Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘conventions’

Report: A presentation of fan history and parallels to recent events

While attending LTUE this week I had the pleasure of attending an academic presentation by Dave Doering, the founder of that excellent writing symposium. He described himself as a fan historian, and quipped that when he started LTUE at BYU, he felt like a “science fiction missionary.” As he prepared to deliver the presentation, I asked for permission to take notes with the intent of presenting it to you, gentle readers, and he gave it to me, for which I am thankful, because it was deeply interesting and I think you may enjoy it as well.

“A Not-too-Distant Mirror: Science Fiction Fan Exclusion at the 1939 WorldCon and 2016 WorldCon”  Read more

Additional Classes

LTUE – Life, The Universe, & Everything – is a symposium in Utah every February by writers for writers. Unlike Comic Cons where panels are likely to on costuming, and literary cons where the panels are by authors for readers, LTUE panels cover things like “writing action” and “balancing the books”, and “boring beginnings” and things like that.

And you don’t even have to go!

Read more

Guest Post: A Pro At A Show: Into Conness

Please welcome back  James Young to share some of his experiences as an author at a con. He’s been here before imparting solid knowledge, and you can find that post here.  If you’re wondering about getting a booth, merchandising, or just plain curious about cons, this is the man to talk to. If you’re curious about his books, his Amazon author page is here

Yes, I’m as mystified as you all are that Cedar and Sarah have let me back.  I mean, it seems like just yesterday I was all…

Coooonnnnn!   Cooooooonnnnnn!   Cooooonnnnnn!


Now I’m all like… CoooOOOOOOOOONNNNN!!!


In my own geeky way, that’s me telling you almost everything I said last time still holds.  Everything from networking (hi Thaddeus, Susanne, A.R. Crebs, and Tracy) to battery packs is generally the same.  What this article is, basically, is the voice of a grizzled, tired veteran speaking to highlight what the neophyte got right and how you too can win “The Green Award” at a local, semi-local, um, within a days’ driving distance con.

First, like anyone claiming authority, let me display the skulls of my foes:


What you see here are the assembled bones of most of the cons I attended in 2015.  There were gaming cons (Fear the Boot), there were professional cons (Conquest / LibertyCon), there were non-celebrity cons (Air Capital Comic Con), then there were what I will forthwith refer to as MegaCons (10,000+ people).  Note that this does not include things like literary festivals, library get togethers, or signings.  In other words, I’m not saying I spent a lot of weekends away from home this last year…but people have been mocking me saying I go to “all the cons.”

Was it worth it?  Well, let me put it like this—unless you have Norman Reedus (Daryl from The Walking Dead), Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), or Bruce Campbell (Ash from The Evil Dead) on speed dial and ready to attend your next signing, there is no other way you’re getting 10-20,000 people all within close proximity of your book.  Nor are you, unless you’re extremely lucky, going to be in a position where you can hand out 5-600 of your bookmarks over the course of 72 hours to interested people.  Yes, the original outlay can be rather pricy in space and cash:

bookmarks(Bookmarks…Bookmarks Hurt)



However, once you’ve gotten through trial and error (or ask someone who has done it before), the costs drop off significantly.  A keen eye will also note the differences between, say, my first con display (top photo), the second one, and the most recent one I’ve done:

banners too


(Banners hurt too…but they’re like tractor beams)

banner guns

(Wait…wait…are those GUNS in the background?)

Yes, other than noting that the last pic is from a firearms show rather than a con, a keen eye will notice that the book displays (bookstands to clear racks), backdrop banner (pop up alternatives here), attention grabbers, number of titles, and placement of titles all changed.  Also note the prominent placement of prices, which is something a fellow vendor suggested on the FB page dedicated to Artist Alley.  What is not quite as visible is the Munchkin Bait (stickers to attract kids, who then in turn bring parents) as well as the exercise mat behind the table to help reduce wear on the knees. Bottom line, in order to make cons work you’ll need to evolve, have products that ranges widely in price (don’t just take my word for it), and a plan for how to pitch it.

