It’s all in the title people. This was not a good day. I don’t know who’s to blame and I’m not here to point fingers. All I know is that when Stefanie DeLeo and I went to set up our panel at 3, we were met with a series of bullshit.
But let’s go back at the beginning.
I’m a nervous, excitable dude. I get stressed really quickly, especially when I know whatever I’m doing has an impact on my career. Which meant that all day Friday I was a mess of stomach aches, shudders and pacing around the house like maniac missing his Thorazine. I guess that was to be expected. This was going to be the single biggest event of my life, comparable to signing my first publishing deal.
The original plan (and for you folks who listen to the Lurking Voice Podcast, I’m sorry for repeating myself) was to deliver a 2 hour panel: the first hour was all about writing – mainly how to create a protagonist and antagonist, giving some modern examples, and then touching upon world-building. I know this sounds like something out of a course but those were the folks I was catering for. There is way too much talent in this country of mine, with awesome writers and artists all over town – but no one to educate them.
The second hour was about publishing, about the lessons learnt from the Kindle Gold Rush and how modern hybrid published authors can build their platform, target their audience and maximize their potential sales. The tag line was “So you wrote a novel. What now? What’s the next stage?”
I knew I was on the right track when I spoke to an old friend the previous day at the meet & greet. She and I got to talking about the comic anthology she’s in and we got to discussing how to further market it. There are hundreds like her out there – artists looking for some sort of crutch, some kinda hint – a spark – to set them off on the right track.
I learnt all of this in less than a year and began applying it. I made it happen for myself, but I know I was lucky to have found the right tools, almost right away. All I wanted was to give others who were in my situation the chance that was given to me.
But shit happens. And despite singing Sweet Home Alabama out loud on the way to the venue, Stefanie and I set up at 3, only to have the sound guy come at 3.30 with the necessary equipment (one fucking speaker). Of course the room was empty, the organizers more scattered than a pack of lab rats of meth, and the few people who seemed to have their shit together were a total of seven vendors sitting catatonically behind their half full stands.
So the first hour – Writing portion – goes off in a blur, which is to say it did not happen. The room is empty, I am running after the staff, camera guy is MIA and my disappointment is beyond description.
Finally me and Stefanie start a panel at 4.30 (last half hour) when a total of 3 people walk into the room with some questions. The gig lasted 20 mins and I was about to blow. This was supposed to be the gig of a lifetime – the one to set off a series of appearances by the ONLY FULL-TIME AUTHOR/WRITER IN MY GODDAMN COUNTRY.
Ten minutes later, I am saying my goodbyes to Stefanie and I go threaten the coordinator. He assures me I’m right (Yeah, no shit), and that Stefanie and I will have a repeat panel the next day on Saturday. Easier venue (right at the entrance) and at 10 am (not too early but not too late as to clash with other panels). I don’t like it – but I’m clutching at straws here, so I take it.
So what happens then? I storm towards my friend who has a stand downstairs and talk for a while, venting my rage. You know who you are – you have my eternal gratitude for listening and supporting.
See this is the cool thing about having shit hit the fan – you know who sticks by you. Stefanie and Jennifer were awesome and supportive. This friend I mention is someone I had met for the first time in a long while just the day before. And yet, all three showed me how genuine and kind they are.
I guess moral of the story is, you don’t need 300 people in your life – you’re richer with 3 good friends.
And on that note, I fuck off the venue before I bite anyone’s head off and hope for a better tomorrow – literally.
Stay tuned for Days 2 and 3, people. Shit is about to get real.