Face-to-Face Meetings

I must confess to a little nervousness as I attended my very first Balticon. On one hand I was REALLY looking forward to meeting all of my online friends (at least the ones in attendance) but on the other that little affliction that affects many writers known as shyness was rearing its ugly head.

I took a brief wander through the con, saw a few of the people I recognized and kept going. I was on my way to my room for the first time when I stopped myself. It was time to take myself to task. I asked myself the hard question: why am I here?

Now before I go any further, I hope you don’t find it too odd that I was having a hard conversation with myself. It is something I do when I’m evaluating my actions to date and know I need to take myself in another direction. Believe it or not, it often works.

Anyway, when I asked myself that, I had to admit that I came to the con to meet the very people I spoke to every week online. I reminded myself that a lot of money had been spent to get me here and I owed it to myself and my family to get in there and mingle.

It didn’t make things any easier, let me tell you, but it did turn me around and get me back into the fray.

As luck would have it, I ran into podcaster, author and now publisher Scott Roche. I’ve tweeted, emailed and even interviewed Scott in the past. We’ve critiqued each other’s stories and supported each other in our writing and podcasting efforts.

I knew him as soon as I saw him and he me. We exchanged a big, manly hug and stopped to chat for the better part of fifteen minutes before the next panel. In that time, I managed to meet another six people. Scott took me under his wing and I never looked back. I don’t even want to guess how many people I met and talked to over the course of the con.

Whatever the number, I know I missed a lot of people.

And the best part? They are all even more awesome in person. I shouldn’t be too surprised by that. Online is really only two-dimensional.

I left the convention with two interviews for ‘Get Published’ completed and a long list of others that people agreed to do. And that was another benefit of meeting face-to-face. I got to know the people I spoke to even better and the more I learned the more great opportunities to get them involved in my own projects came to mind. And as those people learned about me, they made suggestions and recommendations for shows and people to have on the show.

I also now have a connection with another publisher who has agreed to be on the show. That’s a BIG win right there.

One of the people I met was John Hemry. John is a Science Fiction author with many book credits to his name as well as the pen name Jack Campbell. I learned he would be at the con prior to going and, since I’m a huge fan, I emailed him to ask if he would be willing to meet for an interview.

He was and we did and I’ve got to tell you, there is gold in his words. He is one of those authors who has had ups and downs in his career and has a lot of wisdom to share. I can’t wait for that interview to air. Watch for it. It’s a good one.

There are so many things I learned over the course of the convention that I will likely be writing about it for some time. But let me assure you, the best lesson I learned was to get over the social awkwardness and meet people. There wasn’t a single person who pushed me aside and I made a lot of new friendships that I already cherish. I learned a lot about them and myself and I came home much richer for the experience.

Writers are, as a general rule, pretty amazing people and I don’t believe you can know too many. That being said, I encourage you to take a moment to say hello to any writer/artist/publisher or editor you meet. You’ll be glad you did.

Personal Update

Nothing new on the book front. That will be quiet for the next several weeks as I rewrite my novel. I’m in the process of developing a new story line for a fantasy novel and I’m writing a short story for Flying Island Press at the request of the aforementioned Scott Roche.

More podcast interviews and production to do this week as well including GalaxyBillies episode 11. Lots going on.

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10 comments

  1. I am glad you had a good time. Scott is a great guy, much taller than I thought (from the pictures) and I am glad he was there to help you out. I understand the Social Awkwardness thing, if fact it is the bane of my existence. My Social Awkwardness is compounded by sever embarrassment. I think the best description ever was when Neil Gaiman described “Fat” Charlie’s embarrassment. If you have not read it you should, but because it was a perfect description of me. My wife tells a joke that when we are in public she always know where the baby is, it’s always in my arms because then I can carry a security blanket and no one says anything. (really the baby is the security blanket) People will come to see the baby but don’t much bother dad. When I talked about going to a con, the first question that my wife asked me was are you going to take the baby with you? So I completely understand your shyness issue. I don’t suggest the road have gone down, but if you have a baby handy they do make a pretty good security blanket. Thanks for posting this and letting us shy folks know that there is hope for us.

  2. As you will hear John Hemry say in an upcoming interview, the con is probably the best place for us to be because writers are, as a general rule, shy and will understand. I won’t say Scott was my security blanket, but he certainly helped to break the ice for me.

    The fact that I LOVE to talk writing helped a lot too. 🙂

    There is hope though. Take it in small steps.

  3. It was great to meet you in person Michell, and I totally understand the social awkwardness thing. Sometimes I feel that too- but at Balti I was totally at home. The online world prepared me, and it felt like a meeting of friends that I simply hadn’t met face to face yet.

  4. I completely agree with the “at home” feeling. It only took me an hour or so before I was in that zone too. And even though we met face-to-face over Skype, it was great to meet you in person. I’m looking forward to more of your work and seeing you again.

  5. It was a pleasure to meet you Mike and I’m glad I could help. I tend to be more social than some, though even I suffer from social awkwardness from time to time.

    Glad you enjoyed your first Balticon and that it was productive and enjoyable. I hope it won’t be your last.

    And thanks for being my photographer and for putting up with all my Canada jokes ya hoser.

  6. Awesome stuff, I’ve been waiting to see something about your experience at Balticon, just didn’t expect it to be in a Galaxy Billies post. It sounds like it was a blast, I can’t wait to hear those interviews because I love listening to people talk about writing! 🙂 Great stuff Mike, I hope to hear more about it in the next Get Published episode as well. Glad you had a good time, Scott seems like a great guy from talking with him a bit online. All the podcast authors do! The Tribe rocks.

  7. Woops, nevermind, this isn’t the Galaxy Billies Episode 11 post I was thinking I was commenting on, can you tell I’m 2 Episodes in as a podcaster? 🙂

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