I swear, I’m gettin’ old. It always takes me time to recover from a con, and even more time to put my thoughts together.
So Fandom Fest…
I will say that I always enjoy meeting readers and doing panels, and this year was great for that. I had some great book-themed discussions and had a blast networking with people and hanging out with old and new friends.
If you google Fandom Fest 2013, that will probably tell you all you need to know in general. From my perspective, Stephen Zimmer was a rock star handling the literary track. He always does an exemplary job of getting our end set up and organized. This year we were in the main vendor hall, all tables had pipe and drape, there were wide aisles, and the layout was in theory great to push traffic our way.
The organizers of the con in general, however…
I have to say I’m disappointed. There’s nothing like really pouring your heart into something and then being shoved into the basement with no signage for panels (or updated schedules on the QR codes. Or paper schedules that we didn’t print, ourselves). I’d love to think it was simply a matter of people being caught off-guard and overwhelmed by the sudden influx of people, but from the sound of it things haven’t improved overall from previous years. Do I think there needs to be better communication? Signs? Putting vendors together where people can find them? Advertising the panels? Treating everyone overall with respect? Oh hell yes, I do. Though there’s also been talk after the fact that some vendors have been told that if they speak negatively about the con, there will be repercussions, so that might give you a clue about general sentiment. The fact is, a lot of people missed some great panels about genre stuff and literary business, and you can’t tell me that no one was interested at all (especially when we were told there were approximately 70,000 people there Saturday). I get that while the con is celeb-centric, there seemed to be changing in the prices, so people were generally reluctant to buy from vendors or had brought only enough to cover photo ops (and understandably didn’t want to miss them). It’s also ridiculous to have my boothmate and co-author locked out of the vendor room due to bad communication when she was really needed there. So yeah, definitely room for improvement.
I’m not hear to be a debbie downer or snarl and moan. The fact is a lot of people were let down: fans, vendors, volunteers, and even celebrities. Some people did well, others didn’t. I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, but I gave away a lot of swag and sold some books, so I’m determined to keep putting one foot in front of the other. At the end of the day it’s a learning experience and one I wouldn’t have gotten, otherwise. Sometimes we need things like this in our lives to put things in perspective and learn how to do better. Plus, I got to talk about some great projects with people and have some truly awesome moments.
So while I wish it would have gone better and while I am looking at all my options for next year, and while I am definitely frustrated, I’m also grateful for the really good times I had (that usually involved food and a lot of laughter – what can I say, I’m easy to please).
More about the good times coming up in future posts, along with the ever-popular con pic posts!