I've been putting off writing about Eastercon because I don't really know how to write about it. I've been to a lot of Eastercons, but this was my first one as a professional novelist, and it was.... strange, as if I was in a familiar place but it had been tilted through 40 degrees and repainted and the floors were prone to shift. I'm used to the cons where I work in Green Room and chat to friends and attend programme items and even appear on a couple of same. And I did that, I was at that event. It was good. The site worked very wellÂ (the Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford) from a logistical point-of-view, although it suffered from having only limited bed space. Phil and I were lucky enough to be in the main hotel. Friends in overflows reported that these were pleasant, but none of them were inÂ particularly convenient locations and there were transport problems (mostly due to road closures, which are not the con-committee's fault). The bar staff were wonderful: no other word will do. Green Room stands or falls by the helpfulness of the hotel bar staff and these guys were total stars. They stayed charming, friendly, efficient and pleasant throughout, despite long shifts and their price is above rubies.
I was on three programme items, one on history and its uses and abuses in sf and fantasy, one on getting published, and one interactive story-telling one themed around Baron Munchausen. The first one tended to get derailed into historiography, which wasn't quite the brief and was partly my fault -- I was not only moderator, but it was my idea. We were perhaps a little under-prepared (also my fault) but my co-participants were terrific and the audience seemed engaged. The publishing one was interesting though I was definitely superfluous: the rest of the panel were agents and editors and it turned into a 'how do I get you to buy me?' Q & A session, to which I had little to add. Baron Munchausen rocked. A group of us dressed up and told tall tales of the Baron's exploits, with additions and suggestions from the audience. I had huge fun and want to do this again. (Possibly in a cooler room. Steel-boned corsets and 18th c. paniered skirts are inimical to overheated rooms.)
But... People I know well and people I know less well talked to me about Living With Ghosts. They liked it. I am bad at dealing with compliments. They asked me to sign copies. (To date, I have remembered to sign 'Sperring' and not my real surname, but all the same...) I was talked to by professionals with whom I haven't interacted much in the past. I was talked to by editors.... This is not normal, this is not me.I don't know how to do this and I'm not good at it. (The case in point being when the lovely Juliet McKenna introduced me to a marketing lady with the rider 'This is Kari. She's right at the wrong end of the shameless self-promotion skills.'Â [My fault, as I started by apologising for bothering said marketing lady.]) Either I need lessons or I need a stunt double, as it feels deeply odd trying to sell myself. I am going to Worldcon in Montreal this year and I need to do better there. Any suggestions?