I went to a convention last weekend. A convention of all things science fiction, from film and TV to books and comics including games, cosplay and all manner of other stuff.
This was the sixth year we’ve attended and we’ve had a blast each time. We get to see friends, party and explore all kinds of different things. Something my wife and I have done on each occasion has been to buy a great stock of novels to get stuck into over the next year and this year was no different.
Last year I gave the first Sam Spallucci novel from AS Chambers a whirl, along with a collection of short stories he’d put together. They were great. I really enjoyed the way he wrote and the characters and story were really compelling. This year I made a bee line for his stall ready to see what else he had on offer. Add to this Danie Ware and her Ecko books and last year was epic. But this year I was struck by the fact I had to consider the convention in a very different way.
Should I think about the possibility of attending an event like this with my writer hat on and sell my wares?
It really intrigued me, the thought of sitting on the other side of the table and speaking with people to spread the word about my work. I’m always keen to increase the sales figures, as would anyone, but I enjoy the opportunity to speak with people about the fantasy genre in general so having a chance to chat about my own stuff would be cool. It could give me the chance to spread my enthusiasm and interact with like minded individuals within the sci-fi convention environment and who knows, take that first step towards world domination.
All in all, I would be doing my best to increase revenue and acting with a desire to improve the business side of what I’m doing but all authors need to accept the fact that we could have a massive effect on someone through what we write. There could be that one person who identifies so utterly with your work that they will become your biggest fan, but they feel enhanced by what they’ve read.
We all have that moment where we were enveloped by a story or book or character and happily pay for every new work from a particular author. In part, my own moment of connection helped me start down the road to being a published author myself. Looking at what I could achieve from taking part in something of this kind just fills me with wonder. Speaking to people who may really enjoy what I have to say, who knows what inspiration could come along.
The final point I wanted to make as I thought about attending as a writer, was again how powerful an author attending an event can be. A few years ago I was lucky enough to see the mighty Terry Pratchett at a convention. He spoke passionately about writing and his work in general. He’d not long announced to the world about his ill health but he was ragingly determined not to stop writing. Everyone in the room was transfixed by what he had to say and it was clear that his words had touched a great many.
So far this year we’ve seen the loss of Mr Spock and the creator of Discworld. Two amazing people who have left the world a better place than when they arrived. Both spread the words they wanted and were happy to get their points across, knowing that business would take care of itself, as long as they could just spend time with others and share their passions. If I can attend an event and just talk to other people in any kind of way similar to these titans, maybe I can make sure we’re all spreading the words of the genres we love and having a great time doing it.