Now I will admit there are some different opinions on whether one can make money at a con.  Indeed, a fellow author is pretty skeptical about the odds of actually making a profit.  (I will submit I will not do any con I have to fly to unless someone else is footing the bill for the plane ticket and lodging.)  Moreover, some people have had flat out bad cons.  Finally, there are those cons/venues that will do outright unscrupulous things (the previously linked Dashcon with the “we have to raise $17,000”-gambit in addition to the various event centers / arenas that have been fined by the FCC for jamming signals in order to increase their profits on internet services).

Taken altogether, these factors can make it perilous to set out and try to make money at event.  So, to further refine the advice I handed out last time, here are some questions to ask yourself as you’re researching a convention:

1.) What are the table prices and how do I pay for them?  Well run and likely to be lucrative conventions usually have a methodology for paying online through a reputable service such as Paypal or a ticket site.  This protects both the convention and the vendor from any shenanigans like, “Oh no, you paid that money to Billy Bob.  He’s no longer with the con.  Sorry you drove eight hours and booked a hotel…but we’ll cut you a special deal.”  Also, table prices are usually commensurate to some combination of the number of people who are going to be present, their intensity (i.e., if you’re at the only anime convention for 400 miles, odds are the folks who show up are going to spend some coin), or the talent (see below).

2.) Who is going to be the main draw?  This is critical, as a decent draw is the difference between a convention and a “nerdy Tupperware party (hat tip, Kertts Kazuka).”  People are usually not coming to a con check out the cool vendors in Artist’s Alley—they’re coming to hug on Chris Evans.  Look to see who the con is bringing to the party, then see how that relates to the size and fandoms represented.  To wit, if it’s a Dr. Who convention but they’re inviting the Doctor’s fourth companion’s third cousin who had one speaking line in the entire season, that’s not going to bring a lot of folks.  However, if they’re bring said fourth companion herself, or even a character who was popular back in the original iteration, said convention is likely going to have fans hanging from the rafters.  More fans equals more targets, I mean prey, I mean…well, you get the drift.

3.) Will the con have volunteers and how do they pick them?  Volunteers are the key to making a con run smoothly.  If you read the “volunteers” section of the con page and find yourself going, “Wow, no one’s going to want to volunteer at that gig…” then guess what?  No one is going to volunteer at that gig.  Which means you’re going to be doing Thunderdome at your table space (those tape marks and signs don’t put themselves up) and the con runners are probably a bunch of a$$hats. Speaking of tables and spaces…

4.) What size are the tables, how are they oriented, and does the con publish this beforehand?  Tables should be of uniform sizes in artist’s alley.  This information should also be easily accessible a reasonable time beforehand (read: not the day of the con).  Why? Because my 6′ display looks a bit different than my 8′ display, and nothing is more annoying than finding out the table is in a traffic choke point that will turn my customers into rocks in the rapids.  In that same vein, if a site is telling me to bring my own tables, they better not be charging me any more than $40-$50 plus the spaces better be clearly defined.  Otherwise, some village idiot with his 12’ table and 10’ “side table” is going to be miffed when he’s pinned in a corner by all the other vendors.  (I’m not saying there’s con justice…but there’s con justice.)  On the other hand, if it’s an 8’ table with two feet on either side and room to store plenty of merchandise?  Well howdy darlin’, I’ll be happy to shell out $10-$20 more to stretch my wares.

5.) What is the convention’s marketing plan?  Even with a good draw, people have to know the convention exists.  A good way to check on this is to ask friends / fellow authors in the area.  (Again—see Artist Alley International link above.)  Some cons can get people to just show up because they’re that popular in the local area (e.g., Smallville in Hutchinson, KS).  Others are famous based on the awards that will be given there (see Worldcon in its iterations). However, if you’re going to be expected to shell out $300+ to get a con table, then it’s probably a good idea to see if anyone has heard of that event that’s not a regular con goer. Which leads to the final question:

