|Me, trying to look as "authory" as possible.|
Sci-Fi Fan conventions are in many ways, what makes me a "real" writer. It's difficult to describe what it is about scheduling an appearance at a convention that makes me feel more validated somehow as an author. All I know is that from the moment I confirm an appearance to the moment I sit in the coffee shop on the following Monday, I feel like my writing is more "career" than "hobby". It doesn't hurt that I make money selling books at the Convention, but it really isn't about that to me. I've been to a number of cons that I didn't even break even on, but still loved every minute of.
Writing by its very nature is a solitary art... and interacting with my fans is one of the few occasions where this does not apply. I have no illusions about my work... (I know full well that the Jake Price series is never going to win a Hugo award) but there is a personal satisfaction I get when someone tells me how much they enjoyed Dimensional Games that is really indescribable. It also happens when I see a fan has posted a quote from one of my books on Facebook, but to a lesser degree. Reading kind words on the internet about what I do is completely different than a flesh and blood person saying "I loved that book! When's the next one coming out?" in person.
|Yeah, not quite as authory here.|
That last part, in particular can be one of the most difficult parts of the process. I have no illusions about my role as a small but entertaining fish in a big pond, and my wife always insists I undervalue my efforts. My compensation varies form convention to convention, and I always try to be mindful of the convention's resources when I approach them. Some can only afford to give me admission to the con and a place to sell my books. Others can spring for a hotel room if they're feeling generous. A lot of times, I will attend a convention that can't afford to compensate me well simply because of the networking opportunities it will afford me. Writers on the next level (national recognition, publisher support) can usually ask for travel expenses and a per diem. Someday I hope to be in that club, but not yet.
|Me, being entertaining solely to myself.|
I will never deserve to sit alongside Niel Gaiman though... primarily because I would pass out in fanboy glee.