Saturday, September 12, 2015

CONtraflow 2015 pre-game

Jim (35) and Chicken (9 mos.) at World Horror Con 2013 in New Orleans

Coincidentally I was going to make a post about the next convention I'll be going to. I'll be a guest at CONtraflow New Orleans the first weekend in October. The picture above is from the last one I went to. Bringing your tiny baby to a con is not such a great idea if your wife likes to co-sleep and breastfeed. Everyone slept like crap and as a result by day two I was already exhausted and feeling sick. I didn't do half of the things I wanted to do, like hang out in the famous Carousel Bar or have dinner with Norm or socialize with people more. At least we got some cute moments like this one.

Cons are very tough for me. I'm antisocial and have a really hard time just working up to meet people. I'm better behind a table for some reason. Maybe I feel like I have a reason to be there and talk to people, maybe that table is enough of a barrier for me to feel like I have some space, I don't know. My wife likes to rope people in for me so that will help / be embarrassing but what can I say? I have a problem. I may also try my theory of dressing differently. The above outfit (a vintage three-piece suit from the "Johnny Carson collection") is typically how I go to cons and would you believe that shit is like an invisibility cloak? I have this theory that if I dress to "blend in" people will notice me more. But I'm not 100% sure how scifi/fantasy authors dress. I have my horror author outfit down pat (black metal/rock/horror movie teeshirt, jeans, comfortable shoes, no hat) so the next time I have a horror book out you may see me dressed like that. I figure Tom Wolfe could do it for a story so what's so special about me?

I just need to aim for having better stories than my wife. The last con she really did, WHC '11, she had some great ones. The others she was with me but these were post-Chicken so she spent most of her time breast-feeding and sleeping and/or being sick.

But I still don't know anyone in the scifi/fantasy world and I need to make some contacts there. I think I'm getting better at this, but then I think that at every con and things just kind of go how they go. This time the Chicken will be staying with her grandma so it'll be just me and the wife again, like in the early days.

I don't know what panels I'll be on yet. Looks like the con people have decided to put a list of everyone's panels on the guest page so you can check there, you may know before I do since I'm not great about checking my email. 

Yes, I'll be bringing some paperback copies of SMARTASS. I just approved the proof, so if you want you can get it RAHT NAH in the Createspace store, and it'll show up on Amazon in a couple of days.  If you could, buy it from Createspace as I get paid more from them. No, I don't know why, Amazon owns them now. That's just how they do it. Sorry if it seems a bit pricey, remember that it's 400 fucking pages. You could really dope-slap someone with this book. Plus it's a trade paperback, not a cheapo one. I wanted to do a cheapo one but you can't do that with POD, you need to be able to print books by the thousands at a time. At least because of the larger format it'll be easier to read. I always hated trying to read one of those cheapo mass-market paperbacks of, say, a Unicorn book and the thing was so massive it gave my wrist a cramp trying to hold it.

I don't have an official time set up for signing/selling. Looks like the con will have a table open for authors to just grab a chair and sit there for a while. I don't think that'll work very well. I'll just try to pick a time that seems like a high-traffic time and see what I can do. I'll be staying at the con hotel so I can just run to my room and grab some books if you see me (or vaguely sense my presence) and want one.

I won't be doing any of my infamous panels. I wanted to see what the crowd was like before I busted out the steampunk panel on them or anything like that. For all I know everyone there could have a giant stick up their ass. Seems unlikely but then you never know. It's my first time with these people and I wanted to be nice.

I know 95% of you don't know what I'm talking about, I still need to do a post on that crazy con.

At least I know some people who'll be there and anyone in a position of importance I've already met and embarrassed myself so we got that out of the way. Everyone else either isn't interesting or isn't intimidating to me so that's a relief. I have this thing where, when I meet people who are obviously higher-status than me at these things, the first encounter I'll say something that in my head sounds suave and witty but either comes out terrible or I bumble it and just say something stupid. Fortunately I've crossed just about everyone who's everyone in horror that I want to meet off that list except for the one guy that I think might actually use physical violence depending on what comes out of my mouth, which would definitely be the capstone story. I'll wait until he's a little older and / or I've started lifting. Maybe. A punch in the mouth isn't so bad, I've taken a few. Quelle suprise, right?

So, in summation, my game-plan for the con is the following:

  • Meet cool people and make friends in this world (maybe they can help me, maybe not, you never know and it's a bad idea to just focus on that).
  • Sell some books. 
  • Have fun.

I can't really prioritize those. Por que no los tres? I think I can manage these. Hell, now that I think about it, I've done it at almost every con I've been to. 

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