pros and cons

This post isn't about what you think. I'm talking professionals and conventions here, of the writerly and fanly variety. I just read a post about cons and thought I'd expand on his thoughts.

He's right: cons are humbling. They're also gratifying...when someone recognizes you or (squee!) has read your work. It's fun to pretend to know what the hell you're talking about on panels, especially when the conversation continues in the bar. Some of my most interesting conversations have happened in the con bar.

(Okay, I know that's a shocker to hear me talk about bars. But yes. I actually drink a beer from time to time. Just the one, though.

Every quarter hour...)

But mostly, it's the networking, with readers, with writers, with other professionals, and the folks who share your passions. When I walk into a SF con, I always have this "coming home" feeling. I'm with my tribe, at last, after a lifetime of negotiating the real world, filled with muggles and regulars who just don't get it.

(Yes, you. No, not you. YOU. We know you're faking, Fakey McFakesalot.)

Cons are a great place to bond with writers and readers. The fans are out there and want to be heard.  And, chances are, they know a hell of a lot more than you. Or me, I mean. Yes. They definitely know more than me.

Without attending cons, and forcing myself to sit on panels, I'd be FREAKING OUT over doing readings and such. As it is, I'm nervous but not nerve-wracked. Savvy? Sometimes people think there's no point in attending cons before they're published, but that's when you get to practice without so many eyes on you. You can play with your public persona (and yes, you need one of those, even if it's pretty damned close to who you are) and figuring out what works for you.

Things change with a few books under your belt. You're supposed to be "on." People ask and expect things of you, including being on panels. (WorldCon, gulp. and pray.)  It's a little easier having played at being a professional and developing the habits that make it so. Cuz once you do "arrive" (or so I've heard, as I certainly haven't) you'll have enough on your plate.

Anyway, I loves them, yesss I does. And I hopes you'll loves them too!


Donna Hole said...

You take the scary out of having "arrived". I hope I'm this relaxed when I get there :)


sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Snort! Ha! This last con was the first one in five years of doing them that I sat up at the table for a panel and thought "Hey! I'm not nervous!"