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[personal profile] greygirlbeast
Okay, so. Back on January 16, 2010, I posted just how much it cost me and Spooky to travel from Providence for me to take part in a reading at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn, a post that included an itemized list of our expenses that night. $111.46, total. And we were only gone about 12 hours, something like that. The point of making that post was to demonstrate why I so rarely travel significant distances to make public appearances.

Our Tuesday/Wednesday trip to Manhattan stands as another prime example. Below is an itemized list of our expenses:

1. Round-trip bus fare (Providence to Port Authority) x 2*: $160
2. Cab fare (three cab rides): $58**
3. Parking at the bus*** depot in Providence: $16
4. Three soft drinks: $7
Total: $241 (for a day and a half)

Now, keep in mind, we had a place to stay, so no hotel bill, and Peter and Susan picked up the dinner tab on Tuesday, then Peter fixed us breakfast, so no meals were purchased. Lodging and meal expenses could easily have added another $200+. For one night. Obviously, a four-day convention is much more expensive.

Now, I also have to add to the total our museum visit, which added $53. But. We virtually never do anything of that sort. Our normal monthly entertainment expenditure averages less than $60. So, you add the museum (which isn't the business part), the cost goes up to $294.

* If you're wondering why I don't save money by traveling alone, the short answer is because I'm not well enough to do so, not at the present. Maybe at some future date, but not now.

** True, the subway would have been much cheaper. But. Our schedule would have made using the subway extremely inconvenient, neither of us are familiar with the routes, and riding the subway vastly increases the odds of catching this or that bug and sacrificing more money to lost days/productivity once the trip is over. I've used the subway lots (last January, for example). This time, it simply wasn't practical.

*** Had we taken Amtrak from Kingston, RI it would have cost us about twice as much.

So, why don't I do more conventions, readings outside Providence, etc.? This is why. Rarely do such activities even begin to prove cost effective. What they do, primarily, is increase my visibility within the community of writers and editors. Most readings net tiny attendance and insignificant book sales (and often lead to bookstores returning the extra stock they ordered for the event, which drives up my return rate). Far bigger names than me often have lousy turnouts at readings. And even if, say, fifty people show up (and for most of us, that's a huge turnout), what the bookstore makes selling books, and what your publisher makes, is likely less than what it cost you to travel to the event.

So, what work-related traveling I do, I choose the trips with great care. I do only those things I really, really want to do. KGB readings, for example. And ReaderCon. Of course, if an event or publisher is willing to pay for all my expenses, I'll usually make the trip; this has almost never happened for me.

I would also add, it horrifies me to think how much I would increase my carbon footprint...

By the way, have I mentioned this wonderful book my [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid (Nick Mamatas), Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life.

Date: 2011-05-20 04:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingthedark.livejournal.com
"The only thing I can guarantee for readers of Starve Better is this: your checks will not arrive on time." Nick Mamatas (from the Introduction)

Date: 2011-05-20 04:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com
Thanks for the link to the book! I hear you, re: travel. Providence is a great town, but except for Boston it's difficult to get anywhere else from there. And even with Boston it can be a trick. I once spent six hours alone in Warwick, having flown in on the last, cheapest plane. I read two novels waiting for train service to begin at 6am (and the shuttle to bring me there at 5:30am).

I think I saved maybe $75 that way, which isn't much, but I just didn't have $75, and couldn't ask my girlfriend at the time to meet me at the airport at midnight Sunday to drive me thirty minutes or more to Somerville, when she had to be up at 5:30am for work.

Date: 2011-05-20 12:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seph-ski.livejournal.com
I really hope people don't give you a hard time about how you spend your money, how you travel, or why you don't travel more often. Those are personal choices you should not have to explain to -anyone-, no matter what your reasons for your choices.

Date: 2011-05-20 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whiskeychick.livejournal.com
^This.

Although, I'm very grateful you were able to make it to Portland last year so I could meet you.

:: taps foot anxiously waiting for her copy of Starve Better to arrive ::

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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