This weekend I attended Anime North, a huge convention dedicated to Japanese animation spread out over four hotels near the airport. I'd been two years ago and had some success, and hoped to repeat that success this year.
Sadly, I wasn't able to rent a table, as they'd sold out. At least, that's what they told me. A not-so-thorough glance around the artist tables revealed quite a few empty ones that could have been mine. Perhaps there were a lot of last-minute no-shows. Anyway, I didn't really have enough books on hand to sell this year, so it wasn't too big of a deal.
I went armed with over a hundred flyers to hand out, and I handed out every one! I also spoke on four panels: Fandom Entitlement; Fan Fiction; Transformers; and Writing Basics. The first, Fandom Entitlement, was about how much fans can expect from creators, and vice versa. This was my only Friday night panel, and it took place at 11 at night. I was worried about getting home afterward, but luckily the bus routes kept running long enough. The panel was quite interesting, and I met the fine panelists who would be joining me for the Fan fiction one the next day.
My first panel on Saturday wasn't until 2 PM, but I got there for eleven anyway so I could spend some time handing out flyers and investigating the dealer's room. The dealer's room was located in the Toronto Convention Centre across the street from the Doubletree International Plaza hotel where most of the goings-on went on. And it wasn't just across the street - I think it was located in area F or something, which meant a ten-minute walk around the building to find the right place to go in. If it's one thing I wish Anime North could improve, it's to keep things closer together if not in the same building. I got myself a new toy and a couple of anniversary gifts for Violet (it's our 5-year anniversary in five days!), then went to Harvey's for lunch. The lineup was almost impossibly long, and yet I got to the counter in only five minutes. Kudos to the staff there!
Two of my three remaining panels went fine. The Fan Fiction panel was very interesting, and quite well attended. We discussed how some creators get really angry when they learn fans have written stories using their characters. As far as I'm concerned, I'd be delighted if someone wrote some Evil? or Epoch stories. It would mean the authors really loved the books! The next panel was the Transformers panel, and the first half was quite a bit of fun. Sadly I had to leave halfway through in order to get to the Writing Basics panel, located in another hotel a ten-minute walk away. Some swine in programming will have to answer for that! Writing Basics was moderately well attended, and gave me a chance to speak with authority on a subject about which I knew a great deal. I fear I may have become a bit negative toward the end, however, when we got into the all-importance of sales numbers and how marketing is left mostly in the hands of the authors. I do hope I managed to be inspiring during that panel. Am I becoming jaded already?
All in all it was a good if tiring experience. I might attend next year, but only if I can get a table next time.