February 16, 2009
The Radcon Report
Radcon was definitely a much more "working" convention for me. This isn't to say that I did not have fun. But it is to say that I went there with the express purpose of meeting other editors, publishers and authors in the industry (networking), to talk up the Grants Pass anthology and my webzine, The Edge of Propinquity (marketing and recruitment for authors), as well as get my name and face out there (general PR).
I also went to enjoy myself in a convention atmosphere. The highlight of the convention (in a non-working sense) was squeaking in delight with Alma Alexander (the writer GOH) over the birds of prey panel in which we got to see a kestrel, a peregrine falcon, a Harris hawk, a horned owl, a barn owl and a golden eagle up close and personal. We had our pictures taken with the golden eagle. That thing was just amazing.
The other highlights of the convention included talking with Jay Lake, Shannon Page and Ken Scholes off and on. Jay, Shannon and I all took pictures with the cover printout of the Grants Pass anthology cover because I thought it would be neat. Anthology authors are often so wide spread that it is rare to get more than two of them in a room at the same time. Ken and I had a panel together and we both did the "I know you but I don't know why" thing that is so common at conventions. I figured out that I knew Ken because of his road trip with Jay and because of the books he writes. He decided he heard of me through Jay as well.
Radcon was, most definitely, a "relax-a-con" in atmosphere and administration. However, it was nice that most of the writer panels were on the same floor and wing as each other. The reading "room" (end of the hallway) was over by the Small Press room (who threw the best room party) and I did get to hear a couple of authors read, including Jay who makes me mutter "I don't suck. He's just damn good."
Emotionally, this convention was hard for me. I didn't really know anyone there except in passing for the most part. Thank goodness my husband came with me to keep my company, get me coffee in the morning, keep me from getting lost and generally being super supportive. He helped keep me from feeling lost in the crowd and was happy to follow me from room party to room party while I made the rounds to see people, reacquaint myself with other authors I'd already met at other conventions and to pick up business cards. I love my honey. He's so good to me. (And yes, he did remember Valentine's Day. I got him good chocolate. He got me beautiful diamond stud earrings.)
I do have a fistful of cards from the convention to follow up on. No solid freelance prospects but some really good places to start looking. Shimmerzine is #1 now that I've met the editor, Beth Wodzinski, and know a bit more about what she is looking for. Ditto with Talebones, after hearing some specifics from Patrick Swenson – he is old school in thought and process.
I really do go to these conventions to learn as much as I can as well as put myself out there. People in the audience may laugh when they see me writing notes when a pro gives a hint about something someone is looking for but I know I'm not the only pro doing it. It is important to stay up-to-date and write down those tidbits of information that may or may not help your career in the future.
I think it was a successful convention for me. I got to shake hands, raise a toast and meet people in all parts of the industry and show off my first baby, Grants Pass. It was the first convention for me to show off what I worked so hard to get out there. I passed around a bunch of my personal business cards and a bunch of TEoP cards in hopes of getting some really good authors and in general, I had a good time.