We’re Back! (Buts, Buts and More Buts)

I said last time that I was going to try and come back to the blog more frequently but then… yeah, I dropped off the face of the earth yet again. But that was before, before the British Fantasy Societies FantasyCon 2021!

Yes! This weekend past I attended a convention! My first for nearly two years! I paneled, I moderated, I did readings. I. Met. People!

Here it gets tricky, there’s the feeling that there should be a ‘but’ here and there is ‘but’, the emphasis of that ‘but’ falls squarely on the situation surrounding where we presently find ourselves rather than the con organisers. The ‘but’ is also informed by my preconceptions, my over-excitement at getting back out there. All credit to Allen Stroud and his team, the con was great, the location well-chosen and the programme diverse and engaging and, had the con tailored to five-hundred guests or more it would have been amazing (and here comes that ‘but’ again), but. Covid.

Fantasy Con presented to somewhere between two-hundred and fifty and three-hundred people, a perfectly responsible number. In my eagerness, my excitement, I kind of forgot about Covid for a bit, despite my mask, despite hand sanitiser and not hugging or hand-shaking, the precautions remained but I was less aware of them. Which meant that, I was briefly disappointed by the low turnout, the audiences of two or three people for talks or readings, the low-flow in the dealers room, but here comes another but, but those people who did attend, brought an energy with them. They brought a different kind of infection and it was good. We talked, we drank some, we joked and even did karaoke (which I’ll admit, led to many new introductions) and, long before the end of the Con, the numbers for the turnout didn’t matter so much. I mean, if I were to look at it as strictly a cost/benefit analysis in terms of profit? It was a significant loss, but! There were new connections and contacts made, new opportunities prevented and I came away with new friends. And that is most definitely more important in the long-run.

So, for a weekend I almost got to forget that the past year-and-a-half had even happened. The ball has started rolling again and I have new experiences to share with you. As ever I share these ongoing experiences in the hopes that they help you find your way in the world of publishing and self-publishing. Writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum and neither does building your audience as an author. Just as you put your work out into the world you can benefit from putting yourself out there too. It’s not going to be easy going ahead, Covid is still with us but we have precautions we can take, steps that we can observe to make ourselves safer so that we can, if not cast the fear off entirely, lessen its hold over us.

But (and it’s the last ‘but’) the world turns, we have stories inside us and the audience demands we get them out there. Who are we, the writers, authors and story-tellers, to say to them ‘But?’

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