I spent the weekend surrounded by wookiees, stormtroopers, manga babes, all of the Watchmen and various incarnations of the Doctor. No, I didn’t curl up on the couch and watch DVDs in my living room – I went to Dragon Con. I wasn’t on the program, so I was free to see panels and shop and have fun. I met my editor Stacy Hague-Hill, who is just phenomenally cool. She gave me free books! I had a lovely long private chat with her, then went to dinner with her and some other editors and authors from Tor (Hi AJ, Heather, Jody Lynn, Laura, Paul and Walter! *waves) I managed to
strongarm gently persuade some wonderful authors and editors to be our guests on Magical Words somewhere down the line, so keep a weather eye open for those appearances. I also met James Marsters (the actor who played Philip McAvery in the movie in my head) and gave him a copy of Mad Kestrel…and no, I neither fainted nor became speechless. (At least I’m told, by a reliable witness who was standing next to me, that I sounded like a perfectly reasonable grownup. *laughs*) Despite not being on the program, I feel that I got a good deal of work done for myself.
When you publish your first book, you have to give a good deal of thought to your own networking and publicity. Most new authors don’t generate the buzz that warrants a huge advertising budget, or any at all. It’s up to us to handle our own networking and take advantage of every opportunity that might steer our work toward more readers. Book signings are nice ways to dip your toe in the personal appearance pool, even though they don’t generate much in the way of sales. Using the various internet social networking tools is great, since you can reach lots of people without even putting your shoes on. I’ve done a couple of interviews using Skype, so that I didn’t have to drive anywhere, nor did anyone else have to come to me. And then there are cons. Cons are busy and noisy and lots of fun. If you’ve come to the right kind, you’ll find yourself surrounded by readers hungry for new books, ready to buy yours. If the con you attend isn’t so book-focused, though, you’ll have to slap on your game face and put your hand out. I spent the weekend marching up to folks who didn’t know me, introducing myself and then telling them what it was I wanted. I was polite, but I wasn’t shy. I had to promote myself, because otherwise I’d just have been a short, middle-aged lady in a sea of far-more-interestingly-dressed people.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go rest this hand. The one that touched James Marsters. *blissful sigh*