I attended my 1st Imaginarium Convention over the weekend, and was pleasantly surprised:)
1st of all, I could only go on Saturday, and I was very disappointed I missed Cards Against Humanity.
2ndly, I was amazed at the vast array of panels and workshops. How can one possibly pick and choose?
Finally, I realized I'd based my assumptions on what went on based on my limited experience at conventions, mainly my one-day trips to RT and Weekend With The Authors.
I sat on the 'Writing with Chemistry' and 'Seasoned Romance' panels, and while there were more attendees for the 1st one, we did have a lively discussion at both. I'd forgotten to watch my time, so I arrived for my WWC panel a half an hour late. Next year, I shall set alarms on my phone! I also chatted with another author who was presenting a 'Designing Your Interior' workshop, so I played Devil's Advocate and actually asked him what was wrong with copy/pasting from Word. I also fetched a copy of three of my own books for his perusal, and to my surprise, he was very patient and informative in that few moments. I decided to attend his workshop.
And yes, I learned a few things. I will be pulling ALL my books down next year and redoing the interior. Thanks Dave!
I WAS surprised to learn that there were only THREE (3) of us who attended. I've not checked the schedule to see what panel/wkshop was at the same time, so maybe there was a more exciting one scheduled? Or were more people like me who didn't understand the workshop title? (I actually thought I was in the wrong room at 1st, until I recognized the man I'd recently spoken to!)
I admit, the first hour and a half (again, not watching the time, oops!) I spent wandering around, taking pictures, chatting, greeting those I knew, and gathering swag, so I have no idea if anyone had passed by my booth and was interested. But from 2-5:30, I think I spoke to maybe 10 people at the most who made eye contact and took the free copy of my poem, then listened to my 'sales pitch'. I only sold one book, but still felt as if this time was not entirely wasted. My tablemate showed up for an hour, so it was good to meet her in person, and I was able to tell potential customers about her genre.
I can appreciate the fact this hotel has to make some $$, but I don't understand why the only free drinks offered was water. Why not offer coffee and tea? Or some snacks? There was a 'concession stand' in the lobby which offered salad ($5); a sandwich ($6); hot dog ($3), chips ($1), and 12-oz water ($1).
Dinner at the awards banquet was AMAZING! We were offered salad, cole slaw, mashed potatoes, baked apples (I think), green beans, chicken in some sort of sorghum sauce (delicious!), pork chops in a bourbon glaze (delicious!), and catfish. Not to mention the dessert table: Triple chocolate cake (YUM!), caramel apple pie, or bourbon butter tort (a friend said this was awesome....it was gone by the time I got around to dessert, lol!)
I was happy we didn't have to suffer through any 'I'd like to thank the Academy....' speeches, and was thrilled a friend's film won her category, and another friend's book won for Best Romance. Another friend, Carol P and I picked out our table when we entered, then Marian and her group joined us, as did M and her hubby, plus one of the coordinators and one of his volunteers.
F and his volunteer each won a goofy staff award (I'm sooooo glad the volunteers were recognized!); Marian won the 'Best promo award'; MP won the aforementioned 'Best Romance' award; Marian's group also won 'Best Small Press'.
And there sat C and I empty-handed at a table full of winners.
Don't get me wrong; we had no ill feelings at all; rather, we were thrilled to be sitting with a table full of winners, even if we joked 'We are not worthy....' to be sitting there! I was happy for MP; I'd actually read her book, and I hadn't expected to win, since I couldn't even vote for myself, having not known I was even attending until Friday!
-Since this was the 1st year for the awards (outside of the film ones), I felt it was more a popularity contest. I've only known some of these people for 4 years, while they've known each other longer. Therefore, the sponsoring press won most of the awards, and MP is also very well known in their circle. A newbie like me with NO name recognition didn't stand a chance.
-As to the Romance Category....why not break it down into more sub-genres? I didn't know whether or not to put Kenzie's Heart's Last Chance into Sci-Fi or romance. I did put one of my own into 'General Fiction', but lost to the other press. Why not have a Women's Fiction category? I don't even think there was a Children's category, though several children's books were in the vending hall.
-As for the Vendor Hall.....why not have a three-hour signing block, when nothing else is going on, like at RT or AWWTA?
So look for me next year; I'll be on multiple panels and doing only a 1-hour signing....unless of course, they shift things around.
And I still don't know how the hell I ended up on a comic book panel.
"What's your favorite non-superhero comic book?"
Yeah....I was waaaaaay out of my league here!