For many years, Nomi and I have gone to the Boskone science fiction convention in February for the whole weekend. We've reserved a hotel room, primarily because we can't commute in on shabbat but also because we like being present at the convention. I tend to feel that you miss out on the experience if you commute in and don't stay at the hotel.
But this year, for the first time, we looked at our finances and realized that we couldn't really afford the hotel room for the weekend. So, sadly, we decided to attend the convention on Sunday only. We knew we'd miss out on a lot, but it seemed better to attend some of the convention than none.
The first part of our weekend, therefore, was typical for us. I went to synagogue on Friday night and brought guests home for dinner; Nomi and I both went to synagogue on shabbat morning and we were guests for lunch at the home of some good friends. On Saturday night, we played Dungeons & Dragons with our frum D&D group.
Sunday morning we ate breakfast and Rubin's and then went to Boskone. A friend gave us a lift. He was supposed to give us and his wife a lift, but their child hadn't yet woken up, so he gave his wife a lift later in the day. We got the hotel around 9:30 am, which gave us time to register, pick up my program packet, and very briefly circulate to talk to people. We had a chance to chat with Bob Eggleton, Allen Steele, Gay Ellen Dennett, Priscilla Olson, Patty Cryan, and a few others; and as we talked with friends, I couldn't help think about how much I missed not "holding court" in the Con Suite on Saturday night as we usually do at a convention. (I know we were missed; one friend called me on my cell phone on Saturday night looking for us. I texted back that we would be around on Sunday.)
Furthermore, since our convention was contracted into Sunday, I was pretty much programmed for the whole day. Not that I'm complaining; the programming committee put me on some perfect panels for me, and I had a lot of fun. But it did mean having to dash around more than usual.
So here's what I did:
10am How Not to Edit Yourself
Panelists: Michael A. Burstein, David G. Hartwell, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Josepha Sherman, Eleanor Wood
Jim Kelly was originally supposed to be the moderator, but he wasn't on the panel when the final schedule came out. The others deferred to me as moderator, and I threw out a few questions and had them take questions from the audience. I think we gave folks a lot of good advice, and if I could remember any of it, I'd share it here.
Panelists: Michael A. Burstein, Yvonne Carts-Powell
, Daniel P. Dern (moderator), Matthew Jarpe
, Alisa Kwitney Sheckley
This panel was a lot of fun, and I'm glad that Matthew suggested it. I'd never been on a panel with Yvonne before, but I'm enjoying her book The Science of Heroes
and I highly recommend it. I'd also never met Alisa before, but now that I know who she is, I'm going to be looking for her work. As for the panel discussion itself, we had a lot of fun discussing silly superpowers and what works and what doesn't.
At 12noon I had my autographing. The autographing table was rather out of the way, and the committee knows that and is planning to place it somewhere more central next year. In my case, I did manage to sell a few copies of I Remember the Future
, and I got to catch up with my former student Deborah Sacks, a writer in her own right.
1pm Marketing Your Book
Panelists: Michael A. Burstein, Elaine Isaak
, Dani Kollin
, Shane Tourtellotte (moderator).
I enjoyed being on this panel for a few reasons. First of all, it's always good to share panel time with Shane. Secondly, all of us had a lot of great stuff to share about marketing. I thought I was going to have a lot to share, what with my BU Certificate in Publishing and my ten-page marketing plan for I Remember the Future
. But Dani is an advertising copywriter, and Elaine has done a lot of creative marketing including making jewelry shaped like books (which I recall seeing her hand out a few years ago). Shane had a hard time keeping us quiet, but I think we managed to make the panel flow well. At the end, an audience member came up to us to tell us that this had been the most useful panel she had attended the whole convention.
(By the way, Dani's first book isn't even out yet, and he has a fascinating blog all about the process of selling and promoting his first novel, right here on LiveJournal! See dkollin
to read it.)
Nomi and I had an hour off after that, and we went to the panel on Jewish science fiction.
At 3 pm, I had my reading. As opposed to my reading at Arisia, which attracted no one, this reading filled the room. At least, all the seats at the table were occupied, so we had about twenty people who came to hear me read. And I sold a few more books. It was a good feeling.
Traditionally, Nomi and I end Boskone by having dinner with Bill & Carol Aronoff and their family at Taam China. This year, the tradition was altered slightly because their sons wanted to go to Rubin's instead. And so, Nomi and I opened and closed the day at Rubin's, which was fitting.