I’m starting to get emails from people asking about the new book and whether or not I’d be willing to come to one trans conference or another. Likewise, the “call for presenters” emails are also showing up.
This year, for obvious reasons, Betty & I would love to go to all the conferences we’ve attended before – to celebrate the new book, to help more people, to dispel what rumors we can and to share what we’ve learned in the years since we’ve been to them.
But the same old problem stands in my way: we can’t afford it. My publishers don’t pay for conferences, and a physical book tour, per se, isn’t financially feasible. And as per usual, unless I’m to be the keynote speaker – such as at First Event – I’m told over and over again that the conferences do not help presenters get to these conferences or even waive conference fees, much less pay for hotel rooms or travel costs or the like. I say “I’m told” because that’s what conference organizers tell people when they have requested my attendance – and yet that’s not what I hear from other presenters.
Interestingly, I’ve been told that because I’m selling books I’m a “commercial interest,” which amuses me, considering that even if I sold a book to every single person who came to these conferences – which is far from likely – I still wouldn’t make enough money to break even! But of course I don’t actually sell my own books at these conferences: IFGE does.
So my response to everyone just now is that I honestly don’t know if we can come. We can’t afford to put out the $1000-2000 it costs for us to go to a conference, but we certainly can’t do that several times next year. It costs us more of course because there are two of us – and people always want Betty to come, because she’s Betty.
Mind you, I’m not asking to make money going to these things. I just don’t want to have to spend my own money working for a conference that is – from all reports – making money. I’m happy to donate my time and costs to conferences that are non-profit and have done so in the past. It would help if I felt any of these conferences had a clear-cut policy on these issues. But beyond all that, I know I can draw an audience because I’m told I make a decent advocate for partners, and that a lot of what I have to say is very different from what you hear in the rest of the trans community, and that that difference is useful.
Unfortunately, then, I can’t go unless my expenses are covered, and that is up to the organizing committees of the various conferences.