I just did 3 shows in rapid succession. It was a whirlwind that amazing, wonderful, and kinda sapped my energy. Perhaps I am actually getting old... Nah.
In this post, I am going to give you guys a quick highlight of the things that happened at these shows, from my perspective. Sorry I don't have very many pictures to share, I was kinda busy, but I have put in a bunch of links for the shows and some of the awesome people I have met. I hope you at least enjoy those. Aaaaaaaaaand... GO!
The dealer hall at ConNooga is in this MASSIVE room at the Chattanooga Convention Center. There were several rows of partitioned vendor space. My table was between a shop selling nerdy jewelry and the artist Hoyt Silva. On the other side of the curtain behind me was actor Eddie McClintock.
Hoyt and I goofed around most of the weekend when it was slow. At one point we even had a staring contest across the walkway between our booths. His writer friend Shane Berryhill also spent some time at Hoyt's booth, but his participation in our silliness was very downplayed. Still great guys to be neighbors with.
The jewelry folks and I had a few fun conversations, and one of them even bought a copy of my book. (Thanks Chance!)
Eddie McClintock, of Warehouse 13 fame, was super nice and even came in on Saturday with a Smiths shirt on. Awesome.
I also had numerous great conversations with folks who were interested in my stories. On Friday, a teenaged girl came over to my booth with her parents. She has become known to me as Morrigan, slayer of books. She picked up Wracked on while there on Friday and read the entire book that night. When the room opened up on Saturday, she and her folks were back to get the rest of the series. I sure hope she enjoyed the rest of them.
There was a guy who dressed up as both Deadpool and John Constantine who kept stopping by the table throughout the weekend. Nice kid. Always asking interesting questions about book marketing and asking if I was ok.
My friend, and fellow author, A.G. Carpenter was also at the show. This was her first time selling physical books, rather than just driving people to her site to get ebooks. The first day was a little slow for her, but then next day she came to the show with a little "liquid courage" and was able to get whatever social anxiety she was having and did much better over the course of the weekend. Of course, moving her table away from no man's land to a more trafficked part of the all may have also helped.
JK Barber, who I have known for a long time, was also in the hall with me and they seemed to have a good show as well.
The funny part is that I heard rumors about author panels that they did not have enough guests for, and how some people from the con were asking other authors to participate. No one ever asked me, though a few other authors suggested that I just crash the panels, which was tempting. I suppose I will have to be more vocal about being part of the programming in the future.
This was my second time at AnachroCon. The last time was a little wonky, as they had put the authors and artists into a strange salon, where dance classes and bands were also playing from time to time. That show was very strange, and this second visit was again very different.
We authors were told that we would have to share space. Sure, no biggie, it happens. Then I was shown the side hallway where we were to be. This hallway was one of those pathways off a main road that you always drive by and wonder what is down that way, but rarely have a reason to go look. And that day you find yourself headed around that corner, you are late for lunch with all your friends.
The foot traffic in our "author's closet", as we started calling it, was rather light. At its heaviest was when the featured lunch activity was going on at the end of the hall, and the people who shot past us to get into the line for that barely even acknowledged that we were there. When you are hungry, you are not really interested in listening to some short bald guy with a beard tell you about his corrupted fantasy world. For reals.
One encounter with a reader I had was actually quite fascinating. She was super excited to see that I had returned to the con, and she raved about the first book in the series. I remembered this steampunk ninja from the last AnachroCon, and so I asked about they liked the second book.
"Urgggh!" is how they responded, with fingers curled in active frustration.
I laughed and asked what they disliked about the story and when the response was the same, I asked a different question: What did you like about it?
They went on about the characters and the situations that they enjoyed. They really seemed animated when talking about certain portions of the story. Clearly, there was more going on here than a 1 star review of primitive grunting. Curious to know more, I pressed again for details by saying, "I would love to know more about what you didn't like, but I need more details than a grunt."
At this point, they opened up and explained: I didn't like that there were more questions than answers by the end of the book. I expected more of the mystery to be wrapped up.
I chucked, and nodded, but I didn't say: The series is ongoing and I am not just going to reveal everything by the end of the second book.
These words remained in my throat until after the person left because I wasn't sure how to say them without unintentionally coming across as a massive asshole. Hell, I could be coming across as a jerk just by posting this here, but I hope not.
After the person left, Leverett Butts, one of my author neighbors, remarked, "It sounded like she LOVED your books, man."
I gotta say, I agree with him.
Oh, our lack of people traffic allowed me to spend the weekend with some seriously awesome other people, Winfield Strock III, Leverett Butts, and Amy Leigh Strickland. You really should go check out their work.
Lastly, there was a big author reading that happened at the show. So many authors had been asked to participate that the non featured authors would only have five minutes to read, and I just could not find a section of anything that would make any sense in that short period of time. So I didn't end up participating.
What to say about AndoCon? Well, the show is run by some really awesome people, and the real theme of it is more about gaming than it is about reading. I would say that most people who attended the show did not even set foot into the dealer's hall during the course of the weekend.
For most of the weekend it was rather quiet in the small dealer room. My friend Richard from Terminus Productions and I spent most of the time goofing off, yelling things back and forth across the small space. Undoubtedly, we drove the other people crazy.
I am pretty sure that the two artist girls at the end of the room hated us for our stupid antics and uncouth behavior.
Whenever my friend Charlie from Altered Confusion was free, he came into the dealer's room and tried to pry spoilers for the Ukumog series from me. I believe I kept my cool, even though there are parts of me that just want to talk endlessly about the series with people. Grah!
Still, it was a good time. I even got to play some games and was a guest on the NerdBurger podcast. Being a rapid fire guest on their show always makes me nervous though. I end up talking about stuff other than my work.
Super great promotional work there, Louis.
Yeah, I know.
I certainly had some great conversations at the show, though. Met some awesome people, and Ando is about one of the nicest people ever. Will probably go back next year if I have time, even if it is just as a attendee.
That sums up the last three shows, but I need more shows to do! What other shows do you think should I attend? Hrm?
Better yet, tell your local dark fantasy friendly con that they should have me as a guest.