So, that was Worldcon Dublin 2019.

Worldcon was an amazing experience, I can’t begin to express my thanks to the organisers, the programme staff, the dealer room liaisons, the attendee’s and new friends I’ve made, and even the Dublin Convention Centre staff who helped over the five days of this convention. Now that it’s done I can go into a bit more depth about my own involvement and what I’m taking away with me from Dublin 2019.

So, having spoken some before about the convention generally I’m going to talk about why I went along. Worldcon wasn’t what I would consider a trade convention like the ShowMasters events in London or the other Film and Comic cons, it was more akin to EasterCon by Ytterbium but on a much larger scale. Worldcon is the annual setting for the Hugo Science Fiction awards and attracts attendee’s, contributors and fans from all over the world. Eastercon attracts around 900 visitors while Worldcon tops out around 5000, so there were a great many opportunities to be had.

As I said I wouldn’t consider it a trade con but I did have a trade table and I was there selling my works because, for a self-publishing author, it is really important to get in point-of-contact sales to get your work into the hands of people who will enjoy it. Having a table is an expense but one that you can hopefully recoup. The dealers room is also a great place to talk to publishers and promote yourself (although you don’t *need* a table yourself to do so). Over the course of the week I have (hopefully) made some ties with a couple of indie publishers which might prove fruitful down the line. I also got a surprise on the first day of the Con when, a few hours after doors open, George R.R. Martin walked past my stall. He didn’t stop to look and I didn’t really want to trouble him so I just let him go on his way, the same applied when Gail Carriger made a brief appearance in the trade hall on the Thursday and, much as I would have liked to have exchanged a few words with her I was engaged with my own customers so maybe some other time.

As well as that I paid for a membership which would allow me, not only to attend the programme items which were of interest but also to take part in the programme itself. I was lucky enough to be asked to sit on two panel items, a discussion of Celtic Mythology, how it has been appropriated and changed over the centuries and how it is represented and influences modern fiction and a discussion on how Creators and Fans respond to Political Unrest.

Not having sat on a panel before the Political Unrest discussion was quite a daunting subject (especially as it was the first item I was offered). Luckily the Celtic Mythology panel was offered to me soon after and, taking place before Political Unrest, would give me a chance to ‘warm up’ as it were. Both panels had their challenges, Celtic Mythology was a very popular talk, full room with three deep standing at the back so quite intimidating for that but with the experienced writers and a resident historian on the panel besides me I like to think the talk was informative and entertaining. Political Unrest was a much more intimate event, smaller audience but with a much greater weight of emotional material to cover. That said I hope I acquitted myself well and at least one of my fellow panelists did stop by my stall later to reassure me that I had.

Besides the panels and the dealers room there where plays and concerts and party’s to attend, people to meet and much fun to be had. Of course there were struggles, although they were limited to factors surrounding the Con rather than attached to. Driving in an unknown city (especially one with as complex a one-way system as Dublin) and issues with my hotel booking are occasionally to be expected when you go abroad or even when you travel within your own country. Any convention, whether as a trader or an attendee will likely have it’s challenges so you just have to roll with it and deal with them as best you can.

I will move forward with my writing forever thankful that I took the opportunity to attend WorldCon Dublin and ever so grateful to the friends I met there and made there and strive toward a time when I can go along, sit on more panels and maybe host a Kaffeeklatch or a Literary Beer (writers hosting small, social gatherings with the attendee’s). It truly has been a life changing experience and really fired my creativity and ambitions.

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