6.) What is the word of mouth of people who have been there before?  After checking to see if “normal” (hey, most people who go to these things are fellow geeks, so I may be stretching that word to describe all of us) people have heard of something, see how the “pros” have done.  Did someone else who sells books in your genre get their a$$ handed to them and lose $200 on their table?  Knowing the person, can you explain that based on their product or technique?  (It’s cold cold-blooded, but I’ve seen some vendors who got pounded spend the entire con with their face in their phone, never get up to greet potential customers, fail to compliment people on their costumes, etc..  Here’s a hint—if you never talk to anyone about your product, you’re never going to make any money).  If this is a person you’ve seen sell Kryptonite to Superman cosplayers, they’re usually happier than John McClane with a machine gun, and you know they’ve got stronger Kung Fu than Pai Mei?  Well then this is probably a convention that you want to stay away from.  As for the venue–if you’ve heard that an event is going to have a lot of controversy and angst involved (why no, I don’t have a table at Worldcon even though it’s in the same convention center as KC Planet Comic Con and KC Comic Con…why do you ask?), best give it a miss.  Finally, if you’re having trouble getting information back from the convention runners or they’re abrasive as sandpaper even when answering the questions, give the event a pass.  Trust me, if you think they’re abrasive over e-mail, you’re likely going to want to murder them in person—and having resting murder face is not going to get you a lot of sales at a convention.

To be clear—I’m not saying anything I’ve said to this point will guarantee you make money.  Sometimes you have the misfortune to be placed in the worst possible location of the con (it happens), you find out that your genre just does not resonate with the crowd (selling military sci-fi at a hippy convention comes to mind), or there is a major ice storm the weekend of your event that basically cuts off every major artery to the venue.  However, I am telling you that if you have multiple titles, write science fiction / horror / urban fantasy / paranormal, and can fake extrovert for up to eight hours a day then cons are definitely a place to try and make some cash while spreading your “gospel.” Besides, where else are you going to get a picture with a Cylon while holding your book (courtesy Iron Brothers of Topeka)?

(Note: A partial list of conventions can be found here.)

James Young: approved by giant robots everywhere.

James Young: approved by giant robots everywhere.




Reading Through Con Crud

I don’t wind up with con crud after every con, but it seems like it sometimes. The First Reader, on the other hand, has had it once. The current theory is that some people are most susceptible to it, like me. It could also be because I’m a hugger and he isn’t. For whatever reason, I got it this year after LibertyCon. Took me down for two days, and messed up my planned schedule. Which is why I’m writing this post instead of something a bit more planned.

Steps for dealing with con crud:

  • try not to over-schedule during the con and actually get some sleep
  • Eat and drink regularly during the con. Drink some more, and no, I don’t mean alcohol.
  • After the con, get rest.
  • When the tickle at the back of the throat starts, gargle with warm salt water.
  • When the sore throat erupts, an equal blend of lemon juice and honey, taken in teaspoonfuls, is soothing
  • When the fever hits, recognize that it is a regulatory function of your immune system and don’t try to knock it down with NSAIDs right away.
  • Try to sleep, or at least get in bed and stay there.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • When the fever breaks, don’t immediately get up and go back to normal routines. Stay in bed a little longer.
  • Drink more water…

If you’re me, you’ll skip some of these steps (like the first three!). I also supplement with reading, if I’m in too much pain to sleep or have other reasons to stay awake. Reading while I’m sick is… interesting.

For one thing, I need to be able to easily immerse into the world. Some writers make this very easy, others I have to work at a bit, and some are just impossible. I tend to avoid new books/authors when I’m sick, returning to old friends and reliable reads. On the other hand, really complex reads are just not fun when you are all foggy with a fever. Yesterday I had some old familiar books in the form of several Margery Allingham’s that have been re-released and which are available through KU (yay!) and a Dorothy Sayers. I did manage a couple of new books for review, too. I also discovered that I had stuff on my Kindle app I don’t remember putting on there: Zombie Fallout? Really?

