Wednesday, May 31, 2017

WisCon Wrapup

This has been one of the quieter cons for me. Some of the friends we used to meet every year no longer come to WisCon, and I didn’t connect with others that I expected to run into. (I suppose that’s what happens when you leave it to chance instead of planning something ahead of time.) I didn’t even go to any of the evening events. That’s mostly due to a combination of spending time with my family or Madison friends and not having the energy to mingle—or even bother to go to the writing salon when I could write in my room instead.

Another unusual thing about this con is that I wasn’t able to sell books. Broad Universe recently changed their rules to require members have a state sales permit to sell books and work at the table. Due to tax issues, I had cancelled my Wisconsin seller’s permit before the rules were published, so I can no longer sell books at WisCon. Only two Broads were able to sell books this year, so that was a big burden for them managing the table without more help. I set up and took down the table, but technically I’m not allowed to handle the iPad we use to track sales. Therefore, I’ve resigned from my role as events coordinator for Broad Universe. I’ve done it for several years, and honestly, it’s nice having one less responsibility in my life.

 Anyway, here’s the day-by-day breakdown:

I left right after dropping Alex off at school on Friday and arrived mid-morning in Madison. I set up the Broad Universe table with the help of another member before checking in. After a quick lunch, I attended a panel on socialism, then joined the Fiber Circle (crafting with textiles) before watching the table for a while. Once my family arrived Friday evening, we went out to dinner and then to Barnes and Noble. I discovered a new subgenre: gaslamp, fantasy set in the 19th century. The Season Avatars series has Victorian-era technology but is in a secondary world, so I added “Gaslamp fantasy” to the description to see if that will help readers find the books.

I was on a panel at 8:30 on Saturday, so my traditional trip to the Farmer’s Market was very short. The panel was about Star Wars and resistance. It was well-attended for an early panel, and the audience liked it. After that, I attended another panel on everyday forms of resistance, but it wasn’t as practical as I expected. The first afternoon panel was the Broad Universe rapid-fire reading. Six of us read for about eight minutes each, then we talked briefly about the organization. A few of us read again, so I ended up reading from both Fifth Season and Lyon’s Legacy. Following that, I attended a panel on “firing” the traditional white male SF canon. I skipped the last afternoon panel so we could meet local friends for dinner and walk around Madison for a while. When we returned to the hotel, we visited the pool.

Sunday I attended panels on lazy writing and oppression, living with climate change, and breaking down masculine stereotypes. I was also on a panel about feminist science fiction for beginners. It was a relative large panel, so I didn’t have to say much. At the end of the day, I took down the Broad Universe table before my family and I went out to dinner.

After a Monday brunch with one of the Wisconsin troopers, we said goodbye to Madison and made our way home.


Pat Dilloway said...

Too bad you couldn't sell any books. Seems like unnecessary red tape.

Sandra Almazan said...

Pat, states are sending inspectors to conventions to make sure all sellers are licensed. Broad Universe is a non-profit, so they don't have a permit. It's a burden for individual writers to have to have licenses in many states, especially if they only sell a couple of books at each convention and don't actually profit. But since each writer has to manage her own sales/taxes anyway, I don't know what would be a better way to handle it.

Maria Zannini said...

Sounds like a low key affair this year.

Sorry about the new licensing laws. Makes things complicated for the little guy.

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