It isn't that I haven't been to conventions before - I've done that. Just previously they've been in one of two different roles. Previously they've been either as a fan, or as media. When you're there as a fan, the burden is extremely low. You just have to enjoy yourself. As a member of the media, you get to put on a persona. It isn't fully you - and everyone sort of gets that. You've got the credentials of an organization behind you. Even if that organization doesn't have the best reputation for you to be able to trade upon, it is something. You're a part of something bigger than yourself.
This is the first one that I've got to go and be repping myself. I've got a few mediocre publications under my belt, and I've got some manuscripts on the go. I think that I'm batting above average for the amount of time I've put into this. I'm a pretty anxious person though, and I am terrified of this event.
A big chunk of this week is being spent preparing for this. I've got to hone the ever important elevator pitch, prepare a plan for networking, and so on.
The elevator pitch is something that I have a lot of difficulty with, especially with the novel that I'm currently editing. A novella that is off with beta readers was easy; in an alternate history, a valet and the gentleman that he works for are secret lovers and relocate to Paris start a new life, when a plague and revolt rock the city. That's pretty easy. For some reason the novel is a much harder task for me. It has to do with a young woman, a road trip, spirits, and how much is lost between generations. I'm hitting a wall honing it down from the complex ideas behind it into something simpler.
Then there's networking; one of my great weaknesses. I'm listening to podcasts and trying to develop a strategy behind that. This does not come naturally to me, so I'm trying to approach it like a military strategist. Identify targets, determine the best way to move in, etc. Then I have to actually go talk to them without being weird and awkward about it. This is going to be an experience.
So, wish me luck. I'll try to keep everyone updated.