Monday, April 19, 2010
Ad Astra 2010
Last weekend I attended Ad Astra, Toronto's convention for all things SF and Fantasy. As usual, I had a great time!
I was unable to attend last year, partly due to my financial situation. It was important for me to make it this year, and I'm very glad I did. I shared a table in the dealer's room with my friend Monica S. Kuebler, editor and publisher of Burning Effigy Press, who published my adult-themed sci-fi comedy Section K. Sales were adequate but not fantastic, but they paid for our weekend expenses. My wife, Violet, also attended, and helped us to run the table.
I spoke on four panels: Choosing A Format, which was about deciding if a story idea should be a novel, a story, a movie script, etc...; Fandom and Mental Health, examining the link between mood disorders and creativity; Who's Your Doctor, a panel on your favourite incarnation of Doctor Who; and Torchwood Children of Earth, One Year Later, a discussion of the brilliant miniseries that aired last summer. That last one was my suggestion, and I was the moderator. Unfortunately it wasn't very well attended, as we were on at the same time as the masquerade. We had a good discussion, however, and that's what counts.
I wasn't originally supposed to be on the Fandom and Mental Health panel; I asked them politely if I could join, and when one of the panelists didn't turn up I got my chance. Having a mood disorder of my own to deal with, the subject matter was very important to me.
This year I got to sign in the autograph area! That was a very big honour. I only stayed for half an hour, though - by that point I'd left Monica alone to watch the table for nearly five hours, and she was more than due for a break. I also did a reading on Sunday morning. Sadly, the room hadn't been cleaned out after a party the previous night, and my friends had to ask the maintenance staff very politely, five times, to please do the vacuuming after the reading, not during. I shared reading time with Kate Story, there to promote her first novel, Blasted. We had Violet and three of my friends in attendance, but that was it. Morning events on a Sunday morning at a convention are rarely well attended. We made the most of it, and kept our small but very dedicated audience well entertained.
I made new friends, some of whom I've friended on Facebook. I'm still hoping to get friended by Ian, Lisa and Cyn, the cool cats I ran into in the Tim Horton's on Friday. Are you guys out there? Do I have to start stalking you again, Cyn (inside joke)?
Violet and I also made friends with Bumblebee, as you can see from this photo.
Overall, the weekend was a lot of fun. I may not have made fantastic book sales, but I did promote myself and get myself out there, so to speak. When it comes to self-promotion, every little bit counts. I'm currently planning to attend Anime North in May, and Polaris in July.