Friday, September 07, 2007
And lo, it was my tenth Dragon*Con. I remember when it was small(er). LOTS smaller. Like 20K people instead of nearly 50K. I grew up next door to a town that had 40K people when the Univ of Iowa was in session. 50K is unreal.
My publisher (Dragon Moon Press) had a booth at Dragon (first time) and since I knew the mysterious ways of a dealer's room, I volunteered to play Booth Nazi. My past experience with the Wyerd Systers at Dragon paid off handsomely. Other than our usually trusty Volvo station wagon dying the day before "load in" as it's called, everything went well. Hubby and I schlepped the boxes to downtown Thursday afternoon. It did require two trips. I could have gotten it all in the Honda Hybrid but it would have killed the tires. So while I unpacked and set up the booth, hubby went for Load #2. We were done in 3 hours, including the second trip. We would have been done in half that if we could have brought it all in at once. Setting up a publishing booth is SO much easier than unpacking ten thousand little stones and trinkets and bits of jewelry. It is, however, harder on the back.
Friday through Monday involved hours in the booth with such crazies as Tee Morris, Tony Ruggiero, Scott Sigler and Phillipa "Pip" Ballantine (she of the cool NZ accent and the stuffed Kiwis). We schmoozed, sold books and had a good time. I also did some paneling with folks like my friend Jean Marie Ward and the very gracious Terry Brooks. It's always a pleasure to meet one of the masters in the industry and find out they're nice folks. There are way too many of the other kind out there.
In between all this I dined with friends, caught up with those I haven't seen in years and wore my knees to a pulp walking all over hell and creation. Dragon is so big now it's easier to get where you need to be by walking outside the hotels. Which means you do the hills. Great exercise, that's for sure. Unfortunately, my schedule did not allow me to have a drink or two with Chris Jackson. I regret that. I did get to dinner with Scott Humphries (aka Scott the Editor).
Highlight of the con? Watching the incredible Mur Lafferty arrive for her autograph signing. Mur is the Queen of Podcasting and she came with an entourage, four guys to be precise. The guys usually refer to themselves as Mur's Bitches(TM). Mur's a great lady and I suspect, deep down, this is rather embarrassing, but she takes it well. One of them, a Mr. J.C. Hutchins (another famous podcaster with a dry sense of humor) offered to provide the same level of security for me should I find the need. He sounded so official I swore I was talking to someone from the Secret Service. Podcasters, on the whole, are incredibly creative people with a tenuous grasp of reality. My kind of people. Mur's always a kick. I was tickled to be able to sign next to her. (Yeah, she had a line and I didn't.)
A friend of mine is totally fan girl about this actor. Since she's such a good friend, I stood in line and bought an autographed photo (he wasn't there). Which is just as well as it would have been a very long line, he's that "famous". I didn't begrudge the gift in the least.
So here's my rant. I remember when the photos were $10. Now they're $20. For. A. Photo. $20 or $30 more if you want a personal photograph with that star. I know that Dragon doesn't pay for most of the stars' appearance and you gotta make money any way you can to pay for the hotel/airfare, etc.. But $40 or $50 just to meet an actor, get a signed photo and then have him/her pose with you? Yes, I hold a lot of them in awe, but come on. At least with an author you'd get a book, a free autograph, and a free photo, all for $20. I wouldn't pay that even if it was George Clooney or the late Sir Ian Richardson who I adored. Somehow I suspect neither of those gents would resort such tactics. As one con attendee put it, "They're treating their fans like an ATM." Couldn't have said it better. Clunk.... off my soapbox.
And now back to unpacking all the Dragon*Con boxes. England calls in less than a month and there's a lot to be done.