticket sales, no sponsorships means no payroll for me.

Mr. Brightside

Writing is a bright point right now. I’m hard at work on Space Rogues 7. Space Rogues 6 comes out next month. Pre-orders have surpassed book 5 numbers, so that’s awesome. I’ll have book 7 ready for pre-order when 6 launches, so that will be awesome.

The downside is that

  1. Sales are slow. Makes sense, a lot of folks suddenly have far less disposable income. I certainly do, I’m not buying much of anything. I get it, things are shit.
  2. Next month, when book 6 launches and those pre-order process, I’ll get paid in June for that. Such is publishing.
  3. Amazon is giving away 2 months free Kindle Unlimited, which has blown the bottom out of the market. Why buy a book, when you can read thousands for “free”? Even if only for the next two months.


What can you do?

Well, if you’re so inclined, you can directly support me. Buy books (or merch) directly from my shop page. I get paid immediately for those purchases. If you’ve read all five books, tell people you know that might like them. Gift them copies, send them the URL with “Buy this book” all of it helps, because right now, writing income, will be supplementing conference income.

By John Wilker

I'm a science fiction writer and conference organizer. In 2017 I published my first book, 'Space Rogues', a fun Sci-Fi adventure with a fun cast of characters. I'm also the co-founder of 360|Conferences, a conference and event logistics consulting company.

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