I’m joking, of course. I enjoyed the vast majority of Dragon*Con, as I do almost every con I attend. This one, however, had some . . . challenges that had little to do with Dragon*Con itself, and more to do with circumstances and expectations. So I had a good time overall, learned a lot about how to do a major con as a working author, made some great connections, and came home exhausted.
Let’s start with the good – it was awesome seeing friends old and new. As David Coe said in our booth on Monday, “These are the best times of any con.” The times I get to spend with my friends is what makes a con worthwhile. So spending booth time with David, Faith, Kalayna and James was awesome. Getting to know the adorable Lucienne Diver better was incredible. The Bell Bridge Books luncheon and meeting awesome authors Jim Melvin, Parker Blue, Laura Hayden, Trish Milburn and Anthony Francis (who I met for a few minutes last year but really spent time with this year) was amazing. Spending time at the bar with Delilah, grabbing food with A.J., dinner with Emily, Jay, Darin, Margot, Eden and Oliver was super-cool. The cocktail party and hanging with Deb Dixon, Deb Smith, Wayne, Pam, Hank, Nancy and Brittany was a real highlight. The fly-by visits from the awesome Carol Malcolm between panels were great.
And seeing fans and meeting new fans is always a highlight. The best part of Day One was having a guy come up to me and say “Hey! I know your stuff! It’s awesome!” It’s still such a thrill when people have actually heard of me, because that part is all shiny and new to me. So the people part of the con was awesome. Reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, picking the brains of experts in the field for career advice, helping friends make connections with other people who can help their careers, all of that is worth everything else that goes into making a con appearance happen.
And boy, was there a whole lot of everything else this year. Let me start by saying that I’ve already booked my room for 2013, and that will make things better. I’ll be back in one of the main convention hotels, and that’s going to save a lot of drama. We were off site this year, and NEVER AGAIN. I’m still waiting to resolve some billing issues before I go into a full-on internet rant on the hotel, but let’s just say that it wasn’t the quiet, relaxing environment I was looking for by booking off site. And also not the safest environment, based on a couple of stories I’ve heard. I’ll spill more details later.
So this was my first year as a working author at Dragon*Con, and boy did I work. I still wasn’t afforded “guest” status, but we’ll work on that for 2013, but I made my way onto three panels, and had about four hours scheduled each day in the dealers’ room. Holy crap, there were a lot of people through that dealers’ room! I sold out of Bubba books by the second hour on Sunday, and sold out of almost everything else before I was done on Monday. Then I get home and find another 15 Bubba books sitting on my bookshelf. Oh well, I guess I don’t need to order those for Comic Con. So I sold a shitload of books, a few t-shirts, and moved a bunch of books for my friends, too. I did much better selling books I’ve read, so apologies to the other folks in the booth. Next year, email me ebooks of your stuff ahead of the con and I’ll pimp you just as hard as I did the stuff I’ve read. But I was exhausted every night by the time I left the booth, partly because it was a hell of a day, but also because I spent three days loading in the Google tent for the Democratic National Convention right before the con.
Don’t do that again.
Seriously, it’s good money, but this con is too big for me to start it off tired. A smaller con I could probably manage, but it was Sunday before I actually felt good at the booth, and I was so beat up the only way I moved every morning was a Vicodin/Mountain Dew cocktail that would have any physician shuddering. Not a recommended practice, but it was effective.
So I learned that I can sell a lot of books in a booth. I learned not to do a three-day gig before Dragon*Con, and I learned not to stay off site. Wonder what I’ll learn next year?
I’ll get some pics up on Facebook over the next few days. In the meantime, go pick up the new Bubba novella – Family Tradition!