Monday, November 06, 2006

World Fantasy Convention


My mind is still spinning. This "convention report" won't be extremely detailed because I didn't take notes. I just ABSORBED. Ahhh, it was wonderful! I figure to let most of the details simmer on the back-burner of my mind, then I'll bring each topic forward on future posts.

The World Cons are a class unto themselves. It is my guesstimate that the average accomplishment level of most people there is a masters degree in something or other, and at least three books published. You go to panel discussions with different expectations than to your average local con. [Wish I'd brought a dictionary--and I thought my vocabulary was extensive!] The main differences between the World Fantsy Convention and the World Science Fiction Convention are: -1- The science fiction convention has about 10,000 attendees where the fantasy convention only has about 1,000; -2- topics of conversation at a science fiction convention might be over astronomy or artificial intellegence, whereas topics at fantasy conventions are more literary in nature; -3- and the best difference for the fantasy convention is Friday night's Signing Party. The pros sit at tables while the rest of us "smooze", drink in hand, getting books signed and having a spectacular time. I walked the room, glancing at name plates because I don't know faces like I do the names. I see one of the names I'm looking for, a very well published TOR author, and look up to see his face. "Why hello, Casey," Lee Modesitt says to me casually, then turns to the author sitting next to him and introduces me as one of his supporters. Well, I do have 17 reviews of his work AND an interview up at for him. I smile big, chat, then move on to look for the next name on my list. Eric Knight was just as friendly, so friendly in fact that we chatted about all kinds of things that we have in common that have nothing to do with writing.

The next morning I had breakfast with an editor friend of mine who told me woes I cannot legally reveal in a public forum, just: O.M.G.! --the publishing industry is soooo cut-throat it's terrifying.

Let's see... I volunteered for the convention, put in 12 hours, most of them in Registration where I got to greet many people with a genuine smile of pleasure. The world-famous literary agent Don Maass handed me his card--ga! A writer I've done reviews for in the past loaded me up with another stack of free books to review. Oh, and speaking of free books--when you walk in the door of a World Fantasy Convention, you are always handed a book bag full of books [not exactly free since it isn't cheap to join the convention, but the great thing about this is the "exchange table" where you can trade books with other people who got a different assortment in their bags than you did]. Working Registration also earned me the friendships of three very cool people that I hope to keep up with through the Internet and the years to come.

The highlight of my trip was the Awards Banquet. It was well worth the $50. Not only was the food good, but the person sitting next to me--who started out as a stranger and is now a dear friend--caught me up in her pitch to a publisher she aimed at, and I got to pitch too, and.... might have sold a book! Though "send it to me" isn't the same as signing a contract, it still feels grand to have an editor take an interest in your work :)

The only other really important thing that happened was an intriguing panel discussion contrasting Blogger with Live Journal. It was described to me thus: Blogger is like standing at a podium--you speak to people and they can answer you. Live Journal, which is apparently FOR writers and other artistic types, is more like sitting at King Arthur's Round Table. Discussions are more robust, I'm told. If you want research done, name your topic and within twelve hours you might just have your answers [ha!]. Anyway, Live Journal has a way of spreading you around better, I'm told--you get more Internet exposure that way. So, when I get an extra minute this week, I'm going to start a Live Journal account. Anyone already there: pass the word to your "friends" please :) From the words of one of the guest speakers, "Live Journal is an online continuation of the convention, a way to take the communtiy feeling home with you." I'm in!

I'll post more comments on the convention as my mind sorts it out. It was an amazing experience and I've already signed up to work Registration next year in Saratoga [so the price of my attendace will be only $40, AND I can meet many more great people!]


Blogger Constance said...

I'm not a big fan of Live Journal. *shrugs* I find the blogs on it hard to read and the threads hard to follow. Blogger seems more logical to me. I'd like to know how Live Journal is supposed to be more robust. On both, you post, people respond. The interaction is up to you.

Congrats on the CDL! Come out to WY, We've got lots of jobs for you!

Thanks for the Con Report. I'm green with envy that you got to meet/chat with L.E. Modesitt! I love his books- especially the Recluse series.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Kevin Standlee said...

I'm flattered that you ascribe such accomplishments to the attendees of the Worldcon and World Fantasy Convention, but I think calling us all Masters degree-or-better is possibly overstating things a bit. (Personally, I have a B.Sc. in Computer Science.)

I also wince at the use of "World Cons" as a collective noun that includes the World Science Fiction Convention, World Fantasy Convention (and possibly events like the World Horror Convention). "Worldcon" is a registered service mark -- using it to include other conventions is like saying "I'll have a coke" when you mean "I'll have whatever your cola-type carbonated soda is, whether it's Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, or some other brand."

Sorry I'm so obsessive about this. I'm chairman of the committee of the World Science Fiction Society that watches after the service marks, so I'm more anal than most people about it.

Thanks for the convention report. I've only been to one WFC myself, although I may be involved with one in the future, depending on what the WFC board eventually decides about the bid from SFSFC.

8:07 PM  
Blogger KC Heath said...

sorry for the generic representation. From the point of view of a fan, World Anything is better than Regional!

I too only have a B.S., and a lot of the people at the cons talk over my head [to my ultimate pleasure!]

3:27 PM  
Blogger KC Heath said...

Connie~ I'm getting a live journal account and will keep blogger with both and see what I think. Let you know when I decide. Something tells me I'll probably keep both, for the niches are different and both--hopefully--will pay off.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Shaun CG said...

It's worth having both if you can keep up with them. Over the years my LiveJournal friends list has gotten rather crowded...

4:09 PM  
Blogger KC Heath said...

gonna try :)

1:00 PM  

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