Still working my way slowly through the WorldCon experience, I'm up to Friday night, which saw for me the only panel that was a mis-fire.
"How to Build a Book Launch Campaign" seemed to be, right off the bat, a hinky choice for me, but I assumed the programmers put me on there because I work on a newspaper, and I could discuss what book promotion looks like from the other side of the desk. I feel the con programmers actually read my bio in making some of their choices of panels for me.
But I have never written a book, only short stories, so my only books have been collections. I didn't think I would have a lot to say on this panel.
Hoo-boy, was I right.
The panel, which convened at 8 p.m., got off to a strange start. We panelists started congregating in the wing of the convention, and the moderator said she got an email from the con that the room had been changed. Some bystanders confirmed that, so we traipsed a long way to get to the new room.
There were three woman and me - another guy was AWOL - and as we started the panel, since everyone else seemed to hold back, I started off; I really didn't think I would have a lot to contribute, so I thought I say my main spiel at the start and then pipe down.
Well, I guess the moderator thought I was long-winded and/or boring, because she cut me off in mid-sentence, and then for the next 15 minutes, the three ladies all talked amongst themselves. This is a phenomenon that has nothing to do with the con; it's an American social phenomenon. Middle-aged American men see it all the time, especially in the workplace. When a cluster of women start talking amongst themselves, they will pretty much ignore any males around.
After ten minutes I realized they had forgotten I was there, and I would have dozed off except for the noise.
Twenty minutes after the panel started, someone from the con came in the room and said the missing panelist was in the original room, and there were more people there than with us. He didn't have a clue why the room change was made in the first place. We all picked up and went to the room where the panel was originally scheduled to be.
Now, while I was sitting on the dais in the first room, I was getting so bored, I thought about going down and being comfortable in the audience. This room change was a great opportunity, then, and when I got to the other room. I sat in the first row and left the ladies to join the young male author on the dais.
They started right back up a didn't even notice me in the audience, until someone pointed me out, but I told them to carry on, they were doing fine without me. And honestly, I think the audience members enjoyed the panel, the other authors were pretty knowledgeable about the subject. I took a few notes myself, looking forward to the day I actually peddle a book.
The three muses let the young guy talk a few times, but he was good looking and innocent. He had no idea what happened in the other room, anyway.
After the panel., a couple of guys from the audience grabbed me in the hall and asked me questions they had expected to ask me in the panel, and we had a nice visit, so I did contribute in my way.
I'm sure none of the other panelists remember me, and quite frankly, I don't care. I have a great job, a wonderful wife, and a good life. The fiction writing is a sideline. It obviously means more to them than to me. I wouldn't even say the panel was a bad experience. It was fascinating to observe how oblivious and self-centered people some people are.
Since I hadn't gotten a good night's sleep the night before, I headed back to the hotel and was in bed by 9:30 p.m. so I would be well-rested and ready to hit it Saturday.
I slept like a bear.
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