In June I participated in three separate events for the main purpose of promoting my book titles. In my last post I shared what it was like to be an introvert visiting for the first time at the high-estrogen-slumber-party event that some call UtopYA. This week I thought I’d share my experience with one of the two fantasy/science fiction conventions I attended.
The very same weekend as UtopYA, I was a “featured author” at a small Nashville convention called Hypericon. I had heard about this event through a couple other Nashville area indie fantasy authors and hadn’t planned on being part of it. However, back in February when I finished a fairly well-attended presentation about novel revision at Chattacon, a very nice man came up to me and told me I MUST do the same workshop at Hypericon. He said it was exactly the kind of panel the event needed, something truly focused on the craft of writing.
Well, getting asked by this nice man and actually getting on the list were two different things. There were a lot of unanswered emails to the organizers, and I honestly didn’t think I was going to be included until I got an invitation on Facebook to join the private guest panelist group page a month before the event. Okay, I was in. Cool.
I didn’t find out what panels I was speaking on until five days before the event. There were two. Neither of them were about novel revision. Or the craft of writing. I was told I’d get to have some time to sell books at a Guest Author Table, but even the night before the event, there wasn’t a schedule for that.
Now, here’s the thing. I love doing presentations. I like public speaking. I’m a Drama major. People think it’s crazy that a shy gal like me loves doing these things, but I have a simple explanation. When I’m doing a presentation, I’ve been asked to be there. People are expecting me to talk. So I have a good time. But when you invite me to talk at an event, put me on two panels that have nothing to do with my books, don’t give me any particular schedule, or make me feel a little like an afterthought, well… my shyness takes over.
I went to Hypericon on Friday evening, already shaken from a day at UtopYA. The only people in the room for the panel were the other panelists. I was polite, had a nice chat with them, and then I took off and headed home, not feeling a need to linger. On Saturday morning, my panel was again poorly attended. To be fair, the whole event was poorly attended – at least at that time of day. The other authors, who all knew each other, thought I was one of their few audience members. I shyly raised my hand like a schoolgirl and informed them I was also on the panel. One of the authors said, “There was a name on the list I didn’t recognize, I guess that’s you.” Yep. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
After that panel, I looked around for someone to tell me when I could set up at the Guest Author’s Table. I looked for a Guest Author’s Table. I didn’t find either. One friend talked to me for a minute, but she was busy doing her own thing. I had no idea what to do with myself or who to speak to. A bolder person might have just squatted at a table in the vendor room and set up shop until someone said to move or go away. An extrovert might have shook hands with every person at the event until they got the info they needed. I, however, feeling very insecure and oblivious, walked around for twenty minutes and then decided to chuck the whole event. I went home and did some writing instead, glad I hadn’t paid for a ticket.
Will I go to Hypericon again? Odds are against it. I’ll never know for sure if I made the right decision that day, but I felt pretty certain I wasn’t going to sell any mermaid books to the small handful of cosplayers and gamers that were in attendance. Plus, except for my one friend, no one followed up with me to find out where I'd gone or why I left. What do you guys think? If you were invited to be at an event and then ignored or overlooked once you got there, what would you do? Would you demand to be seen or leave?
My next post (on Saturday) will be about another fantasy convention. Please come back, and feel free to leave a comment.
D. G. Driver
Author of Young Adult books Cry of the Sea and Passing Notes.