My first professional convention, that means I have a published work and a fan base in the dozens. I think I did pretty well, I made a few connections and didn’t make an ass of myself. This required a new mindset, a middle ground between fan and overcompensating snob. Not a salesman either, just a guy who wrote a book and wants to write a few more, hopefully for a living.
You get a lot of stuff just walking in the door of World Fantasy, the best lanyard I’ve ever seen (I swear I’m keeping this for life) and a tote bag full of free books, including the tenth anniversary edition of American Gods which I was going to get anyway. This was kinda of a raw deal for the folks in the dealer’s room. Why would anyone buy books after they’ve been handed a piece of luggage full of them?
This ain’t no Comic Con
Other than the obvious size and scope differences this was a professional con, fandom was discouraged. No cosplay, no commercials disguised as presentations. And the culture was different too, at a Comic Con panel the audience is there to listen to the panel. At World Fantasy, the audience really, really wants to be on the panel. There were a lot of “questions” that started with, “In my novel I-”
They Needed Stinking Badges
The night before the con Mysterious Galaxy hosted a writer’s meet and greet. My bright idea; volunteer to make badges for everyone so that while I was handing them out I’ve get to interact with everyone coming in. I figured the guest list was 20 people long. Nope it was 70. But I got it done and I have to say I thing they kicked ass. Some authors wore them all convention long. And I got to meet a few of them because of it.
I finally got to meet the good, pale people of ChiZine Publications; Helen, Laura, Sandra and Brett, who’d come down from Canada. We got to hang out and they introduced me to some of their other authors. They liked Melissa more than me, which is typical, and invited us to hang with them in Toronto in the days before World Fantasy 2012. I’ll get my snowshoes ready.