I have discovered that it is so much better to read on the kindle app while sick than to attempt paper. I have in the past found myself wound ’round stacks of books on my bed… this at least means I can push it to my nightstand and roll over without fear of damage to me or books. Reading ebooks has the advantage of allowing me to pick through hundreds of choices to find the one thing that suits my mood without getting up from bed and prowling through the shelves. It’s got the unfortunate side effect of allowing me to easily binge-read and buy more books in a series with a single click: dangerous when one is in a lowered mental state that can’t do the math on one’s book budget!

Reading while I’m ill, I discovered a long time ago, makes me a bit more porous. I’m not sure how best to describe this, so I will approach it in a roundabout sort of fashion. Those who meet and speak with me will sometimes comment on my accent. Especially when I have been talking to someone only on the phone, I get asked if I am from Britain. I am not, and have spent only six weeks over there, but I have a theory. Well, two of them, really. The First Reader and I were talking on this topic recently: my voice is affected by my reading habits. Whether it is my word choices, or my pronunciation, my voice, he tells me, can be a bit ‘posh’ to the American ear. He was more aware of it than I, as he went though a period of time where he deliberately removed his speaking vocabulary from broad to narrow, as he was being harassed when he first went into the military. Earlier than that, he took the trouble to lose his Kentucky accent, although to my delight he can put it back on when he wants. I like the drawl.

I never had that particular crab-bucket experience, where others mocked me for my vocabulary. I have noticed that if I am reading a lot of a particular style, I will start to use and think in words that aren’t my normal ones. Right now, that’s because I’ve been heavily immersed in British mysteries. In high school, when I was most certainly not allowed to swear, I picked up the habit of ‘oh bother’ and ‘Bloody!’ which stay with me to this day. I knew what I was doing, but I could get away with it!

I’m looking at this rambling and thinking I may need to go back to bed for a while. I’m still not myself. I wonder which book I shall take with me this time?

Who are you to tell me I am not a fan?

I had sworn I wasn’t going to go off on a tirade this morning. I had sworn I was going to go at least one week without pointing out the depths of hypocrisy coming from those who attack the Sad Puppies because, gasp, those of us supporting it aren’t supporting the “right” sort of books. But there was no way I could let this latest showcase of idiocy go unchallenged.

A little background. Yesterday at The New Otherwhere Gazette, Patrick Richardson penned a post entitled “Not a real fan”. The basic gist of the post boils down to this. Someone had posited that you can’t be a real fan unless you go to a lot of cons and belief science fiction is “all about teaching us lessons” and not about making it fun. Since I know what Pat was responding to, he framed the other side’s position quite well and his post showed just how foolish their position happens to be.

Needless to say, it didn’t take long for File 770 to come back and claim that Pat was full of hot air and that, no, he wasn’t a fan. It doesn’t matter how many science fiction books he’s read. It doesn’t matter that he has seen and loved a ton of science fiction movies and television series. He can’t call himself a real fan because, well, I’ll let the denouncer’s own words say it. (Now, for those of you who don’t know File 770, it is Mike Glyer’s site where he does whatever he sees fit to advance cons, clubs and other such things.)

Glyer said that he turned to “File 770’s consultants on fannish purity” to decide if Pat’s failure to attend cons was enough to disqualify him from calling himself a fan. Now, it is possible Glyer was trying to be cute by calling using the term “consultants on fannish purity” but as I read the post, I got the feeling he really meant it. That, in and of itself, is enough to call into question anything he has to say from that point on. After all, who is he — and who are his so-called consultants — to determine who a fan is and who a fan is not? What’s next, they start putting limitations on who can attend cons because they aren’t “fan” enough to cross over the threshold into the wonderful world of local cons?

Still trying to be cute about his answer (yes, I’m giving him the shadow of a doubt but my patience with him is already wearing thin), Glyer posts that his consultants say Pat doesn’t qualify as a fan because he doesn’t belong to a club, he doesn’t read fanzines, he doesn’t collect science fiction action figures, etc., etc., etc.

