Wow, what an interesting five days it’s been! I was attending the GayRomLit writers conference here in Chicago from last Tuesday night until Saturday night. It was the first of this kind of event I’ve ever been to and I came away with mixed feelings about it.
I was really hoping for workshop panels every day (like at the RWA Spring Fling conference), but those were only on the first day, and the majority of them were pretty basic, if you were just starting out as an author. So unfortunately I didn’t really get much out of those. Though I did enjoy the one on writing different POV’s.
Thursday was my busy day since that was the Supporting Author book signing and the Author Lounge. I’m totally kicking myself for forgetting to take a photo of me and my table set up to show you guys. I thought for sure I’d be sitting there for two hours and no one would even approach me, but it didn’t turn out like that at all. I was busy talking to people nearly non-stop and signing books and tote bags and even a few iPad cases! Had quite a few people compliment me on my book cover designs, which makes me happy since I’m the one who made them. 🙂 I talked to many people who weren’t familiar with my writing but who were interested. Always great to get new fans! I even sold some books! I didn’t quite understand the purpose of the Author Lounge (especially being directly after the book signing) but it did give me an opportunity to hand out my eBook sampler booklets. I printed 20 and only came home with six. So overall I’d say that Thursday was a success.
As for Friday and Saturday – I went to a couple of author Q&A’s and discussion panels but they nearly always strayed from what the topics were supposed to be, which disappointed me. Those that did stay on track I enjoyed very much. Especially the “Snark” panel with K.A. Mitchell, Jordan Castillo Price and Z.A. Maxfield. I totally fangirl’ed all over K.A. and Jordan in the Featured Author book signing. 🙂
For me, there was just a lot of downtime in general. Which for most of the people there it was a good thing since they were all in groups talking, catching up with one another. But since this was my first GRL and I’m fairly new to Facebook, I barely knew five people out of the 300 that were there. Thank goodness my friend Gina Storm Grant was there! We spent a lot of time together. 🙂 But it was nice to see gals from my local Chicago m/m book club. And I did make some new friends and got to talk to several reviewers who have hosted me on their sites, giving me the chance to say Thank You in person, so it wasn’t all bad.
I just felt like a fish out of water, you know? I’ve been so used to attending fan cons for the past 15 years and being so comfortable at them and knowing everyone that this was a new experience for me and I felt…adrift. But speaking of fans – I met two very well known Supernatural fanfic writers! One of whom is now a professional writer like me. It happened totally out of the blue simply because of a comment I said to that said writer when she was describing her latest book to me. She said it dealt with ghosts, etc and I’m like, “Oh I know I’ll enjoy it. Supernatural is my favorite TV show.” Her eyes got huge and next thing I know we’re having a major SPN fangirl moment! She then whispered to me that she writes fanfic and is on LiveJournal. When I said I was too she confided in me her LJ name. Out of respect I will not out her or her lovely friend that Gina and I spent time hanging out with and chatting sitting next to the fireplace. But you know who you are! [waves]
The best part about the conference were the parties on Friday and Saturday nights. On Friday we had the Casino Night party where we were given $500 in play money that we turned in for chips. They had actual dealers there for poker, blackjack, craps and roulette. What was great was that the dealers were basically helping us cheat to win, since most of us had NO idea what we were doing! It was awesome and a lot of fun. Then on Saturday it was the Time Travel costume party. It was really neat to see the vast majority of people dressed up and the music was all from the 70’s and 80’s. Gina and I danced the night away!
Here are a couple of photos of us all dressed up for the parties:
At this point I’m not sure I’ll attend another GRL. I had major issues with the way the organizers treated the authors in regards to selling our books, all of which was sprung on us at the last minute. Had I known it all up front I never would’ve signed up as a Supporting Author and saved myself a lot of money. But in the end I am glad that I did go to at least experience what GRL was all about. And I didn’t have a horrible time. I really didn’t. I did meet people and sell books. I just learned that I’m more suited to a convention about TV shows and movies. 🙂