I’m sharing this because after I wrote it, I realized that the emotional process below is exactly the same as the emotional process I use for dealing with rejection letters. No, seriously. I got several this week after a string of acceptances. And while the particular problem I’m talking about may not impact you, the process that I use to deal with it might help with those pesky ass rejection letters. While at the same time help you get the kinds of convention experiences you want.
I recently discovered that I would not be given any panels at a convention that I’ve attended (and been a panelist before) in the past. Despite having quite a few people express their desire to have me be at that particular convention.
It’s very tempting to interpret this as something personal.
Bog only knows I’ve pissed off enough people in the last few years – either by talking about them directly or them thinking I’ve been talking about them. I do my damndest to separate business and personal lives. I am very grateful for the professional contacts I have – who are also my friends – who are willing to directly call me on the carpet when needed. They are trustworthy in the best sense of the word. But I know that others do not separate business and personality. That disagreeing in business is seen as a personal competition. And that favors are called, or little comments made to friends to try to support (or destroy) someone’s career. And making a point of very publicly and professionally adhering to an ethical standard no matter what can really, really piss people off.
Or that it’s a referendum on how successful I am. That I’m simply not high powered enough to stand alongside some of the other people that are going to be on panels. And I am in a weird place professionally. I’ve done enough to gain some notice. I’m not quite in any particular “league” at the moment. I’m not a fledgling writer (or publisher) anymore. But I’m not a “big leagues” publisher or writer either. So from an attendance point of view, I’m not really a draw in the same way that some of my friends are. This triggers every bit of the Writer’s Lack of Self-Confidence or the Writer’s Abundance of Self-Doubt.
But here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter. I have to shrug it off and not let it worry me at all.
Because if it’s personal, then I don’t give a bit of shit about their opinon. That marks them as horribly unprofessional and nepotistic asshats, and I simply don’t have time for that kind of drama.
And if it’s a professional thing, then there’s only one thing I can do – be more awesome so that it doesn’t matter.
As a practical measure, I presume that it’s professional. Every time the little self-doubt monster screeches at me:
I just simply tell it to stfu and focus on being more awesome. Because eventually, I will either be so awesome that they just have to have me there, or I will be more awesome than they are, period. And that’s a goal I can actually do something about.
And so can you.
That said, if you want me (or any particular author or publisher) to come to a convention near you, it is nice to hear you tell us. But more importantly, tell the convention runners who and what you want to see at conventions near you.
Because if you don’t tell them, nobody else will.