Authors After Dark was my first foray into the administrative world of convention planning. Before this, I had planned and executed a bunch of major US tours for bands, and used to run a club in NY where bands would play on the weekend. Let me tell you setting up a weekend convention is SO different.
I guess it was my background that assured me I could do it, I mean I hadn't tried to set something like this up ever in my life, nothing this elaborate I mean. Setting up a tour for bands requires contact with the venue, the band, the venues administrative staff, and the bands record company. Nothing crazy like this. But I have to say it was a worthwhile experience.
See, I wanted to help develop something for readers and authors that was about them, not about making money. In these hard times, we shouldn't have to pay through the nose to enjoy a weekend with our favorite writers and get to know readers that could be life long friends. I'm happy to say I think I accomplished what I set out to do.
Needless to say that even though I was working the majority of the time, I had a bang up time. I started off my weekend on Thursday night with Becky and Crystal at the hotel, filling the welcome bags and generally getting stuff ready. I went to bed late, got up super early, and started off the day with setting up the event. I thank all the girls that were my makeshift staff, Without you guys, it could never have happened as smoothly as it did. So that you all especially Froggy, Kimmy, Crystal, Susan, and Connie.
I'm not going to bore you with what went into the weekend on my part, mostly because I really don't wanna relive it after the fact, but you should know that it was a lot of hard work to figure everything out.
The best part of the week and weekend was that Audra could be here to do this with me. True, she was 5 months pregnant, But her support helped me through. And we got to sign together again something we haven't done since RT 2007. It was awesome to see her interact with new and old readers, and just have a good time. With her mum and neice Jane there too, it was a true family affair.
Ooh and the suggestion forms at the end of the weekend were great! Everyone thought we did such a good job (Thank you) and it was mostly details that need to be ironed out. So lemme address then here:
1. Yes, next year we will have color coded badges.
2. Yes, staff next year will be designated and easy to find.
3. Yes, there will be time between panels so you ca get a drink or potty
4. Yes, we will have more authors involved next year.
5. Yes, there will be a full vendors rooms this coming year as well.
6. NO, there will NOT be any cover models or Fabio about. You want that, go to RT or RomantiCon. Sorry guys but AAD is not about sweaty manflesh, its about connecting to your favorite authors!
7. NO, next years event will not be in Philadelphia. Since I'm the convention manager, I have to do the event where im close enough to it to transport the promo and goodies to the hotel, and I need to get there in a god amount of time, and not travel half a day to get there. Sorry guys this is not as big as RT and I dont make any kind of salary from it. So AAD will always be closer to where I can get to it easily, or the goodies will never get there, and it wont be as smooth.
8. Yes, next year's costume contest will be judged by a panel of judges.
9. Yes, we will have a GLBT track next year.
10. Yes, we will not have it in October, but in September, to better accommodate the authors that want to attend.
So thats my AAD blog. Enjoy and I hope to see you next year. What? You dont know about next year? Well Stay tuned to the AAD blog for all the up to the minute event information, and the list of authors that will be attending!