I’m sitting here in my room at the Holiday Inn in St. Louis for Contamination (starting tomorrow) and last weekend, I was at the Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky. This post will deal with my thoughts on the Louisville convention, Fandomfest.
Many people have written up their own reviews and most of them have been negative. I cannot invalidate their complaints (I share some of them), but it wasn’t that bad for me.
The worst part, by far, was the walk from the hotel to the convention center. The reason that’s listed as a complaint is solely for the fact that it made going to my room for anything a pain in the ass. It’s not like my suave body couldn’t use the workout, but when I ran out of whiskey in my flask, it just wasn’t worth it to walk back and forth.
My only other complaint was the lack of attendance to the literary panels. I joined the track to put myself out in front of people, obviously in order to help promote Post Mortem Press and sell Necromancer. If you know me, then you know doing things like panels are way, way outside my comfort zone. In light of that acknowledgment, it should be known that I worried myself so much that I debated slinking away to hide. I’m proud to say I didn’t, but fuck, man, all that stress for nothing. It didn’t make me happy.
To be clear, this wasn’t the fault of the lit track organizer, but rather the Fandomfest staff. Stephen Zimmer did a bang up job providing interesting and engaging panels, fun panels, and when you needed something from him, he provided it. But you can’t get traffic to your portion of the event if the main Fandomfest staff leave your panels off the main schedule, no one is going to show up.
Those two issues aside, I met some cool writers, a few new publishers, and assorted people who can do things I can’t. I also sold out of Necromancer, despite the low attendance to the literary panels. We’d probably have done better if the convention had been better organized. The majority of guests spent hours (and we’re talking in upwards of 6-7 hours here) and that stunted foot traffic in the vendor hall. Despite that, Post Mortem Press also did well. It’s not my business to ask other publishers how they did, so I didn’t, but I assume they did all right as well. I’ve read where some of the authors with their own tables didn’t fare as well, so who knows; generally, any convention is a craps shoot.
Will I go back to Fandomfest next year? That’ll depend on my publisher; I won’t go on my own, but if Post Mortem Press returns, I probably will as well. Let’s just hope Fandomfest pulls its head out of its ass before then and makes it so people want to go back.
The cosplay was outstanding; I wish I’d taken more pictures, but I don’t think of these things until much later (like right now… see how that works?) and the few celebs I ran across were all smiles and nods. Well, except maybe Butch Patrick who was walking the streets of Louisville with a box over his shoulder and a snarl on his face.