I did a Con
OryCon has always been one of my favorites. For the last several years I have even been lucky enough to be on panels, talking about what it means to be a writer in the modern age.
OryCon is even moving into the present, however slowly and painfully. For the longest time, all of their writing track panels were aimed at how to get an agent and a book deal, in spite of the number of us making a living Indie. (Hell, the most recent rumblings from Industry Insiders suggest that traditional publishing, as it has been known, does not survive the pandemic, and that all the big houses will shake out and largely collapse into places where only the biggest names get book deals, but many of us are not surprised. Reach out direct if you have questions.)
This year, the con had to be online and way cut down. Instead of the old days where there was a filk room, a crafting room, a kids track, and maybe thirty rooms with panels going on at any given moment, that was reduced in the end to three channels. And all online.
So Friday, Fabulous Publisher Babe™ had her first panel at 1pm. It went well. She and I were on a second panel together at 2pm, with the ever-wonderful Josh Vogt, discussing “Creating Your Own Anthologies, Bundles, and Magazines.” It was the usual talk about vellum, BookBrush.com, and BundleRabbit, and how those allow the Babe and I to put out twelve anthologies a year (although we’re cutting that down some in 2022, depending on how things go). The world has changed, and you really can do it these days, and on the relatively cheap, as well.
After that, she was done until Sunday, but I had two more.
I went straight into “Can You Really Carry That?” with Guest of Honor A. Lee Martinez and podcaster Remy Lerner. That was a hoot, talking about armor in fantasy versus literature and role-playing games. How much is too much for encumbrance, and how the hell do you really loot that many gold coins from a dead dragon?
Finally (and we’re talking three hours in a row here) “Do I Really Need an Editor?” with EM Prazeman and Joyce Reynolds-Ward. I’ve known both ladies for many years, so we had a fun, wide-ranging talk about all aspects of the things that happen AFTER you have finished your manuscript. Why you should learn to write clean first drafts. What are the various kinds of editor you might hire. Why the editor you get recommended might not work out, which turned into a discussion of Voice, both the character and the writer.
I’m sorry that I didn’t get to do “Military Rank Structures and their Functionality” because I would have taken that shit entirely sideways. Anyone who has read my science fiction understands that I put a lot of time and research into military ranks, trying to make them completely original and more than just the exact same thing everyone else does based on how the US Army worked from 1990-2005.
At that, I had been “On” for three hours, sitting in Vintage Coffee in Maple Valley, WA. That’s the closest non-corporate spot, and I needed to use somebody else’s wifi for that many hours of heavy lifting. Even wore my mask for the first two, but after that the place emptied out and I was a little more confident without my mask on. Not entirely, because Washington State goes into mandatory lockdown tomorrow, but the numbers in my immediate zip codes haven’t been too bad. (I expect that to change.)
I went home and crashed: emotionally, mentally, physically. This introvert had had enough.
But for the whole Con being online, it went well. Each panel had a monitor who’s job was to kick out jackasses who couldn’t behave, and I only had one of those. Mar got rid of her quickly and the rest of the day went well.
The think I did miss was being able to just hang out with folks I only see as con buddies. At least these days I have social media, so I can stay in touch, but not everyone does that, so there are folks I only see at OryCon. Those are the ones I look forward to seeing. We used to do a massive group breakfast, in the old days, when we could reserve a table for a dozen folks, and then get twenty as people came and went over the course of a morning.
That’s how you build good friendships, sitting around and arguing politics and nerdiness with people you like and respect. Didn’t get that this year. Hoping that by this time next year, COVID has turned into a seasonal flu kind of thing, with a vaccine you can get that works and keeps most people from catching it.
The problem has always been that a spike fills the ICU beds at the hospital, and then anyone who comes along with ANYTHING is out of luck. So being at home and zooming in from a coffee shop is a price I find worth paying.
Hopefully the folks who attended the con had fun. I’ve already gotten a new Patreon patron from it, so that was wonderful.
With any luck, the world is coming back to something like normal, but that won’t be until February, based on the math of the current pandemic, so everyone be careful out there, because I need you supporting my lifestyle.