I have decided that I am not going to Archon this year.
I know, that’s probably a bad idea. I mean, here I have one of the biggest science fiction conventions in the country practically on my doorstep, and they have a special section outside the dealer’s room just for new and self-published authors to sell their books, it’s such an obvious opportunity that it’s a no-brainer, right?
I hate conventions. I hate crowds. Persons as individuals I enjoy, many of them, but people in great swarming masses make me profoundly uncomfortable. And I am not a science fiction fan. Yes, there are individual works of fiction that I enjoy that happen to be marketed as “science fiction”, but that is not the same thing at all.
I had decided that I should go, as a career move, but I realized that I was already getting sick to my stomach thinking about it, and the damn thing’s not until October. I’m sorry, but if I have to do something that I don’t want to do in order to make a living, I’ll stick to changing air conditioner filters and lightbulbs–I can at least do that by myself.
I was reading lists of the Hugo awards nominees for the last few years this morning, and I realized that not only had I never read any of them, from the capsule descriptions I didn’t want to read any of them. Reading the blogs of the authors who wrote these books was even worse–I have nothing in common with them.
Yes, Catskinner’s Book is listed on Amazon as science fiction, but that’s only because I have to call it something, and it doesn’t have enough sex to qualify as urban fantasy. I don’t like genres and I don’t like labels and I wouldn’t join the Science Fiction Writer’s of America even if I were eligible to do so. (SFWA doesn’t recognize self-published authors, I believe.)
Yes, Star Wars was a fun summer movie, and I really enjoyed it when I was sixteen, but that was a lot of years ago, and even then my tastes ran more to Rollerball and Soylent Green. Some of the books on my Kindle do come with the label science fiction, but I have more that are mystery or horror or fantasy or even romance.
So, I’m not a science fiction fan and I hate crowds, and the only reason that I was planning to go to Archon was to promote my book, but this morning I decided that the personal cost simply wasn’t worth any conceivable return.
I feel really good about my decision. It wasn’t an easy one to make, but now that I have I am sure that it is the right thing to do, or, rather, not do.
Would I go to a convention as an author guest? (Not that the risk of that seems high at the moment.) Yes, I would, but I would make sure that the organizers know that I am not a people person and I don’t like to mingle. Actually, I don’t mingle at all, I stand in the corner with my back to the wall, a stiff drink in my hand, and a “don’t talk to me” scowl on my face.
As a marketing tool for people who aren’t misanthropic bastards, a convention is probably a great idea. But it ain’t me, babe.