Now, I get what Glyer is trying to do here. He is trying to show how foolish and ridiculous Pat’s comments were when he said that someone might not think he was a fan because he didn’t go to enough cons. The problem is, this approach has already undermined Glyer, especially considering the fact that someone has been saying just that. It seems Glyer would much rather poke fun at Pat than address the real issue and that, kind readers, is part of the problem. If you won’t even admit that such beliefs and behaviors exist, you allow them to continue and to pick up steam until fandom — the real fandom and not that artificial definition the SMOS want us to follow — rises up and revolts. Then things will get nasty and I, for one, am at the point where I will welcome the battle.

But Glyer wasn’t satisfied with just poking fun at Pat’s statement about cons. He had to go there. Yes, THERE. Instead of addressing an issue that is there for all to see, the issue that there is a camp that has publicly said it will try to ruin careers and lives of those writers who don’t fall in line with the cause du jour, that there are those who believe it is science fiction’s role to raise the social consciousness of readers whether they entertain the readers or not, he says Pat is simply afraid of not belonging.


So, what does Glyer say needs to be done?

You are a fan in proportion to the effort you make to attach yourself to fandom.

Wait, what? What the hell does that mean? His example is of a friend who attended every Worldcon meeting, speaking up and basically driving everyone crazy. Oookay. Without going into how they felt about his friend until the friend died, let’s look at this from one of Pat’s initial comments. He hasn’t done a lot of cons for financial reasons. Well, attending a lot of meetings for a con you can’t afford is how you make yourself part of fandom? Nope, that not only doesn’t make sense, it is ridiculous. For one thing, that example doesn’t take into account the financial hit — or the personal one — Pat or any other fan would take to attend such meetings. People work, have family obligations and, frankly, there are folks who simply aren’t meeting people. Hell, if you made going to meetings a requirement, you would instantly disqualify most con goers because they aren’t people persons and don’t do well in small groups. In larger groups they can thrive because they can blend into the background when needed.

You don’t need someone’s permission to be here.

Funny, that seems to fly in the face of the previous comment. You need to be involved but you don’t need permission to be there, assuming “there” is fandom. Am I the only one who sees the conflict here?

Then we get to the comments which quickly devolved from who is or is not a fan to attacking Sad Puppies and any proposed change to the Hugo voting rules. After all, why go with majority vote when things can be manipulated through Australian rules voting combined with the fact that the committee can throw out votes without reporting those votes or why they were thrown out? And folks wonder why there is a growing group of folks who are not happy with how the Hugos are decided.

But here is the comment that sent me over the edge:

(From Glyer)

Hugo voters read text sf, unlike the vast majority of those “SF consumers” who are following genre movies, videos and TV. So there’s that.

I don’t think Mr. Torgersen (and you could at least learn how to spell his name) really believes that if he surveyed 50,000 random people who saw the last Star Trek movie that more than a few could name any sf writer who’s had short fiction published in the past year. So his argument about Hugo voters being an irrelevant minority of the vast consumership is ultimately disingenuous.

I’m sorry, but this is complete and total BS. I doubt you could find 50,000 readers of SF novels who could name a sf writer who had published short fiction that year. Let’s face it, short fiction is not the big seller Glyer apparently would like it to be. And then there is the fact that there are a number of Hugo voters already announcing, with glee in fact, that they are not going to read any of the titles recommended by the Sad Puppies because those books must be evil and bad because, well, Sad Puppies. Does the fact that they may be able to say that someone penned short fiction make them a better fan than the consumer who goes to the movies and who reads but who can’t say if someone wrote a fracking short story?

And I do so love how Glyer’s followers were so quick to attack Pat, not because of what he said initially about how there are those who feel non-con goers are not far but because he is critical of the current manner in which Hugo winners are determined. You could put it down to thread drift but for one thing, Glyer never tried to pull it back to the initial issue nor did they try to address it when Pat tried to get it back. Instead, they were much happier showing their superiority, in their minds at least, over their knowledge of the Hugo winners and their own place in fandom.

