There are certain things I'm used to as part of stepping to a convention. Book launches and signings. Wandering around the convention centre. All-too-brief catch-ups and photo-ops with old friends - as well as new ones. Plus other things that are part and parcel of it all.
What I didn't bank on this time around was the tedium of the journey to Clydebank. From the train's departure from Euston at around 09:30 on the Friday morning to get to Glasgow Central at 2pm on the same afternoon. And then waiting for a smaller train to get to Clydebank. Not realising Dalmuir was nearer, so then having to walk to the convention centre. Which was not only in the ass-end of nowhere, but well hidden in some wilderness as part of a hospital. By the time I got to the convention, it was 4pm. And with me being in desperate need of food & R&R, I didn't start to get into the swing of things until maybe an hour or so later.
The other main 'failing' for me was the reduced turnout. Now social media is a wonderful thing. Enough that I already had a good idea of the reduced turnout before I went to this convention. One, because of the logistics/cost. Two, because of StokerCon 2020 this coming April in the UK. More peers may have different additional reasons, but this is where I'll tell you the ones I'm aware of.
HWA panel at FantasyCon 2019. l-r: Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan (husband/wife and joint heads of the HWA's UK chapter), me, and new member Heide Goody.
With all that being said, it was still a decent time at FantasyCon. I've learned from experience to stay at the convention centre - so as not to waste valuable time traipsing from the conference back to my hotel. A wise choice especially when a late night of lounging with peers would then see me trudge back to my hotel in the cold night air, half-full with alcohol and low on food. I was on the HWA panel again this year - which is cool. I'm glad to speak to anyone formally or otherwise in terms of what the organisation is/does and such - as well as offer any insight I can on author game. But here's the thing. For the most part at a convention, I want to be a spectator. Talking on a panel or two here and there is fine. But for most of the time, I'm happy to just lounge with the like-minded, watch panels/discussions with the likeminded, etc. It would be nice to connect with just readers. Sure, a lot of us are - but I mean readers who aren't also authors. Or editors. Or publishers. Etc.
As a result of the last week - both in and outside of FantasyCon - there'll be some additional fiction coming down the pike. Additional to what I've already got scheduled so far. Bear this in mind for when I drop a reveal or two, and reference this point in time.
The last two FantasyCons have fallen across the birthday weekend. As much as I'd rather not spend the birthday at FantasyCon, right now, they're too much of a business opportunity to pass up. At least for 2020, my birthday falls on a weekday, so there shouldn't be any such conflict this time around. Plus, with it being hosted in Sheffield in 2020, the venue should be nearer, and more accessible.