Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The Other Half
Sorry to be late this morning, but I came back yesterday night, late, from the first North American Discworld Convention. Well, technically, I came away from the convention on Monday, but we had business in Denver yesterday, so we delayed on the way.
Though I’ve been going to conventions since 98, I only started going after I sold my first novel. So I’ve never been to a con as a fan. Not, mind you, that I have anything against fandom. The whole idea of organized fandom was just so alien to me, though – because it didn’t exist in Portugal – that it never occurred to me to look for fan groups/conventions until I was told I should go to World Fantasy to meet agents.
So this is the first time I’ve gone to a convention as a fan. It was lots of fun. Far more relaxing than going as a pro. Oh, I was still on some panels and I signed some autographs, but overall I was there to hear Pterry speak and to hang out with people who understood when I said "That’s so Sam Vimes" or "Please don’t let me detain you" and that was enough.
But of course I’m a writer, and being a writer is not something I can turn off so... Things I learned at the Discworld con about how to treat your fans – not that I ever expect to have as many as Pterry, but who knows? One of you might! --
1 - They’re there to see you, make yourself available. Pterry talked a lot and also mingled and talked to people. Mind you, he didn’t need to do anything else to make us love him, but if he’d been the "I’m too important to talk to fans" type of author, I doubt he’d have got where he is.
2- Let them in just enough into your private life. No one likes their privacy more than I do. I’ve been known to say if I could have fortune without fame, I’d take it. But the truth is fans feel they own a little part of you and they want to know some stuff. Stuff such as... how your health is doing. And perhaps some fun project you’re involved in just now. Pterry, for ex, is doing better than expected, and he’s building a bridge, back home.
3 - If possible, genuinely enjoy your fans and your worlds, so you can play in your worlds with your fans, without its being a put on.
Presumably the rest of you have gone to cons at fans. At least some of you. What lessons do you take from it for when you’re on the other side of the table?