The past week was a hurricane of activity for me and the family. We did all four days of Gen Con in Indy this year, and I had a pretty big event the next Saturday called Ignite Peoria. It was a long, tiring week, and today my body is telling me how badly I mistreated it. But, it was all worth it for a couple of wonderful experiences that I had with readers (I know I titled it fans, not sure if I can call them fans yet but I hope to.) Don’t get me wrong, Gen Con was awesome again this year, and Ignite was so much fun, but there’s a couple of highlights that I’m going to remember for a long time.
I took four books with me to Gen Con with the idea that I’ll play a sort of “Where’s Waldo”, post a pic of myself that day on Social Media, come find me and get a free book. I got nothing, but it was a short day so I wasn’t discouraged. I gave that day’s copy to my son’s friend who traveled with us. The next day, still nothing. On our third day at the con I took two books, but again no one found me (or no one was looking). The Con was going great and I was doing my best not to get disappointed. There were 70K people at the convention center. The odds a couple people looking for me would actually spot me were pretty slim.
Finally, on our last day, with three books in tow, I got some interest on the Facebook post. Shannon really wanted to find me, but was stuck in her hotel doing homework. We were in the vendor hall, making last minute stops and picking up things we didn’t want to leave without before packing it all up and heading back to Illinois. Shannon and I went back and forth on Facebook, she hoped to have time to run over to the hall, and I was going to let her know where I was but unfortunately time ran out. We had to go, and she was diligently working on the important things, her homework. Just as we got down to the lobby with our bags I got the message that she was done and could meet. I said sure, where, somewhere in between our hotels or in the convention center? Nothing. I waited with all our bags while my wife got the car from the parking a few blocks away thinking that was it. The timing just didn’t work out.
Finally, as we’re getting the last bags in the car (no joke, literally last minute) I hear my name called in question. Shannon had not answered my last post because she was rushing to my hotel driveway to catch me before I left. It was so great to meet someone with that much interest in, as she said, helping out indie authors. She took the time to come find me before we left, even after I offered to mail her a copy since we couldn’t find time to meet. I wish we’d had more time to talk but we were holding up the line. We did manage to get a great picture, and had a few nice words. I hope to hear how Shannon likes the stories, and it’s no lip service when I say that she made my Con. Most of the memories from this year will fade into the background of mishmash from previous years, but meeting Shannon will be forever ingrained in my mind.
Then I did Ignite Peoria this past Saturday, and the crowd was great. I talked to a lot of people about writing and my books. Met some new folks, and saw a few regular friends. The part that will stand out though, was during the panel that Rey Clark, Rachael Dunn, and I did. We discussed writing and self-publishing for a small group of aspiring authors. Overall the room was great, lost of fantastic questions and feedback. In the front row was an excited young lady that asked a lot of questions, and was clearly hungry for as much information she could get.
Lola (please let me have remembered that right), the young lady from the front row of the panel, came by each of our booths after and picked up a book from each of us. She was so excited to write, and I could tell it was a passion she had burning in her. She reminded me of what it was like when I first started doing this, and rekindled my drive to stay excited about it. Seeing a young, aspiring author with that much drive was so wonderful. I talked to another young man that day who was a bit shy to approach, and I wish I got his name (I’m really awful at that. If you meet me, tell me your name cause I always forget to ask.). He asked a ton of questions and I could tell that he had a lot of stories to tell. It made my day to meet, and talk to both of them.
To all the people I’ve met and talked to at shows, who picked up books, or just asked questions, you are why we do this. You make the hard work, solitary hours in our heads, and often long days at shows worth it. We love to talk to you, hear your stories, answer your questions, and most of all we are desperate to hear how you liked our stories (and terrified that you’ll tell us but don’t let that stop you.) I hope to meet you all soon. Much Love!