I recently returned from my first convention of the year. It was a small regional science fiction/ fantasy con called RavenCon, and I had an absolutely fabulous time. I sat on about a dozen panels ranging in topics from the blush-worthy “Got Sex?” to the tech savvy “Kindlemania” to the very popular “What’s next in Urban Fantasy?”. I have spoken on panels before, (most notably a “strong female characters” panel with the super nice author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, Charlaine Harris.) but this is the first convention I have been an official guest. And wow, I had fun. I met awesome readers who asked great questions, and I got to spend time speaking to other writers who were all wonderfully nice and I had a blast talking with both on and off panels.
What I learned about myself over the course of the con is that I am absolutely horrid at talking about my own books and what I write about. Admittedly, by the end of the weekend I finally nailed down a two sentence ‘blurb’ about both my Haven series and my upcoming Alex Craft novels. This was absolutely mandatory because I was expected to say something about what I write in my introduction on each panel. You know that whole, “I’m Kalayna Price and I write . . . ” Drawing a complete blank in your introduction never looks good, so after a couple times I did finally figure out a quick way to talk about my series.
But after the introduction, I was quite happy to never mention anything about my books again and talk about the panel topic. The hardest panel I was on was called “book launch” about new and upcoming releases, which meant no topic to divert me from having to discuss my books. That was also my first panel—talk about awkward.
I have sat on both sides of the table at a convention, and I know from experience in the audience that the authors (or anyone else) on the panel making the ‘hard sell’ and making every single statement about their own books are annoying. That said, if an author interests me, I do want to hear at least a little about their work (particularly in relation to the topic on the table). There is a balance there, and I’m sure the exact line is different for everyone.
So here are my questions for you. Have you ever been to a fan conference? Did you check out the author panels? What were your favorite topics/authors, and how did they balance relating the topic to their books?
Happy Thursday everyone!