Sometimes it's Nice to Meet the Public

A few days ago I wrote about my con-going experience as an attendee. What I did not delve into (at least not too much) was my con-going experience as a...non-attendee (for lack of a better phrase).

I love the
Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. The group is made up of a number of wonderful people who also happen to be brilliant writers, artists, filmmakers, poets, you get the picture. Being a member of the GLAHW has allowed me to become part of a great circle of friends. It has provided me with numerous opportunities to network with other creative people.

Then, of course, there is the perk of attending conventions as a dealer.

Regardless of the convention, this is always a good thing. Sure, there have been weekends when I’ve sat behind a table and not sold a single item. However, I have never had a weekend where I was a vendor and met no one interesting. That’s the beauty of the vendor space. You get to meet people. Other vendors are always willing to talk. We now have quite a circle of people that we know strictly from our time behind the tables. Strangers come up to you and engage in conversation. Heck, we even have fans who come by the table each year to see what we have that is new.

Writing is, for the most part, a solitary endeavor. Sometimes it is fun to break out of that protective shell and meet people.

Some of my favorite times at Cons have been the words of encouragement I’ve gotten from complete strangers. There is nothing like having the following conversation with an 80 year old woman:

“Did you write these?” she asked looking down at the books on the table.
“These are anthologies of short stories, but yes I have at least one story in each one.”
“So you’re a writer?”
“I’m trying to be.”
“Looks to me like you already are. Does it make you happy?
“Yes ma’am.”
“Then goddamit, keep at it. Good job.”

Don’t worry, complete stranger whose memory makes me smile as I write this. I aim to do just that.