Do you find conventions helpful for your brand as a writer, or do they get in the way of actual writing?
The simple answer is yes, I find them helpful to building my brand as a writer.
And yes, I find they do often get in the way of actual writing.
But if I peel back the veneer and look deeper into those responses...
1. While they are helpful in building awareness of me as a writer, I have to do a better job of varying the locations and building a better cycle of con appearances so that I'm not always hitting the same cons and seeing the same people. Reinforcing my brand is important, but it's not the same thing as introducing my work to new people in new areas I haven't been.
2. I often get new work at conventions. Talking with fellow writers and publishers frequently gets me invited into other anthologies I wouldn't have known about otherwise. Also, they get me invited to pitch longer works to publishers for whom I haven't written yet.
3. While they get in the way of writing, I can never forget that at least half (some would say more) of my work as a writer is NETWORKING so that I always have my next few jobs lined up.