I’ve been to a lot of conventions, from tiny little things hosted at the local mall to the epic scale of DragonCon. I’m not at the point in my career where I can afford to turn down invitations, and I’m so pleased that I accepted the opportunity to sell books at a local gaming convention known as TridentCon. I thought it was brilliant that the organizer invited local speculative fiction authors rather than having an entire slate of games dealers. It is the rare table-top gamer who is not also a science fiction and/or fantasy fan.
Before the convention, I noticed that the event website did not include an official Code of Conduct. I emailed the organizer, and honestly expected a bit of push-back (especially since I was not intending to participate in any games). But within a week, he and his wife had put a policy together that matched the scale and scope of the event. This is proof-positive that the size of the event does not preclude having harassment policies in place. I am unaware whether any incidents occurred during the event itself and/or were reported. But just the fact that the organizers were so quick to accept and act on my concern gives me hope for the continued positive evolution of this culture.
Side note: If they had blown me off or refused to post a policy, I would have politely declined my invitation to attend. It would be hypocritical of me to talk a big game online and then attend a convention that does not meet my standards. But I’m so glad that I didn’t have to make that choice, because it was a great experience!
I set up in a bit of a back corner of the room with two other speculative fiction authors, M.K. Gibson and Joab Stieglitz. Both men were lovely, and I had a great time chatting with them in between customers about story ideas and the writing life. The three of us each write very different flavors of speculative fiction, and it’s always more fun when writers are happy to pass potential readers over to what they might be interested in rather than competing for sales.
Unfortunately, I only attended the first day of the event because a book order did not arrive. However, I didn’t come back for day 2 because I completely sold out of copies of Steel Victory, doing just as well in one day of a tiny event as I have in the past all weekend at larger conventions!
I hope I’m invited back next year, and I might even consider participating in some games of my own. Table-top RPGs are one of the things that first sucked me into the world of speculative fiction storytelling, after all.
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