I have taken a few days to think about what happened last week at the World Fantasy Convention in Washington D.C., trying to gain a little perspective with some distance. With that said, I came away with a few highlights:
1) There is nothing like immersing yourself in that kind of atmosphere for several days to re-energize your enthusiasm for writing.
2) The people from Ragnarok Publications were very nice and let me hang around them way too much. Their publisher party was also the talk of the convention, although that may have been in part to the infamous “swamp gas” incident. (Enough said – what happens at WFC, stays at WFC.)
3) It was terrific to finally meet in person some people that I have known in the industry for years.
4) I almost knocked down Peter Straub (Ghost Story, Koko, Black House) in the convention area one afternoon.
Meeting industry people was my biggest goal for this year’s con. With the release of Dreams earlier this year, I had a product that we could talk about but not necessarily to attempt to sell something new, although I did make a couple of pitches. The key for me this year was to begin to put faces with names.
To that end, I thought this was a tremendously successful convention for me. I talked with a handful of agents and some people from independent presses. I talked about the writing process with other authors – some still looking for their debut novel and some with tons more experience than myself. I met Tim Marquitz in person for the first time, something I was happy to have happen because we were introduced to each other online several years ago in the same critique group and have kept up the conversation despite never having met before. Joe Martin, Kenny Soward, Melanie Meadors, Django Wexler, Betsy Dornbusch, Eric Bakutis, James Moore – the list needs to stop here because I will never remember everybody but suffice it to say that everyone was very nice.
In addition, the book signing went great on Friday night. The scene was a little unbelievable. Imagine nearly 200 authors in one large convention/ball room with row upon row of tables, pens in hand and their books in front of them. Now insert a swirling mass of humanity, at times so thick the room appeared to be one convulsing organism, slowly rotating from spot to spot. The room jumped 20 degrees in 15 minutes and was extremely hot (except for those lucky few of us who were seated underneath the air conditioning) and loud.
That is the book signing at World Fantasy.
And Dreams sold out.
I had no idea what to expect so the fact all the copies of Dreams were gone by about halfway through the signing was amazing.
So now I am back home, negotiating my way through my day job and moving kids from event to event. But I am also still amped up about WFC and already looking forward to the next convention, probably World Horror in Atlanta next year unless I can find something smaller and closer to home in the meantime.
As for Peter Straub, someone should put a bell on him when he is turning corners in a busy convention center. Sheesh.
** One last note – I hope to have some news to announce that came out of WFC in the next few weeks. **