Monday, June 3, 2013

What it's Like to be a Philly Comic Con Panelist

On Sunday June 2nd, at 1:00 PM, I hosted my first panel at 
I've been to Comic Con before, so I knew to expect
and of course

but no clue what I'd be in for as a panelist. 
My biggest fear?
But what the hell, I was finally getting to meet William Vitka, who I've worked with for two years now but haven't yet met in person.  And Alexander Maisey was coming, who I haven't known as long, but he and I have done some pretty cool nuts-and-bolts stuff together.
Vitka is a literary wildman.  He gives off this devil-may-care, I'm drinking whiskey at four in the morning because it tastes good, damn you, sir, damn you I say, kind of vibe.
But in real life?
Dude is exactly what he appears to be.  But better. 
Maisey and him have been friends for years, but Alex has a completely different demeanor about him.  He's reserved, professional.  And even though he's just getting started doing panels as well, he's got this cool kind of presence like
I went into the room early to scope out the people doing the panel before us.  It was a group of traditional publishing professionals from a wide range of backgrounds.  Novelists, graphic novelists, screenwriters, etc. They had a respectably sized group, and I sat quietly in the back to see what they had to say.
"You need to perfect your query letter," the novelist said.
And it was very clear their message was going to be different than ours.

Very different. 
But I waited until they finished and tried to ask the moderator to announce to his audience that our panel on Independent Writing and Publishing was coming up next, so stick around.
His reaction?

So Vitka, Maisey and I quietly took the stage as the old audience got up and started to shift about, unsure if they should leave or stick around to hear what these new people had to say.
I mean clearly, we weren't the super-duper gods of literature like they'd just seen.  I mean, one of the former panelists had actually co-written a vampire romance novel.
So I had to make a quick decision, because I hadn't expected to be dissed by the former panelists, and but I didn't want the crowd to leave.  In that brief moment I felt

but instead I grabbed the mic and went 
Now, I don't mean to tell you that we had this
And I don't think I saw any of this
but at least everybody sat back down.
And a few more walked in.
At the end of the panel, it seemed important to get off the stage and into the crowd, so we set up our stuff along the first table and shook hands and signed things and gave stuff away.  I thanked each person for coming, and I meant it, and they thanked me.
And you know what?
It was pretty damn cool.

I just put in for us to host a panel at the New York Comic Con this October.
In fact, that's my birthday weekend, so who knows.  Maybe a few hundred more people will come out and help me celebrate.
Special thanks to Philly Comic Con, the folks who came out to see us, Vitka, Maisey, Maria, Jessica and Izzy for making the day so memorable.

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