Wow...and again...wow! What an awesome weekend.
For those of you who don't know, this last weekend being July 5th through 8th, I attended my first science fiction convention, WesterCon65 as a pro. True, I'd gone to BayCon in May, and I'd evening managed to talk my way onto a single panel, but I didn't have that "Pro" listed on my badge nor the ribbon that said "Panelist." And let me tell you, it makes all the difference.
Over the course of the weekend, I had eleven panels, a reading, and a book signing. I'd like to thank all four people who came to my reading, the four people (not all of them the same people) for coming to my signing, and all the people who came to the panels I was on and took me seriously.
Sitting next to Robin Hobb on the "High Fantasy vs Urban Fantasy" panel and having her pimp my books for me, holding them up and gesturing "Vanna White" style. After the panel, she and Kat Richardson told me it was a pleasure to have me on the panel, and they're both looking to forward to being on a panel again. Also both of them being very supportive of my Indie writing career.
Networking for the Genre Underground. I got together with several representatives from small presses who have expressed interest in partnering with the Genre Underground for cross promoting. Since we don't have anything set in stone, I won't mention specific names, but it's very exciting. At least one is extremely interested in participating in the GU's August promotion. I also spoke with several artists that we'll be linking in the "Resources" section of the GU website. If you haven't checked it out yet, head over to www.genreunderground.com.
Hands down, the coolest thing that happened for me personally was meeting David Brin. If you're unfamiliar with Mr. Brin, he's a traditionally published author of some fantastic science fiction novels. He's won the Hugo and Nebula award and been nominated for both several more. So, he's pretty hot shit. He also has a reputation for being firm in his opinions with no hesitation in expressing those opinions.
I met Mr Brin when I picked up his new book Existence and asked him to sign it at his book release party. He asked everyone who came for a signed book what they did for a living, and I told him I'm a storyteller and writer. He signed the book "fellow bard and magician." Very cool, part one. Then he asked me what I write.
I decided a last year's World Science Fiction Convention that I was not going to be shy about my Indie writing at conventions in front of other professionals. I'm proud of my books and I'm proud that I have a small, yet very loyal readership of my books. So I told David Brin about my Indie publishing career, including how well the Tears of Rage books are doing in the Dark Fantasy and Fantasy Series list. The space between my giving him this information and his reaction seemed really long. Probably wasn't. He broke into this wide grin, clapped me on the shoulder three or four times, and said, "Good on you! You're looking me in the eye now." And then he had to wander off to play the book trailer for the large group of people who had just arrived at the party. Later, as the party was shutting down, we bumped into each other again. He shook my hand, looked me right in the eye, and said, "I'm proud of you Todd. Keep up the good work."
David Brin gave my Indie writing career his stamp of approval. He was genuinely pleased for me. David Brin is not the kind of guy that fakes something like that just for the sake of being polite. Yeah, I went to that convention as a pro, but man, the fanboy part of my soul went into massive overdrive. I'm still riding the high from that!
The weekend had so many great moments for me, but those are the highlights. Stay tuned to the blog over the next few days as I give some commentary and thoughts on fannish culture and observation on the community.
"In these pages many mysteries are hinted at.
What if you come to understand one of them?"
"Words let water from an unseen, infinite ocean
Come into this place as energy for the dying and even the dead."
"Bored onlookers, but with such Light in our eyes!
As we read this book, the jewel-lights intensify."