Here is how I look at it. You are a fan if you like science fiction. Period. There is no requirement that you read a certain number of books or short stories. There is no requirement that you be able to name a certain number of authors who have published x-type or length of science fiction related works. It doesn’t matter if you like sf movies AND love sf books. What matters is that you are reading and enjoying. Heck, it doesn’t even matter what type of science fiction you like. What matters is that it is important to you and you are passionate about it in your own way.

The time has come that we quit having this false border between fans and fandom. The science fiction fan community is made up of many more folks who love science fiction but who have never been to more than a handful of cons. With the decline in the number of science fiction magazines, both pro and semi-pro over the years, you aren’t disqualified because you haven’t ever read Asimov’s or something else. Not everyone likes short fiction. Not everyone can afford to subscribe to such things and libraries don’t stock them like they used to.

Frankly, those who are so smug and hold their noses in the air when it comes to gaming and movies need to look down a bit and ask themselves why they think we are losing fans to those aspects of the genre. Part of it is because, guess what, games and movies are entertaining for the most part. There is still that sense of adventure, of man pulling himself up by the bootstraps and overcoming the obstacles. Yes, there are the dystopian, man is the root of all evil, but those are the exceptions and not the rule. Even the zombie movies and games have man struggling to overcome and to hold onto his humanity, something we are seeing all too infrequently right now from the traditional publishers (Baen excluded).

Am I a fan? Absolutely. But I have only been to a handful of cons. I don’t subscribe to any magazines because I am not a fan of short fiction. I don’t belong to clubs because I have other things to do with my time, like write and have a life. I read, on the average, at least half a dozen books or more a month, most of them sf. I game, not only because it relaxes me but because I enjoy the storylines on many of them. Something I get less and less from most trad published books. But I have been reading and watching science fiction for more than 50 years. I have watched, captivated, my imagination soaring, as the Gemini missions left the Earth. I took my little portable TV to school so we could watch the splashdowns. I gathered around the TV with my family to watch the first Moon landing and held my breath as I waited to see that first step out of the lunar landing module. But, by those who continue to cling to the leadership of “fandom” by the tips of their fingernails, I am not a fan because I’m not at every meeting and going to every con and not supporting the right sorts of books.

To them, I thumb my nose. To the rest of you, I say yes, we are fans. Now it is time to let the others know that they are not alone and we are not going to sit back and be quiet like good little children while our “betters” tell us what we should read and watch, because they know better than we do.

Matters of Perspective

I’m peeved. The latest SFWA shitstorm (which appears to be at least in part a continuation of the previous shitstorm – it’s become rather more difficult to distinguish them since SFWA decided they needed to produce more shitstorms in a shorter time period to keep their members happy. At least I think that’s the argument) has, well… It’s shown me that I’ve missed something very important.

For those who are wondering the current shitstorm is centered around an accusation that an editor with a reputation for skeevy behavior harassed an author at a recent convention (not LibertyCon). The author did the procedurally correct thing and reported the incident to the convention authorities and the editor’s employer – and was surprised to learn that there were no complaints on record about the editor despite him having quite the reputation.

A veritable avalanche of “me too, he harassed me too” exploded after the editor’s name was made public, followed by a whole lot of people who should know better opining that the editor in question should be publicly castrated and fed his equipment or something (no, not literally. I haven’t been following the latest outbreak of Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa that closely but I’m quite sure fresh testicles weren’t on the menu. Yet. Compulsory re-education probably was). Authors posted guidelines for conventions wishing to have them as guests. I’m tempted to post mine: they’re pretty basic. Have me on a panel or three and be in driving distance of where I live. None of this harassment policy that basically says if it could possibly offend anyone at all it should be taken out and shot… oh wait. Taken out and re-educated. They don’t believe in shooting, mostly.

The feeding frenzy and hair-raising tales of harassment endured (which, peculiarly, neglected to mention precisely what the harassment consisted of) led me to conclude that I have been gypped. In all the conventions I’ve been to, I’ve never once been harassed. Never. This is why there are no rampaging harassers in the Con vampire books. I had no idea they existed.

