I once again happily spent the 4th of July, Independence Day weekend, in the company of friends, and even met some new ones. For the last several years I have attended InConJunction – SF & F Convention in Indianapolis, IN. While there this year, I especially kept my mind open to what lessons could be learned or at least shared and given further consideration.
1) Always be Open To Change
As is our tradition, an ever-growing group of friends go out to eat on Saturday night after the panels are done and the expo hall closes. For the last three years now we have not eaten at the same restaurant though. Not because the food was not great, quite the contrary, it has been delicious. The problem has been that on a holiday weekend sometimes it is hard to find a nice place (fast food excluded) that is open. This year there were eight of us at dinner, and yes, we were able to find a single table that accommodated all of us. But, not until after meeting up at the restaurant we went to last year and finding that it had closed for the 4th. Not a problem , and here is the ‘take away’, not one single person complained about the inconvenience of having to load back into the vehicles or calling those who had not quite made it there yet, to change the location.
It may not seem that earth-shattering, but we were all extremely hungry from a long day of conventioning, panels, and working the expo hall. Much like you would imagine a ravenous pack of animals just denied their quarry. Thanks to decisive decision making and being open to change when presented an obstacle, we quickly regrouped, came to a decision on another location. Dinner was salvaged.
2) Perseverance - Keep Doing What Your Believe In
Whenever I attend writing related fan conventions I tend to always sit in on or participate on the panels related to publishing and the business of writing. This comes from my own desire to teach and educate others on the business of writing. There are still those that are just now realizing that writers today, especially those in the independent publishing arena, need to learn more about the ‘business of writing’. Many authors already know that in addition to being willing to learn from the success and failures of others, the best way to become a better writer is to actually keep writing.
Over the years of attending different writing related conventions, I have been enormously pleased to see the attendance of these types of panels increase in attendance. From a presenter viewpoint it can be a little disheartening to see a sparsely attended session on a topic that you firmly believe in your heart all writers need to know.
It was also nice to see an increase in the number of panelists that share the same passion about educating new authors about the publishing process. Especially when the information being shared is done so with the same drive to help guide writers on their journey to publishing no matter the path they choose for publication.
3) What You Think On The Inside, Shows On The Outside
This last reminder comes from my time spent in the expo hall over the weekend next to a ‘new’ exhibitor. Situated in the booth next to me was the seller of a new pocket-watch related product styled after a steampunk inspired design. Her display was beautifully designed even down to the copper dirigibles sitting on top. The pocket watches were all hand designed with light-up face-plates. Because of this attention to detail you can imagine that they were a little higher priced than an everyday keepsake, but well worth the cost.
But, there was a problem. She only had five watches on display. When I asked her why she didn’t display more of the watches, I found out that her supplier, and watchmaker, had not sent her the new shipment of watches in time for the show. Did she let that stop her from selling watches though? Not one bit. It didn’t even seem to slow her down. The entire weekend as we shared stories (she had some good ones about her “Dancing Space” and “The Aromatic Christmas Tree”, which I may share at another time), I could tell that she truly believed in her product. The happy ending is that her belief, determination, and a smile that never left her face during the entire show, all saw her through gathering a good number of pre-orders on watches that she did not have with her. She was even able to grow her mailing list by offering a free Steampunk inspired short story to interested con-goers.
Whether it is in business or life, being open to the ever-changing landscape around you can give you the freedom to make changes when necessary. Keep your determination and doing what you believe in, it will eventually pay off. It may not be in a way that you expected, but be open to that change as well. If you don’t open the door, you’ll never know what’s behind it. How you handle situations on the inside will show on the outside as well and can definitely have an effect on your bottom line financially and personally.