That Virtual Con

A week or so ago, I mentioned I was participating in a virtual con.

Pros and cons? Mostly cons, but I think it might just be this particular con. If I’m not mistaken, this was the first con the sponsor has run, so of course, there are going to be glitches. One of those glitches–and a very annoying one–was that vendors weren’t on the list to access the site early so we could set up our booth. Our group leader somehow managed to get in because she set everything up by the time the convention started. Although we had a zoom tour of the con like a week or so before, the set-up wasn’t exactly user-friendly. I was mostly confused. But it worked in the end, and we were all in our places with bright, shiny faces on Day One.

The con’s big rule was this is a safe place, and no harassing or trash talking–people, groups of people–whatever. Anybody reported doing these things was going to kicked out of the con, no ifs ands or buts. Okay, fine.

We didn’t have a Day Two. The con was held on a platform (can’t remember the name) that when I signed in, insisted I have my webcam and mic on. Okay, fine. I’m not sure how this worked, but we found out that attendees didn’t have to have their cams and mics on, and if they didn’t, they were invisible. Completely invisible. So a few of us were in the booth, and got to talking about trans people. One of the authors had an opinion that isn’t popular, but she’s not wrong, if you get my drift. At no time was the discussion disrespectful in any way, shape or form. Well, one of those ghosts was in the booth and heard it, got offended, and reported it. Next thing we knew, we were out. No notice, no chance to present our side. Really, really shitty. Which brings up a huge issue. We’re vendors, right? We’re there to sell books, right? Well, how the hell are we supposed to pitch to potential customers if we don’t know they’re there??

Will I do this con again? Doubtful. Will I take a chance on another virtual con? Yes, if it’s sponsored by an organization that knows what the hell they’re doing. I’m not sure in-person cons will come back this year. At all. They tend to be crowded, and if everyone shows up, there can be no social distancing, unless you hole up in your hotel room and don’t come out. Yes, we can still wear masks, and by the end of summer into the fall, maybe that’s all that’ll be needed. We’ll see. I’d really like to show off my book covers video.

In other news, my brain did it again. I’ve been having a serious struggle with depression over the past several months. Well, last Friday, I felt GREAT! I’m thinking “at last, this shit’s finally broken.” I should have known better. I felt great because I was manic. I realized it on Saturday, when I woke up with a hellacious headache. I looked back on the prior day, and thinking about it, remembering it, it dawned on me that the colors were too bright. My thoughts were racing. So did my mouth. I was on a zoom call with other folks who have jobs similar to mine, and I went OFF on the politics of the Civil War. Why Lincoln freed the slaves (to break the South’s economy), why the Pony Express, and blah, blah, blah. On, and on, and on. Oh, and by the way–I usually don’t say jack on these calls.

Motherfuck. I hate this shit.


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