I’m tempted to ask if I’m really so repulsive that males who – if one believes these tales – are incapable of keeping their hands and other body parts off anything with an innie find nothing attractive about me, but I know better. Besides, if I did ask one of you sods would say “yes”, just for the fun of it.

Alas, the truth is that the Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa is simultaneously all-powerful and more fragile than a Victorian fainting maiden. The same female who insists that she can do anything a male can do (even if she’s not actually physically capable of it) turns pale and has fits of the vapors if any man should – horror of horrors – actually see her as a female. If he shows any signs of being attracted to her, well, she’s likely to run screaming (usually screaming things like “sexism” and “harassment” and such).

This is not to say that actual harassment does not happen. Of course it does. The world is full of people who will use a position of relative power to get something that would otherwise be refused or to make someone’s life a living hell. Many of those people gravitate to positions of power because power inevitably attracts those who are already corrupt or who are corruptible. Those of us who fear that power would turn us into something we don’t want to be avoid that kind of position – and usually are fairly safe from it because we tend to see it as a responsibility and a bloody heavy one at that.

What the fainting Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa crowd forget is that there are ways a woman can make herself “off-limits” to a man who is basically testing the waters to see if any further advances on his part will be accepted. Most of them also work on the happy huggers who are excessively tactile (as someone who prefers to avoid physical contact, I find the huggy types a bit awkward sometimes – but I also possess this arcane ability to tell whether someone is a tactile type or if they’re taking unwanted liberties. It’s called ‘judgment’), and even to some extent those who practice the literary form of the casting couch. Of course, these options don’t appeal to the fainting Hoo Haas because they you sort of have to acknowledge that yes, you are female and yes, certain aspects of nature do in fact apply. (Males, don’t panic. I’m not talking about the icky female stuff here. I’m talking about things like females being typically smaller, weaker, having different body fat distributions, and having two built in male-attractors sitting on their chests. The things that males react to regardless of what they think about the person (yes, females also have hot buttons, as it were. Ours tend not to stand up and give semaphore signals)).

The big one is – of course – being a lady. Sounds odd, right? But, a certain confident dignity together with not behaving like a red light district streetwalker does a lot to tell the back brain that no, you would not welcome any kind of offer involving horizontal aerobics no matter how nicely it’s phrased (this may be the underlying reason for the storm in a B-cup over Malzberg and Resnick using the term ‘lady’. The Feminist Hoo Haas maintain that it should be possible to dress and act like a street whore and be treated like a lady even if they refuse to use the terminology). I tend to aim for this at cons, so I guess it’s working.

In work environments, I take the opposite tack: I go for “one of the boys”. That means I do my job, I don’t ask for favors – I don’t ask for favors at cons, either. Any kind of favors – and I don’t expect special treatment. Plus I give as good as I get. That works too. Once someone registers as one of the boys they’re off the “potential partner” list no matter how attractive they might be.

Either way, I’ve never had to go drawing lines in the sand. My behavior does it for me.

Now it’s possible that the Fainting Feminist Hoo Haas are such pathetic specimens that they think any kind of compliment is “harassment”. I don’t know. All I can say is that I haven’t been harassed at any cons, and I have it on good authority that I’m not so ugly that would explain the discrepancy.

Oh, and a free and just Independence Day to all our American readers.

Ravencon Schedule

Tomorrow I head south for Ravencon, where I will be a very busy Kate.

Here’s the schedule for those who are considering being in the area:

Friday 4:00 pm Building Suspense
Friday 5:00 pm Brilliant But Cancelled (m)
Friday 8:00 pm Dealers’ Room Signing
Saturday 11:00 am Amazon vs Independent Publishers Group
Saturday 7:00 pm Getting The Science Right (For Writers) (m)
Sunday 11:00 am Worldbuilding For Writers and Gamers (m)
Sunday 12:00 pm Amazon Is Not Evil
Sunday 2:00 pm Reading
Sunday 3:00 pm Debunking the Myths of Indie/Self Publishing

Now you know what/where to avoid.

Those who aren’t headed that way (most of you), stay tuned. A little birdie whispered that there will be an interesting post from Amanda this Saturday.