So I went to World Fantasy 2011, and got back late Saturday night. The convention actually went until Sunday afternoon/evening, but due to both cost and time we had to cut it a little short. Despite all this, I still got most everything done that I intended. Rather than burn you out on an obnoxious essay, I'll instead present highlights.
- I was able to meet with Sara Megibow, Jessie Cammack, Eddie Schneider (who we always seem to find at every convention) and Joshua Bilmes. We also spoke a little with Liz Gorinsky, Tom Doherty (who we also seem to find at every convention...imagine that) and a handful of other editors from other publishers. Overall, it was a great experience.
- We also got a decent chunk of time with some of my favorite authors (local or otherwise) including Jessica Day George, Patrick Rothfuss, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, Eric James Stone, and Cinda Williams (which is especially cool since I spent a lot of time talking to her last year, and since then she's had two books on the NYT bestseller list! Congrats!). We also (randomly) ran into Larry Correia on the way back to our hotel from Jack in the Box, which was awesome.
- As part of this I got my Kindle signed like mad. I posted most of them to Google + and Facebook, but if you don't follow me I'll try and put them up here as well.
- I had a tweet re-tweated by Neil Gaiman. Yeah, I know that's a stupid thing to be excited about, but it's cool. Neil Gaiman is also quite a cool person, who bothered to talk to us a little bit despite being super busy the entire time.
- Most of the agents/editors we spoke with said they would like us to send them stuff. I never actually pitched to anybody, but in truth I kind of...don't really try. I'd much rather try and talk to people and enjoy their company then try and sell them something. Maybe I'm missing the point of this "cutthroat" business, but everybody I talked to was both very much human and fun to converse with.
- I actually used Twitter to make some contacts. Oh, and I got an iPhone last week, and it's already been worth it if just for that. :D
So...what about the panels? Well...to be honest, most were extremely underwhelming. We actually spoke with Dan Wells about it (since they scheduled him on the first panel of the Con and he ended up missing it) and he made a comment about being burned out of panels and I'm inclined to agree. There were a few notable ones (a panel on feminism and woman's bias in fantasy/young adult, as well as a panel on the foundations of steampunk by...the founders of steampunk [from the 70s/80s before it became this big fad]), but overall I was generally unimpressed.
However, Connie Willis interviewing Neil Gaiman was completely fantastic and a lot of fun. Neil told a story about how he was in a hotel writing American Gods, and the Bible in his room was messed up, so he called downstairs saying his "Bible was defective." Also, when asked about advice for aspiring authors, his main comment was to just keep writing new things. Essentially: "Write something, do a minor edit, and send it to everyone you know while you write your next one. It's an editor's job to help you fix it; don't do it all yourself. Just keep writing and sending and eventually you'll sell."
I thought this was great advice, especially considering how reluctant I can bee regarding sending stuff out before I think it's "fixed" or "finished." While I do think some agents/editors can be extremely picky (they have to be; they sift through tons of stuff) they are all just normal people who like to read and can understand the potential of a work even if it isn't there yet. It helped me gain confidence in my writings, and motivate me to submit it to everybody.
So, even though we were only there for a few days, I had a great time. I also got like $400 worth of free books that I somehow managed to haul home (thank goodness we flew Southwest, which allows two free bags, unlike every other airlines that charges for the first check-in bag), which is one of the reasons I love World Fantasy.
Overall, lots of fun. Next year it's in Canada so I'm still indecisive, but I'm fairly sold on going to ChicagoCon/WorldCon this year. Also, these cons are a lot more fun when you actually know people, and I think it's finally getting to that point.
If you have any questions, throw 'em in the comments. Oh, and I started Naught But Glass but only wrote the prologue. I will be "officially" starting it tomorrow for NaNoWriMo, but more on that later.