Although I have been a scifi fan literally since the time I was old enough to comprehend it, I never attended a conference. When I decided earlier this year that since my trilogy is complete, I need to get out more and try to 'spread awareness', I did some random searches for conventions. Fortunately, I live just over an hour away from Seattle, a mecca for comicon and scifi conventions of all sorts. It was too late to get into most of them for 2015, but I was thrilled to be accepted at the Galacticon IV show, since I'm a HUGE fan of everything Galacticon. There were also stars from Firefly, Serenity, Farscape and the original Land of the Lost, so I was giddy with anticipation.
I planned, worried and prepared for several months. How many books did I need? I finally settled on 30 copies of Bloodline and 25 of Heritage and Descent. I found a cool crystal skull and an LED display base to light it up. (needed something to get people's attention!) I made a sign, a t-shirt and more bookmarks to hand out. In all, it was a bit of an investment of both time and money.
SO....three days before the con (which was July 31st-Aug 2) the organizers for the event dropped the bomb: due to unforeseen trouble with the hotel, they were cancelling most of the reboot Battlestar Galactica cast. You can understand the implosion that followed. There were fans traveling from Europe, spending thousands of dollars to see these actors and actresses. There were VIP tickets pre-sold, along with all the photo-ops, panels, classes, etc.
It was pretty frakked up.
The main organizer resigned within hours of the announcement, and the people left behind (mostly volunteers and fan groups), scrambled to do their best with the mess that was left. I, like all of the other vendors, considered whether or not to go. For me, the decision was easier, because I only had to commute the hour drive a couple times each day, as well as parking (15/day). Most of the vendors, however, were traveling from out of state and had huge expenses involved. The chances of getting enough people through the convention to make a profit was not promising. Honestly, we all were just hoping to break even. Most did not.
In spite of all of the drama, I had a BLAST! (pun intended)
This was in large part due to the two brothers in the booth next to me. Tim and Matt, of Interstait Designs, are hard to describe. Their positive energy and obvious joy at being there was contagious. I liked them immediately.
These guys have an amazing selection of unique, laser cut designs in wood and acrylic (so far). You can find something from just about any well-known scifi series or movie. If they don't have it: they'll make it! (they're going to make a medallion for me that will be a replica of the one Alex wears in my trilogy!!!)
On Friday, the first day, I got my booth set up and then hoped for the best! While attendance was very low, it was still a fun day. I sold a set and paid for my parking. :)
When we came back on Saturday morning, we were greeted by Richard Hatch rocking a kilt!! (he was the original Apollo in Battlestar and had a recurring role in the new series) After a nice, fifteen minute talk with him, he signed Bloodline for me!
I was still on cloud nine over that encounter, when I had a fan (Sara, without an h!), run up to my table excited to meet me! That was the highlight of the convention! (picture to come). It was beyond cool to get to discuss my trilogy with someone who read and loved it. She immediately got the relevance of the crystal skull and ghost quartz I had out, and was excited about having the necklaces made and available for fans. (fans! :) )
Claudia Chrstain (Babylon 5) was SO nice! She constantly walked among the vendors, talking with us and just being an over-all positive influence. I was incredibly impressed by her presence and genuine kindness.
On the third and final day (Sunday), I went all out and dressed up! Here I posed with the 'doc', after he loaned me his weapons. :)
It was over-all a great experience, and while attendance was understandably low, the staff that was there went all out to pull it off. I made enough to cover my own expenses, so I was happy (personally) with everything. I know there were plenty of other vendors that can't say the same thing, and I feel horrible for any loss they endured. The best part, was that I made some friends and got invited to several other events/conferences. Tim and Matt are my long-lost brothers, and I look forward to networking with them!!!
So did I have a good time? Absolutely! Will I do it again? Already planning the next event!
Since it was my first scifi convention, I felt like an addict at their first AA meeting: I'm NOT alone!!!