So I’m back from ICON 39. It was wonderful and intense.
The intense portion was more due to the fact that I was taking part in Paradise ICON, a mini-workshop for neo-pro writers. Basically think Viable Paradise shrunk into two days. The first day we spent critiquing each others’ manuscripts; the second was spent being taught by the Guests of Honor, Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch (my instructors at VPXV) and Toastmaster Jim Hines, whom I met at Mo*Con.
But really, I was there to learn how to be author.
The day before the con started, there was a Barnes and Noble signing that was sponsored by the con. I was asked to attend and to bring books to sign. This was something I’ve never really done before. The only books I’m in are anthologies. Normally, I’d get a reader’s copy along with my pay, but I never really thought to actually purchase more copies to sell at cons. I knew people who’ve done it though. If I did this, it would involve spending my own money to buy copies to sell. And I always had that adage beat into me: money always flow towards the writer.
But in this case, would it be profitable? Would it be worth it?
I decided to do an experiement. I bought five copies from my publisher to take with me. I figured, at the worst, I’d sell one, maybe two copies. The rest I’d either give away or sell at other cons. At the end of the con, I sold not one, not two…but three. Yes, they were to people in my workshop, but still…three copies!
It was a good learning experience. Made me think, okay, maybe I can handle the book thing. Which means I need to finish it.
It was wonderful to hang with Bear, Scott and Jim, as well as make new friends. I really enjoyed meeting the Paradise Icon folk. They’re great writers, and hanging out with them was such a delight.
Because I was busy with Paradise Icon, I only saw a little of ICON itself. But I did see some great costumes:
I also met this wonderful lady, Felicity, who was selling hats she made in the dealer’s room.
It’s becoming a tradition now that whenever I go to a con, I get a tiny hat. I was most delighted to purchase one from Fine Hats by Felicity . After purchasing it, I had gone to talk with some writer folks. We were standing outside another room which was being used for a wedding reception not related to the con. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see two young black girls in waiter uniforms who were standing at the door of the reception, ushering people in.
“Excuse me,” they said. “But we looooove your hat! Where did you get it?”
Grinning, I pointed to the dealers’ room.Their faces fell. “We’re on duty, so we can’t go in.”
“No prob,” I said. Went back to the dealer’s room, grabbed a few of Felicity’s business cards and gave them to the girls. “She sells the hats online. She has an Etsy shop. And…” I lowered my voice. “She’s black, too!”
Oh, you should have seen their faces light up. I wished I could’ve talked to them more about the con, but they had to go back on duty, but it was nice to see them geeking out over the hat.
So, all in all, it was a good time. I had lots of fun, and who knows, maybe at some point I’ll visit again, just so I can see Sailor Bacon.
If that’s not a sign of a fun con, I don’t know what is.